Trip Report: A $94 Weekend Getaway to New Orleans
Outbound route: SJC – LAX – MSY (Southwest Airlines)
Inbound route: MSY – DFW – OAK (Southwest Airlines)
Hotel: Waldorf Astoria Hotel, The Roosevelt New Orleans (2 nights)
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Since we still had some leftover points from our Southwest account. We took advantage of our companion pass. Southwest Airlines flies to both San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) as they are both Southwest hubs. There isn’t direct flights into New Orleans from the bay area. Thus, we had to connect from Dallas or Los Angeles. We used 30,166 RR miles + $22.40 (Companion Pass Fees + taxes/fees included) for our flights. We didn’t get that great of a value on our points (2.78 cents a point). However, paying 30,166 points round-trip for two passengers was well worth it as it normally costs at least 25,000 miles per person on other airlines.
Usually, my hotel of choice would be Hyatt. As they are the best bang for your buck in terms of point value. However, for this specific trip. I redeemed 2 Hilton Night Certificates that were going to expire in December. I did not want these certificates to go to waste and decided to redeem them at the Waldorf Astoria, The Roosevelt New Orleans.
The great thing about hilton night certificates is that they can be redeemed at a majority of Hilton properties, including top-tier categories. For an example, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, and all Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts to name a few.
The Waldorf Astoria, The Roosevelt New Orleans ranges from 50,000 – 70,000 Hilton Honor points per night. Our 2 night certificate was equivalent to 140,000 HHonors points as it would have taken 70,000 a night to stay at The Roosevelt. Which was a great use of our certificates.
The room was a 2 queen beds superior room. Even though we didn’t need the second bed I purposely booked this room because this type of room had more square feet than the King bed room.
The location of this hotel was perfect as it was literally a block away from the French Quarters and a street over from Bourbon Street. It was definitely an easy walk to all the action.
The location of the Louis Armstrong Airport is about 20 minutes outside of the New Orleans. There are two major transportation to come from the Airport. They are either Taxi or the shuttle bus. There are other options like renting a car, hiring drivers, or arranging a hotel pickup with your hotel but these two options are the most cost saving ways of transportation.
The cheapest route for one person would be the Airport Shuttle Bus, a cost of only $24 one way. However, this is not a direct route as you are subject to the possibility of having to make multiple stops since the shuttle bus is a shared passenger van service. This is a great option if you are a lone traveler and time is no concern for you.
The other favorable option is a Taxi. One way fare from the airport to downtown is a flat rate of $36 for up to two people. For three or more passengers it becomes $15 per passenger. Now if you do the math. Taking a taxi is way more advantageous for any groups of two or more. In addition, it’s a direct route with no unexpected stops.
When you leave New Orleans, the best transportation getting to the airport would be Uber. Currently, UberX is not allowed to pick up from the airport but they are allowed to drop off. Our ride from the hotel to the airport was a flat rate of $33 but with the Uber’s safe ride fee it came out to only $34.95, which was actually $1.05 cheaper than the flat rate of a Taxi. So this is definitely favorable if you have a group of two or more passengers.
Points of Interest
When you come to New Orleans one thing that is definitely on top of your list is walking down Bourbon Street. We went on a weekend and the atmosphere was lively. Just the thought of it makes me wonder how crazy it gets during Mardi Gras. It was all to overwhelming from the architect, to the people, and to the music.
One of the famous things about New Orleans is their famous beignets. On our first night out on Bourbon Street we headed to Cafe Du Monde late, around 2am, as it is open 24/7. We loved going here that we actually went three times in our short weekend. Just look at that sugary goodness!
The second day we decided to explore around the French Quarters. We ended spending a lot of our time around the Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral. There were a lot of vendors around this square. During the day it’s a little market full of arts, performers, and souvenirs that you can take home. At night-time this square becomes filled with tarot readers willing to tell your future.
Now if you want the best Gumbo of New Orleans. Then I would have to say it has to be the Gumbo Shop. They definitely are worth the award-winning gumbo. Definitely try their Crawfish Etouffee. It definitely made me fall in love with Crawfish all over again. Just as long as they are already peeled out for me.
Another thing you can’t leave New Orleans without trying is pralines. We went to Southern Candymakers to try out their original creamy pralines. It was so good that I brought some home for myself and coworkers. Definitely try it with something hot like a cafe au lait or hot chocolate. They had an arrangement of other tasty treats. Be warned you will definitely have a sweet tooth after hitting this spot.
For only $94 you can take a travel award get away trip for two and stay at a very luxurious hotel near the French Quarter. A perfect way to take a weekend trip and not hurt the bank account.
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