Early in my travel hacking days I took on the task of visiting every major league baseball park in America. I love the ballpark sights, sounds and smells and building the travel puzzle of meeting the different teams schedules flying open jaws, one-way awards and multi-city trips was a blast. I’m only missing one stadium in Miami and based on what I hear of the attendance, I can schedule that any day I want.
I’ve played in the senior event at the World Series of Poker twice and been spending some time honing my game with recent trips to Las Vegas. I must admit my game is coming around. So, I’m sitting on 1.7 million miles and points, time on my hands and Vegas trip after trip can be exhausting with the time change and short stints. The World Series of Poker Circuit Series which is played at 20 locations nationwide over, basically a 10 month season, ends with the real World Series in Las Vegas in May and June. There are two events, one in Philly and one in New Orleans prior to the big event. As this is published, I am in Philly for an event at the end of the approximately two week stint the event is here.
UPDATE: My first tournament was a complete disaster. I got no cards, the other players were way more aggressive (it was a turbo event meaning fast increases in the blinds and antes). There is a saying in poker; ”If you don’t know who the worst player at the table is, it is probably you”
I wasn’t the worst, but probably only the 6th or 7th best of 10 at the table.
I am setting my expense guidelines and travel plans to try and hit most of the events when the Series picks back up again in August of 2013. The 2013/2014 schedule will be published in July right after the main event in Vegas.
Update My second event had 98 entries and paid 12 places. In my first (ring event, yesterdays event was a satellite to the main event) on the World Series of Poker Circuit, I had the distinction of being what is called the bubble boy. I came in 13th place and did not cash by one place. Rookie mistake at the end on my part and two I remember mid-way during the event cost me cashing in my first official try, BUT, I now know I can play with these guys.
This offers a whole new world of travel challenges than visiting the ballparks. That was a one day, one time event in each city. I never got rained out and I could go from city to city one right after another. This series requires coming home after my stay at each event, as I won’t play the full two weeks in any one town. I’ll play in one low stakes event just prior to the main event and if I finish in the money and have won enough to enter the main event, then I’ll need to stay two days extra. Can you see the challenges? In addition, if I bust out early in an event, it would be nice to come home early.
All the events are held at Harrah’s Casinos which does me little or no good for hotel awards stays. Harrah’s has a Total Rewards program but from first blush it doesn’t look like I’ll get many free nights like I can with the programs we are used to. The logistics of where to stay, how to cover ground transportation and how to extend all fall into play now. I’m going to have just as much fun planning these trips for free as playing in them.
And the good news is most of the events are in the East and Midwest which makes the travel to and from much more accessible from Savannah or Hilton Head. My first two events will be on, of all airlines, Delta where I qualify to sit in the seat marked Lavatory 1. I do have their credit card, so get a little help with early boarding and the Business Platinum Card for lounge access. The US Airways miles we have will also come in handy for flights directly from Hilton Head Island. Surprisingly, with Delta holding back low level awards until close in to departure, this is actually going to work to my advantage I think. I’ll be providing how I work my logistics as I go along and the thought process for each decision.
Smaller town America, here I come from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Tunica, Mississippi and even beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. The next chapter begins.
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 by 11:59PM ET to be eligible to win.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49