Using Miles & Points To Make Sports Dreams Come True
We always talk about how miles and points make the impossible possible. Or allow us to travel like a boss on a pauper’s budget. Or even do some things that regular folks find crazy! That is never more true then when once in a lifetime sporting events are in the mix. I have been fortunate enough to be able to take part of a few of these and miles and points help made it possible. Another opportunity presented itself this past weekend and I jumped all over it.
Final Four in Minneapolis
Some of you know that I am a HUGE Michigan State fan and if you follow college basketball then you know they are headed to the Final Four this weekend after beating Duke. I was watching the game with a buddy and before the game started we looked at each other and said if they win we should go to the Final Four. This seems like a team of destiny etc.
I had done some minor checking before the game and knew the flights didn’t look good. I checked every area airport with the major alliances but the prices were just too high for me to pull the trigger. Since it is only around 10 hours away we decided to drive instead.
With that off the table I went to the hotel side of things. Everything directly downtown was already booked for months. I was able to find a Hyatt out by the airport/Mall of America for 8,000 points a night and the cash price was over $400 a night. Huge savings right there!
I couldn’t do much about the tickets but I was sure to use a shopping portal to reduce the cost some and paid with a card I had minimum spend left on to maximize my value. Yes, I actually paid scalper prices. People have always complained about scalpers on my ticket reselling articles and I have always said I looked at it like a service. Without Stubhub etc. I would have never been able to get a ticket to this Final Four.
Overall I saved $1250 on the room with points and reduced the cost of my tickets by maximizing my spend. But it wasn’t the best example so I will give you a better one.
College Football Playoff
To be honest I did a really poor job on this Final Four trip but still managed to save over $1000 that most people would have to pay. I had no intentions of going to the final four since I was actually supposed to be in Atlantic City this weekend reviewing what it is like to fly Caesars Rewards Air.
There was a time that I did everything the right way so I will talk about that. It was in 2015 when Michigan State (see a theme here?) went to the College Football Playoff. They ended up getting stomped by Alabama but it was still a great experience.
A few months before the teams who made the playoff were announced, and MSU started to look like they had a good shot of going, I booked travel plans. The issue with the CFP versus the Final Four is there are two possible locations your team could go. And there was still a good chance they could lose and miss out on the playoff so I had to book refundable flights and hotels.
I ended up booking a Southwest flight to Fort Lauderdale and Dallas, the two possible locations. Since it was Southwest I could cancel whichever flight I didn’t need, or cancel both if they didn’t make it. I also booked hotel rooms with points in both locations. By doing this weeks ahead of time I was able to lock in pretty good prices. The flight prices shot way up once it was announced that MSU was going to Dallas.
At the end of that trip I had paid $150 for my game ticket and $11.20 in taxes and fees. I canceled the unneeded flights and hotels once everything was announced. Most people spent several thousand dollars to go on that trip and I did the whole thing for less than two Benjamins.
While my saving skills were not great this time around miles and points still lessened the load substantially from what my cost could have been. If I had to pay for the hotel and the game ticket I would have never been able to do it this time around. Hopefully I get to witness the team that I love bring home a championship! And it is all possible because of miles and points.