Yesterday I wrote about our upcoming trips with credit card rewards, and how we used points and miles to pay for the majority of our travels.  Today I’m simply picking up where I left off.  And that, my friends, will be in one of my favorite places on Earth- New Orleans, Louisiana.

FinCon 2014

I didn’t make the financial bloggers conference last year because we were moving, so I was bound and determined to make it happen this year.

Fortunately, some freakin’ genius decided to have FinCon in New Orleans this year.  It’s true that New Orleans is slightly dirty and disgusting at times, but I still love it due to its authenticity and all the weirdos that tend to gather there.  And thanks to FinCon, we will be heading to the Big Easy in late September.  I cannot wait!

For all my stalkers out there, we will be staying at the Marriott near the French Quarter.  The total cost of our stay was $417- an amount I chose to pay out-of-pocket since it is a legitimate business expense and I can write it off on my taxes.

Hey, I got to get those tax deductions anywhere I can, right?

Me and some random guy in New Orleans. He told me he felt queasy because he "just ate a sammich."

Me in New Orleans with my….ummmm…..friend…..

Our flights were paid for with Southwest Rapid Rewards points and my companion pass.  After using points, the total cost of our flights ended up being 14,700 Rapid Rewards points and $10.  Yes, ten freakin’ dollars.

Total Cost of Trip to New Orleans:

  • Hotel: $417
  • Flights: $10

Total: $427

Note:  Links to the Southwest 50K offer are currently dead.  However, I do have  referral codes to hand out to anyone who wants to sign up and earn 50,000 Rapid Rewards points before September 30th.  If you use my code, I’ll earn 5,000 Rapid Rewards points for referring you.  Simply indicate that you want a code in the comments section and I will email it to you ASAP!

Knowing When to Splurge

As I shared sometime last month, Greg has a huge man-crush on the members of Pearl Jam.  I do too, obviously, so we decided to see them in concert this year…come hell or high water!  Unfortunately, their tour dates sucked and none of their concerts were close enough to drive to.  Fortunately, we have the Southwest Companion Pass.  Winning!

Since we had to fly anyway, we decided to go somewhere cool to see our favorite band. And the location that worked best with our calendar happened to be Denver, Colorado.  Thanks to my free Marriott night from the Marriott Rewards credit card, our stay in downtown Denver will be free.  That’s right.  Nothing.  Nada.  And kudos to Southwest for providing our transportation.  The total cost of our flights ended up being 14,900 Rapid Rewards points and $10.

Our big splurge for the trip came in the form of some pricey tickets to the actual show.  Yeah, that’s right.  I’m not going to fly my ass all the way to Denver just to sit in the nosebleed section!  Instead, we chose to get decent tickets for a total cost of $371.  Sue me.

Total Cost to See Pearl Jam:

  • Tickets: $371
  • Hotel: FREE
  • Flights: $10

Total: $381

Note: If you’re interested in signing up for the Marriott Rewards credit card, I have a referral code for that one too!  The sign-up bonus has temporarily been bumped up to 70,000 points for completing a $1,000 minimum spend.  There is no annual fee for the first year, and you also get a free night in a Category 1-4 hotel upon account approval.  If you want a referral email, simply let me know in the comments!

Europe On the Cheap

We’re kid-free for one week in November (Thanks grandma!), so we thought it would be wise to travel somewhere fun and exciting.  You can read exactly how we made it happen here, but we basically redeemed 80,000 American Airline miles for two round-trip flights to Europe (to London, then home from Paris), 48,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for four nights at the Park Lane Hotel in London, and our two free Hyatt nights for two nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome.

Our hotels were completely free with points, but we did have to pay $197 in government-mandated taxes and fees for our flights there and back.  So far we’ve also prepaid $160 for a train ride on the chunnel from London to Paris and $139 for two tickets to see Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre in London.  Once we’re there, we also plan to take a train to Bath, Amesbury, U.K. to see Stonehenge, and Edinburgh, Scotland.  When all is said and done, we will likely spend another $400 on those train rides and some other attractions.

Cost of Trip to Europe:

  • Hotels: FREE
  • Flights: $197 in government-mandated taxes and fees
  • Chunnel Ride: $160
  • Les Miserables: $139
  • Train/Attractions: $400

Total: $896

So, that’s it.  Those are the major trips we have planned with credit cards this year.  Now I just have to get busy planning our travels for 2015.

And no, you cannot come with me.

Well, maybe.

Check out my recent post on the U.S. Airways Premier MasterCard:

Why the U.S. Airways Premier World MasterCard is a Travel Hacking No-Brainer– VOSA

Do you have any major vacations coming up?  Any trips planned with credit card rewards?  Please share in the comments!