So last month I ended up planning a last minute Disney World trip with my son which you can hear about on the Disney Deciphered podcast here and here. The trip wouldn’t have been possible without miles and points so I thought it might be useful to illustrate how they made it happen. The techniques here could be replicated by anyone, so hit us up in the comments if you have any questions!
Flight: Jetblue using Jetblue points
To book the flight I used my Jetblue points. Flights were a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay with cash so I used some Jetblue points that I had lying around. I earned most of them with the Jetblue Plus card which also gave me Mosaic status after spending $50K in a calendar year. That gave me the chance to move flights around with what worked best with my schedule. I’d say flights were the most “expensive” part of the trip, but I have quite a few Jetblue points so I was happy to use them. I also could have transferred Jetblue points over from Citi Thank You points or paid for the flights using Citi Thank You points at 1.25 cents per point with my wife’s Thank You Premier.
Lodging: Hyatt Place Orlando Lake Buena Vista with Ultimate Rewards points
Since I booked my hotel a little over two weeks before my trip, there was no availability at on site Disney hotels. I wanted a hotel close to the parks so I ended up booking the Hyatt Place Orlando Lake Buena Vista. I asked for a family room which comes with bunk beds which should come in handy next time we go with the whole family.
The hotel costs 12,000 points per night which is a little bit too expensive, especially considering they Hyatt Place Grand Cypress costs the same amount after the last Hyatt award category changes. The Grand Cypress didn’t have availability for my dates so I went with the Hyatt Place. I actually paid for one night with points transferred from Ultimate Rewards and one free night that I got from the World of Hyatt credit card.
Park Tickets: Bought using discounted gift cards
I’ve been stockpiling Disney gift cards for awhile. Every time Happy Cards were discounted I bought Disney gift cards at a discount using the methods outlined here. I also jumped on some BJ’s deals when those showed up. So I bought two day park hoppers from Disney directly and used the Disney gift cards to pay for them. I’d estimate I saved somewhere between 15-20% on my park tickets. I should also note that since Disney doesn’t discount tickets of two days or less I wouldn’t have saved money using Undercover Tourist or anything like that.
Car Rental: $35 dollars a day using Autoslash
I used Autoslash to save a bunch of money on my car rental. Autoslash is a website that will automatically search and notify you when there’s a price drop on your car rental. This happens often and so it’s great to have a website that will monitor it for you. Whenever the price drops Autoslash sends you an e-mail and gives you the option to book the lower rate. We’ll write up how to use Autoslash sometime, just know that it saved me over $100 on my car rental for this last minute trip!
Were it not for miles and points, I probably wouldn’t have booked my last minute trip with my son at all. Luckily, I had enough miles and points in the metaphorical bank to spend very little cash out of pocket on the trip. Remember, miles and points are a means to an end – so I like to use them liberally! Overall, I had an amazing time with my son for two days in Disney world, but again you can listen to the podcast if you want to hear about that.
Have you ever used miles and points to book a last minute trip to Disney World? Let us know in the comments or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!