The Big Easy was not so easy to get to, or stay at on the cheap. At least for the dates I needed. May 16th til 21st. My poker plan was to play in a satellite tournament to the main event on either the 17th or 18th. One in eight players would win a spot in the main event which started on the 17th (flight A) or 18th (flight B). I chose to go in on the 16th in the afternoon for several reasons.
1. The flights I needed were about $150 cheaper on the 16th.
2. I could get a good night’s rest the night before. I’m not my sharpest when I play the same day as I’m flying.
3. The overnight in New Orleans on the 16th was 2,000 SPG points and $35. I could handle that.
I really struggled finding an award seat particularly a one way award as I needed to fly on to Los Angeles after the tourney. I actually thought about redeeming a US Airways award with and just doing the one way portion. I have the US Airways credit card which drops the award one way or round trip to only 20K but they have a real pesky $75 quick ticketing fee that really cheeses me off. I had no good options on United or American which offer one way awards and the ticket price on American was $324+ for the one way. I ended up using Citi Thank You points for a $242 one way on Delta that cost about 18,452 Thank You points. I collect mine on the Citi Forward card that I use for dining, transfer them to Katy’s Citi Premier card that ups the value of each point to 1.33 cents apiece. Remember, I said I wouldn’t do this WSOP Poker Circuit if it was going to cost me an arm and a leg to get or stay at any of the venues.
With my first night covered for 2,000 SPG points and $35, and my last night the same at the same hotel on the same deal, I pick up two SPG stays towards Platinum again. I like the Platinum status and have a few SPG points still laying around. For the three nights in the middle I used the 2 free weekend nights I got for applying for the Hilton Reserve card. Yea, I know I could have used them for big high end hotels in Europe, but that is not the life plan right now. I’m a granddad and am staying domestic, so the two nights right across the street from the casino at the Double Tree that would have cost $214 per night, were free. I got a little over $400 of value for that application, maintained Hilton Gold status til March of 2015 (yep got the card already) and am right across the street. For the third night at the Double Tree I redeemed 40K Hilton Honors points at a value of .5 cents each. I can live with that as I will redeem them at .4 cents each if need be.
So the New Orleans trip was covered with Thank You Points, SPG points and Hilton Honors points. My out of pocket was $70 plus incidentals. I have status with Hilton and SPG, so should get free internet and some sort of breakfast. I’ll take that for the chance to play in my second WSOP event. Mission accomplished.
Deal of the Day
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