Monday, January 6, 2014

Going to FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 for CHEAP

How I Booked My FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 Trip to Brazil for CHEAP for family of 3

FIFA World Cup, takes place one’s every 4 year. Soccer (aka football other than USA) is the most famous sports in the world, and is played almost everywhere. Brazil is a nation of soccer, and it hosting the World Cup is going to be an insane event. Being in Brazil during this World Cup in one of a life time experience, even if you don’t get to go to the match.


I grew up playing soccer, and going to word cup was only a dream, and something I could only imagine.  I decided that I wanted to go to world cup at the beginning of 2013. Although between me and my wife we had over 300K AAdvantage miles, I  wanted to use united miles, because AA miles are little harder to come by.


I started looking for hotel from April 2013- June 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. The only chain hotel I was able to find was Marriott Sao Paulo Airport, and Holiday Inn Sao Paulo Parque Anhembi. Marriott is a category 3 hotel and needed 15K per night with 5th night free when booked with award, Holiday Inn 20K point per night. You can transfer your UR points to both of this hotel chain. Although its little away from the city, Marriott made more sense to me as it needed less points, I am a Marriott Gold Member and rooms selling per night was $550 + tax during world cup season. I decided to stay for 10 night as I would get 2 night free and also planned to go to at least two games. One thing I love about Marriot Reward system is if you book with points, you don’t have to submit the points right away, in fact you don’t have to have the points in your until like a week before the arrival date.

Reward                10 night = 120,000 Marriott Rewards = ($1200 valuing 1 point = 1 cent)
Retail                    $550 per night for 10 night = $5500 + Tax
Value                    Value of Marriott for this redemption is  4.6 cent per point

Since I found the hotel in Sao Paulo, I decided to go to Sao Paulo, and decided to stay there, if it was me and my wife, we would have tried to go to another city like Rio and stayed in a Hostel, but it’s going to be hard with my 3 yr old we decided to stay in one place.

Below are the photos from the Marriott Sao Paulo Airport website

Airline Award Search  online search lets you search award travel up to 337 days before. So I started looking at different types of possible one way flight that had Economy Saver available leading up to the date of departure. I could have booked Business class ticket, but I need my UR points for a future redemption.  I did not book round trip flight, I booked two One Way redemption, as I didn't want to take risk of departures flight not being available by the time the arrival becomes available. The only flight with award space that would show up when I checked at midnight two weeks before the actual booking date was the US Airways flight from DFW-CLT-GRU. My return from Sao Paulo Air Canada was the only one available with Economy Saver. So here is my redemption details.

US Airways (30K United miles person, 3 people 90K united miles) = DFW-CLT-GRU =$ 15 tax and fees
Air Canada (30K United miles per person, 3 people 90K United miles) = GRU-YYZ-DFW =$158.04 in taxes and 

As far as I remember the retail price listed for 3 people in economy one way were approximately $5000 at the time of booking the award flight, so I was looking at $10,000 of airfare if I had to pay cash.  

Game Ticket

During the first 1st phase Ticket sale I applied for 2 games, 1 group game, 1 Round 16 game. (FYI: even kids no matter what age needs tickets). For group game I applied for 3 tickets Category 1 (also selected I will accept lower category if selected category is not available), and 3 tickets on Category 3 for Round 16. So when the lottery took place I got picked for a Category 2 ticket for group game, but didn’t picked for round 16. So I applied for the Round 16 game again during the 2nd Sale phase of ticket sale, and this time on Category 1 with lower category ticket option.

Arena de Sao Paulo (photo from Fifa website)

CASH for other Expenses that I will need

Paying for transportation, food, visiting other places that needs tickets can get expensive, so I recently applied for Barclay World Arrival Card, it comes with 40000 signup bonus and you get 2X for all the purchase. The points can be redeem as statement credit, so I plan to rack up as much points I can till June, that I can redeem as statement credit, which will make a less impact on my bottom line cash expense.

No comments:

Post a Comment