Now that Camp Mom 2014 is in the books, I wanted to give a shout out to Camp Dad. I’m not the only one who gets in on the fun!
Let me just start by saying I have the best guy EVER. 4 years ago we made a deal that causes Moms to swoon every time I say it: Odd years: big family trip. Even years: Deal Dad takes to the kids to visit family in the Mid-West and I get to travel solo. Basically, my 40th birthday present was a release from most Oblications and everyone is happier for it.
Now as I finalize plans to Italy, Deal Dad and the kids are preparing for 2 glorious weeks Grandma-ing, AdventureLand-ing, and yes, State Fair-ing. Most of their destinations don’t even have a Hyatt Place, much less a Vendome, but miles and points still managed to save us a lot of money in planning his trip.
Flights: Those who book into small Midwest cities know that lack of competition leads to high prices, and tickets to Deal Dad’s hometown at $300RT are a bargain. With Avios I was able to get one way at 7,500 miles, and with SouthWest I was able to get the other at 6,900. Both are directly transferable from Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Avios has the added bonus of being transferable from AMEX as well. That’s over 2 cents a mile, and why I don’t use points to pay my bills!
Hotels: If you think lack of competition is bad for airfares, it’s absolute murder on hotel prices! I’ve seen barely 1 star Super 8s charge over $150/night in the most Podunk of places, simply because they can. Fortunately, Choice Hotels, one of my European faves, is also strong in the budget hotel category here in the good old USA. I was able to find a Quality Inn with suites where they wanted to be at 16,000 points a night, as compared to rates well over $200 due to proximity to the State Fair. At a 1 to 1 transfer to AMEX that’s a good deal (remember, no taxes/fees on points rates), but I bought some on the June Daily Getaways that averaged the price down to .6 cents a point…MUCH better. (Slightly off topic rant: My hotel in Rome is 10k points a night. Just sayin’.)
Are you using points to get your Grandma/fried Twinkie/Water Park fix this year? Please share in the comments.