9 days have passed since my last post? Yikes! Unfortunately packing, painting, and moving (during yesterday’s snow storm), has totally consumed my life. I don’t care what anyone else says, living out of a suitcase and hotel hopping is much easier [and more fun] than owning furniture and moving, ha.
Well, with my move officially finishing tomorrow, it looks like I’ll be assisting with another surprise move the following day… this time, all the way in Aiken, South Carolina. Congrats to my brother for finally landing a dream job right out of college; he’ll be starting up in less than two weeks, so him and I booked a last-minute trip down there to help him find a place to live.
Since this trip came with such short notice (we literally booked the flights today for a New Year’s Day departure), we opted to use United miles since award space was sparse on other carriers, and revenue tickets were priced sky-high and way out of a fresh-outta-college-student’s budget. We’ll be flying round trip between EWR and Columbia, SC for 20,000 UA miles a piece (taken from Dad’s balance, of course).
With only two nights in town, we figured it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of Marriott’s MegaBonus promotion (stay two nights, get a free night certificate), since hotels are generally inexpensive in the rural southeast.
Here’s what I did to maximize my earnings and savings while taking advantage of this promotion:
- Since I rarely have stayed at Marriott properties in the past and don’t have elite status with the brand, I called Marriott’s Customer Support Center to request a free Platinum Elite challenge. Platinum perks include: 50% bonus points, lounge access/free breakfast, late check out, and free wifi.
- Using TopCashBack to receive 5% back on Marriott egiftcards, I purchased a $175 Marriott egiftcard, earning me an additional 10 points per dollar for the gift card purchase, on top of the 5 points per dollar I was already earning while using Dad’s Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. You can also use promo code AMT for a 10% bonus on Marriott gift cards until 12/31/12 (not valid on egiftcard purchases).
- I then booked one night at the TownHouse Suites near the Columbia, SC airport for the AAA rate of $67 using the Mr.Rebates cash back portal, earning 4% back.
- Our second night will be at a Fairfield Inn, at the rate of $94, near his job location, which was also booked through Mr.Rebates for 4% cash back.
- After we complete the two stays, we will get a free night certificate to use for a future Marriott stay under the Fall 2012 MegaBonus promotion, which ends January 15, 2013 (thanks to the commenter clarifications!).
As far as the rental car, I used Car Rental Savers to secure a car from Alamo at the rate of $25 a day.
Now this is a far-stretch, considering my brother is moving to the remote town of Aiken, South Carolina, but if there are any readers in the area that can suggest some desirable parts of town to live in, we’d most certainly appreciate your suggestions!
On a side note, I had lunch with TravelBloggerBuzz here in NJ a few days ago, and we talked about winning contests. Ironically as I was saying, “man, I never win contests”, I was immediately notified by Virgin Atlantic that I was a winner in their VAAGiveaway! Very cool!
Wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year!