The following article is brought to you by American Express
The holidays: a time for feasting and family, for gifts and fairy lights, for Secret Santa at the office and stealing kisses under the mistletoe.
Also, a time for terrible pop covers of classic holiday tunes, borderline punch ups in the Westfield carpark, nosy relatives (Aunt Helen), and the dreaded work X-mas parties. You don’t have to be a Grinch to admit the season comes with a few stresses, and even the most stalwart of men can leave the festivities feeling relieved.
This year, I decided to make a pre-emptive play for my sanity with the help of American Express.
I spent the year stockpiling points by using my American Express Qantas Discovery Card for booking plane tickets (with Qantas when possible for double points), shopping at selected merchants as the Local Champion (extra points again), and making my regular everyday purchases (the sneakers and dinner dates really add up).
The end result was a serious points stash begging to be burned, and a much-needed escape from the holiday madness. It started with the Westin.
Enter The Home Away From Home
Hate on the word “staycation” all you want – when you’re relaxing in a luxury hotel without sinking the time, energy, and cash into air travel, you won’t care how hashtaggable the term is.
I choose the Westin Sydney for some pre Xmas respite. Within three simple clicks I had found the room on the Qantas Frequent Flyer website, opted to pay with points earned from using my American Express Card, and checked out.
No credit card guilt, just good times ahead.
The Westin’s 5-star experience is exactly what I needed to alleviate the seasonal pressure.
Not only was it a chance to relax in beautiful surroundings with the lady-friend, it also offered the bliss of in-room spa treatments and cocktails at the bar.
Lest I forget about the holidays completely, I took advantage of the hotel’s prime location to get some shopping out of the way for the family.
The perfect summer weather inspired us to take advantage of Sydney’s alfresco bars and restaurants, capped off by a bit of Messina Gelato at Circular Quay.
Somehow the harbour looks even more spectacular at sunset on a hot summer night.
The only problem with the Westin’s indulgent service and our rather palatial room was the view: our windows overlooked one of Sydney’s hottest shopping strips, delivering severe temptation to spend more…or perhaps use our American Express points online instead and not leave the hotel at all.