You could take the family to a ballgame or buy discounted tickets to a Broadway
By Lyn Mettler | Published: July 13, 2018
Personal finance writer
Specializes in writing on travel, family and food
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There are a variety of cash back credit cards currently offering a $150 sign-up bonus, including the Capital One Quicksilver, Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. While $150 won’t cover the costs of a vacation, it will pay for any of a host of summer activities – and might even foot the bill for a family night at a baseball game.
Here are six summer activities you could finance with an extra $150 in your pocket:
1. See a Broadway show
If you’re planning a trip to New York City, you may be able to score a couple of tickets to a Broadway show for $150 or less. My family was able to use Starpoints (soon to become Marriott Rewards) from our Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit cards to get all four of my family members to see “School of Rock” on Broadway for less than $200, using a combination of cash and points. Plus, our seats were in the second row!
Alternately, you could head to TKTS in Times Square, which offers half-price tickets to shows that have not sold out on the day of the performance. You never know what show you’re going to get there – and lines are often long – but usually ticket prices are cheap. I’ve seen many a show by waiting in this line.
Lastly, check out BroadwayforBrokePeople.com. It’s a website that puts you in a lottery for tickets to popular shows like “The Book of Mormon” and “Hamilton.”
2. Watch a baseball game
My family recently enjoyed a night out at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati to see the Reds play the Chicago Cubs. There’s nothing quite like the experience of a baseball game, and we especially love to see the Cubs play at home at Wrigley Field.
While seeing the Cubs at Wrigley is a bit more expensive these days since the team won the World Series in 2016, a night out at some ballparks could definitely fit within $150. You can get seats at Great American Ballpark, for example, right behind home plate in the lower part of the stadium starting at just $62. Save a little for a hot dog and beer and you’ll be set.
For an even cheaper option, take a look at SPG and Marriott Moments (soon to merge), which allow you to use your loyalty points through those programs to purchase tickets. In 2016, we attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field in a luxury suite, complete with food and drinks, entirely by using SPG points!
3. Buy a plane ticket
While it might surprise you, if you can be flexible you could certainly score a plane ticket on Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier and other airlines to a U.S. destination for $150 or less.
Southwest, though, is my favorite airline for many reasons, not the least of which is their good pricing and frequent sales.
Many readers of my GotoTravelGal blog fly Southwest, so I track the prices between top cities regularly for them, and there are $49-$59 one-way fares all the time.
If you’re willing to travel to a destination that has low fares, particularly on a Tuesday or Wednesday when prices tend to be lower, you can likely score a ticket less than $150. If you earn a Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you (except for mandatory security fees), you can even bring someone with you!
4. Head to an amusement park
Ah, theme parks do remind me of summer, as a visit to Kings Island in Cincinnati (I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, about an hour-and-a-half south) was one of the season’s highlights every year.
For $150, you could certainly buy a couple of theme park tickets, maybe not to Walt Disney World, but to Six Flags, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Indiana, Knott’s Berry Farm in California or HersheyPark. They average between $40 and $60 per person, though look for coupons at local groceries for more savings.
5. Attend a music festival
Summer is also a big time for concerts with many acts touring around the country. You could probably get two tickets for one concert for $150 or instead, you could spend it all one on ticket to a music festival.
One of my favorite memories of all time was attending The Ride Festival in Telluride, Colorado, in 2016 where we saw Pearl Jam perform outdoors with the backdrop of the gorgeous San Juan Mountains. Hearing Eddie Vedder sing “Just Breathe” within this setting was absolutely priceless! Other major summer music festivals include Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, the Mo Pop Festival in Detroit and Panorama in New York City.
6. See your city
Make like a tourist and get out and explore your city as though you were a visitor. One of the most affordable ways to do this is to get a CityPASS if you live in a major city like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Seattle and more.
CityPASSes range in price from about $40 to $110 per person but grant you access to multiple attractions at a much greater discount than if you paid for them individually. They also usually allow you to bypass the ticket line and gain immediate entry, which can be a huge help during the busier summer days.
We have used CityPASSes on trips to San Francisco, New York City, Atlanta and Southern California and found them to be not just a cost savings, but a time savings (Mom doesn’t have to go online and buy all the tickets ahead of time!).
Those are just six ways you can spend a $150 sign-up bonus this summer. With a little creativity, you can find plenty of other ways to spend $150 to make some priceless memories.
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