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Alaska Airlines


2 Days in San Diego

March 10, 2016

February is typically one of the tougher months to get through when living in Boise, ID.  It’s usually super cold, dark, and the valley can get blanketed with inversions for days at a time.  With some help from the Alaska Airlines credit card rewards program, we were able to say “eff that noise” and blow this Popsicle stand for a couple days.  For the cost of a tank of gas, we whisked ourselves away to sunny California where we spent 2 days in San Diego.

With risking you not reading the rest of this post, you can jump over to our previous post to see our step by step instructions on how to get a free flight on Alaska Airlines…which is how we were able to afford this trip.  Their latest offer includes a $100 statement credit which will wipe out the $75 annual fee the card has and leave you with $25 extra in credit to use.  We don’t get paid to promote this offer FYI.  I just genuinely think it’s a cool option to save on a quick trip.

Back to San Diego…

Lacey and I initially planned on going to a Rihanna concert while we were in San Diego, but found out at the last minute that the show was rescheduled for May.  Anyone wanna buy our tickets? 🙂  Once we wiped the concert off of our itinerary we realized that it was the ONLY thing on our itinerary.  This realization was followed up by a conversation that went something like this…

“So what should we do in San Diego now?” -Mat

“I’m down for whatever.  I’m not even sure what’s there.” – Lacey

“Wanna hang out in downtown on Friday and then the beach on Saturday?” – Mat

“Sounds good.” – Lacey

After this intense and lengthy conversation, our trip was planned.  I’m not kidding, that’s all that was said before we left.

We landed in San Diego on a Friday morning at 10am, got an early check in at our hotel (Hampton Inn), and were drinking Coronas while eating nachos at the Waterfront Bar and Grill by 11:15am.

Lacey and I immediately fell in love with San Diego.  Not only was the weather absolutely perfect (73 degrees with a very light breeze), but I personally just felt like I fit in right away.  The city is super casual.  All of the guys wear t-shirts, longer shorts, flat billed baseball hats, and have tattoos.  Sound familiar?  I love it when I can visit a new city and not worry about standing out like a dorky tourist.

The food options in San Diego are right up our alley as well.  There is a ton of delicious Italian food (check out Sorrento in Little Italy), as well as some of the best Mexican/American food you can get.  Lacey and I are both suckers for anything that comes in a tortilla.  We also drank some of the biggest/best margaritas of our lives at a place down by Mission Beach.  I wish we could remember the name of the place, but that again speaks to the fact that they were awesome margaritas.

Friday, we spent time cruzing around Little Italy and the Gas Lamp Quarter.  After a quick shower we hopped on an 8 minuted train to get to the Top of the Hyatt for dinner.  We’d definitely recommend you check this place out as the food and views from the 40th floor are great!

Saturday, we jumped on a train that took us to a large bus station that ultimately took us to Mission Beach (we spent $10 total on getting around San Diego during this trip).  Mission Beach is beautiful! There is a 3 mile oceanfront boardwalk that Lacey and I strolled around on for the first hour when we got there.  After working up a thirst, we stopped in the Lahaina Beach House for a couple drinks.  The place has a really cool view of the boardwalk allowing us to continue with some great people watching.  We walked around a bit more, had some margaritas, got some delicious ice cream, and then headed back to our hotel.  After another quick shower, we finished up our San Diego trip with a delicious dinner in Little Italy.

While our visit was super brief, we both fell in love with the food, weather, and overall vibe of San Diego.  I’m not sure why everyone in the world isn’t trying to move there in all honesty.

Let us know if you’ve ever been to SD and have additional spots we should check out the next time we visit!

If you haven’t been yet…go!

 Flight to San Diego

neck pillow…don’t get on a plane without it!

