One deal that I’ve never done but would like to do someday is the one-way Florida car rental. Every spring, the big car rental companies need to move some inventory from Florida up north, so they have really cheap one-way rentals ($5 a day!) with the stipulation that you pick up the car in Florida and drop it off in a designated area further up the east coast. As I’ve mentioned before, the southeast coast from Jacksonville to Charleston, to give one example, is a great place to do a driving tour. There are similar deals to be had coming out of Arizona for similar reasons.
Another deal I’ve never done but which is on my radar just because it’s kind of cool is the free Alaska Airlines one-way. I learned about this from Travel Is Free, so please go read Drew’s posts on the topic here and here. They’re worth your time if you’re into this stuff. The gist of it is that because of Alaska’s routing rules on award trips, you can tack certain types of one-ways onto certain types of trips.
Given that the Florida/Arizona one-way season is upon is, I was wondering how hard it would be to pair the Alaska Airlines one-way trick with an almost-free one-way car rental to give two trips for the price of one ($5 a day is close enough to free in my book). Here’s a simple example to show what I’m talking about.
Say you’re going to fly from Atlanta to Managua, Nicaragua using your Alaska miles. You’d be flying on Delta, so that’s a 35,000 mile ticket. But for the same 35,000 miles, it’s possible to tack on a segment to south Florida. You would select a multi-city itinerary like this:
And lo and behold this is what we get:
The final itinerary and price:
So if you combine that with a $5/day car rental, you’re getting a trip to Florida tacked on almost free of charge. Though I don’t want to oversell this: it can be difficult to find routes where this works. Not all city combinations work–you really have to play around with things in Alaska’s booking engine. In fact, I looked at a bunch of other combinations and there wasn’t much happening there. Still, if the stars align and you can make it work it’s a cool trick.