I don’t apologize for it – Jordan and I like to go on cruises. We actually like to go anywhere together. Crazy like that.
Anyway, we have a 4 night cruise to The Bahamas coming up, and it was practically free since there was a major wi-fi issue on the last cruise went on. Since I’m online a lot, this was a b i g deal, but one that Royal Caribbean handled with class.
This vacation really couldn’t come at a better time. Ever have one of those weeks where everyone in your family is the hospital, cars break down, work is swamped, and “pets’ heads are falling off” (that’s a movie quote, y’all)? Well, that’s the kind of week we’ve had. And that’s when a plethora of miles & points comes in handy.
So, here’s what we’re using to make this trip happen…
Jordan is dropping our precious dog off with her folks in Dallas and meeting me in Miami after I’m done with some weekend traveling. Her flight from DFW-Miami was 7,500 Avios and $2.50! That’s also what I paid for my flight from D.C. to Miami. I love Avios.
[Don't forget about the 35% transfer bonus with American Express Membership Rewards points. Plus, topping off a British Airways account is made even easier because Ultimate Rewards is a transfer partner and they have their own British Airways Visa Signature® Card.]
We will be staying Sunday night in Miami, so I looked for a Hyatt. Shocker, I know. But I only need one more stay to complete my Diamond Trial Status Match. Killin it. I went with the Hyatt Regency, since it’s fairly close to the cruise port.
I paid cash for the stay, which is pretty rare for me. But maintaining Diamond status for another year is well worth it. The room was $175 – steeper than I like, but it’s Miami.
We had a couple hiccups with our plans on the way back, but ended up deciding on utilizing our Southwest Companion Pass. Southwest is always my first place to look when traveling domestically. The issue was, Southwest flies out of Fort Lauderdale, which is a 45 minute ride from the Miami cruise port.
But, the longer taxi, bus, or shuttle (haven’t booked that yet) ride is worth it in this case because we’re getting a direct flight fro FLL-AUS! Rare, indeed. And the grand total for our tickets was 11,400 Southwest Rapid Rewards points for BOTH of us. Thank you, Companion Pass.
This is just another example of why I love miles and points. They enable me to travel more, and affordably. It’s no secret that I earn most of my miles & points through rewards credit cards’ sign-up bonuses and by using them for all my purchases. But there’s nothing special about me – other than that I pay off all my bills in full and monitor my credit to make sure it stays in great shape. Point being – anyone with good credit can travel like this. Ok, back to the trip.
The cost of this trip will be:
- 15,000 Avios points and $5 for the flights to Miami
- 11,400 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points and $5 for the flights back to Austin
- $200 for the cruise, since I upgraded us to a better room (imagine that). I had $800 in credits.
- $175 for the Hyatt Regency, my final stay for the Diamond Trial Status Match
- $50 for transportation to the FLL airport from the Miami port
Total= 26,400 points/miles and $425.
Of course, this doesn’t include any spending that we do. Overall, I feel like the value I’m getting is pretty solid. I don’t enjoy paying for hotels unless I’m using a suite upgrade, but this time it’s worth it. And I also plan on turning this trip into a profit by killing it at the blackjack tables.
— Noob MasterRead More
I have had the personal and business Southwest “Plus” cards on my sickdeals page for the last few months.
[Disclosure: I now receive a referral for the Southwest cards mentioned in this post. Thank you to anyone who supports the blog by applying through the site!]
Link: Southwest Airlines Credit Card (I could see the Plus offers after scrolling down)
I even mentioned them in yesterday’s post because Jordan and I have the Southwest Companion Pass, and I recommend it to all of my readers and friends who want to travel domestically and save some serious miles/cash. It’s simply the best domestic travel deal out there.
Now, with the new “Premier” cards releasing, more people will be able to get in on the fun. You can apply for a business and a personal Southwest Rapid Rewards card at the same time.
There are technically four versions of the Southwest cards – Plus and Premier (business and personal of each). I know of one reader who applied for 3 of them on the same day. That’s just crazy and somehow it was an accident, but eventually she was approved for all 3. Don’t do that. I would spread out my apps.
If you’ve been waiting for these offers to surface, then it’s your lucky day. But the 50,000 offers come, go, and always seem to be around, so don’t act rashly just because these cards are a Limited Time Offer. Do what’s right you.
I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Apply Now: Southwest Airlines Credit Card
— Noob MasterRead More
Jordan and I wanted to get away for a couple of days, so we decided we should go visit my aunt in San Diego. We haven’t seen her in a couple of years, and she’s a blast to hang out with, so it was a no-brainer. Plus, Jordan thought that as long as we were going to be in San Diego, we might as well rent a car and drive up the coast to L.A. for a couple of days. Done.
This was good timing for a quick trip because I had two expiring Hyatt Suite upgrades with no confirmed future Hyatt stays. That’s all the reasoning I needed for a week-long getaway with the wifey.
Getting to San Diego
Whenever flying domestically, I always check Southwest Airlines first and British Airways second. Jordan and I have the Companion Pass, which means I fly free on all Southwest flights. Yay.
Also, American Airlines is a partner of British Airways, so using Avios for short haul domestic flights can be very affordable.
I know that Southwest flies direct to San Diego, so I instantly went to book our flights with our Companion Pass. I was able to book a flight for 10,800 Southwest Rapid Rewards and $2.50. I’ll take that since I’ll only be paying the taxes to fly!
50,000 25,000 Southwest Airlines Credit Card offers for the personal and business “premier” cards (after spending $2,000 in 3 months) – I could see the Plus & Business offers when I scrolled down. You can sign up for both on the same day and only be 10k Rapid Rewards short of the Companion Pass. It’s the best domestic travel value out there.
And if you’re like me, and have the Companion Pass, then you’re cool. But besides that, I’m always looking for ways to top off my Southwest loyalty program. That’s easy since it’s a transfer partner of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Ink Bold®, or Ink Plus® cards.
The Companion Pass is also good for revenue tickets, so always make sure you’re checking the cash price of a ticket too to see if it makes more sense to burn money than points.
Getting from LAX to AUS
Southwest wasn’t working out for us when searching for ways we were going to get home, so I turned to my trusty British Airways Avios.
I was able to find a one way, direct flight for 10,000 Avios and $2.50 a person. Not the greatest redemption, but certainly not the worst. Accuring Avios is very easy since the British Airways Visa Signature® Card
comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 after meeting the minimum spend of $1,000 in 3 months.
You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points into British Airways AND Membership Rewards points. In the last year there has even been 3 different transfer bonus opportunities with Membership Rewards points. I transferred over some MR points during a 30% promotion. American Express has some exclusive card offers too, so check out this post to see if you’re eligible.
I also love how I can pool my and Jordan’s Avios together through our household account. Perkilicious.
I love being able to travel with my wife. Miles & points have greatly helped us get away more. Not only do they help us travel more internationally, but domestically to see family – which is awesome. I hadn’t seen my aunt in 3 years, so thank you Companion Pass!
Stay tuned. I’ll be reviewing the Hyatt Andaz in San Diego and W Hollywood from this trip as well.
[Disclousre: I receive a referral for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus/Bold, Southwest, but not Membership Rewards cards.]
— Noob MasterRead More