It is often debatable whether collecting miles and points is even worth our time and effort, given the existence of 2% cash back credit cards. TravelWhimsy and I just returned from a whirlwind long-weekend trip to Kaua’i, HI, with our moms. The entire trip was conceived and booked on a whim – 7 days prior to departure, to be exact. A last-minute trip like ours seems to indicate that miles and points could trump cash back, and we will let you be the judge.
First of all, Merry Christmas! TravelWhimsy and I appreciate your continued support of our blogs, and wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and all the best for 2013!
Today, we are excited to share a story from TravelByPoints reader and dear friend Art, who recently completed a first-time-ever 3-day 13,102-mile 11-segment mileage run (mostly in American Airlines’ first class cabin). Art set out on this journey to qualify for AA’s Executive Platinum (EXP) elite status (their top tier), which normally requires 100,000 miles flown in a calendar year.
Now that most of you have already learned how to earn and manage lots of miles and points and how to get the best mileage out of your miles in major US-based global airlines’ programs, it is time to book your award tickets before any of your miles and points expire. This post provides an easy-to-use table comparing the various award fees (in additional to mandatory taxes and security fees) some of those major airlines may charge for award travel.
As a recently-converted nature lover, I am proud to report that TravelWhimsy and I have survived the self-imposed mission of visiting 5 national parks in 4 consecutive weekends. Our “National Park Extravaganza” was made possible by:
- TravelWhimsy’s continued ability to secretly influence/convert a city lover and tireless willingness to play along with a crazy wacky maximizer;
- Our Southwest Companion Pass;
- Hertz’s unbeatable weekend rental car rates;
- “America the Beautiful” national park annual pass;
- A few Marriott-related deals.
No time was taken off work. We would usually leave home on Friday nights or Saturday mornings and return on Sunday nights. In short, our 4 whirlwind weekends came at an effective total cost of $496 for two people (see the following table for details).
[Update (October 18, 2012): Offer terms have changed. Read today’s update first. You might get lucky, but proceed at your own risk.]
It’s a wonderful day for all of us interested in earning more Wyndham points that can be transferred to your airlines of choice. Yes, the recently expired 16,000-bonus-point-per-stay Wyndham offer I first wrote about on August 14, 2012 is BACK and even BETTER!
This time around, you can earn ~54,000 Wyndham Rewards points for as little as $150. Those 54,000 points can be converted to ~21,600 traditional airline miles or ~16,200 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Even if you don’t like airline miles or the Southwest Companion Pass, you will end up with enough points for three free nights at a midtown Manhattan hotel. Best of all, the confusing “must click through email” clause has been taken out of the fine print.
Four lucky winners have just been randomly selected to each win two of the eight Southwest drink coupons.
If you are a Southwest flyer, read on to find out how you can automatically check into your upcoming Southwest flights exactly 24 hours before departure FREE of charge. If not, still read on to find out how you could win two of the six Delta drink/snack coupons (a $14 value) TravelWhimsy and I are giving away.
Southwest Airlines just announced the 40%-off Big Winter Sale today, so I’d like to take this opportunity to go over a few reasons why I LUV Southwest (as promised) and how you could start to do so as well. To thank you for your loyalty and continued support, TravelWhimsy and I also would like to give away 8 Southwest drink coupons (beer, wine, cocktail). Check out the giveaway details at the end of this post.
A bit of background before I start. We are both fairly new to Southwest. Prior to our South America trip, we had only flown Southwest once or twice (many many years ago). We don’t travel for business, but will both have achieved United Airlines’ Premier Platinum status at the end of the year with over 75,000 actual miles flown on United just for leisure weekend travel (more on this in a separate post – another promise). I’m afraid that my loyalty to United (started on August 13, 1998) is waning…
Once upon a time when TravelWhimsy and I were both working in Hong Kong, the JW Marriott Phuket was our favorite vacation spot. Ever since we moved back to the States, Marriott hasn’t really been our hotel chain of choice.
This fall/winter season, however, we plan to shift almost all of our hotel spending to Marriott because we are looking at a rebate of almost 100% when all is said and done.
If you happen to have hotel needs between now and January 15, 2013, concurrently taking advantage of some or all of the following 5 Marriott-related deals could net you at least a 50% rebate, plus a possible gold or platinum elite status good until February 2014.
This is part 15 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.
- Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
- How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
- How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
- What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
- How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
- How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
- Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
- Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
- Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
- How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
- Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
- Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
- Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
- Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
- You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!
Maybe we did too much walking during our adventures throughout Peru and Chile, so fate wanted us to continue running until the last minute.
A 2-hour minimum connection time is typically required even for same-airline international-domestic transfers, given the uncertainty of immigration and security re-check. In our case, we would have to factor in 15 extra minutes for the walk between the international terminal and Southwest Airlines’ Terminal 1 at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
How much time did we really end up having for our LAN-Southwest connection? A mere 33 minutes!