Reader Success Story: Free stay at the Taj Hotel through a magazine subscription

We love to hear stories from our readers about how our passion for collecting miles and points has affected their lives. Honeymoon plans in the works, a gift to their parents, a vacation to Srinagar or Singapore or just that premium airline seat that they secured on redemption. We’ve heard many such stories, and this year, we will try and bring more of these stories to you.

This Sunday’s story is all about thinking outside the box. A lot of us believe that the only way to earn hotel loyalty points is by sleeping in the hotel bed.  Not true!

There are so many ways to earn these points. For example, you can earn Hilton Honors points by renting a car and taking cruises. Similarly, Taj and many other global hotel chains let you earn points when you use the spa or dine at any of the restaurants. Though there is another smart way to earn hotel loyalty points and that is through a magazine subscription, like The Economist. If you are an Economist reader, subscribing to the magazine can earn you loyalty points for the Taj Inner Circle and the Shangri-la Rewards program and these points are an excellent way to get you a free stay at the Taj.

Economist can help you stay

Today’s success story is about how one of our readers, Arpit earned enough Taj Innercircle points through a magazine subscription to enjoy the New Years’ Eve with his family at the Taj Bengal in Kolkata. So without further delay, in Arpit’s own words.

my stay at the Taj

Reading LiveFromALounge regularly has changed my perspective about how, when and where to spend on my cards to maximise my returns on money spent.  I come from a traditional Marwari family, where my father never held a credit card. Growing up in the household, I had always heard that “cash is king“. It is only after reading and practising tips published on LiveFromALounge, I have managed to earn more than 2 million JP miles over the past six years.

Last year, I  subscribed to The Economist 1 year Print+Digital subscription. This annual subscription is priced at INR 12,000, and by applying through the Taj Inner Circle (TIC)rewards program, I received 2,500 TIC points as a signup bonus. Taj InnerCircle points can be redeemed as per the room redemption catalogue available on the TIC website. Alternatively, these points can also be used to settle bills at Taj hotels as per the below-mentioned chart

Using Taj Innercircle Points
I have two young kids, and that means that we haven’t had a family vacation in a long time. Therefore, I decided to treat my family to a staycation at the beautiful Taj Bengal in Kolkata on New Years’ Eve.
stay at the taj Bengal

Taj Bengal – Kolkata

Unlike the complimentary night voucher that members get through the Taj Epicure membership, Taj InnerCircle points have no blackout dates for redemption stays during the new year period. I used 2530 TIC points to book a Deluxe Room at the Taj Bengal. Standard rooms during the December holiday period usually retail for ~13,000 INR per night.

Use points to stay at the Taj hotel

A night stay at the Taj Bengal can be redeemed for as low as 2000 Taj Inner Circle points

When I arrived at the hotel, I learnt that owing to my Taj membership I had been upgraded one category above to a luxury room. Then to surprise my family, I paid INR 10,000 + taxes and upgraded our room to a Luxury Suite for the night. We all had a blast indulging ourselves in little luxuries at the hotel.

Stay at the Taj

2500 TIC points got Arpit this standard room at the Taj Bengal.

a screenshot of a hotel room
All in all, I paid ~INR 10,000 to stay in a suite where night stay costs ~INR 30,000. Also, 99% of the points I used to redeem the free night came from my Economist subscription, a magazine that I anyways read and pay for every year.

stay at the Taj

Arpit upgraded his standard room to this suite using cash.

Stay at the Taj

Overall, LFAL has helped me change my perspective about spending money to gain travel experiences. I have now been mandated as the official travel agent for my family and friends, and I help them maximise their travels without breaking the bank.

For sharing his story, we are sending Arpit an INR 1,000 Gift Card.  Also, we would love to hear more from you, our readers.  Tell us about your success stories with scoring a great redemption, a fantastic hotel deal and everything in between, please share it with us, on ajay @ and shipra @ and we will pick the best stories and publish them for everyone to read. Also, you get a prize to share your stories from our side as well.

What are the most exciting ways you have used to garner points and miles? 


  1. Hi Ajay/Shipra, could you please post a detailed review of Taj epicure? Would be very helpful indeed.

  2. I agree with Ninad and Priyansh. Especially little is known about how to earn and burn Taj/Oberoi/ITC points.


  3. Wonderful story.
    Agree with you @priyansh. LFAL is the most comprehensive miles and cards website /blog for India skin to TPG:The points guy in USA.
    Similar to them, I think even this blog should attempt to valuate the various points like TIC, JPmiles, CV miles Marriott points etc

  4. Ok. Wow.. wasn’t aware that Taj points are so highly valued to be honest…

    I know you guys probably have lot of things under plan, but a small series about major hotel points program and how to earn them best- (along with may be some tentative value of the points) would be very handy..

    Would love to understand more of such points

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