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We celebrated The Man’s birthday last night eating at Landry’s (yum……and if you eat at any of the Landry’s family or restaurants make sure you sign-up for their rewards card. It won’t earn you points to fly with, but you do earn points toward more free yummy Landry’s! It’s essentially 10% off, and applies $25 credit to your account for every $250 spent) with a couple of our friends, Chris and Joyce. They just got back from a 10 day vacation in Jamaica (promise we aren’t green with envy!) and since I’m crazy obsessed, we were chatting with them some about points. They earn some points on different credit cards, but they weren’t too sure about what they earn or how to maximize earnings in large part because they were under the impression that you could never actually redeem those points for anything you would really want anyway.
Specifically, these Jamaicamecrazy folks had been told you can’t ever get a reward flight to Jamaica. Tisk, tisk, tisk, on whoever misinformed our poor Rum Punch drinkin’ friends. It is true that for popular leisure travel destinations you do have to plan well in advance, be flexible with dates/times, and be persistent with checking for availability. I did a quick search and found two reward seats on Continental’s website from Houston to Montego Bay leaving Friday March 9, 2012 and returning Saturday March 17, 2012. Both flights would require a connection at Dulles, but just order a couple extra drinks on the plane and for the bargain price of just 35,000 miles per ticket you will be in the land of infinite Red Stripe and Rum Punch before you know it!
In case Jamaica isn’t your “cup of punch”, just in the last year I have booked/flown to other cities (all from Houston) on reward tickets These include: Las Vegas (during the first weekend of March Madness), Orlando (during East Coast Spring Break), New Orleans, New York City (had to cancel that one, but was still able to book so it counts!), Washington DC (for my folks), Witchita (for his folks), Kansas City, and San Juan, Puerto Rico (first class international on points!). For most of them we started looking months in advance and did have to be a little flexible, but none of them required too much hassle and all were free! So, don’t give in to the notion that you can’t go where you want on points. I’ll talk more in future posts about strategies to get the reward flights you want, but in general just start planning early, be flexible, and be persistent!