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.
TravelWhimsy and I took her parents to the amazing country of Costa Rica during Thanksgiving week. Two of our dearest friends, M & P, who had recently retired there, hosted us at their new home. M & P expertly planned almost every single aspect of our trip, so this is not going to be my typical trip report involving much about miles and points strategy. Instead, I will share a few notes I jotted down along the way that could help you better plan your future trips to Costa Rica. If you have never experienced PURA VIDA, don’t wait too long. It only takes 30-35,000 miles per person, and you won’t regret it!
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).
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.
Many of you might have already heard about or taken advantage of the ongoing Hertz Triple Points and National’s One Two Free car rental promotions. I’d like to point out that those offers may not be as lucrative as they sound, at least for leisure weekend travelers.
Let me share two of our Hertz car rental receipts from the past two weekends. The one on the left was for a two-day rental in Denver, CO, and the one on the right was for a two-day rental in San Jose, CA. For each rental, I received 600 Southwest points, valued at $10 (but in our case $20, thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass, practically making the rentals free).
I currently don’t have my own affiliate links for any credit cards worthy of your attention or credit inquiry hits. However, please allow me to share a bit more information on a new card I just added to my wallet over the past weekend.
Unfortunately, the annual fee cannot be waived in most cases, but I believe that many of you will benefit greatly from having the card.
Would you like to ski for free at a Park City ski resort of your choice this winter?
If you are not a resident of Utah and can get on a flight that takes you into Salt Lake City (SLC) at reasonable morning hours, you can turn your same-day boarding pass into a free ski lift ticket at one of the three Park City ski resorts, including the world-famous Deer Valley Resort.
I was hoping that the AVIS car rental deal to earn 3,000 AAdvantage mile per day would be extended again, but it wasn’t. Instead, the original offer link has been updated to reflect a much less attractive offer (up to 750 miles).
I was able to locate a better alternative offer of 1,500 AAdvantage miles for rentals of 3+ days with AVIS. In addition, the Budget offer of up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles is still available for cars picked up by September 30, 2012.
If you happen to need a car before November 30, 2012 and can find an attractive rate with AVIS or Budget, earning some extra bonus AAdvantage miles might still not be such a bad thing (considering how you’d normally only get 50 miles per day)!
Let me go over the four best possible scenarios quickly.
The AVIS and Budget rental car promotion I posted in July was supposed to expire today (August 31, 2012), but it has been extended to September 15, 2012. The offer link in my original post still works and reflects the new offer expiration date. You just need to begin your rental by September 15, 2012.
In addition, there is a similar but BETTER Budget promotion going on now until September 30, 2012. You can earn as many as 10,000 AAdvantage miles, as long as your rental begins by September 30, 2012.
Rather than put the 100+ miles on our own car, I booked a car with AVIS for the day to take advantage of the 3,000 bonus AAdvantage miles promotion. This was my first time renting from AVIS, and I was surprised to discover the $4.05 frequent flyer (“FF”) surcharge on my final receipt.