Monday, October 21, 2013

Final Trip ... as a Lap Child

Well, as some of you may know, in only a few weeks, I will no longer qualify for "free lap child status" with the airlines. After I officially turn 2 years old, I my father will have to pay for my own seat. While that will increase our travel expenses, at least I will finally start earning some frequent flyer miles. After all, by the time I turn 2 years old, I will have already flown 136,097 total miles, but haven't earned a single frequent flyer mile yet!

But before that actually happens, we decided to go for one final trip to Scottsdale, Arizona where we'll spend a few days enjoying 85 degree weather as the Northeast autumn takes its chilly grip over Manhattan.

Why Scottsdale?  Well, we never really planned on going anywhere, especially to Phoenix/Scottsdale, but my father decided to take advantage of a few fortunate opportunities that sort of fell into his lap.
  1. United Free One Way. Booking a round trip award flight to Israel in September allowed us to add on a free-one way (in business class) to anywhere in the continental U.S. Normally, we would have built in a free stopover for a few days in Europe on our way there, but we didn't want to take away time from Israel. So we decided instead to take our "stopover" in New York for about a month and then continue our return trip to somewhere else.

  2. Starwood 35% Off Redemption Award Gift. For making SPG Platinum this year, my father received a gift for 35% off any single SPG redemption (up to 5 nights at a Category 1-6 property). While normally, my father books longer stays as a consecutive series of individual one night stays (to maximize flexibility and perks), Starwood has a 5th Night Free feature where you use SPG points for 4 nights and get the 5th night on the house (a nice 20% discount). Combined with this Platinum gift, we'd get an additional 35% off, for a total discount of 48%!
So when we were evaluating our extensive options for one last flight as a free lap child, we tried to identify U.S. locations with a high end Starwood resort nearby. But not just any Starwood property, but rather one where we'd like to actually spend time at the resort itself - not just a regular city hotel to use as a convenient place to sleep at night. Plus, finding a city that would offer cheap return one-way flights back to New York (on United or US Airways) would be a big plus as well!

Fortunately for us, Phoenix offered the perfect combination with its nearby Phoenician Resort (Starwood property) and airport hub of US Airways (Star Alliance member airline along with United).

If anyone has any tips on what we can do/eat/see in Phoenix and Scottsdale, send them over!

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