Super Bowl XLVII: The $5,500 Room Rate, Extra Flights, and Other FlyerTalk Notes

Ahh, yes. This weekend is year number 47 of that all-American pastime known as the Super Bowl, where much of the United States — and some parts of the rest of the world — seems to completely shut down for several hours.

Super Bowl XLVII: The $5,500 Room Rate, Extra Flights, and Other FlyerTalk Notes

In fact — more often than not — travel is easy to book for Super Bowl Sunday. The flight is usually half-empty and quiet — save for the periodic requisite announcements of the score by the crew seated in the cockpit. Hotel rooms can be reserved for a fairly decent room rate. Vehicles are usually available at rental car facilities. Having personally traveled on Super Bowl Sunday more than once, travel is usually easier than usual for me…

…but all bets are off if your destination is anywhere near where the Super Bowl is actually being played. Flights are so crowded that US Airways has added non-stop flights to New Orleans, where the Super Bowl will be played this coming weekend. Delta Air Lines has also added special flights to New Orleans as well from select cities.

Want a hotel room anywhere near New Orleans? Good luck with that one. After having found a room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel property in New Orleans for $5,500.00 per night — although a suite was also available for the bargain basement rate of only $4,000.00 per night — FlyerTalk member Travel Pro wondered if anyone actually books hotel room reservations at those rates.

Apparently someone does, as FlyerTalk member MyTravels attempted to find those available rooms — only to be notified that the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans no longer has any rooms available for the selected dates of Thursday, January 31, 2013 through Monday, February 2, 2013 at the total price of $24,868.00.

Yes, that includes taxes and fees. What a steal!

Hey — if someone is willing to pay that room rate, more power to that person. I would not — but then again, professional football is not exactly the top spot on my favorite activities list. This is regardless of whether or not the game is the Super Bowl. I am not the idea customer for the Ritz-Carlton — although I have been known to enjoy watching a televised Super Bowl game or two in the past.

However — regarding availability at InterContinental Hotels Group properties — FlyerTalk member mileshound reported that “There is still availability in the French Quarter for rooms on points. As of 1/22 there are 2 Holiday Inns with availability at 35,000 points a night. The cash rate is $1,200 and $1,700 a night if you want to go that route. By contrast, the Marriott Courtyard wants $2,000 a night and no point availability.”

Fortunately, mileshound booked a hotel room for the weekend of the Super Bowl back in March of 2012 by using Priority Club Rewards frequent guest loyalty program points, with a supposedly great redemption rate ratio of dollars per point.

September of 2012 was apparently already too late to book a room at a hotel property affiliated with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, as FlyerTalk member chrisinacton apparently found out. However, booking a room at a Starwood hotel property was no problem for FlyerTalk member letsgoalready — for the Super Bowl game in 2014.

You might argue that what the Ritz-Carlton — as well as other hotel properties, such as that room rate of $2,000.00 per night at a Courtyard by Marriott in New Orleans — is doing is considered price gouging. Perhaps it is — but if the market supports it, is it really unfair or even illegal? After all, we are not talking about basic necessities for such items as food, shelter and fuel during a crisis such as that storm known as Sandy. No one is forced to watch the Super Bowl in person — although someone might have legitimate business to conduct in New Orleans on early Monday morning after the Super Bowl.

In that case, timing could have been better. In fact, I have been in a similar situation where I needed to conduct business in New Orleans just before Mardi Gras. Rooms were sold out everywhere. The best I was able to book was a dumpy motel room with exterior doors in nearby Gretna located at an intersection with a traffic signal under a highway overpass.

The experience was not pleasant — but I suppose I should be lucky that I was even able to find a room at that time. I do not even remember anything about the room rate — other than that it was too high for a room of that…er…quality.

I can only imagine the difficulty of attempting to reserve a room in the New Orleans area for the weekend of Super Bowl Sunday in terms of price, location and availability. It is probably worse than just before Mardi Gras.

One solution is to host a Super Bowl party of sorts as far away from New Orleans as possible — and FlyerTalk member zcat18 is doing just that with an impromptu gathering of FlyerTalk members in Istanbul on February 3 and 4, 2013 while taking advantage of special airfares.

How is that for an excuse to travel — not that one is necessarily needed?

If you are actually fortunate enough to be in New Orleans during Super Bowl Sunday but you want to escape from town as soon as possible, the staff at the Delta Sky Club lounge in what is now known as Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport reportedly advises arriving at the airport five hours before scheduled departure time, according to FlyerTalk member SuperG1955 — noting that that Sky Club will be open on Super Bowl Sunday from 5:00 in the morning through 7:00 in the evening on Monday if you are a member and need a place to relax and wait for your flight on Delta Air Lines.

Summary

What do you think about travel around major events such as the Super Bowl? Should hotel properties charge the seemingly exorbitant rates for which some people are apparently willing to pay, or is that a practice which should not be condoned? Is it simply a case of people needing to plan their travel itineraries better?

One thought on “Super Bowl XLVII: The $5,500 Room Rate, Extra Flights, and Other FlyerTalk Notes”

  1. thebigfish says:

    Hotels can and will charge what the market will bear. $22000 for a nice hotel room? I’m sure some corporate expense account will take the hit. (Personally, I can think of a lot more things I’d rather spend $22K on, but that’s me…)
    The Super Bowl is hardly a game anymore. It’s where corporate America parties with Roger G and company. If it’s important to you to be there.. have fun, but bring your American Express card… you’re going to need it.
    Truth be told, I used to photograph NFL football; I’ve probably become jaded. Three years ago I went to Istanbul to see my daughter on SB weekend, who was conducting research for her PhD. Did I miss the game? Yes? Did I end up caring? Not a bit.
    It’s a football game, nothing more, nothing less. In the scheme of the universe… so what?

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