We are headed up to southern Vermont this weekend for a family get together.
The leaves should be at their peak, and we are looking forward to visiting rural New England.
This is an costly trip for us, so we will try to use points and miles to mitigate the expense.
The major elements of the trip are:
1. Airport Parking: Visa Signature credit cards, including the Southwest card, offer an array of discounts, one of which is a negotiated discount rate with Park ‘N Fly. Visa claims the discount is “up to 66 percent” compared to airport parking rates but this claim is clearly exaggerated. At BWI, long-term parking is $8.00 per day and the special Park ‘N Fly rate is $6.75 a day — the difference is pocket change.
2. Airplane Tickets: We are flying Southwest Airlines. I only had enough Rapid Rewards points to pay for one ticket on Southwest. I purchased my husband’s ticket for 19,000 points plus $5.00. My ticket cost $350. Our procrastination in making reservations is a costing us probably 9,000 points and $150. This is especially wasteful because Southwest allows ticket changes without charge.
My flight will earn 2100 points (6x the ticket price) plus 700 points (2x for purchases on Southwest credit card) for a total of 2800 points. Added to my existing points balance, that could be almost enough for a one-way Wanna Get Away fare. I hope to earn 8000 additional points from the Southwest credit card holiday promo. (Southwest announced a double points promo after I purchased the tickets, so we could not take advantage of that.)
3. Rental Car: I booked a rental car with Enterprise for about $22 per day including taxes and fees. Before we depart, I will attempt to get a cheaper rate through a last minute Priceline bid.
4. Gas: I purchased $75 of gas gift cards at Staples, and received a $25 rebate on my Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) credit card through an Amex promo. If you log in to your Amex account, you may find a list of discount offers.
5. Accomodations: We are staying at Moore’s Inn in Saxton’s River, the quintessential Vermont guest house in an idyllic Vermont village. There’s a covered bridge, a roaring river, an artisan’s coop, and a white steepled church. The basic rate for all rooms is $109 per night, plus $10 tax.
6. Meals: Most of our meals are taken care of but we want to try the historic Miss Bellows Falls Diner. According to the National Register listing:
The Miss Bellows Falls represents a genre and period of American roadside architecture that has been bypassed both physically and culturally during the last two decades. Indeed, within Vermont’s roadside environment, the Miss Bellows Falls has become singular survivor of an architectural and cultural expression now verging on extinction.
There is also the annual Chili Cook Off on Saturday in Saxton’s River, $5.oo for endless samples.
7. Activities: If we are lucky, we will go apple picking at a local orchard, sample cheese at Grafton Village Cheese, catch a movie at the Latchis Theatre, and check out the Newfane Flea Market on Sunday.
The Bottom Line
$840 for the 4-day weekend, not including meals or activities. Yikes.
Moral of the story: I should have made the plane reservations far in advance. Points and miles can’t compensate for procrastination!