San Diego Airport

Little Italy San Diego

2 days in San Diego

Gas Lamp San Diego

Gas Lamp San Diego

Top of the Roof Hyatt San Diego

Top of the Roof Hyatt San Diego

Lacey Hyatt San Diego

Hyatt food San Diego

Jason DeRullo San Diego Hilton

Jason Derullo surprise concert at the Hilton San Diego

PetCo Park San Diego

Continental Breakfast Hampton Inn San Diego

San Diego Bus

bus ride to Mission Beach

Mission Beach San Diego

Mission Beach San Diego

one of the oldest wood roller coasters is at Mission Beach

Mission Beach

Lahaina Beach House

Giant Margarita

Giant Margarita San Diego

Mission beach San Diego

waiting for the bus at Mission Beach


Result of Lacey trying to break in a new pair of shoes

Ice Cream Mission Beach

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Rewards Points Travel

San Diego for Rihanna. Rewards Flight in 12 Days

January 31, 2016

A few weeks ago, Lacey told me that she really wanted to go to San Diego to see an upcoming Rihanna concert.  Being that we just used all of our flight and hotel rewards points to book our Final Four and Malta trips, I didn’t think this would be possible on such short notice.  My initial response to Lacey was “I’m sorry, we just can’t afford it right now.”  A day or two later I realized what an asshole response that was since I hadn’t even investigated our potential rewards options yet.

Rather than spending time on my acceptance speech for the shittiest husband of the year award, I decided to hop on the computer and see if there was any way to make this trip happen.  After all, Lacey was amazing enough to let us use some of our rewards points and cash on our upcoming trip to Houston for the Final Four, so I needed to do my absolute best to return the favor.  I began searching for any rewards programs that might help us get to San Diego for free or at a discount.  Not kidding, it took me less than 10 minutes to find an option that would get us round trip flights from Boise to San Diego for $87 ($75 sign up fee and $12 taxes and fees while booking the flights).  More importantly, this option was doable on short notice.

Below is the process I used to help us save over $400 on flights which ultimately made this trip possible for us…

…oh and spoiler alert, at the end of this post is a video of Lacey dancing to Rihanna on Halloween last year.

As usual, I started with Google.  I typed in “Boise to San Diego Flights”.  The returning results let me know which airlines we could use (Alaska, American Airlines, United, and Delta).  I noticed that Alaska Airlines offers a non-stop flight, so I immediately Googled “Alaska Airlines Rewards Program”.  I was looking for the current Alaska Airlines credit card offer and for the booking section on Alaska’s site that would show me if there were available flights on the dates we needed, and if so, how many rewards miles we’d need to book ’em.

I found that the current rewards offer for this card is 25k miles “upon approval”.  That’s amazing! More often than not, rewards cards like this have spending requirements that can takes 2-3 months to achieve.  This card gives you the points “in 2-3 weeks” following your application approval.  Perfect for a short notice trip!

Alaska Airlines Rewards Card

While snooping in the booking section on Alaska’s site, I found that there were round trip flights Boise-San Diego on the dates we needed that cost exactly 25k bonus miles.  Heyo!  I immediately submitted our applications for this rewards card.

Alaska Airlines Boise to San Diego Rewards Options

We received the bonus points in 12 days and were able to book our highly discounted flights for $12.  Again, the sign up fee for this card is $75, so our total cost is $87 for these flights.  Still a lot better than the $500-ish we would have paid for full price tickets.  We used the extra money saved on these flights to get some pretty decent seats for the Rihanna concert.

To keep the rest of the trip budget friendly, we’ll be staying at the Hampton Inn near the Gaslamp district.  Why this hotel? I know it doesn’t sound super luxurious, but it has an airport shuttle, free hot breakfast, and is super close to the public transport station that we’ll be taking to the concert.  This hotel is also within walking distance of all the restaurants and bars we’re hoping to check out. All of these perks combined will likely save us another $200-$300 on our trip.

So it looks like we’ll “shine bright like a diamond” with Rihanna in a few weeks down in San Diego.  Hopefully the weather is beautiful and we won’t need to take an umbrella-ella-ella-ay-ay.  …I’m such a dork sometimes I make myself want to hide under a table.

Hopefully you found this useful and can use the process outlined above to book your own vacay on short notice.  For more tips and options, check our previous post relating to this subject here.

We’ll see you soon San Diego!

As promised, an awesome video of Lacey Killing it to Rihanna on Halloween last year.  …dressed as a Day of the Dead.

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