Author Topic: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)  (Read 8745 times)

Offline JayR

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My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« on: March 12, 2015, 02:30:00 PM »
Hi all, this is my first TR so go easy on me :D


Sunday:

Last Sunday morning, when I heard that NY is getting its 40th winter storm this morning, I knew it was time to get to warmer grounds. I checked the weather in Miami, and started planning a quick getaway. I already had planned to be in LA for Purim, so Miami would be a jump start on my vacation. First rule is to just book. I found an AA flight leaving at 3:20 pm from LGA, so I booked with BA for 7.5k. So far so good. I was seated in a middle seat, but I would take care of that later. Snow is starting to fall around 1pm so I'm a little concerned. A quick rental search showed that Enterprise was the cheapest. I reserved a midsize, packed some clothes and then headed to the airport. Parking on the street was easy and I signed up to a friend's uber referral, so I got a free ride. Uber Black came within 3 minutes of waiting. 2014 Black Lincoln MKX. Not bad for a free ride. Interestingly, the minimum fare for Uber Black is $15 - which was then waived with referral coupon. At least that step went well.

Next, I was annoyed that I didn't get TSA precheck. I tried by the desk, but they couldn't help me. Whatever. I headed through security, and had to take off my shoes >:(. Then, I headed to the AA lounge. Nothing too special, though the staff were great. By 2:30 pm, there was a legit snowstorm outside. I looked up the previous AA flight from LGA to MIA and it was delayed. So best case scenario is that my flight is delayed, and worst case is that it's cancelled. Oh well. Next, booking a hotel. Miami wasn't looking too good for SPG, so I chose Fort Lauderdale for the first night. Undecided between the W or the Westin. Although the Westin charged a resort fee, the W wasn't close enough to the water. So I decided on the Westin and booked a one night stay for 10k. Time to board. On the way out, I went to the desk and switched my seat to a window seat. No problems there. Now, I was just hoping we won't be delayed too much.

I boarded the plane at 2:45 pm. By then, the next AA flight from LGA to MIA was cancelled so I was worried they might cancel ours even after boarding. Thankfully, they announced we were planning on taking off, but they needed to de-ice the plane. Which means a long wait. They even offered passengers to get off the plane to wait in the gate area!! Anyways, they de-iced the plane and we took off around 5 pm. At least I made it! ;D On the flight I had a gogo coupon but couldn't access my email to get it. Oh well. I chatted with them and received a half hour pass. That worked well ;). Now, time to book a flight back. My flight to LA was leaving JFK on Tuesday at 6:30 pm, so I had to work around that. Now was the tough part. No AA saver flights Monday night or Tuesday morning. Bad news. I quickly checked regular prices and Matrix only gave me $250 frontier flight. No thanks. Even hidden city didn't help. However, there were flights from MIA to PHL so there was always a plan B.

We touched down in MIA around 7:15 and then just sat on the tarmac for an ungodly amount of time. Finally, around 8 pm, I finally got off and went through a couple of trains to get to the rental area. Payed 45/day for midsize, and then went to the lot to get a car. To my disappointment, there was no availability of sports cars. But, there were a couple of gorgeous looking SUVs. So it will be different chill, but it works 8). Besides, at least there won't be snow on the roads, or anywhere for that matter!! Payed 15 extra for a 2015 Chevy Tahoe. In white. A real beauty.

Since this wasn't my first trip to Florida, I had a pretty solid handle on the restaurant scene. I wasn't into a dinner but just food. I had an okay experience at House of Dog on Boca, so I figured I'll try the one in Miami. There really was no difference between both restaurants. Got wings and the BBQ beef burger. They had outdoor seating so I took it and enjoyed the weather. After dinner, I was pretty tired so I drove an hour to the Westin in Fort Lauderdale through Collins ave which was nice. The weather was really perfect and it wasn't too bad of a drive. Maybe a little humid but anything beats NY weather right now.
 
I arrived at the hotel and met Tim at the desk, who was sent from a Boston hotel to help out so we were both glad to be in Florida ;D. Being SPG Gold, I was upgraded to the Lanai Suite which instead of having a balcony, rather opened up straight onto the pool terrace. Amazing. Also, the Westin was the only the hotel in that area to have a bridge to the beach (Ritz had one further down) which would be fun to check out tomorrow. I was in the mood of relaxing so I flagged down one those biker taxis and took a ride to a CVS not too far away. I picked up some essentials and then headed back to the hotel. FYI, there are a lot of police cars in Fort Lauderdale. And a lot of bouncers ;). I took a night swim which just hit the spot and just chilled, enjoying the warm weather. And then it rained. A torrential downpour that lasted all of 20 minutes :o. Time to head inside. Checked on flights and still nothing opened. Not too worried, I went to sleep. And then they started vacuuming outside the room. Who the hell vacuums at 3 in the morning >:(. Afterwards, I saw that I was near two conference rooms and they were probably cleaning those up. Regardless, it was very annoying.

More coming...


Weather on the way to the LGA



De-icing the plane (notice the end of the wing)



Car Rental





Lanai Suite on pool floor
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 04:16:45 PM by JayR »
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Offline dealfinder85

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 02:40:58 PM »
so far so good

Offline benjie1305

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 02:46:57 PM »
a) I thought I remembered this from somewhere. Now I know why!

