Several large hotel chains are doing some big Q1 promotions. They include IHG, Hyatt, Club Carlson, and Marriott.
Here are the details on Club Carlson, which is +Radisson and +Country Inns & Suites By Carlson . You get 38,000 points for staying three nights. This is not three stays of one night or more, but you can actually achieve this all on one visit. The nights have to be completed before April 13th, which means I can't use it for my Miami / Caicos Islands trip (April 12- 19), but I might be able to sneak it in there beforehand. Here are the exact details.
You can also get 7500 points at a nonairport Avis location or 9000 points at an airport location for a three night rental. This is discussed at View From the Wing. This gets us to 45500 +Club Carlson points, which can be used for one pretty nice night, but if you really look at their award chart, there are a couple gems in there for 9k / night. This would get us 5 consecutive nights for staying 3 and renting a car for 3 days.
You could have 5 nights in any of these interesting cities:
Or you could have 3 nights in any of these:
And it looks like there are no blackout dates. I checked Budapest in July and Cancun for spring break and had no problems seeing availability.
If one combined this with a Club Carlson visa application, one could have a very nice, extended summer trip through Europe, with stays in Berlin, Dresden, Budapest, Krakow, and/or Sofia. If you have the Visa, the last night of an award is always free, so one could easily do two weeks in European hotels in the summer with it.