denverEarly this morning, I left on the first non-stop flight from Indianapolis to Denver to catch an epic Pearl Jam concert that is set to take place at 7:30 tonight.  Our plane left at 6:50 which means that we had to be at the airport at 4:00 a.m. <Gulp>, which is why I might be slow to reply to comments today.  We arrive in Denver at 8:30 a.m. so I do plan to work for a few hours once we get there.  After that, I suppose we’ll drive around and kill some time until the concert.

Fortunately, the vast majority of this trip was paid for with credit card rewards.  Here’s how it went down.

Our Frugal Trip to Denver

Our Flights

Since we have plenty of Southwest Rapid Rewards points and the Southwest Companion Pass, we used them to book our non-stop flights.  For the two of us, the total cost came in at $11.20 and 14,300 Rapid Rewards points.  Our flight options weren’t that great, however, which is why I chose to fly so freakin’ early.  Better be early than late, right?

Total Cost: $11.20

Our Hotel

I’ve had a free Marriott night burning a hole in my pocket for a few months now, so I figured now was as good a time to use it as any.  Fortunately, I was able to find availability for one evening at the Ramada Denver Downtown, which is only about a mile from the Pepsi Center where the concert will take place.  The retail value of the hotel stay is $239, so I feel that I got a good deal since it was free.

In other news, our hotel seems to be near a lot of the recreational marijuana stores in town, including a shop called Starbuds.  Get it?  I do not want to go inside, but I would like to drive by and giggle.

Total Cost: 0

Our Rental Car

I’m generally against renting rental cars because it is such a huge PITA.  However, we chose to rent one in Denver because the numbers just didn’t add up.  For example, the internet informed me that the average taxi ride was more than $50 one-way from the airport to our hotel.  Yikes.  On the other hand, renting a rental car would only cost around $42 including all taxes and fees.  I obviously went with the cheapest option which is probably a good thing since it will give us the opportunity to drive around a little bit and explore.  Even after we refill the tank with gas, we will still end up ahead.

Total Cost: $42

Other Expenses

In addition to paying for our rental car ($42) and the airline taxes and fees ($11.20), we went ahead and budgeted around $100 for gas and meals for that day and the following morning.  We don’t plan to eat anything fancy, so I hope that will be enough to get us through the day.

We purchased our concert tickets months ago, and that’s where the major expense of this trip comes in.  Tickets in anything other than the nosebleed section were not cheap.  In fact, some of the tickets we looked at were almost $2,000!  Fortunately, we found a guy who would sell us his tickets via Flashseats.com for $185.50 each.  And I’m extremely glad we bought when we did.  I recently looked online to see how much tickets cost now and several tickets in the exact same section as much as $400!

That’s our trip in a nutshell.  I don’t really like flying that much and I usually don’t enjoy trips with a quick turnaround.  However, I think this particular trip will be worth it.  We’ll see.

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