Trip Reports

Trip to Surprise My Nephew at His Football Game in Boise, Idaho!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


One of the best uses of points, miles, credit card benefits, and loyalty program status is using them for unique trips — especially travels to see loved ones.

And that’s exactly what I did the past two days.

My nephew Jake is a running back for his high school’s freshman football team in Boise, Idaho. My father-in-law Jim and I decided it would be fun to surprise him at one of his games.

So we ventured to Boise on Wednesday for a fantastic, memorable trip — and surprised the living daylights out of Jake!

Planning and Cost

The companion certificate from my Delta Reserve for Business American Express card was set to expire at the end of October. So we used that for two roundtrip tickets from Burbank to Boise.

The personal and business Delta Reserve cards’ companion certificates are good for select first class fares. Coach seats were going for $397.50 a pop. Tickets up front were more than twice that cost, so we decided to rough it in Main Cabin. Flights from BUR to SLC are under two hours (usually around 100-ish minutes) and SLC to BOI is under an hour. We’d be fine in coach.

I used my Platinum Card from American Express for the paid ticket and earned 5X Membership Rewards (the card’s bonus for purchases made directly with airlines).

We stayed at my brother-in-law’s house, so no hotels were needed. Parking at the Burbank airport came out to $20 for the two days.

The Trip

Even though it’s old and doesn’t have any lounges, we love flying from Hollywood Burbank Airport. It’s the closest airport to where all of my Los Angeles family’s homes. Plus, it saves us the drive to LAX, which is sometimes 35 minutes, sometimes two hours and 35 minutes. Not to mention, we don’t have to deal with the madness caused by airport construction and staff. Flights are usually more expensive from BUR than LAX, given its a much smaller airport (a whopping 14 gates). But we don’t mind paying a (small) premium to avoid LAX.

Jim and I took an early morning flight to SLC. Our first class upgrades cleared five days prior to departure for BUR to SLC and SLC to BOI.

A Delta Connection Embraer 175 operated by SkyWest Airlines is seen at the Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) in October 2019.

We had a three hour layover at SLC and took advantage of the Sky Club. (It was packed around 10 AM but thinned out around 10:45. It filled up again before we left around 1:15 PM). My business Reserve card scored me complimentary access to the lounge, while Jim is an authorized user on my Platinum Card from American Express and used that to enter the lounge free.

When we arrived in Boise, my brother-in-law Mike picked us up. He gave us t-shirts for Jake’s football team and took us to the game.

A high school football team huddles prior to a game in Boise, Idaho.

The team was in its pregame huddle when we arrived. A couple of minutes later, they jogged to their sideline. That’s when Jake glanced our way and saw us just before putting on his helmet.

He did a triple take and his jaw practically hit the grass. His eyes lit up as he gave us a big smile.

It was soon back to business. His game face returned and the contest started.

Two high school football teams play in Boise, Idaho.

I think Jake played every down on offense — and even helped out at linebacker for a few sets on the defensive side.

He sparked a fourth quarter rally by scoring a touchdown! His team scored 24 unanswered points. (Unfortunately, that was after their opponents hung 32 points on them.)

We enjoyed a family dinner later that evening, talked football, discussed Thanksgiving plans, watched baseball and hockey, and the adults enjoyed some beverages after the kids went to bed.

Our return flight on Thursday wasn’t until 1 PM. We spent the morning with family, visited clients in Boise, and stopped by Albertson’s Stadium, home of Boise State’s famous blue turf.

Chris Carley of Rene's Points for Better Travel blog poses at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho, in October 2019.

Visits to the stadium are free (when events aren’t in progress, of course) when you visit the Boise State athletic hall of fame.

We flew home on Thursday afternoon. We finished 1 & 2 on the first class upgrade list from BOI to SLC. Our SLC to BUR upgrades cleared over the past weekend.

A Delta Reserve for Business American Express credit card is seen next to a glass of Woodford Reserve bourbon on a Delta Connection flight operated by SkyWest Airlines.

Final Thoughts and Your Experiences

What a special trip. Despite the team’s loss, the trip was an absolute success. Seeing the surprise on Jake’s face was priceless.

And that — at least, for me — is pretty much the heart of and motivation for my involvement with points, miles, status, and perks. Sharing experiences is a major part of the fun for me.

How about you? Do you use your points for any surprise trips? Tell us in the Comments section below!

–Chris

 

 

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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