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Posted by on Apr 8, 2012 in Credit Cards, Deals, Travel |

Loyalty Points in Action: The College Reunion and how I saved $260

This is one of a series of posts showing you how diligent collection of loyalty points pays off for The Deal Family. More on loyalty points here.

Deal Dad really wanted to attend his college reunion in Iowa over the summer. We could have bought a ticket from DC to Des Moines for $260 (which is actually not a bad price), but I wanted to see if I could use some airline miles to save the cash. I had a bunch of options available to me and thought it might be helpful for you to see my thought process.

1. Pay 25,000 miles for a round trip ticket on Delta, USAir, or United. This was my least appealing option as I value my miles at a penny each (others use higher values, but it’s a good guideline for me) and didn’t want to spend them on a ticket that cost close to their nominal value. Still, using miles earned for free is definitely better than spending cash.

2. Use British Airways Avios to fly on American Airlines (which are distance based). The flight out cost only 9,000 Avios as it connected through Chicago, but the flight back cost 14,000 Avios as it connected through Dallas. Still, 23,000 is a better deal than 25,000.

3. Use a combination of both. Book the Avios leg at 9,000 there, and a United Airlines flight back at 12,500 miles (1/2 of the round trip cost). Cost: 21,500 miles. Bingo!

Now that I’ve decided which flight to book, I had to figure out how to get the miles needed. BA was already taken care of as I had capitalized on the Nordstrom promotion. I didn’t have the United Miles in hand, but here’s where creativity comes in. Deal Daughter had 4600 miles in her United account from our trip to Guatemala last year (tip, make sure EVERY family member has a FF account EVERY time you fly…they do add up!). I added 8,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Deal Daughter’s account, and viola: Free one way ticket on United!

So, the bottom line is this: Diligent collection of loyalty points pays off in the form of Deal Dad re-living his Glory Days and The Deal Family using that $260 on a weekend getaway…I’m thinking about this one to The Glade Springs Resort.