Those faithful readers will know that I often tout one of the best credit cards as the Alaska Airlines BofA card. This is primarily due to the $99 companion fare allowed once a year. This makes for great mileage runs as it is essentially a twofer where both flyers get EQM/ RDM for slightly over the cost of one ticket. Since it is so hard to get much time off from work for mileage runs (and we like to make them mini-vacatios) we try to do them over the holiday weekends. The wife wanted to stop in San Diego to see old friends and we both wanted to go to Hawaii. Either Hawaii or Alaska is always our endpoint to make the most miles coming from D.C. I was able to find a routing DCA-PDX-SAN-HNL-ANC-SEA-DCA for a little over $1000 and gaining 12000+ EQM which becomes 25k in RDM for each of us since we are both MVP Gold.
We were scheduled to leave on the 14th, thankfully just missing the big Nor’easter that dumped 10″ on us in Arlington. It did make for a very crowded flight since the previous day’s flight was cancelled. I received a TripIt app alert that our flight was scheduled to arrive late in PDX and we would have only 17 minutes to connect! After boarding the Captain came on to comfirm that head wind were bad and we might not make out connection. We were sweating it since not only was it too late to cancel our hotel reservations and we would be charged for the night regardless, but we were upgraded to first class on the PDX-SAN leg. We asked the FA to inquire about the connection and she just said that she didn’t think we were going to make it, but she would ask the Captain if there was anything that could be done. Thankfully, Alaska held the flight to SAN so that we could run down the concourse and board. This is not the first time that I have had AS hold a flight for me. They are definitely the best airline about accomodating their passengers!
The Day One adventure was still not over. We arrive at the Fairfield Inn at Old Town San Diego and try to check in. I say try because the clerk very nicely explained that they had no more rooms! Now before I could launch in to the famous Seineld definition of a reservation, he said that they would pay for us to stay at the Marriott Marquis San Diego. You see, Marriott has a very little used benefit for their elites called the The Ultimate Reservation Guarantee. This says that if the hotel is unable to honor the reservation, they will pay for comparable accomodations in a nearby hotel. Essentailly, we got the equivalent of an airline bump. The guy actually tried to get us both nights of our stay at the Marriott Marquis, but they were full the second night. So the Fairfield Inn paid for our taxi to the Marquis and for our stay at this $324/night hotel and then paid for our taxi back to the Fairfield the next day. Worked out really well as we had planned to go down to the Gaslamp District anyway and this way we got a free night and a free ride. Check out the Marriott Marquis pictures below. Sweet!
Exploring San Diego tomorrow!