This is another of my How I am series of articles where I give you the nuts and bolts of awards redemptions that I am making and show you how to do the same!
I have talked about attending Burning Man in the past and it has become one of of my favorite events each year. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull all the pieces together this year, but luckily I had made a speculative booking back in June when Southwest was having a sale for a decent deal. For just 19,534 Southwest points and $10 I was able to book my flights from Fort Lauderdale to Reno (which is the closest major airport to the event)! Southwest is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards so I was able to use part of the 40,000 point sign on bonus I received by getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for these flights. The great thing about using Southwest points for domestic coach flights is that you can cancel or change the flights any time up to 15 minutes before your flight leaves and get all of the points back without any fees charged. My plan was to keep these flights unless a better sale came along on Southwest where I could rebook and get the points savings. For domestic short flights I don’t mind coach too much and the two free bags that Southwest provides certainly takes away some of the worry of getting stuck with a big bag fee.
Pro-Tip: I actually booked the above trip in two separate one way reservations since the price in points was the same. This gave me the additional flexibility to change either flight without effecting the other. This comes in handy when one of the dates goes on sale but the other has gone up in price. If you had it all under one reservation you would have to cancel both flights and might miss out on the savings opportunity.
As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info! And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!
One of the great things about acquiring points and miles is that you can plan last minute trips that would normally be too expensive otherwise. One of the top global parties every year is Burning Man which takes place in the middle of the desert in Nevada in the week leading up to each Labor Day. Imagine you and 50,000 of your closest friends coming for a week and creating a city of art, music and memories. The ideas of sustainability and “Leaving no Trace” are central to the festival and the idea is you take away whatever you bring so the desert (playa) is left exactly as it was when you found it. I have been wanting to go for many years and decided that this was my year! This is just the lineup from one of the many parties at burning man this year.
Luck had it that immediately before Burning Man was another amazing party called Get Lost in Los Angeles. The Get Lost parties during Winter Music Conference in Miami are some of the most talked about every year and the music and artists are amazing.
I decided to see if I could plan a trip to do both parties, first Get Lost in LA then Burning Man. If I could get a good deal on the plane tickets which is often the biggest hurdle for most people then I could get the experience of a lifetime on a small budget.
Since I had oodles of Southwest Points that I got by buying and selling Sears merchandise, I wanted to see if I could use those to make it happen. When I looked around, I was surprised to see some really reasonable point values still available. Long story short this is what I was able to find.
So for almost 26,000 points and $12.50 I had my tickets! Since Southwest uses a fixed ratio of 60 points per dollar for Wanna Get Away fares, this gave me a value of $433 for those points. I am staying with some friends in LA and at Burning Man so there will be some other expenses, but when you can get the flights for free, it makes it much easier to make the other ends meet.
While that great Sears offer I took advantage previously isn’t available any more, what IS available is a 50,000 offer for the Chase Rapid Rewards card. Spending just 1000 in 3 months will get you the 50,000 points which is enough for 2 incredible trips (or more) like I just booked! I really don’t know why people pay for flights when it is so easy to get them for free. Get on board and join me traveling around this amazing world of ours!