I’ve been a little quiet this week due to a conference in the San Juan Islands. Fortunately my talk was a success, and I’m now back in Seattle with a whole weekend (and maybe some of this week) free to blog about travel without worrying about research too much.
There will be a new installment of my Maui Trip Report later tonight (see Part 1 here) but first I want to address some questions I’ve been getting on mileage runs lately. A lot of people want to know how I go about finding and booking mileage runs as well as what I consider a good deal. I can probably expand on those points more than I already have, but these are questions best answered in a separate post with an opportunity for more depth. Stay tuned.
I’ve also gotten a few requests to share mileage run opportunities for those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest. We’re sort of outcasts up here since the East Coast has the population density to support more searching and sharing, while what West Coast traffic exists is often centered in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. Since my research demands are now somewhat lessened, I’ll start looking for and sharing these opportunities as they arise. I think this is a good idea because it serves a specific need and is narrow enough that I can actually attempt to do a decent job. We’ll see how well it works. Feel free to email me with your own mileage runs discoveries of the Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver areas if you’d like me to share them with readers.
Groupon Deal for Sea-Tac Airport Parking
To start off, let me remind all of you that incidental expenses like parking, food, and sometimes visas can destroy even the best mileage runs if you let them get out of control. I live a fair distance from Sea-Tac airport and don’t really have a good public transportation option, so that often means driving. If I go by myself, that’s $5 in gas and $8-9 per day in parking fees. I don’t relish the idea of spending another $20 on a fare that started out at $150, so I use About Airport Parking to book my parking reservation and usually choose the Marriott or Thrifty, which have good service and some of the best rates. Marriott is a little slow with the shuttle, but on the other hand Thrifty has no phone number to call if it’s 2 AM and you’re wondering when they’ll be by to pick you up.
WallyPark has recently opened a new garage as part of its WallPark Premier service. It’s much more expensive and starts out at $12.95 + taxes for self-parking. It’s a really nice garage with padding between every stall so you don’t get dinged and you don’t have to stand in the rain–a relevant concern in Seattle. I would never pay $13+ for this when I’m paying significantly less for perfectly adequate parking elsewhere. WallyPark seems to have figured this out and is now running its second promotion on Groupon offering self-parking for $7 including taxes and fees. You can use multiple coupons to pay for a longer stay.
Remember to use a credit card affiliated with Ultimate Rewards if you can. The shopping portal comparison site evreward.com surprised me when it said Ultimate Rewards has by far the best deal at 12 points per dollar on Groupon purchases. This means I am getting 637 UR points: 49 for using my Chase Sapphire Preferred card and another 588 as a bonus for purchasing through the Ultimate Rewards portal. (No travel bonus since this is a purchase from Groupon, not WallyPark.) If you value UR points at 2 cents each like me, this can bring your cost down to $5.18 per day, almost half of what I normally pay but for a superior product.