Flight Hacking Las Vegas

Toronto to Las Vegas, with connections After trying and failing to organize a trip here for my 25th birthday, I was convinced it was a sign that I wasn't meant to visit Sin City. But I knew it was one of the few places you can travel from Toronto for a) a short period of time, and b) for a reasonable price. (North America is huge, y'all.) Running short on vacation days through work, I have to be very selective with where I choose to go in a calendar year.

With the August long weekend coming up, I figured I'd check out last-minute deals and see if something popped. I checked Expedia, Travelocity, and Air Canada for last-minute packages, but everything seemed a bit too pricey for a 3 day long weekend trip ($700 approx.)

Out of curiosity I looked at flights alone and while it was more reasonable at about $400-450 round trip, then I'd have to add hotel on top of that, and I'd end up around the same price as the packages. No bueno. About to give up on my long weekend vacation dreams, I had an idea: I have credit card points! Would they work? Here's how it broke down:

I checked my RBC Avion Travel Visa Rewards and I had 55,706 points (I'll do a credit card reward comparison post at a later date--but I've been pretty happy with this one so far). The redemption schedule is normally as follows:

RBC Avion Travel Rewards Redemption Schedule

However. Since I wanted to book less than 14 days in advance, the rate was 100 points/$1.00.  (Note to self: definitely book ahead if I want to use points in the future--points will go much further that way!) I found an excellent flight (albeit not direct) on Cheapoair.ca for $436 return, stopping in Philly on the way there and Newark on the way home. I made note of the flight numbers and searched for them in RBC's travel reward booking system (you have to use their site to book air travel with points). I found the flights, although they were slightly more expensive through this booking system, and I'm still not sure why. The itinerary looked like this:

Flight itinerary--this was the cheapest option with desirable departure/arrival times. Direct flights were about $100 more per person when I checked.

After selecting this itinerary, I used all my points to decrease the price as much as possible. My points paid for an entire ticket, leaving a balance of less than half the full price. Breakdown is here:

This is how the payment broke down for two tickets to Vegas, using all available points.

We (you didn't think I went to Vegas alone, did ya?!) ended up splitting the cost of the remaining balance, meaning I flew to Las Vegas from Toronto for a total of $248.11 -- NOW we're talking a reasonable amount for a long weekend trip!

Stay tuned for more Vegas adventures detailing more travel hacking, including how I stayed on the strip for $37/night, and what I saw and did while there (spoiler alert: there are Lamborghinis involved.)