Do you remember that Nike slogan from forever ago? Just Do It! I guess you could substitute YOLO or Living My Best Life, as the young people say, in its place. It’s a phrase for the times where you forget all the reasons NOT to do something and, well just do it. We all have those things we wish we could do but think of reasons why we can’t. This was the scenario presented when I was invited to a get together of my grammar school class of 1986.
I went to a parochial (Catholic) school in New Jersey, and the school ran from Kindergarten to 8th grade. So I truly grew up with the people in my class, some of them for nine years and I hadn’t seen most of them for more than 30 years.
When they picked a date for the reunion, I was supposed to be working so I gave up on any chance of attending. But less than a month ago, my work schedule changed.
I went from working the weekend of the reunion to having the weekend off. Once I realized I going to be off, I casually mentioned the event to Sharon.
Me: You know my grammar school is having a reunion
Sharon: Oh, when?
Me: In three weeks. I didn’t look to go cause I was working.
Sharon: But now you’ll be off, right?
Me: Yeah. but I haven’t seen these people in years.
Sharon: You should go.
Me: You think?
Sharon: Yep, you should definitely go.
The only problem was that I went to school in New Jersey and I now live 1000 miles away in Florida. I’ve posted before about how we like to travel to meet friends and family. This trip would be the epitome of that philosophy. Here’s where the magic of collecting points and miles happens.
The most expensive part of the trip would be the airfare. I was less than three weeks from the reunion. Luckily, there was an inexpensive airfare on JetBlue that fit my needs perfectly. The cash fare was $197 for a roundtrip ticket.
We really like JetBlue (it’s one of our top favorite airlines) but haven’t found cheap airfare with them since I signed up for the JetBlue Plus card and earned the 60,000 point sign up bonus. The flight would only cost 12,600 TrueBlue points plus $11.20. Score!
Since I was able to find a flight, I let everyone know I’d be coming to the reunion. I just had to plan the rest of the trip.
I used a free night certificate from Sharon’s Marriott Business credit card to book a night at the Newark Airport Renaissance Hotel. My only cost to stay at the hotel was the $16 parking fee.
The only other cost for the trip was for a rental car. It was necessary because besides going to my reunion, I decided that I would stop to get some local food from my hometown (pierogies and pizza) to bring home as a “Thank You” to Sharon for letting me take the trip. I’m happy to report that all of the foods made it back to Florida because of our skills in bringing food through the TSA checkpoint.
The rental car was the most expensive part of the trip. Even using Autoslash, the least expensive car rental for one day was about $40. I considered using Ubers or taxis for the whole trip but I did the research and renting a car would be cheaper. I ended up renting from National and paid a little extra, $47.30 in total, so I could use the Executive Emerald Aisle to pick my car.
Because I had a car, I was able to pick up the provisions from my hometown and I was able to meet my uncle for lunch as Jose Tejas. This is one of the restaurants that Sharon and I will travel for and it made her just a bit jealous that I went without her.
The one thing I forgot about driving in New Jersey was the tolls. When did tolls on the Garden State Parkway cost $1.50? They used to be 25 cents!!!!
Not counting food, the trip cost me $87. I was able to meet with friends from my childhood, catch up with my uncle and bring home pizza and pierogi for Sharon. I consider that to be well worth the cost. Without miles and points, the trip would gave cost over $400 and I never would have paid that much for what was a one day trip.
Everyone at the reunion was mentioning how I came all the way from Florida and I just wanted to say that it was not a big deal. I remembered a post by Summer on Mommy Points (now writing for The Points Guy) about how miles and points makes the seemingly impossible become possible. That’s totally what this trip was about. Miles and points made it possible and it was up to me to Just Do It.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary