Have you ever wanted to go to a Super Bowl? It is possible and not necessarily with just points or miles, although that can help. I have the privilege of being able to say I have been to three Super Bowls. Amazing experience win or lose, although there is no comparison to being there for a championship win. They are not cheap and sometimes you may have to roll he dice and book in advance and go anyway, even without tickets.
Here are my tips:
- You can book and cancel any airfare within 24 hours now so this could be to your advantage. Book the night before the NFC or AFC Championship game and cancel if your team loses.
- Book with Southwest Airlines who if you cancel will deposit the funds into a voucher/account to be used for future travel. If you know you will be traveling in the future anyway, then this is a no brainer.
- You can always fall back on miles or points to get there. I did this with one Super Bowl and it worked great for airfare. I even splurged and got first class for part of the route.
- Hotels might look expensive but consider points or last minute options like Hotwire or Hotel tonight. Also, network to look for friends or friends of friends with housing.
- Need to spend the money but save? Fly into a city nearby and rent a car. Many times, you need a car anyway, unless in a city like New York.
A brief look at my stories from each super Bowl
Super Bowl XL: Detroit- My first one. I remember one of my best friends calling me and saying he had the chance to grab tickets. Some family members had bought some from a scalping source, but then got seats from the team. I think the tickets were $1,000 each maybe. I was new to my job but I jumped at the chance. I had to borrow some cash to make the trip but couldn’t pass it up. We booked flights on US Air(some extinct airline now). We managed to get as flight with a layover in Vegas. Craziest time I had on the way to a Super Bowl. Needless to say, we slept well after the Vegas layover.
We stayed with a friends’ girlfriends (now wife) parents. A little awkward but they were great. We crashed on a floor in a suburb outside of Detroit. I can’t recall what day we flew in but it was a short stay. Detroit wasn’t that impressive. In addition, it was cold and it snowed. My first Super Bowl I had thoughts of Miami beach or California sun. Nope, Detroit and snow it was. Now that I think about it I think we went around town on Saturday, then the game, Sunday, and flew out Tuesday maybe. I recall Detroit having the nice stadiums right next to each other and Greek town which had restaurants and maybe a casino. I also remember “The People Mover” which was like a monorail that went around a short section of town. I also remember tall buildings with windows shattered and lots of rough looking parts. I had a great time but Detroit hasn’t been back on my travel list.
We lost and making matters worse I recall hem handing out terrible towels as we entered the stadium. Pittsburgh was a short drive from Detroit and we were out manned.
Super Bowl XLVIII: New York/New Jersey-I had to wait 8 years for a chance to return to the Super Bowl. My cousin and his brother in law had booked his airfare in like October I think, maybe even hotel, I can’t recall but he knew we were going as were the Seahawks. I remember I was on the edge of my seat but I booked my airfare sometime during the NFC Championship game. I used miles and I recall that first class was actually not much more so I figured I would go in style. Had I cancelled I might have had to pay but I could have gotten my miles back.
My cousin and his brother in law flew out earlier than me. His grandma gave him some Hilton points and we stayed at a Hampton inn right outside the stadium. I crashed on the floor and was once again completely fine with that because I was at the Super bowl. I had secured tickets through a friend of a friend. She couldn’t find anyone to go and I was in at a pretty decent price (about $1,200 if I recall). We could see the stadium from our hotel, but we couldn’t walk across to the game even though we were right across the street. Due to the security for the Super Bowl, we had to cab it out to a train station and then take the train in. Luckily, we like getting in early because the transportation got a little messy but that was well after us. This had projections to be one of the coldest Super Bowls in recent history. Just my luck again, a cold Super Bowl. The weather turned out pretty well on game day. The best part was we won! The first Super Bowl Championship for my hometown team. Greatest feeling ever for a die-hard sports fan like me.
We also had the chance to attend an NBA game, see Times Square, and the 9/11 memorial. We did a lot in a short amount of time.
Quite a large snow storm hit within 5 or 6 hours after the game. We woke up to lots of snow on the ground. My cousin and his brother in law were flying out that morning. They barely made it out. I took the train into town and landed a hotel on hotwire for about $85. It was great and I met up with some friends from high school. I had some ideas of what New York might be like and thought dirty, stinky, and crowded, but I must say I was impressed. I was only there a day and I still can’t wait to get back. I flew out the next day and it’s certainly a trip I’ll never forget.
Super Bowl XLIX: Glendale, AZ- I had no idea I would be back so soon. The Seahawks were back in the Super Bowl and so was I. This one was the hardest to get into and proved to be the hardest loss. Again, my cousin had been able secure some Hilton points and we were at a Hampton Inn. This time my cousins’ friends would be joining us as well. No need for airfare this time, because we drove! A long drive for sure. I went all that way without tickets but luck turned out to be on my side via my cousin. He managed to secure tickets through the Seahawks. We got Club Level tickets, row 1 at face value ($1,995). Keep in mind Seahawks fans had driven up the market so much that professional scalping or resale companies went out of business. Tickets approached $10,000 and the companies couldn’t deliver on the purchases. We lucked out again and even got to pick them up from the Seahawks Hotel. Major security getting in that place and we had to be on a “a list” just to get in, let alone pick up tickets.
We managed to take in a PGA tournament while we were in town seeing the likes of Tiger Woods. I’m not a huge golf fan but it was a great experience.
We attended a rally downtown and tried to take in some local bars and restaurants. The Phoenix area did not seem prepared for the masses known as the 12th Man or the 12’s. The restaurants and bars ran out of food after the rally and you couldn’t get in anywhere without a 2 hour wait. I heard several people say they had no idea there would be so many people. My friend (Detroit Super Bowl) was in town and as a member of the media now knew some great spots to eat. He found us a hidden gem and we all had a nice dinner.
I have now been to Glendale twice and while everything is spread out it seems to look rose getting in than the experience. The traffic looks bad but seems to go quick. The parking ticket shows you what exit to take off what freeway and they are all color coded. You have to go that way and it streamlines the process a bit. I had bought the parking pass off stub hub but picking it up took me 2 hours just for will call. Another mess of planning for the Phoenix area.
A devastating loss indeed. I was at that end of the field where we should have ran the ball. We should have been back to back champions but none the less, another adventure for me and my sporting events.
I never thought I would get to attend one super bowl, let alone three. It’s an amazing experience but I am not sure I would go unless my team was playing. Too much money, too many miles, and planning to wrap up into one event unless you have a vested interest.