How to fly for free and stay for free when you get there.

We just got back from a free trip!

We flew to Ft. Lauderdale early Saturday morning and went to a beach front hotel hear Hollywood, Florida to spend the night. Then we flew back on Sunday afternoon. Our flights on Southwest were free and our beach front hotel was also free. To learn how, please read on.

How to fly for free

Several years ago, we both signed up for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points program. With that we earned points for our air travel, since we would typically fly at least twice a year. The flights are usually pretty cheap if you can plan ahead and use their “Wanna Get Away” prices. Each flight earns points and those points began to accumulate.

I also signed up for a Southwest Airlines credit card because I earned more Rapid Rewards points with each purchase. We use it to purchase the air travel and it’s like earning double points.

We had so many points accumulated that we flew from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale round trip for free. I paid for the Early Bird Check-in of $25 each way, per person. $100 total that I wanted to pay because it’s the best way to get into the A or first boarding group. Paying that ensures us a seat together on the left side of the plane in a row whose number is less than 15.

Why the left side of the plane?

Because Sharon likes the window seat and I’ll take the middle seat. This leaves both of our right hands free. We sat on the right side of the plane once and her right arm was restricted by the wall and mine was restricted by her. Left-handed people would like the right side to have their left arms free as well.

Why less than row 15?

We like the front of the plane because you’re in front of the wing and you can see better. Sharon took many pictures on our flight home.

Fly for free on Southwest.

My advice is to sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, as we did. Right now, they’re also running a special deal on the Southwest credit card. See below for that.

Earn Southwest points!

How to stay for free

Many years ago I signed up for the LaQuinta rewards program and they were bought by the Wyndham Rewards program. Over the years we have earned enough points to stay for free at least 5 times.

Our most recent free stay was last weekend, Feb. 18-19, 2023 at the Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Marco Polo Beach Resort. I spent 15,000 points and a $15 resort fee. It was a beautiful room with a window that opened to hear the Atlantic Ocean hit the beach. It wasn’t too hot, so we enjoyed the fresh ocean sea breeze. Here’s a photo of our view.

Stay for free on the beach.

This was our Valentine’s Day celebration for 2023. We flew off for the weekend to go enjoy the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Their hotel is in the shape of a guitar! They have a light show every evening set to music. Sharon got a good picture of it. It looked like the guitar strings were shooting up into the sky.

Hard Rock, Hollywood, Florida.

After the light show, we went to their open-air nightclub where they had a band. It was nice, but the only tables with seats cost a lot of money to sit there. I don’t like that. Who wants to buy a bottle? Not me. Not for two people. I think it’s a greedy way to miss a lot of drink sales.

By this time of the evening, (9pm) we had been on our feet all day and we had walked 6 miles. I just wanted to sit down and take a rest with a drink. No other seats were available at the bar, so that was that. We left and didn’t even buy a drink. It’s a shame, because their pay to sit at a table policy chased us away. We wanted to stay but my feet were tired of standing there.

Our romantic celebration was to stay the night on the beach and fly back. Sharon and I had fun and that’s the whole point of going. We needed a change of scenery and we’ve always wanted to visit that Hard Rock casino.

We took a Lyft everywhere so we didn’t have to rent a car or pay for parking/valet. It ended up costing less for Lyft.

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