Why the hell is a hotel vacuuming their hallways at 3 am??  >:(

:D

b) Nice! I like this as way less people write TRs on short trips that people actually make way more often. Nice change of pace.
Work hard, Play harder!

Offline dealfinder85

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2015, 02:47:48 PM »
a) I thought I remembered this from somewhere. Now I know why!

:D
ha!
i also remembered seeing it but figured it was someone else
good find
and i want to go back to florida  :(

Offline JayR

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 03:00:01 PM »
and i want to go back to florida  :(
Wait till I get to the LA part ;D
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Offline solls108

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2015, 03:21:02 PM »
Sweet. Agreed with Benjie1305. I like the TR on the short haul trip!

How long are you there for? Also, no availability back to LGA? Fly or drive back to NYC from PHL?

Offline dealfinder85

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2015, 03:22:08 PM »
Sweet. Agreed with Benjie1305. I like the TR on the short haul trip!

How long are you there for? Also, no availability back to LGA? Fly or drive back to NYC from PHL?
judging from his title, hes already back

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2015, 03:30:56 PM »
a) I thought I remembered this from somewhere. Now I know why!

:D

b) Nice! I like this as way less people write TRs on short trips that people actually make way more often. Nice change of pace.
As long as writing the TR doesn't take longer than the vacation was.
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline Adam101

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2015, 03:33:25 PM »
Great start of a tr!

Offline Dr Moose

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2015, 03:40:03 PM »
nice TR
Hey there! I am using DansDeals Forums.

Offline benjie1305

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2015, 03:41:06 PM »
As long as writing the TR doesn't take longer than the vacation was.

Probably does but hey, if he enjoys it! I certainly do :)
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Offline JayR

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2015, 04:11:55 PM »
a) I thought I remembered this from somewhere. Now I know why!
LOL ;D

How long are you there for? Also, no availability back to LGA? Fly or drive back to NYC from PHL?
This was the first week of March

As long as writing the TR doesn't take longer than the vacation was.
I had plenty of time on the flights

Great start of a tr!
nice TR
Thanks guys!
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Offline JayR

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2015, 04:16:11 PM »
Monday:

Next morning was just beautiful. Got up, blah blah blah. Then headed to check out pool area. Not too far of a walk ;D. Took a quick swim and then headed to breakfast. I went to Motzart in Hollywood where I always had good experiences. I got the Motzart breakfast (3 egg omelet with mozzarella cheese, plain bagel toasted with butter, and israeli salad) and some grapefruit juice. Real vacation food :P. I also got their raviolis to go for lunch. When I got back to the hotel, it was time to book my flight back. Nothing opened Monday night so Tuesday it was. Nothing to NYC from MIA, FLL, or even PBI :(. So I booked 7.5k BA from MIA to PHL. But the flight was early, 7:40 am. (Why do I find that I'm always taking early flights back!?). A few phone calls, and I got a friend to pick me up at PHL. Because I was leaving that early, I booked the Element SPG near MIA for 7k SPG. Now, no more pressure! To the the beach! The bridge was fun to use and had some great views. The beach itself was really clean and not too crowded. The actual water was warm enough to enter, plus the waves were a ton of fun. After that, I  walked up and down the boardwalk, just chilling and seeing which hotel I should have stayed in ;D.

Back at the hotel, I had lunch by my pool terrace, which was quite cool. And then it was checkout time. Valet brought my car up and I drove to check into the Element. Even driving in Florida was so much fun. I checked into the Element which is a eco green hotel. No jokes. Some things about it were cool while others were just sad. I was surprised that the room came with a full kitchenette. Headed to the pool and enjoyed seeing the planes taking off from the airport and guessing what they were (I'm sure AJK could have helped me out with that :D). It was getting a little late, so around 6 pm I headed to Surfside for dinner. I reserved a table at Kosh and received a great dinner experience. Great beef sliders, and chicken skewers. And the steak was simply amazing, though a little dry (was expected). Drinks and dessert were decent.

During dinner, I figured it would be easier to return the rental car that night (and save money) then wait till the next morning and have to rush. I called the hotel which confirmed that they have a shuttle every half hour to/from the airport. After dinner, I drove to the airport rental and dropped off the car. The manager remembered me and laughed when I told him I only needed the car for 24 hours. I called the hotel and verified that the shuttle was coming. I then timed it to see how long it will take the shuttle so I'd know for tomorrow. I did hear great reviews about a cigar lounge nearby but I was too tired to go out. So an early night it was.



Beautiful weather



The Westin (with the bridge to the beach)







Fort Lauderdale Beach



16 oz. steak at Kosh with peppercorn sauce
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 11:31:35 PM by AsherO »
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Offline benjie1305

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2015, 04:20:11 PM »
So, this trip was just you riding solo?
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Offline solls108

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Re: My Week Vacation On Points (LGA-MIA-PHL, JFK-LAX-JFK)
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2015, 04:23:18 PM »
LOL ;D
This was the first week of March

How did you get from PHL back to NYC?