It’s pretty evident that I am obsessed with TheFlightDeal, and I especially get excited when a deal pops up from the New York area to somewhere warm and sunny in the middle of the winter.
I am also a better spontaneous-traveler than a planner-aheader. Usually when I plan too far ahead with mistake fares and sales, it turns out to really be a mistake, and I lose out. You’d think I’d learn, but this also happened again not too long ago when I impulsively booked a mistake fare/mileage run to Iguazu Falls 6 months ahead with a routing that included 30 hours (!!) of flying each way in economy.
As a pregnant
diva woman, let’s just say that I let that ticket go to waste (after much huffing and puffing over the loss, of course). But still, at least I vowed to never mileage-run again, and I’m sticking to it.
Back in July, a nice deal from EWR – St. Lucia popped up on American Airlines for winter 2015 travel that included a night in Miami on both the outbound and return segments. “Normal” people might have steered clear from a routing like that, but when you’re dealing with polar-vortexes in the heart of January, any excuse to spend a night in warmer weather will do. I was sold. Two tickets were booked.
As the months passed, it was time for me to look into hotel options in Saint Lucia. S*#&, it was expensive. I’m talking $600ish a night at a non-chain hotel. Sure, St. Lucia is probably beautiful, but this trip was looking less and less enticing the more I thought about it. Even with “cheap flights”, I’d be spending a fortune. I needed out.
Then comes along United and their tempting discount award destinations. I see a familiar place. A happy place – Cancun. As a United 1k (for one more month), I decided to “protect myself” and book 2-round trip awards at 28,000 miles and $69 a piece (I tried to add in the free one-way, but it repriced to the standard 35,000-mile price). If anything, I could cancel just hours before the flight for a full refund.
Now all I had to do was hope and pray that I received the magical email… and I did:
I wrote an earlier post about how schedule changes can be used to your advantage. After a 7-minute conversation with American Airlines, I was able to receive a full-refund on the flights to St. Lucia!
In all honesty, I was expecting to eat yet another loss, so this new really made my day.
Of course, the only way to celebrate was to book 4-nights at the new Hyatt Zilara Cancun (all-inclusive), which is a sweet-spot redemption in itself if you have a healthy balance of Hyatt points and/or Ultimate Rewards points.
At 25,000 points per night, you’re getting a 5-star, all-inclusive suites-only property for two adults, quite the bargain.
It’s safe to say that I consider all of these events a “win”.
Have you had a similar story? Also, have you visited the Zilara in Cancun yet? If so, would love feedback and tips!
Stay warm, everyone.