This is the fun part of the hobby, sharing with someone else. My golf buddy Jeff got married last fall and this is his wedding present, a trip to Alaska. Jeff and Carol insisted we join them so it is back to Alaska we go.
The original plan was to take a four or five day Amtrak trip from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, Seattle, and Glacier National Park using the outstanding Bedroom Two Zone awards on Amtrak. When Jeff and Carol found out Katybug gets motion sickness on trains the plans changed to Alaska. Here is how we saved and arranged the trip:
I use VacationsToGo.com for cruises. It is an easy to read website and appears to offer great prices. The agent we got, Pam Dixon, was fantastic went above and beyond for us on two occasions getting us first a price reduction then cabin upgrade.
I booked early as I wanted award tickets for all four of us and found availability at the 25K level each with United. At the time the cruise priced out at $949 per person and I made my deposit and booked our award tickets for four to Seattle (two from Traverse City and two from Savannah). Our plan, as always was to arrive in Seattle the day before cruise departure.
About one month after booking the cruise and airline tickets I double checked at VacationsToGo and found the cruise had dropped to $729 each. A quick email to Pam got me a nice credit back on my credit card. We were still booked for “inside guarantee cabins”. On May 31st I checked the pricing again an inside guarantee was now only $529 each. I knew that we were in the no refund period so this time asked for an upgrade to a cabin that was close to the current amount off money we had paid for the cabins. Pam wrote back indicating we had been upgraded to Family View Ocean View rooms with picture window size windows and our cabins were now assigned right down the hall from one another. Pam’s willingness to continually re-book us as prices dropped allowed me to book early when the airline award seats were available and still get the lowest price possible for the cruise. Way to go Pam Dixon at VacationsToGo.
As I mentioned in an earlier post I used some of my Choice points for two rooms at the Sleep Inn SeaTac Airport (highly rated and good value per Tripadvisor) the night before the cruise.
The cruise goes to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay (I love it there), and Victoria British Columbia returning in one week back to Seattle. From their I’m off to New York to meet with the credit card issuers in my Alaska wilderness outerwear, Katy is off to see her mom in Phoenix and Jeff and Carol head back to Traverse City after I hope a memorable trip to the great north.
I’l be watching with excitement as the new couple sees the world at prices even I can afford And I promise this trip I’ll send photos. Internet access will be easier than the European cruise and Katy will have the right camera with her.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day American Airlines AAdvantage® has provided 2500 AAdvantage® miles for the best deals, fares, promotions, anything related to American Airlines, their oneworld partners or AAdvantage® partners. Add it to the comments section of this post or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post (with your first name, last initial, and home airport) to be eligible to win.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases