Last weekend I took a quick getaway trip (with no kids!) and visited my husband while he was working in California. While he worked, I PLAYED!! It was a blast, I’m missing the beach already. I had so many fun experiences including falling asleep on a guy’s shoulder on the plane (uh ya, never done that before! awkward!), watching someone catch a stingray on the Pier at Huntington beach,
going to Disneyland WITHOUT kids, hitting up a Dodgers game (they won! pretty sure we were they’re good luck charms! and their seats are sooooo roomy compared to Wrigley!), renting a beach cruiser bike for the first time, riding along the beach, and watching the coolest kids SURFING legit waves!! (they were amazing!). It was so awesome to just spend time alone with my husband for a couple days. We crammed in as much as we could! Thanks to my family for making it happen, they’re the best!
I need to add two words to this conversation: Tommy Burger. OH. MY. WORD.
We went there after the Dodger game! It was close to midnight and the place was packed!! Biggest, one of a kind burgers or hot dogs served with chili, tomatoes, onions, mustard, and pickles. The burgers were HUGE! I finished the whole thing, Jud even took a picture.WOW. Chili cheese fries too. If you’re ever near LA, check it out!
I spent a lot of time in Huntington Beach area and just the atmosphere of the town is so cool. I’ve been there before, but never had time all to myself. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I REALLY want to play volleyball on Huntington Beach. They have these nets set up all over and people play. Some games are intense, some are just people goofing around. I ALMOST got the nerve to ask a group if I could join but then I chickened out. I’m such a chicken by myself!! I just kept thinking “what’s the worst thing that could happen? they say no, I get angry, maybe a fight ensues, I win the fight, no big deal right?” Anxiety! I am making a promise now that the next time I go, I’m not only going to play beach volleyball, but I’m going to rock it and it’s going to be amazing (or at least entertaining!!). For more info on what to do at Huntington Beach if you plan to visit, click here. We didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted, but it was still a blast.
I loved my time in Cali, but I also wanted to explain the versatility of travel credit cards. Even though I didn’t redeem any points on my main point earning card, I was still able to travel for much cheaper than normal using one of my “less-used” credit cards. The trip itself was relatively last minute. We planned it a few weeks prior, but I booked my plane ticket 2 days before I left! Normally the plane tickets would’ve cost anywhere from $350-$600+, but I only had to pay just over $150 for it. BOOM (winning!)
Let me back up and explain a little bit of our credit card usage background. Jud and I use the American Express Business Card for basically all of our day to day living expenses; that’s the card we build points with to redeem for travel (much like Angie’s Capital One Venture card in her earlier post). Jud flies on Delta regularly so we have Delta skymiles available when we travel. We are saving our points and skymiles for a family vacation (which is what we usually do) so I didn’t want to “waste” them on a quick, short, last minute getaway. What was I going to do? Glad you asked, I’ll gladly walk you through it. 🙂
I have an Alaska Air Visa Signature Card. I don’t use it often, but when I signed up I automatically received 30,000 skymiles. My total balance was 37,000 when I was looking to book the flight to LAX (remember this was 2 days before I left!) I scored a one way ticket for 12,500 miles on the way there, Friday. The trip back, Sunday, was a different story. Because it’s such a popular travel day (and possibly because it was so last minute), I couldn’t find anything for less than 30,000 skymiles. If there would’ve been a flight available for 24,500 miles or less, my whole flight would’ve been FREE! If I would have been able to fly back Monday, there were flights available for 12,500 miles. It would have worked out very nicely, but I needed to be back on Sunday. I was given the option to buy miles (I needed 5500 miles) to pay for the return flight, but it was cheaper to just book it the “regular” way and pay for it. So I dropped the $150, Not too shabby!
I also needed a rental car, again not wanting to use our AmEX points. I looked on alaskaair.com to see what deals they were offering and compared them to Priceline (Jud informed me it’s often the cheapest) and they were the same price. After talking with a customer service rep for a few minutes and reading up on their policies, I felt at ease booking my rental car online. For Alaska Mileage Plan Card holders, theres a “perk” where you can cancel your car rental at any time. Sweet! There’s options (depending on which rental car company is booked) to earn more miles too. The customer service rep also informed me that the best savings come when rental cars and hotels are bundled, something to keep in mind for the future.
Something else that’s pretty awesome for cardholder to take advantage of is Alaska Air Visa Signature cardholders also receive that same cancelation policy to places like Disneyland! If you book your Disneyland tickets through their website and something comes up/plans change and you need to switch or cancel, NO BIG DEAL! Thats awesome!! There are so many more benefits to this card! Visit their website for more details.
Right now they are offering 30,000 miles to each new card holder. Each year (this is probably my favorite thing about the Alaska Air Visa Signature Card) every cardholder gets what they call a “companion fare” ticket. This ticket is just $100, plus taxes. Wanna go on a trip somewhere with your spouse? friend? mom? There you go!! Use skymiles for yourself, and a cheap ticket for them! The only catch is YOU have to be on that same flight. Right now they have an even better deal: they are waving the companion fare and just charging the taxes for the flight which can be as low at $22, depending on the flight. I haven’t used my companion ticket yet, but it’s nice to know I have it. And I still have 24,000 miles.
I have to add that I didn’t pay to check my bag, which saved me $25 each way. Overall, I was very impressed with what this card I rarely used had to offer. Another benefit to having airline credit cards is the added flight flexibility. If you need to take an early flight/late flight that your “go to” airline doesn’t offer, or is sold out, you have other options where you don’t have to pay to check a bag, etc. Not a bad idea to look into other airline credit cards to compare their offers.
Credit cards have been labeled “scary” things for so long, but they have so much to offer! Don’t leave deals on the table! Take advantage and ask questions! Most customer service reps are happy to help; if they aren’t, they lose your business. Remember to pay them off every month. It’s great to use different credit cards for different purposes. Just remember to stay organized. The more credit cards you use the trickier it can get, but it’s definitely doable. I hope this post was helpful! If you’re interested in getting the Alaska Air Visa Signature Card email us at email@example.com with your first and last name. Please email or post with any questions too! We love to hear from you!