experiences

Promos Make All the Difference: Disney on a Dime

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While our family has always looked for deals when we travel; I did not get into using/accumulating loyalty points until last May when I happened to be on Twitter and saw Jeanne posting about the Club Carlson BOGO promotion starting at midnight.

The more I talked to people, the more I realized that traveling was probably more feasible for them than they realized, it’s just a matter of writing down the numbers and showing people what they can do.  One of my motivators for writing blog posts about travel is to help others (especially families) make traveling more economical for them.  This is the story about how these deals helped a friend of mine plan her upcoming trip to Disney World.

Now this friend has gone to Disney World before, has a family member who’s a travel agent in the area and can get them good deals, so she didn’t need me to get a good deal to Disney.  The reason I’m telling the story about this particular case is she used some of the promotions I found out about and passed along to plan this particular trip.  🙂

Radisson_Promos_Let_You_SaveWhen I signed up for the Radisson and Country Inn & Suites 50,000 and 44,000 point promotions last year I told her about them.  She later said she signed up for the deal and booked a weekend stay.  In a conversation last fall I told her about the Radisson we stayed at last year near Disney that was only 9,000 points a night (note:  it’s the Radisson Celebration and it went up to 15,000 points a night this year).  [EDIT: It is now 38,000 points, and I take full blame for not adjusting that–it was correct at the time of submission. -Jeanne]

We talked about going to Disney at the same time in May and I told her when we were heading out (we’re driving to visit other family en route) and I asked her which days she was looking at.  I looked up flights and found round-trip fares on Spirit for $103.80 if you purchase them at the airport ($137.78 to purchase them online).  The total comes to $267.60 for two round trip tickets and one checked bag each way.  The next cheapest flights were on Southwest for $245 per person ($490 total).  Spirit’s non-stop flights were also a factor since she’s traveling with both kids by herself so non-stop flights are a priority.

The entrance to Disney World.Since the property went up in cost (points-wise) she was only able to get four nights instead of five, and she had to purchase $45 in points to cover what she was missing, but overall still a good deal.  She only had to pay $45 for four nights at a hotel near Disney World and $267.60 for the round trip tickets.  For Disney World tickets we’ll be purchasing Disney Salute to the Military passes which are $156 per person for four days.  For the Disney promotion, military members can buy a certain number of tickets for friends and family (unlike the Sea World/Busch Gardens “Salute Our Heroes” promotion which only includes direct dependents).   This Disney promotion is great if you’re planning on spending only a couple of days at Disney.  If you’re planning to go for 8 or more days it’s not much of a price difference (per day) than the cost of a normal ticket.

If you recall from my first post about our trip to Europe, it costs the average family of four $4,000 to spend a week at Disney World.  The three of them (her husband has to work) will spend five days in Orlando and go to Disney for less than $1,000. I understand some people plan and save for a trip to Disney to go all out (hotels at the park, dining plan, etc.), but not everyone can afford to do that.  Yes, not everyone has access to cheaper passes to Disney, but there are many ways to cut the hotel, flight, (and food) costs on a trip to Orlando.  She didn’t go crazy trying to get point deals; she used one Club Carlson promotion and looked up cheaper flights and travel days.  I think a family of four could plan a trip to Disney for a week for $2,000 (or less) simply by taking advantage of a hotel promotion or two (or one credit card sign-up) and doing some research on the flights.  It’s definitely doable with a lot less planning and work than say, an 18-day trip to Europe for a family of four.

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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

3 Comments

  1. Chris - Do It For The Points

    June 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Can also be done near Disneyland at the Radisson Suites Hotel Buena Park! We did it last December and the hotel even offers a free shuttle to and from the park. You just have to arrange it the night before to make sure there is room.
    http://www.doitforthepoints.com/2012/12/review-radisson-suites-buena-park.html

    The points per night is a bit steeper at 28,000 pts per night, but I saw some 5,000 pts and $85 per night rates as well. All rooms include free breakfast so you will save a little money on that end of things.

    • Tiff

      June 7, 2013 at 11:52 am

      That’s a better deal now than this Radisson. At the time my friend booked it the points-per-night was 15,000, they’ve since upped it again to 38,000 points per night. The points per rate is 10,000 + $59.40 which isn’t bad, but not the best going anymore.

    • Tiff

      June 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Sorry I meant points + $$ rate and the Radisson Celebration is not the best rate going anymore. Obviously I shouldn’t reply to posts before I have my coffee in the morning. =)

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