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Sun, Sea and Savings!

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

We love to travel when the opportunity presents itself. Planned or spontaneous, it's usually the latter. I had three days off from practice, so it was a perfect time for us to make a quick getaway.

The original plan was to fly to a destination. After researching the best flights and hotels, we concluded that driving was the best option.

Here's a quick view of our process.

Best Flight Options:
  1. Google Flights (airlines, schedules, duration)

  2. Airlines with elite status (One World Alliance partners)

  3. Airlines with stored miles and/or credit card transfer partners (Delta, United, AA, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, and KLM)

After our first round of research, we realized the flight times available, our stored miles, or the award availability did not fit our schedule. On to Plan B.

Best Driving Options:
  1. Locations we like within four hours

  2. Check Elite Status properties (Marriott, Hilton, Fine Hotel Resorts)

  3. Parking rates of the hotel and nearby parking options

  4. Pet-friendly hotels and price (compared to dog sitter price)

  5. Weather in the selected locations

  6. The CPP value versus cash price combined with elite qualifiers

In the end, the South of France was our best option for price, distance, and properties with loyalty program benefits.

Biot, France

Biot was chosen strictly for location, price, and the property available.

Biot is located roughly twenty minutes from Cannes, France. We chose to drive directly after my game, around 8.30 p.m. Our drive from Biella, Italy, to Cannes is four and a half hours during the day but only three and half hours late at night. We made the drive shorter and gave ourselves more time in France for the three days.

Cannes, France

Cannes was the main reason we decided to take this trip. Since 2015 when we first visited the beautiful city of Cannes, it has always been our happy place!

Cannes is a luxury resort town. You'll find beautiful sandy beaches, a boardwalk lined with five-star hotels, and top-of-the-line shopping throughout the city.

Nice, France

Nice was the final city of our trip to the South of France. Nice has a 'big city' feeling compared to Cannes with a beautiful extensive boardwalk and fantastic sea views.

Nice does not have sandy beaches like Cannes, and they're mainly rocky beaches. If you want to swim, a pair of water shoes will allow this without worries.

Nice also has an international airport fifteen minutes from the city center.

Ritz Rewards Card & Amex Platinum

We used two travel credit cards for this trip. The first card was the Ritz Rewards Card by Chase.

The Ritz Rewards card is our Marriott hotel card. We use the Ritz card to get 6x per dollar spent whenever we stay at a Marriott property.

As a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite member, along with all the hotel benefits, the 6x plus the elite bonus gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

The second travel card used on this trip was the Amex Platinum. We booked our stay in Cannes through the travel program only available to Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders, the Fine Hotels and Resorts program.

When booking through FHR, you receive the following benefits:

  • Complimentary breakfast for two ($30 each)

  • $100 Hotel Credit (Food, Drinks, spa)

  • 4 p.m. Late Check-Out

  • Complimentary Upgrade

  • 5x per dollar spent

The $200 Amex Travel credit is another benefit you get from holding the Amex Platinum card once a year. The credit can be used for anything booked through the Amex Travel website.

The original price of our stay was $277. The final price was $77 after the $200 Amex travel credit was applied, plus the added benefits that come with the FHR program.

Moxy Sophia (Marriott Bonvoy)

Our first stop was in Biot, only to stay at a Marriott property close to Cannes. We researched the distance before booking and just hoped that it was correct. ***current Marriott Bonvoy Promotion: Earn 1,000 bonus points and one bonus Elite Night Credit each night until May 4th.***

The plan worked perfectly. It was a three and half hour drive from Trevilglio, Italy (location of my game) and a twenty-minute drive from Biot to Cannes in the morning.


On arrival, the parking lot was huge and almost empty. Parking was complimentary with the reservation.

For the first time since becoming a Bonvoy Platinum Elite member, I was not upgraded either in-app or at the hotel. I could have asked for an upgrade, but we arrived after midnight, and the late-night check-in staff member did not seem well informed.

The staff member failed to mention my status or Welcome Gift during the check-in process. After being told the breakfast price, I mentioned that I'd like to take the food credit for my gift and the guy was confused. Long story short, I had to explain what a welcome gift entails before I chose it.


The room was good and had ample space. For $90 per night, this room was pretty great! The studio room had a queen-sized bed and pullout sofa.

The bed was decent, much more comfortable than my previous Moxy Hotel experience. The pillows were perfect.

The living area was a nice touch to the room because it made it feel more spacious. We took advantage of the couch and table to eat some late-night snacks.

The TV was good, well-lit, and had decent channels and media options.

The space in the bathroom was very tight. Though, the sink and shower were a nice size.

The room was well isolated from noise. We didn't hear much besides doors closing in the morning. We didn't have our little alert dog Saint with us, so we didn't know perfectly.

Hotel Experience

The Moxy Sophia's WiFi was decent. Watching tv shows, surfing the web, and using phone apps worked well. Live streaming was a struggle. The signal did not seem strong enough.

The location was perfect because it had free parking and was twenty minutes from Cannes! Those are the two main reasons we chose the Moxy Sophia.

The Moxy Sophia's breakfast was above average. The excellent seating area offered views of the pool and the mountain range behind it. There were many options to choose from, hot and cold.

Hotel Staff

The late-night check-in staff was funny and friendly but not well informed.

The breakfast and check-out staff were great. The staff was helpful, friendly, and respectful. There wasn't much interaction because I already knew everything I needed to know.

The cleaning staff was friendly and busy like always at Moxy Hotels. I've never experienced a cleaning staff as I have at Moxy hotels. They clean nonstop!

Hotel Martínez (World of Hyatt)

When driving up to the Hotel Martínez, you can see that it's a five-star hotel from the valet parked cars to the grand lobby entrance.

We booked the Hotel Martínez through Amex's Fine Hotels and Resorts program. When there's a reasonable price available on the FHR website, we usually reserve with them regardless of the hotel's loyalty program. Another great benefit when booking through FHR is that your stay gets points and earns elite status with your loyalty program. Typically when booking through a third-party site, you don't earn points or status. As mentioned above, we also got all the FHR benefits and saved $200 on this reservation.


The room was upgraded in-app through World of Hyatt before arrival. The check-in staff acknowledged our FHR booking immediately when we sat down. **I'm at the lowest level of Hyatt, no reason to mention**

The staff members at check-in were terrific. They all were friendly, welcoming, informative, and highly professional.

We usually don't let the bellhops take our bags, but they were so professional and structured that saying no felt like an insult.


The upgraded room was a junior suite with a partial sea view.

The room was unbelievable. It was huge and provided more than enough space for two guests, even enough for two/three more guests to come to hang out.

The king-size bed and pillows were perfect. The bed was vast and plush.