PART 1: Married Couple With Young Child—West Coast Trip
Winter break is always a challenging time of year to get hold of affordable airfare and travel packages. Nevertheless, this stood as no deterrent for the PEYD Team in planning their family vacations with members and staff traveling this winter season to California, Israel, Florida, Las Vegas and even Thailand. And we are happy to share our insider tricks, methods and best practices that can help minimize any out-of-pocket expenses the next time you wish to take a family vacation.
For the purposes of this article we will focus on the steps one of the PEYD partners took when he went on vacation with his wife and young child using airline miles and credit card points and in the next series we will focus on additional ways other members of the PEYD Team planned their vacations by taking advantage of available credit card rewards and travel partnership programs.
This past Chanukah coincided with another major holiday and the most desirable travel dates of the season, making tickets and hotels very expensive. Today, we’ll fill you in on how our PEYD Partner Dudi brought his family to sunny LA without paying any money out of pocket!
Dudi had been earning Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) credit card points from his usage of the American Express SPG credit card and was hoping to take his accumulated points and transfer them into an airline and book a “mileage” ticket. Upon realizing that airline tickets to California were requiring more miles than off-peak times, he kicked into travel agent mode and pursued other options.
Instead of transferring his SPG points directly into an airline like Delta or American Airlines and having to put in enough points to cover the cost of the more expensive tickets, he instead took 90,000 SPG points and transferred them into 270,000 Marriott points. (SPG points transfer into Marriott at a rate of 3 Marriott points for every SPG point).
He then took advantage of a special Marriott Hotel & Air Vacation Package where Marriott offers bonus airline miles with the airline of your choice when you book a hotel vacation package. He chose Southwest as his airline and transferred this Marriott points to Southwest, equaling 120,000 SW miles—more than the 110,000 magic number required to earn a Southwest “Companion Pass.” For those not familiar, a Companion Pass is a special promotion that kicks in when you transfer or earn over 110,000 SW miles. With this pass, Southwest airlines let’s you bring an additional passenger on your itinerary for no added cost, every time you fly, for a year, and even with tickets that are booked using your SW miles.
By the time all these transfers had occurred, Southwest was offering tickets to California for an affordable 50,000 points, and due to the fact that Dudi’s wife was now able to fly with him for free using the SW Companion Pass, the 110,000 SW miles Dudi earned covered himself and his son with his wife flying for free.
Side note: Dudi kept checking the Southwest rates to California knowing that they would reduce the ticket prices in accordance with that day’s particular rate. When he saw prices to LA had dropped, he cancelled his initial reservation and then immediately re-booked his tickets and the final price for his tickets cost only 38,000 Southwest points per ticket (about $450) to make it to beautiful L.A. during the busiest week of the season. And the best part, Dudi’s wife can now fly with him for free every time he chooses to fly with SW for the remaining calendar year.
Stay tuned for our next series as we continue to educate the public about how you can take your next vacation and minimize your out-of-pocket expense and travel in style the PEYD way.
For more information about PEYD, please visit our website, www.getPEYD.com.
Please note after March 31 transferring hotel points to Southwest no longer counts towards the Companion Pass.