Economics of My Last Minute Trip & How Miles & Points = Great Memories!

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One of my favorite spots in Atlanta.
One of my favorite spots in Atlanta.

Last Minute Sports Trip

As the name of this site suggests, I collect miles and points in order to make travel memories. Over the past decade my family and I have traveled around the globe, often for significantly less than what others would pay for the same travel experiences. While a lot of the memorable moments come on the bigger preplanned trips, some of the best moments come from last minute short giveaways.

I am a huge Green Bay Packers fan and am always happy to see them play in person whenever possible. Last year I wrote about my visit to see them in Green Bay. During that trip I redeemed 5,000 Hyatt points per night for a $350+ hotel, redeemed 9,000 Avios for a $1,000+ flight and even picked up a $150 checking account bonus at the game. It was a great trip.

As many of you know the Packers are playing in the NFC Championship today in Atlanta. With miles & point burning a hole in my pocket and a weekend free from any firm plans, I decided to hop on a plane and come to the game. Thanks to miles, points and deals I am paying so much less than face value.

The Flights

To get to Atlanta I booked a flight on Southwest early last week. It cost about 12,000 points for the one-way flight. Unfortunately direct flights were more expensive, so I had a quick 45 minute connection in Houston Hobby Airport. I booked this flight early in the week when I wasn’t sure if I could go or not. Southwest’s generous cancellation policy meant I had a lot of flexibility.

As of now I still haven’t booked a flight back, because I am firming up some plans. I may not go directly back to Las Vegas, but if I do I can either book on AA for about 13,000 ThankYou points and have a chance at an upgrade as an Executive Platinum. I can also book a direct Southwest flight for about 13,000 Rapid Rewards points.

The Hotel

With this being the last game at the Georgia Dome and it being the NFC Championship, hotels in Atlanta jacked up their prices. At one point the Hyatt Regency was going for $350+ per night, but I was able to book the hotel for 12,000 points. Later in the week the price dropped to about $180 and they opened up points + cash space. I decided to change my reservation to 6,000 points + $75 so I will get elite credit. Note the cash portion is going to be 30% off thanks to last month’s Amex Offer.

I will need 55 nights this year to re-qualify for Globalist status. Since I started the year with 4 nights in San Diego and have a few more nights lined up in early February, I will be at 10 nights fairly quickly. That leaves me with 45 more nights to go. That is a lot, but I have some irons in the fire to hit it. That is for another post.

Ticket

As of now (about 4 hours before the game) I still don’t have a ticket. I have been monitoring the online resale inventory and noticed that prices were a bit high compared to how fast the tickets have been selling. Unless inventory starts to disappear, I plan to purchase my ticket shortly before game time when (hopefully) sellers start to drop prices to dump their inventory. I’ll follow up with a future post about this experience.

Conclusion

Miles & points are amazing in the flexibility they give us. I don’t know that I would have wanted to pay $1,000 cash for the flight and hotel for this game, but since most of it is covered by miles & points (and even the hotel co-pay is discounted) I am so happy to be here watching my Packers.

What is a memorable sports trip you have taken thanks to miles & points? Let us know in the comments!


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Shawn –
    Hope you had / are having a great time at the game. Only wish Green Bay showed up to play today; what a disappointment….

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