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The Kansas City Royals have to win one game out of the next four tries to go to the World Series. That’s right, the KANSAS CITY ROYALS. They could wrap it up as early as tonight (not to jinx anything, I’m from Houston and we don’t take post-season wins for granted in these parts). If you know a bit about my family you will know that my husband is from Kansas, and while his team of choice is the Kansas City Chiefs football team, the Kansas City Royals also have a very special places in his ball-shaped heart. His brother and dad are even bigger Royals fans than he is, so needless to say, the entire extended family is pretty excited.
Hey, if you can’t get pumped about the World Series, what can you get excited for?!
These sort of opportunities are literally “once in a lifetime” for some teams, and the chance to see a World Series game played by his childhood team with his dad and brother was just too “Field of Dreams” for even my husband to pass on, so you all know what happened next.
Planning to Save at the World Series:
As soon as the Royals won the second game to go up 2-0 in a best of 7 series, I went into travel planning action. I may not be an expert on the history of the KC Royals baseball franchise, but I’m pretty seasoned at getting people where they need to be for as little out-of-pocket expense as possible. My thought was if you wait until their spot in the World Series is secured you will have a real hotel room problem on your hands, and you will be even closer in for flights resulting in higher prices and likely diminished award availability.
However, since they had not yet clinched a World Series spot (and still haven’t, so keep your fingers crossed), I didn’t want to invest money that would go to waste if they didn’t make it. This meant that miles and points became insanely useful.
Hotel Rooms for the World Series – Out of pocket, $0 and 4,000 SPG points:
First, I secured rooms at a hotel adjacent to the stadium using 4,000 SPG points per night. We will be able to refund those points until the day before in the event that they do not make the World Series, or if we simply aren’t able to attend. There was no risk in making this investment, and it was a smart one as the availability at all of the virtually all the hotels in the city (and certainly the ones walking distance to the stadium) has been zeroed out. Since this hotel is so close we won’t even have any parking expenses. Big win for SPG points.
Flights for the World Series – Out of pocket, $39.60 and 10,000 United miles.
When I first looked at flights after the second win, you could get round trip tickets on Spirit Airlines for $80 from Houston to Kansas City for the dates we wanted. As an added bonus, I also finally solved the age-old question of “What would it take for my husband to fly Spirit Airlines?”. The answer, apparently, is the World Series. Everyone else was charging many times that amount for close-in tickets, and for a little extra he can sit in the “Big Front Seats” and be relatively comfortable for the short flight.
I didn’t pull the trigger at that moment on the flight even though I strongly considered it. That was money we would not get back if they didn’t get in the World Series, and I just wasn’t sure enough to gamble the $80…though perhaps I should have. The flights are still quite affordable at about $140 round trip on Spirit, but I will likely fly him there for 10,000 United miles + $5.60 in taxes as I just don’t trust Spirit enough for something that time sensitive, and I will use Spirit on the return as it is currently just $34 for the one-way. Yes, there is such thing as a close-in $34 airline ticket to get back from the World Series.
My elite status protects us from any close-in booking fees with United or redeposit fees in the event he doesn’t make the trip. Hurray for Spirit and United elite status…weird combo, huh?
Tickets to the Game??
Okay, this is where my expertise abruptly ends. I know enough to know that World Series tickets are expensive. When the Houston Astros made it a few years back I was heavily involved with the process, the ticket lottery, etc. but we are a bit behind the eight ball this time around with the Royals. I suspect our ticket quests will land us on the resell market. There isn’t likely to be a cheap and easy way into a World Series game. However, this is where keeping the other expenses low really helps.
If we paid “World Series prices” for a hotel room and booked a last minute fare on a traditional carrier, you are looking at well over $1,000 in expenses before even getting in the ballpark. We are looking at less than $40 plus a few miles and points worth of expenses, so all we have to do now is get through the gates…which won’t be cheap, but at least we have kept costs low to this point.
Using the limited knowledge I do have, combined with a conversation with a helpful twitter friend, the best thing to do for tickets right now is likely nothing. It is likely that once they actually make it to the World Series there will be more tickets out there for sale, and the prices will come down a bit. You want to buy when the supply is likely at its peak which means not too early, and likely not too late. You can risk it and potentially scoop up a cheaper ticket right before the game, but my risk aversion won’t get us to that point.
We will also keep a close eye on the official KC Royals website in case some tickets become available there, and will only buy from reputable sites like StubHub as opposed to rolling the dice on Craigslist. As an added bonus, you can buy StubHub gift cards at office supply stores to earn 5x bonus points, assuming you have a card that earns 5x at office supply stores… I would not do that until I knew for sure they made it to the World Series as I wouldn’t want to be stuck with a big StubHub gift card.
We now have a low to no risk plan in place to attend the World Series game for much, much less thanks to planning, miles, and points. I don’t know of an inexpensive way to get into the game (though share if you know one!), but for my husband it may be one of those times that the value of the memory way outweighs the price of admission.