As you many know, I’ve been blogging for Points with a Crew for about seven months now (you can read my posts here). Points with a Crew is part of larger group of blogs affiliated under the Boarding Area group, which hosts a wide variety of travel blogs. Each year, Boarding Area hosts conferences for it’s writers, and this year, I’ll get to attend their Colorado Springs, CO conference as one of the writers for Points with a Crew. Sweet!
Once I knew I was attending, I started to plan the trip. Even though Nick can’t come to the conference, he decided to tag along and do some solo adventuring. We’d be leaving on a Friday morning and coming back on Sunday — only missing a day of work (thanks generous vacation policy).
That being said, we’d need to book:
- 2 roundtrip tickets NYC – Denver (Colorado Springs is expensive to fly into)
- 2 nights in a hotel
- A rental car
Wanting to save points for an upcoming trip, I decided to do this trip for as cheap as possible. While it may have been possible to get an even lower price, I’m happy with how this turned out. Read on to see how we did it!
For the days we needed to fly, it was actually Delta Air Lines that was the cheapest option:
Don’t let that $211 fool you. The flight was actually $240 per person — $211 was the basic economy fare that gets you NOTHING. Beyond it being the cheapest option, we also had some tricks up our sleeves:
- Nick still had a $100 statement credit available to him from his American Express Delta Platinum SkyMiles card
- I had $150 in Delta gift cards, thanks to the airline credit from my American Express Platinum card
With that in mind, Nick’s ticket cost $140.40 and mine cost $90.40 — a savings of $250, or 52%.
COST: $230.80 for 2 roundtrip tickets NYC-Denver-NYC
Next up was the hotel. I wanted either a Hilton or IHG property because that’s where I have the most points currently. Then I realized I still had a free night certificate, thanks to having the IHG Rewards Club Select card. Long story short, when you have that card and pay the annual fee, you get a free night ANYWHERE in the IHG network — any hotel.
The closest IHG hotel to the conference venue is nothing special, a Holiday Inn Express, but using that free night certificate saved me $220, or $171 when you factor in the credit card annual fee, saving me 44% of the total cost. After that, I decided to pay for the other night ($198.80), which earned me 3,701 IHG points for a future stay.
COST: $198.80 for two nights
This was nothing special — we found a rental car from Alamo (through Priceline) that was $28 a day, or $80.01 with taxes. It’s crazy that the taxes are basically an “extra” day of car rental, though!
COST: $80.01 for two days
Tallying it up
Once everything was booked, here’s how it looked:
|Item||Actual Cost||Cost Paid|
In total, was saved just under 50% off this trip, thanks to many credit card “freebies” and knowing how use them. We also didn’t use any points, but we did earn some:
- Delta: 462
- IHG: 3,701
We’ll be putting those points, and many others, to work a little bit later for another upcoming trip!
In this post, three credit cards were mentioned in helping make this trip happen. I’ve outlined them below, as well as linked to the application pages should you want to sign up for one (or more!) of them.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in 90 days from card opening.
- Earn 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel as well as 5 points per dollar on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Earn 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- $200 yearly airline credit, $200 yearly Uber credit, and $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit.
- Annual Fee: $550
American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles
- Earn 50,000 Delta SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 in 90 days from card opening.
- Earn 2 points per dollar on flights booked directly with Delta. Earn 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
- Annual Fee: $195
IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Earn 80,000 IHG points when you spend $1,000 in 90 days from card opening
- Earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels, 2 points per dollar at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations, 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
- Enjoy a Free night after each account anniversary year at over 5,000 hotels worldwide.
- Annual Fee: $49
NOTE: these offers may earn me a commission, and may not represent the highest available offers. You don’t need to use these links (and you should use ones with a higher bonus!), but your support is always appreciated!