“My ~$14 Trip to Las Vegas, Including a Private Jet Flight!”

“My ~$14 Trip to Las Vegas, Including a Private Jet Flight!”

Million Mile Secrets“My ~$14 Trip to Las Vegas, Including a Private Jet Flight!”Million Mile Secrets Team

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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!

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
I Completely Offset the Cost of My Return Flight on a Private Jet Using Credit Card Points!

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!

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
I Flew Southwest From Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Paid Using a Travel Voucher

It was an uneventful flight and I arrived in Las Vegas in less than an hour.

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
It’s Only a ~1 Hour Flight Between Los Angeles and Las Vegas

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.

But you can also book through the Chase travel portal.  This is essentially like paying cash.  So you earn Southwest points and credit toward A-List status.

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.

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
The Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas Airport Is Easy to Access, Even If You Don’t Fly In or Out of the Local Terminal

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.

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
There Were Only a Handful of Visitors in the Lounge

I put together a plate of food, which is served buffet style in Centurion lounges.

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
On the Menu Was Fried Chicken, Brussel Sprouts, Wild Rice, a Chocolate Chip Cookie, and an IPA

After dinner, I took a ~$7 Uber ride to the Delano Las Vegas to meet my friend.  It was an UberPool ride, so there was another passenger who joined me.  I didn’t mind because it made the ride cheaper!

I don’t gamble, so the Uber fare was my only expense for the night!

3.   Free Golf at Bali Hai Golf Club

My friend and I planned to golf while in Las Vegas.  I was excited because I had 3 free rounds of golf to use thanks to my Citi Prestige card.

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.

There’s a great selection of available golf courses to redeem the free rounds.  We decided on Bali Hai Golf Club, which is walking distance from the Las Vegas Strip.

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.

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
The Citi Prestige Saved My Friend and Me $598 on Golf!

I won’t tell you my score.  Because “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? 😉

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
I Captured a Drone Photo of My Friend Hitting off the Tee

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.

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
The Last-Minute Flight Using JetSmarter Cost $210

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.

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
The Southwest Anytime Fare Was More Expensive Than the JetSmarter Private Jet Flight

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!

Las Vegas On Miles And Points
It Was Just Me and One Other Passenger Flying to Los Angeles on the Bombardier Challenger 300

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.

Bottom Line

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:

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?

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The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
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  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 6/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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You can access Centurion lounge on arrival without a boarding pass for departure?

I would call that claim that you only spent $14, more than a bit disingenuous. Doesn't make it any less impressive - $210 is a great price for a private jet flight - but you still did pay $210 for that flight, even if you had $210 in cash back. That is literally equivalent to you paying $210 for the flight, and then at any point before or after, having $210 deposited in your bank account. By that logic, *all* my travel is free, because my work is paying for it (because they pay me a salary, and then I use that money to travel.) :p

100x this. Everyone in the points game is doing word tricks like this to make their trips sound amazing. The trips are already amazing without this bs accounting!!

Everyone or bloggers who just want the uninformed to sign up for cards using their links?

The uninformed should get themselves informed (and these sites provide plenty for that), the bloggers bring you the world of opportunities - should not they get paid for doing this? No conflict here, everyone makes their own choice.

Why didn't you use the $15 in credits on Uber through your Amex platinum?

You are right!!! Then it is completely free.


@Kurt @Sophia - Keith has the AMEX Business Platinum. The Uber credits are only available on the personal versions of the AMEX Platinum card.

You paid huge annual fees on the Amex a platinum card and on the Citi Prestige card to get those "free" perks, so it's misleading to say it was that cheap.

But those annual fees are easily offset with the annual travel credits. I guess it's not free technically but the annual fees are definitely not huge. They certainly pay for themselves.


@Frank - Nancy is right. The cards have excellent perks to offset the annual fees. For example, with the AMEX Business Platinum you get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year on a selected airline for incidentals such as baggage fees. And the Citi Prestige 4th night free perk can make the card worth the annual fee with just one hotel stay.