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Okay it is cold and rainy outside.  It even snowed a week or so ago.  Like I said in my Amazon giveaway post, it’s time like these where I start thinking about somewhere warm.

snowstorm

This is how I feel and this is NOT how I WANT to feel

So where can I go on the cheap?  I am tracking my mileage balances with Award Wallet, and I’ve got plenty to go somewhere.  I even talked with a friend about bartering some airline miles for babysitting, and even have the potential to go somewhere the weekend of December 6th (or maybe in early January).

But where to go and how to get there?  I know there’s a bunch of smart people out there and while I’ve got a few ideas, maybe someone else has even better

The Ground Rules

  1. It has to be somewhere warm.  Like beach warm.  Florida is okay but we already took a getaway trip to Miami for free last year.
  2. We could do the weekend of December 6th, or sometime in January
  3. I have enough miles / points to do anything (within reason)
  4. Leaving from CVG or surrounding airports (DAY, IND, CMH, SDF all options) in case you want to use Southwest
  5. Hotels that use points preferred.
  6. The “winner” of the contest is not necessarily the one who uses the fewest points, but who comes up with the best trip for the points spent.
Views from the Hilton Fort Lauderdale

Views from the Hilton Fort Lauderdale

Option 1: Avios

I can get most places in the Caribbean for 24,000 miles roundtrip.  It’s either 4500 to CLT / PHL / DCA and then 7500 to the final destination, or 7500 to MIA and then a 4500 Avios hop to places like San Juan, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, etc.

Option 2: United

I’ve written before about the Caribbean Hopper on United, which is 17,500 miles for a one-way from the US to the Caribbean that allows an open jaw and a stopover.

Option 3: ANA

ANA is moving to a new zone-based award chart starting next year, but for now, they have a distance-based award chart.

ana-redemption-chart

So for 4,000 miles (which can get me to most places in the Caribbean when I connect through Houston), it’s only 22,000 miles roundtrip.

Kenny at Miles4More has a great series talking out about the sweet spots to the Caribbean on ANA.

Option 4: Southwest

I have the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets me travel for half price essentially.  The one annoying thing is that Southwest does not fly out of my airport of choice (Cincinnati), but there are a few other airports within an hour or two.

Southwest goes to several warm locations, though prices are pretty high for the weekend of December 6th.  Also, I’m not sure why the fees on Southwest were so much higher than on other airlines (since I’d assume that taxes / fees like airport / immigration fees would be constant across all airlines)

Hotels

Obviously points-based hotels would be best, though I do have some Barclay Arrival points that I could use for non-points lodging like was mentioned by the Carolina Travel Girl at FT4RL.

Something on the IHG Point Breaks list for December or January would be spectacular.

ihg-pointbreaks-december-map-preview

So….

Basically I want to go somewhere warm as cheap as possible.  Who can make it happen?  Leave a note in the comments!  I can’t promise any tangible “prize” for this contest, but if you come up with a truly amazing plan, I’ll figure something out.

bloom-image-never-miss-a-post

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