You know the commercials: $150 for box seats to a baseball game, $50 for a glove, $14 for hotdogs, watching your son catch his first foul ball: Priceless. Thanks to MasterCard and Expedia, I got to experience one of their ‘Priceless’ moments this week and it truly was … priceless.
Mine went something like this: $300 plane tickets to Las Vegas, $200 for front row seats to see David Copperfield, $150 massage at the Wynn Las Vegas, playing golf with my dad on TPC Summerlin with a PGA Tour Pro: Priceless.
It turns out that Expedia and MasterCard have a long-standing partnership, giving exclusive access to their customers to Priceless Moments for an unforgettable adventure.
This priceless experience involved four winners and each of their guests. When I asked Dr. Charles Giordano, a chiropractor from New Jersey and one of the two Expedia rewards winners on the trip, how he won, he said he’s been a longtime Expedia user and signed up to their rewards program when they debuted in 2011 but never used them. Charles said he was happy with Expedia’s services and never expected anything from them.
But a couple of months ago, he received an email inviting him to bid on a variety of priceless experiences. Since he’s an avid golfer, he said it was a no-brainer to bid all of his 28,000 points for a chance to play a round in Las Vegas on a championship course with a PGA Tour Pro. Not only that, he and his guest would receive three nights at the Wynn Las Vegas, complimentary spa treatments, VIP Tickets to a Las Vegas show, dine at three of Las Vegas’ finest restaurants and receive a $600 MasterCard gift card. If his bid didn’t get accepted, Expedia would refund his points.
He didn’t think 28,000 points would do the trick since at the time, a round-trip ticket from New York to Florida was going for 60,000 points. So when he received the call a month later, he questioned if it was a scam.
Same thing happened to David Valovage, a retired police officer from New York, who bid 30,000 points.
They both learned it was no scam but rather a trip of a lifetime that turned into many priceless moments.
Here’s how this priceless trip played out:
Day 1 – Monday, December 2, 2013
-Arrive in Las Vegas Transportation from airport to the Wynn Hotel
-Welcome Reception at SW steak house with Harris English
In addition to everything listed above there were little surprises along the way, too, like the $180 credit for the hotel, to be used for other meals or in the gift shop. There was also a MasterCard tote bag left on the bed the first night, filled with a dozen golf balls, a golf towel, umbrella, Ghirardelli chocolates, a power bar and a bottle of water. And then, when each of us departed via private chauffeur, they handed us a parting gift, a flag (autographed by Harris English) from one of the pins at TPC Summerlin, a flash drive with photos of our trip and MasterCard branded Tiffany playing cards.
And then on the last night, after dining on a seven-course meal at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in the MGM Grand, we got treated to a meet-and-greet with legendary magician David Copperfield … and this is right after we sat in the very first row of his show. We were so close that David’s duck (think: Aflac) peed on us.
To be honest, I had forgotten that Expedia even had a rewards program, so this trip was a real eye-opener. Here are 10 things you may not know about Expedia Rewards:
· Redeem your points faster. The Expedia Rewards program recently introduced a $25 hotel coupon in exchange for 3,500 points. You can earn double the value – a $50 coupon for 3,500 – when you book your hotel at one of more than 1,400 VIP Access® hotels through December 31, 2013.
· Have your airline mileage points and Expedia Rewards too. When you book your flight through Expedia and you’re signed up with an airline’s loyalty program, you can get the loyalty program points for your airline’s own loyalty program, as a bonus, you get extra points added to your Expedia Rewards account, 1 point for everyone $5 you spend on your flight if you book the flight all by itself as a standalone ticket.
· Maximize savings by booking together. When you book your hotel and flight together, on average, people are saving up to $500 – the equivalent of getting the room for free! This kind of savings allows for you to invest more in the overall experience such as excursions, spa treatments, or a special dinner you might otherwise not afford.
· Get treated like a VIP at top hotels. Earlier this year, we combined the Expedia Rewards program and the Elite Plus program so that Elite Plus members are now the top tier Expedia Rewards customers. Elite Plus customers get upgrades based on availability at over 1,400 hotels in our VIP Access® hotel network. Some of the best hotels in the world are part of this program, like the Armani Dubai, The Goring in London, Aqua Cancun, Antiche Figure in Venice, and the Trump International Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii. Over 500 of these VIP Access hotels offer our Elite Plus members other exclusive amenities, such as spa discounts and free drinks.
· Direct line to personal customer service. Elite Plus customers also get priority customer care from one of our dedicated Elite Plus travel specialists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – a great perk for frequent travelers, whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure, or a little bit of both.
· Earn points in your own backyard. Whether you’re on a vacation or just a staycation, Expedia can be your “go to” beyond just the travel basics. Expedia offers a whole range of activities, like snorkeling, seeing a show, taking a city tour, going on a helicopter ride, or even skydiving. With the changes to Expedia Rewards this year, you can now earn 2 points every time you book an activity through Expedia. There are more than 3,500 activities to choose from so get out there and go!
· Feel confident you got the best price. Part of the Expedia Rewards promise includes our Hotel Price Guarantee, which means that if you’re a member of the program, if you find a lower price on a hotel online (even up to the night before you travel), we’ll match it. It’s a nice bonus just for Expedia Rewards members on top of Expedia’s already strong Best Price Guarantee program.
· Help your friends, earn points for yourself. Whether you’re booking for business or pleasure, it pays to lend a hand. As the travel arranger in a group, you can book your friends or coworkers’ travel for them and earn points for yourself.
· Redeem for the trip of your dreams. The Expedia Rewards program gives you several ways to redeem your points. You can redeem your points to get a hotel coupon up to $1,000 or turn your points into an airline ticket. There are also special opportunities to redeem points for exclusive experiences such as MasterCard Priceless Moments.
· Get access to exclusive offers. There’s nothing better than surprising the ones you love, and we couldn’t love our Expedia Rewards customers more! From time to time, we’ll be offering exclusive programs, like bonus points on hot destinations, trip giveaways, and unique programs going on now.
Good to know: I just became a MasterCard member a couple of months ago, when I learned that the Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases was offering a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus (after $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days) and that it’s a great card. You earn 2x miles on all purchases, you can book with any airline, any time with no blackout dates—and it comes with no foreign transaction fees. Plus, whenever you redeem for travel you earn 10% of your miles back with their exclusive Carry-on Miles. There are other perks too, like the fact that they waive the $89 annual fee for the first year and they provide a complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro. Here’s more info and how to apply for this great card.