Our first successful random airline roulette was in Dallas, Texas! What started out as just something to do during a long holiday ended up being a really fun adventure ahead!
Here’s how we managed to do this trip on a budget:
Spirit, an ultra low cost carrier flying from MCO, Orlando International, had a sale going on and we got a round-trip ticket with checked bags for $117 per person! Read more about our experience here.
Tip: It’s an okay airline, but you do get what you pay for (Read: don’t expect too much!)
We used AwardMapper to find hotels in the area where we can use points to use. The Hampton Inn Dallas-Addison seemed like a good redemption. A category 2 hotel, it’s only 10,000 HHonors points a night. Retail, the hotel costs around $100+ a night, saving us a nice bit of cash.
Our last night had been a disaster because I booked the wrong dates and didn’t notice it in advance. We lost 10,000 Hilton points because of this and had to pay $80 for a Holiday Inn Express near the airport. Turned out good in the end because we got upgraded to a suite and ended up really enjoying our room. But still, things like these happen especially when you travel. Nothing is ever perfect.
We were quite busy in Dallas and these activities cost us a bit of money. We visited the following:
Fort Worth Stockyards
Fort Worth Water Gardens
Six Flags Over Texas
Reunion Tower Geo Deck
Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll
How we saved on attractions:
For Six Flags, we didn’t really save much but got 5% of points back, thanks to using our Discover card. We also bought tickets and the parking pass online and in advance to save $20 from buying at the front entrance.
For Dallas Zoo, Reunion Tower, and Perot Museum, we bought the Dallas Citypass. That saved us a bit of money even though we never made it to Dallas Arboretum.We paid $44 per person for the city pass, which saved us about $30 per person if we had bought tickets for those attractions separately.
Here’s our expenses on a neat little table for your reference:
|Date||Activity||Points Used||Cash Paid||Comments|
|Mar 24, 2016||Roundtrip Airfare MCO - DFW - MCO||$234.38|
|Mar 24 - 27, 2016||Hotel: Hampton Inn Dallas-Addison||20,000 HHonors Points||$76|
|May 27 - 28, 2016||Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Irving DFW Airport North||$90|
|Mar 24 - 28, 2016||5 Days Wallypark Valet Parking c/o Groupon inc. taxes & fees||$27.54|
|Mar 24, 2016||Gas from Jacksonville to Orlando||$11.50|
|Mar 25, 2016||Uber from Airport to Hampton Inn Dallas - Addison||$15 coupon from Uber sign up||$11|
|Mar 25, 2016||Uber from Hampton Inn Dallas-Addison to rental car place||$15 coupon from Uber sign up||$6|
|Mar 25, 2016||Parking at Fort Worth Stockyards||$5|
|Mar 25, 2016||Tickets to Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show||$30|
|Mar 25, 2016||Wild West Show Program + Raffle ticket||$3|
|Mar 25, 2016||Lunch at Riscky's BBQ||$24.16|
|Mar 25, 2016||Cowboy Hat + other souvenirs (because, ya know...)||$24|
|Mar 26, 2016||Six Flags Entrance + Parking||$142|
|Mar 26, 2016||Six Flags game (we won a batman plush)||$12|
|Mar 26, 2016||Six Flags Slurpee (the slurpee bottle is a great souvenir) + lunch||$18.48|
|Mar 27, 2016||Dallas Citypass||$45|
|Mar 27, 2016||Perot Museum Parking + Other downtown parking expenses||$12|
|Mar 24 - 28, 2016||Miscellaneous tips (bus drivers, etc)||$12|
|Mar 27, 2016||McDonalds Dinner||$5.42|
|Mar 27, 2016||Boba Tea at Dallas Galleria||$11.90|
|Bakers Ribs Dinner||$17.40|
|Mar 28, 2016||Dinner at Cracker Barrel Orlando||$27.72|
|Mar 28, 2016||Gas from Orlando to Jax||$11.60|
|Mar 28, 2016||Gas for Rental Car||$14.56|
|Total||20,000 HHonors Points|
$30 Uber credit
|$872.76 for two people|
$436.38 per person
Was this one of our more frugal trips? Not really. We paid cash for a lot of our expenses and only used points to get free hotel nights. Heck, we lost a few thousand points and paid for an extra night at the Holiday Inn Express. This just goes to show that even as a travel hacker, you make mistakes and things may not always go your way (i.e. our very delayed flight to Dallas, which ended up costing us 2 Uber rides). But you know what, everything that happened to us is part of travel. Fun, stressful, exciting, annoying, exhilarating. Take any of those out, and travel gets just a tiny bit more boring. You sign up for the whole package, not just one part.
Hopefully you enjoyed this little post. Let us know in the comments if you have any other questions, and feel free to share!