Decided to take a quick, very low cost vacay for the Veterans Day Weekend. The trip was practically free, here is how I did it. I signed up for the Capital One Venture card which gives you 2 reward points for every $1 you spend. If you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months they give you 40,000 bonus points. Spending $3k in 3 months is easy if you charge every single thing you can to the card (household utilities, grocery shopping, vehicle fuel, dining out, boozing, etc.). They key is to only charge what you would normally spend and pay the card off in full, not acquire debt in the quest to get bonus points. So that 40,000 plus the double points on the $3K I spent paid for my flight, car rental and hotel in Islamorada.
Miami Hotel was paid for using Hilton points. The key to getting free hotel stays is you gotta stay loyal to one hotel until you acquire enough points, then move over to another brand if you like (you can also convert air miles to hotel points if necessary). Hilton give you 10 points for every dollar you spend, but if you sign up for their email distro list you will often get emails offering your double and triple the points, that means 30 points for every $1 you spend. That makes getting free nights easy.
Next is to score a low cost car, because this trip extended into weekdays the car was higher than my usual weekend rentals. Even using my favorite Avis discount code K817165 (which took $100 off the rental) renting from E-Z was cheaper. 2 things I must note when renting from E-Z: 1) They require a $200 deposit, but I don’t mind paying that to save some coins . 2) In order to get the best discount rate from E-Z you must start a reservation and then act like you are leaving the page right before the reservation is complete. You will then get a popup saying, “HEY WAIT, here is 10% off if you stay!” BOOM!!!
|E-Z Don't Go, pop up box|
Ok so let’s take it from the top. Veterans Day (aka no work) was approaching so I decided to take a quick get away. BRT weekend happens to be that weekend so that was perfect. The only problem was that a very old friend was getting married on Ft. Benning , GA Saturday evening. Went to the wedding, drove home to Atlanta that night, finished packing and was on a 7am flight to Miami Sunday morning.
BEACH ROAD TRIP WEEKEND - simply put, is a large group of people taking a road trip to party on the beach, night and day, for an entire weekend. The festivities consist of 6 uniquely themed all-inclusive (free drinks & food) parties across a 3-day span in the beautiful resort town of Islamorada in the upper Florida Keys. You pay 1 low price and get admission to all 6 parties.Landed in Miami 9am, hop’d in my rental and drove 1 ½ hours south to Islamorada in the Florida Keys for the last day of the BRT weekend festivities. This was a solo trip, but I knew I would see familiar faces Sunday because Caribbean people can’t resist a good time.
|First flight outta Dodge|
|One Drop Sound|
Next up was the evening all white fete DAYDREAMS WHITE SANDS. All though all the BRT fetes were All Inclusive (meaning free food and drinks), I didn’t get to eat here either, but I did drink to my heart’s desire. The time flew by and before I knew it the fete was over. They had an after party, but that really isn’t even worth discussing. The 3 day weekend pass for BRT was $200. I paid $75 for the Sunday pass. I don’t know if I would enjoy an entire weekend of BRT, but it was an entertaining Sunday.
|DAYDREAMS WHITE SANDS|
|Lil Yellow Mustang drove to Islamorada|
After snorkeling it was time for some grub, so I pull up American Air Dining to see where I could eat and earn some Airline miles at the same dayym time. 5 air miles for every $$ spent at the restaurants on their list. Not sure why I feel the need to say this, but for the record I do not eat sushi. I had a Ginger salad and Beef fried rice.
Ended Monday evening in Miami. I thought about hitting the town, but ended up partyn in my room with a juicy bottle of rum, some plantain chips and Mr. Bose. Not gonna lie, it was a marvelous evening of some much needed Chill Time. If you recall I really like The Grand by Hilton Doubletree, but I was cashing in Hilton Points and The Hilton Miami Downtown was 10,000 points less a night. I could however admire The Grand from my window.
Started Tuesday with another gourmet breakfast from Burger King and then went to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. I really wanted to visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, but it is closed on Tuesdays. Vizcaya looks like some top notch sh*t, hope to get to visit one day. The Botanical Garden wasn’t that impressive, but atleast it was free. A quiet place to enjoy a morning beverage of a Jamaica Me Crazy wine cooler and rum.
|Miami Botanical Garden|
Drove about an hour to cash in my Groupon for a tour of the Everglades. Somehow visiting the Everglades ended up on my bucket list. I fly in/out/through Miami often and always glaze out the window at the Everglades and wonder what It’s like down there. It was an amazing afternoon, the landscape and wildlife was breathtaking. I definitely need to go back and spend more time there so I can venture further.
Tuesday evening was spent chillaxin back in Miami, downing my favoritest drink in life Amaretto Pineapple from Fat Tuesday. I slept like a mother beep’n champ Tuesday night cause as you saw I had a jam packed day. And that folks was my version of a chillaxing solo getaway.
PS: I've acquired a new point based credit card so I can start planning my next free get away. Yeah that will drop my credit score a tad bit, but I don't plan on financing a car or house anytime soon.