It is year end and time to look back at the past year’s travel schedule to see what promotions I used and which one still apply and can be used again in 2008. It was a fun year.
I started 2007 learning about the Continental low fare guarantee and giving it a try. I flew from Savannah Georgia to Mobile Alabama and back in the same day just to prove to myself I really could use this program to my advantage. I made $35 on the flights after my guarantee.
I used the low fare guarantee again to fly from Savannah to San Francisco for two days with my travel buddy Bob. We went to Alcatraz for an amazing tour and then on the cable car which broke down right by Chinatown. They kicked us off and told us we were on our own.
It was a great experience being in a traditional Chinese Pharmacy with the exotic medicines and being the only non Asians on the street. I think it is healthy to be in a different enviroment every now and then and not understanding anything anybody is saying. It keeps me humble and reminds me that “my way” is not the “only way”. The trip was a freebie as we evoked the low fare guarantee, made $35 each on the flights and got bumped off our flight for another $300 each for our future flight voucher. Hotels were from another low fare guarantee and actually FREE. We will make low fare guarantees the next blog topic.
The guarantee worked for us again when four of us went to San Diego to the zoo, LaJolla for the view of the ocean and Rodeo Dr for more viewing of a different kind. People watching is one of my favorite hobbies.
The next trip was to Palm Springs where we took advantage of a FARE MISTAKE by Priceline. We were able to book the LaQuinta Resort and Spa for $25 per night for three nights. The rack rate of the suite they gave us (the Eisenhower Suite) was $1100 per night, and we got there with vouchers from the San Diego trip.
Then off to Bucharest Romania of all places and Nice and Monte Carlo in the south of France. A FARE MISTAKE by Northwest Airlines allowed us this international ticket for $220 including all taxes if we went through Bucharest. It was my first time in the eastern bloc and quite an eye opening experience. The hotel was the Bucharest Marriott that we got for free by using a Marriott voucher I had. Then on to Nice and Monte Carlo where we paid for our room after searching http://tripadvisor.com/. We had a two star room in a converted monastery, at $125 per night, but great location in the old section of Nice. We took the train to Monte Carlo, sat in the sun, went in the Casino to look it over and try our luck. The ceiling alone is beyond description and well worth the visit. The gambling was not very successful.
Next was Costa Rica via Newark and New York City. Free airline tickets to Newark and then the train into the city after a free hotel stay in Newark with Goldpoints. We did a lot in one day: Yankee Stadium before it gets demolished, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and a very somber few minutes at the World Trade Center site.
We ended up in New York because Newark was the required starting point for a FARE MISTAKE to San Jose, Costa Rica $200 each including taxes round trip. We took a small plane to Quepos and the Manuel Antonio National Park ($100 RT) on the Pacific side, hired a naturalist for a tour through the park and loved being in the midst of the wild and mischievous monkeys. We stayed at the Mango Moon hotel, loved the private pool, hammocks and balcony. Well priced and clean with American owners.
I went alone to Ft Lauderdale and then on to Atlanta to visit my last two of the 30 current major league ballparks. I met up with Andy, my oldest son for the game there and stayed at the Radisson in Miami on free points from the Shutterfly-Goldpoints promotion. I used the same promo for hotels in Atlanta and actually had a $100 flight certificate from the Travelocity Japan fiasco that helped pay part of the low cost airfare.
The Japan fiasco involved Travelocity offering Hilton hotel rooms in Japan for $2 per night or $3 per night for a suite. Unfortunately the mistake rate hit a college campus and the entire Hilton network was bought out for a whole summer as kids booked their summer vacation in Japan at $60 per month. Travelocity and Hilton could not stand that big a loss so they offered those of us with reservations a $100 travel voucher. I think that was more than fair considering the magnitude of the mistake.
That part of the 2007 review takes us to May when Katy and I departed on our Around the World six week trip using airline miles for our business class tickets and hotel points for most of our stays.
The total cost for taxes, additional flights, rooms, train tickets and shuttles was under $2300. Food of course was extra. But that is another Blog topic.
My recap here shows I need to get back to the Continental low fare guarantee and USE IT, and check in again with the Trip Rewards hotel room guarantee. Free is really the best way to fly and stay.