A Fun and Profitable Vacation

by Andy Hough on August 29, 2015

View from Cape Horn

View from Cape Horn

Last week my GF and I spent four days on vacation in the Portland, Oregon area. We were visiting friends of my GF that live there. We spent one day doing a tour of the waterfalls in the area and enjoying the scenery. There is spectacular scenery in this area. We ate that evening at the Portland Grill which features a fantastic view of the city. The next day we went to the famous Powell’s Books and went out for a great lunch at Killer Burger. We also spent a lot of time hanging out at our friend’s house and catching up with them. It was a short and fun vacation.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Making the vacation even better for a tight-fisted miser like me was the fact that the vacation was almost free. Our round-trip airfare on Southwest was free using Rapid Reward points. We only had to use points to purchase my airfare since we have a companion pass allowing my GF to fly free with me. The only cost for the airfare was the $5.60 security fee. We didn’t have any hotel cost since we stayed with our friends. They will be visiting us in September so we can return the favor. They were also nice enough to lend us a car so we didn’t have to spend any money on a rental car. Other than leaving $20 for gas in the car the use of the car was free. Our biggest expense was for restaurants. We went to happy hour at the Portland City Grill which kept the cost of the meal reasonable. Killer Burger is a fast casual restaurant so it was a reasonable cost as well. Our only other cost was for airport parking. I used a coupon giving us a free day of parking which made the total cost of parking $21. Our total out-of-pocket cost was just a little over $100. I think that is a great deal.

Bridge of the Gods

Bridge of the Gods

The trip became an even better deal on the way home. When we arrived for our flight home Southwest was asking for volunteers to be bumped from our flight. Since I was traveling on a ticket bought with points and my GF was flying free on the companion pass I wasn’t sure they would offer us much for being bumped. Before volunteering I asked the agent how much we would get for being bumped. When she told me we’d be compensated $500 for my ticket and $400 for my GF’s ticket I decided to take the offer and be bumped to the later flight. The later flight was only a couple of hours later but since it was a connecting flight rather than a non-stop flight like our original flight we ended up arriving in KC about 5 hours later than we originally would have. We didn’t have anything planned for that day so the delay wasn’t a big deal. I felt like receiving $900 in travel credit for a few hours delay was a great deal.

Overall, we spent a little over $100 on our vacation and made $900 in travel credit on the vacation. This vacation will pay for our next vacation. It was a fun and profitable vacation.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jon August 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

I love stories like these. I’ve only been offered travel credits when I had no choice but to take the flight I already had scheduled. We did volunteer in Honolulu on our return from Kona last year but they managed to fit everyone onto the plane. Just curious – are you able to “sell” the $900 credits on Craigslist or are they non-transferable?

2 Andy Hough August 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Jon – I’m pretty sure they are not transferable. It is also possible to get cash instead of travel credit for at least part of the award which I didn’t know when we were given the travel credit. It is possible we weren’t eligible for cash since we were flying on points, but if I had known cash were an option I would have asked for it. We will use the travel credit so it isn’t a big deal, but cash would have been a nicer option.

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