Around this time last year, this whole frequent travel hustle really started to ramp up for me. One of the first real trips utilizing some of the tips and tricks that I’d been learning (and points that I’d been earning) was a trip to South Beach for Joann’s birthday. It was just a simple redemption on Delta (if there is such a thing), but it was really the start of many great things to come. So why not go back to Miami for the weekend of Joann’s birthday? She does love her South Beach.
Since all my vacation days are either gone or booked (wedding/honeymoon + Bali), I could only be in Miami for two nights. The plan for this trip was, as usual, budget travel and budget lodging. We wanted to spend as little cash out of pocket as possible.
Since NYC to Miami is such a short distance, this would be the perfect opportunity to finally use my British Airways Avios points for a short haul redemption on American Airlines. It would cost 7,500 Avios per person each way. Since American Express had a 50% transfer bonus at the time, I was able to turn my Membership Rewards points into even more Avios points, getting even more bang for my
Using the BA site to redeem points is fairly easy nowadays and, without too much much trouble, I booked us on a nonstop AA flight from LGA-MIA for 15,000 points and $5.
That was for the outbound; we weren’t so lucky on the inbound. The only flights available coming home were in the early morning. We’d rather depart in the late afternoon so we could make use of one last day in Miami. Then I remembered that we each got $50 vouchers from Delta from delays on our trip to New Orleans & Atlanta, so I decided to check Delta’s one way fares to NYC.
Delta always seems to have the best fares between NYC and Miami. I found several decent fares from MIA-LGA, but wanted to see if we could get even cheaper. A good habit to start is searching for fares from nearby airports; you may end up saving a good chunk of change. I searched Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to LGA and had great results – flights throughout the day for $101. We booked our tickets separately so we could both use our vouchers and the final cost was $102 for two one-way tickets FLL-LGA.
Since I’m a Silver elite and Joann does not have status, she was not able to select the seat next to me, reserved for elites until check-in. A simple tweet over to the best customer service team on Twitter (@DeltaAssist) and the issue was resolved in a matter of minutes!
The hotel situation was just as fragmented as the flights. We’d be spending one night at King & Grove Tides and the other at the Z Ocean Hotel. Initially, I wanted to redeem Priority Club points for both nights at the Z, but there was only availability for the second night. For the first night, I redeemed a free night credit from Hotels.com that I had earned in their Great Unloyaling Promotion last Fall.
The Z Ocean Hotel redemption was easy enough. I redeemed 15,000 Priority Club points and $60 for one night. That’s a great value because the Z Ocean is an all-suites hotel.
While the planning stage of our South Beach trip took a bit of thinking, it was worth it in that we only spent $167 for flights and hotels. Stay tuned for the next installment and the actual trip report…