30 hours + $80 = Disney celebration!

Yesterday, I got an invitation to a conference that I’m really excited to attend: the Disney Social Media Moms “On the Road” celebration.

The title of my blog might give it away, but if you haven’t already figured it out…I love Disneyland. And yes, I realize that it’s slightly nerdy to admit that. But there you have it.

So, I was thrilled to open my email and see this:

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Apparently, it’s a hot ticket. I’m honored to be invited, and really looking forward to learning some tips from the pros at Disney. Also, one thing I’ve noticed is that most people who love Disney are just so NICE. So if nothing else, I am guaranteed to be surrounded by friendly, enthusiastic people for the day. 🙂

How I paid for my trip using points and miles.

Flight:

Since the conference is in Phoenix, I knew I wanted to fly on Southwest out of Oakland. I didn’t have enough points in my Southwest account, so I transferred some Chase Ultimate Rewards to make up the difference.

Tip: if you are new to points and miles collecting, Chase Ultimate Rewards are a great way to get started because they are so flexible. You can transfer points into a variety of different travel partners including United, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, and more. You can accumulate a boatload of Chase points quickly by applying for the Chase Sapphire Card, which will give you 40,000 points, or the Chase Ink Card (if you have a business), which will give you 60,000 points. (Note that the above links are not affiliate links!)

Once you have a Chase card, there are lots of opportunities to earn more points, so you can build up a pretty sizable balance fairly quickly.

Since I recently got an infusion of Chase points from buying Visa gift cards with my Chase Ink card, I felt extra happy about this Southwest redemption. It’s always great when you can see fairly immediate results of your points-earning activities!

Total cost = $5!

Hotel:

Next, I looked into hotel options. I’ve been wanting to stay at one of the Kimpton properties in the Phoenix area, and I know that TravelPony has some great connections with Kimpton, so I headed to their site first. Sure enough, I found great rates for both the FireSky and the Palomar – each hotel was approximately $100/night on TravelPony, compared to $150/$175 elsewhere.

Since I have $75 in referral credits (thank you, if you used my link to sign up!), I will be able to book a night for (almost) free. My problem is that I can’t decide between the two hotels! Any advice?

Tip: If you haven’t used TravelPony before, you can get $35 worth of credit in your account by using a friend’s referral link to sign up…and your friend gets $25 in his or her account as well. Here is my link if you would like to use it (thanks!)

Total cost = $25!

Car:

Since renting a car is pricing out in the most ridiculous, expensive way, I’m hoping that my AutoSlash trick works, because there is no way that I am paying $100 for a 30-hour rental. Crazy.

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I’ve had great success with AutoSlash in the past, so I’m hoping that they come through for me again.

If not, I might see how Lyft rides price out. Depending on the cost, that might be a good option.

Tip: If you’re in Phoenix, Silicon Valley, Dallas, Orange County, Sacramento, Indianapolis or Charlotte, you can get up to 50 free rides over the course of two weeks if you sign up as a Lyft Pioneer.

If you don’t live in one of those cities, you can still get a free ride (up to $50) by using code SLICKDEALS to sign up. You can read details here.

Total cost = hopefully less than $50 (crazy that this will be my biggest expense!)

Points and miles save the day again!

In the past, this trip would have felt like a splurge ($300 for the flight, $150 for the hotel, $100 for the car rental…), but because I’ve learned a few tips and tricks about how to earn points and grab great deals, the total cost is very affordable.

I love being able to plan trips on the spur of the moment without having to check my bank account first, and I love helping other people do the same thing.

Have you planned any cheap trips recently? Where are you going?

And does anyone have good restaurant recommendations for Phoenix?

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Comments

  1. We just got back from Kauai and were able to take my mom with us. It was a great trip although somewhat unexpected.

    We were originally planning on going with some friends but one ended up getting really sick and had to cancel at the last minute.

    We ended up hopping online the day before our departure and booking my mom a flight. We were fantastically lucky and were able to find a round trip from her home airport on the West Coast to LIH for $500 (which is crazy so last minute!). We decided that since we would have to use some valuable points and pay close in fees that it made it more worth it to just pay for the ticket and keep our points.

    If we hadn’t already booked our own travel though with points, we wouldn’t have had the same opportunity to take my mom on a fun family vacation.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Erica – I love this story! I’ve found that by becoming more aware of all the options (points AND no points) I’ve been able to both save money and gain more flexibility. Sounds like you have, as well.

  2. Carl P says:

    Heading to Colorado (from IAD) to visit a nephew and do some other stuff for10 days, Flying on SWA miles using 20K of recent 50K credit card bonus, Two nights in Colorado Springs with Marriott Megabonus certificates the first weekend, One night in downtown Denver with Marriott anniversary certificate the 2nd weekend, I’ll be with the nephew (using his auto) on the two weekends. Still planning the weekdays. I’ll stay at his place some nights,

  3. Just wanted to thank you for the tip about Autoslash in an earlier post. It found us a rental that was $38/day cheaper and one category higher in Vegas. And then it booked the new rate for me. I was surprised – and delighted – how easy it was.

  4. Sadly, TravelPony stopped giving out $35 “credit” and it’s instead a promo code now for $200+ reservation

    This is from your referral page text
    You’ll get $35 off your first purchase of $200 when you create a free TravelPony account since you were referred by Kendra. Sign up now!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Jerry – Oh no!! Say it ain’t so!! This is a huge bummer. I’m going to contact them to see what they say about this.

  5. justSaying says:

    Think Baby swap and early opening and you can do the park twice before anyone else arrives…..

    • Points Pixie says:

      justSaying – I wish we were meeting at Disneyland, but we’ll be at a hotel in Phoenix 😉

  6. stretchingittotravel says:

    Great way to travel cheap! Sounds like a fun way to meet other Disney lovers!
    We are using our miles and then the Club Carlson redeem 2nd night free hotel perks (Love stretching those points!) for a long weekend in Charleston and Savannah for our anniversary.

  7. I have never heard of this. Very cool! Out of curiosity-did you have to do something to get on their radar to be selected, or did they just stumble upon the blog?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Kayla – Someone reached out to me and suggested that I apply for the conference, so I did. 🙂

  8. carissa says:

    The Palomar in Phoenix is surprisingly super-sleek in the center of it all.Great bar and restaurant. Im Inner Circle so got upgraded to a suite. Biggest and sexiest one Ive ever been in. My top 2 suite favorite of the 10 different Kimptons Ive stayed at so far. Such an awesome surprise.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Carissa – Great info, thank you! I was leaning towards the FireSky but now I might have to reconsider.

  9. Judy from Boise says:

    Congrats from a fellow Disney Geek! Hope you get excellent swag!

  10. I have never stopped loving Disneyland, and I have always thought that my sharing the same birthday with Walt Disney (Dec. 5th) I might just be channeling him slightly.

    Driving over to Phoenix and Tucson the second week in June and all hotels will be on points. Wish I had a way to get free gas. 🙁

    • Points Pixie says:

      Anne – Great about the hotels on points!

      Hmmm…now you’ve got me thinking about how to get free gas…

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