For this adventure, I decided I was going to the San Francisco Giants game to get Alaska Airlines 2 for vouchers.
Here is my original post about the deal: CLICK HERE
To do this, it had to be low cost out of pocket expense. I mean San Francisco just for the day, is that possible? Yes! And I got my flight and game ticket for a total of $11.20
I booked as soon as I stumbled upon a post about the giveaway. My go to airlines for my adventures is usually Southwest. Yes, I know, I flew Southwest to get free Alaska airlines savings. The thing I love about Southwest is I can cancel for free and I get my points back or my money goes to a travel credit. I just recommend keeping close track of these travel credits. I can also change my flights anytime and only pay the fare difference. No fees.
I booked a round trip into Oakland(OAK) as it provides a lower cost option. You will find that southwest uses smaller airports which they can pay less for using. Southwest also provides in my mind the best value for points spending. I spent about 10,000 points for a round trip ticket. Although I almost only book one-way tickets now, especially with Southwest. There’s a back story but that’s another post for another day. All I paid was the taxes which were $11.20.
How do you get those points? Fly with southwest, have Chase ultimate rewards points (from chase credit cards), or earn points through Southwest shopping portal. For example, I earned 3,000 points recently ($1,000 purchase) just for buying furniture we were already getting. That’s almost for a one-way ticket. I booked the first flight out from Sea-Tac and the last flight back from Oakland to give myself enough time.
For a change, I never recommend doing what I do. That is, I work my shift which is 10 hours at a minimum, get off at 1 or 2AM, and head to the airport. This is the easiest way for me though and it helps limit the time I am away from home on these kinds of trips since no overnight is required. It also means I am up most of the 36-40 hour adventure. In addition, those early flights and late flights can usually be the least expensive. I parked with WallyPark using a groupon. Total with taxes about $15. I also bought the groupon via a shopping portal again to earn points. Every mile and point counts.
I got to the airport and killed some time until 5am when the airport lounge opened. The Alaska Lounge is a great one and with my Priority Pass (via Chase Sapphire Reserve) I gain access to include a guest. I had some coffee, breakfast, relaxed, and all without any money out of pocket.
Getting to San Francisco:
I had researched via trip advisor and I must admit, it was easier than I imagined. The Oakland airport although small and as I later learned, not very clean, was easy to navigate. You simply get yourself to terminal 1 which provides access to the BART. The airport BART , which isn’t really “the official BART” is a small monorail type which will take you on a quick 5-minute ride to the actual BART system. Although this part is actually free, you have to buy a ticket to exit and board the trains. The ticket machines have a map and easy price guide. You simply buy a ticket and load whatever amount you need. The BART is the nosiest train/subway/transit system I have ridden, but in just about 30 minutes I was in downtown San Francisco. There are a couple stops which provide easy access to the city. I chose to walk to the ballpark, but there are some other transit options once you arrive in the city.
I didn’t pay for my game ticket as I had a $55 credit via the gametime app. It’s like a stub hub and was easy to use. Tickets were expensive, especially for a last place team, but they take their baseball serious and there was the giveaway. I tried to buy more tickets to secure more vouchers but with game prices not dropping, I got my one voucher. The rest of the vouchers I had to earn or in this case beg for. In reality, I politely asked several people and I looked for people dropping any of their vouchers. I was able to secure enough to make the trip worth in it my mind. There were some vultures among the crowd. People standing at escalators begging for vouchers which they were then selling or posting on eBay to try and make a few bucks. I don’t have the begging in me, so I secured mine and went back to enjoying the game when I could.
Why all the fuss about these vouchers. Well they essentially allow you to pay for one person and only pay tax on the second. Although the travel windows did not include holidays, there was some value to be had. For a simple trip to Las Vegas or California, you could have easily saved $200 per voucher. One of my co-workers booked Las Vegas and they paid about $260 for two people total round trip. You cant complain about $130 per person for a round trip flight!
If I had been booking a family vacation for the four of us and going somewhere international, I could have saved at least $800. I would have only been able to book in February due to the kids in school, but flights for all four of us would have been anywhere from $1,000-1,200. $250 for one-person roundtrip to Mexico isn’t a bad deal at all.
Was it worth it? For me yes, even if I had to pay for the trip. If I had been planning a big family vacation I could have easily done this trip under $250 to save $800. You still come out ahead. But in reality, here is what I paid
Game Ticket: FREE
Airport Parking: $15 and I earned points
Food: I spent the same amount had I attended a local game or gone out with friends. Lunch and a beer plus dinner
Savings: I saved people over $800. I’ll call that a win.
I am always up for an adventure and I will have more coming. Hopefully you not only got some tips out of this, but can now look forward to next year in hopes you can get one of these vouchers from the Saving Traveler!