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I know that there are many people who take issue with the fact that many bloggers and Internet sites tout the concept of “free” travel.  And I do totally understand where they’re coming from since

And even if you DO manage to cover all your extra costs with “cash” points or some other form of payment, there’s still the opportunity cost of getting those miles (hey why didn’t you spend that money on a 2% cashback card so you could pay off your mortgage 45 minutes earlier?!!)

New York whimsical trip

A few weeks ago, I covered the news that Summer from Mommy Points had joined The Points Guy to start a new part of the site called TPG Family. I do understand that for some people, TPG is “the devil” and just a credit card shill etc and I understand why some people think that, though personally I feel like it’s a bit more nuanced than that.

In any case, Summer had emailed me asking if I had plans to be in New York in early August and inviting my family and I to their kickoff party. I replied that I didn’t really have any PLANS to be in New York, but with miles and points, there’s ALWAYS “plans” 🙂

This was a trip that, without miles and points, I would not have even DREAMT of taking.  Why go to New York City and only stay a day, just to attend a 2 hour party??!?  Similar to our trip to 4 to Chicago to see a Harry Potter play a few months ago

New York trip costs

So I thought it might be interesting to calculate the costs for this trip.  I ended up just going with one of my daughters, as she and Summer’s daughter really hit it off when our families were both in Denver a few months ago.

  • Plane tickets. We flew AA on the outbound and used some of my travel credit from one of the premium Chase cards. On the return we flew Frontier and it happened to be exactly $101, so we used 10,100 Barclay Arrival miles
  • Hotel – we stayed at the Hyatt Place Long Island City (12,000 Hyatt points)
  • Food – we had breakfast at The Club CVG lounge and lunch at the Centurion Lounge LGA.  We had a light dinner since we knew that we were going to be stuffing ourselves with candy at the kickoff party (it was at a candy bar).  We split a $2.99 deal at Two Bros Pizza which came with 2 slices of cheese pizza and a can of Sprite.  Breakfast the next morning at the hotel
  • Activities – the 2 of us had already been to New York a couple of years ago (SEE ALSO: A 10 year old’s Top 10 things to do in New York City), so since this was a quick trip, our only NYC activity besides the TPG party was touring the Public Library (free)
  • Transportation – really our only costs were subway and bus rides – we refilled our Metrocard twice for a total of $21

So I get that this trip wasn’t FREE but it sure felt like it while we were there!  Your accounting may vary. Compare that to hundreds of dollars if you were paying for everything.

And of course it comes with great memories!

What about you – where have you gone with miles and points? Share it in the comments

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