Vegas: 100K Delta Miles or 37000 Southwest Points

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This past Thursday Kim and I headed to Las Vegas for BAcon, the BoardingArea conference.

Getting to Vegas became a bit of a challenge due to a couple of factors. The start/ end times and dates of the conference didn’t seem to agree with flights out of the NYC area. Purchasing a flight wasn’t an option since they would cost a small fortune (and we don’t like to pay for flights unless it seems to be a really awesome deal).

The nice thing about having miles and points spread around a variety of programs is that there are usually options when we want or need to fly somewhere.

My preference was to fly with Southwest since Kim currently has the Companion Pass until the end of 2014. (She also still has a decent amount of Rapid Rewards points.) This gives us the option to book one ticket and get the second one for free, just paying the taxes for the flight.

When I searched for award availability I was disappointed with the available options.

The BoardingArea Conference was planned to start on Friday at 3:00 PM and end on Sunday, 3:00 PM.

We could fly with Southwest the day before arriving Thursday night just before midnight. Not bad at all.

The return flight was the issue. The latest flight home left Vegas at 2:00 PM getting us back to NY at midnight.  Again, not so bad. However, with the conference ending at 3:00 PM, I’d have to leave at the latest by noon missing two sessions. This wouldn’t be such a big deal but one of the sessions I’d have to miss seemed like one of the most important ones of the conference!

Since Southwest offers free cancellations, I went ahead and booked the flights as a backup plan. The cost of the flight came to 37,763 Rapid Rewards points + $10 each for taxes.

I figured that I could now keep looking for better options, hoping something else would come up.

I checked for flights on American, United and Delta with only one of the airlines offering better options in terms of flight times (although not perfect).

We could fly with Delta for 100,000 miles (50,000 per person) and $11.20 tax. This would offer us relatively decent flight options and I wouldn’t have to miss any of the conference!

For our way to Vegas, we had many options. Since we wanted to drop Lucas off at school, we couldn’t leave until 11:30AM. This flight included a quick stop in Minnesota before arriving in Las Vegas at 3:50PM.

The way home was a bit trickier. We only had one real option. We could fly home on Sunday night (tonight) at 10:15PM. This sounds perfect besides the minor detail of getting home the following morning at 6:05AM to NY.

So what’s the problem? Kim has to be at work by 8:15, myself by 9:00!

In the end we decided to book with Delta since I wanted to be able to attend the full BoardingArea Conference. 

I know that I am going to pay for it tomorrow when I have to work. I am hoping to make it through half of the day!

What would you have done? Miss a good amount of the conference and book with Southwest or fly the red-eye with Delta?

4 thoughts on “Vegas: 100K Delta Miles or 37000 Southwest Points

  1. I had the same dilemma coming home. I had booked Wan and I on Delta using my Platinum DL Amex companion cert which would have worked out fine had she been able to make it. So tons of value lost there and in the end I just couldn’t bear the idea of getting into JFK at midnight before trying to get to Hoboken so I ponied up some cash to go standby. Now Im in the last row of economy just happy that waking up at 6 wont suck as much tomorrow.

  2. Points With A Crew- Based on how I felt today, I wish I had flown out mid-day! (But glad I was able attend the whole event.)

    Jake- Some tough decisions there. I hope the standby ticket wasn’t a painfully high price!

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