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Family Travel for My Real Life – Splitting the Team

I had originally planned to attend FT4RL3, but unfortunately I’m not going to make it due to real life circumstances. Instead, our family is going to embark on a new adventure – splitting the team. I thought I’d share some of my thought process and how this illustrates my evolving view of my points and miles.

Actually going to FT4RL3 was always a longshot – I bought the ticket before H was even born and once I found out I was going to Las Vegas sans wife and kids I knew another trip was probably not going to happen. Still, I had a cheap flight booked for 4500 Avios outbound and held onto it for awhile. But then about six weeks ago I decided I definitely wasn’t going to attend so I cancelled that flight. That was a mistake, which I’ll get into later.

In the meanwhile, Jess decided she wanted to go to Charlotte to visit her sister that same weekend (apparently she likes to go to Charlotte on weekends that coincide with FT4RLs). Since her and H are pretty much attached at the hip at the moment, that meant a weekend at home alone with M.

I bought Jess’ ticket using Citi Thank You points, so it only ended up costing around 12,000 points with the 1.6 cents per point you get for AA flights (Prestige cardholders). I have over 100K Thank You points that I never use – yet I still debated just paying in cash. But ultimately, I asked myself, what am I saving these points for? I have them for this exact reason to save money on travel – so I used the points instead of the cash.

Anyway, so M and I were stuck at home until I got to thinking – what if we took a trip somewhere? So I started looking into ticket prices for one stop destinations, though I was basically focused on D.C. I knew I wouldn’t make it to FT4RL especially as a solo parent, but there are some friends I’d love to see in D.C. and I love free museums.

Tickets were cost prohibitive for that weekend – I’m not sure what’s going on but the cheapest non-stops were pricing at like $200 and the cheapest non-stops that were practical for a toddler were more like $300.

Enter US Bank Flexperks. I’ve been earning about 20,000 points per month, or enough for an (up to) $400 ticket. So I had enough to buy tickets for both M and myself and not worry about the price. Again, I considered saving it for something else, but ultimately decided – what is the point? These points are to decrease travel costs and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

So next weekend we’re splitting the team. Both of us are taking our first solo flight with the kids and H is taking his first flight ever. Should be a ton of fun!

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

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