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Team member Keith recently got back from a quick trip to Las Vegas. He took advantage of perks with 3 credit cards to spend VERY little out of pocket! I’ll let him tell you how he did it!
Keith: Thanks Daraius! I went to Las Vegas for ~24 hours to meet a friend who was visiting for a bachelor party. He was nice enough to pay for a room at the Delano Las Vegas, which we shared.
To save money on other parts of the trip, including flights, meals, and golf, I used a variety of credit card perks. In the end, I only spent ~$14 out-of-pocket!
I’ll share how I took a trip to Las Vegas on miles and points!
Las Vegas on Miles and Points
It’s thrilling to use miles & points to save money on last-minute getaways.
Here are highlights of my trip to Las Vegas, including the cards I used to save!
1. Free Southwest Flight to Las Vegas
Southwest is my favorite airline, because they have lots of non-stop flights from my home airport in Los Angeles. And I have the Companion Pass, so my wife and I can take advantage of 2-for-1 flights when we go away.
For my flight to Las Vegas, I redeemed a Southwest travel voucher I earned for volunteering on an oversold flight. As a tip, if you’re not in a rush to get home, getting these vouchers can be an easy way to save money on future trips!
It was an uneventful flight and I arrived in Las Vegas in less than an hour.
If I didn’t have the voucher for my flight, I would have used Chase Ultimate Rewards points linked to my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book. Normally, I transfer points directly to Southwest to book an award flight.
2. Free Dinner at the Las Vegas AMEX Centurion Lounge
Most folks are excited to get out of the airport upon arrival. But I was looking forward to staying a bit longer to enjoy free dinner at the AMEX Centurion Lounge.
The lounge is not in the same terminal as Southwest. But it’s just one stop on the airport train, which only takes ~1 minute.
I got complimentary access to the lounge using The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. You can also visit for free if you have any of the personal versions of the AMEX Platinum card, like The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz and The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The lounge was empty. Perhaps because of recent changes to the guest policy, which restricts cardholders to 2 complimentary guests.
I put together a plate of food, which is served buffet style in Centurion lounges.
I don’t gamble, so the Uber fare was my only expense for the night!
3. Free Golf at Bali Hai Golf Club
Sadly, Citi Prestige cardholders will lose the free golf perk effective July 23, 2017. That’s one reason I wanted to use the benefit during the trip to Las Vegas.
The free rounds saved us a lot of money. Because the same tee times would have cost $299 per person if we paid out of pocket.
I won’t tell you my score. Because “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? 😉
I took some snacks with me from home and had a banana from the AMEX Centurion Lounge to eat during golf. So I didn’t have to spend any money on food.
4. Private Jet Flight to Los Angeles
After golf, it was time to head home. So I paid ~$7 to take an Uber back to the airport.
I had a Southwest award flight booked, which I could cancel at any time without paying any fees. It was great to have this flexibility because the night before, I was able to secure a last-minute deal on an empty-leg private jet flight using JetSmarter.
I had never used JetSmarter before. But I came across a discount code for a free 90-day trial membership.
If you’re not familiar with JetSmarter, they offer annual memberships to folks looking to book private charter flights. But they also have last-minute deals on empty-leg flights you can book ~24 hours in advance. And you book all flights through their mobile app.
I paid $210 for the flight.
But I redeemed cash back from my Citi Double Cash Card for a statement credit to completely offset the out-of-pocket cost for the flight.
The funny part is the JetSmarter flight was ~$26 cheaper than booking a last-minute Southwest flight. Because Southwest usually only has more expensive “Anytime” fares available when you book on the same day.
So the flight was cheaper and I saved time because I didn’t have to go through airport security. I just walked right on the plane!
This was my first time flying on this type of airplane. And it might be my last!
There were very strong winds in Las Vegas at the time of departure. And we flew around thunderstorms on the way back to Los Angeles. So it felt like a rollercoaster ride the entire flight, which didn’t help my fear of turbulence.
Team member Keith went to Las Vegas for a night and his only expense was ~$14 for Uber rides to and from the airport.
To save money on his trip, he used:
- A Southwest travel voucher for a free flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas
- AMEX Business Platinum card to access the Centurion Lounge for free dinner
- Citi Prestige card for 2 free rounds of golf at Bali Hai Golf Club
- Cash back from the Citi Double Cash to offset the cost of a private jet flight
And he was lucky enough to have a friend staying at the Delano Las Vegas to cover the cost of his room.
Are there any credit card perks you use to save on last-minute travel?