Football Frenzy — 32 Teams in 60 Days on Points and Miles

Aug 24, 2015

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Love football as much as you love a good award redemption? TPG Contributor J. Keith van Straaten understands. Here’s his way to see a whole lot of football for not that many points and miles. (As of this writing, all flights listed below have availability — and all stadium photos are used courtesy of the individual stadiums.)

If you can get a couple months off to travel, or if you can do your work on the road, there’s a way to see all the football you can handle — and thanks to a recent spate of lucrative credit card bonuses, such as 75,000 miles after $7,500 spend in the first three months with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, 50,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card after spending $4,000 in the first three months, or 30,000 points with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, many of you have the points and miles to do it on the cheap.

For those of you who caught our Baseball Binge earlier this year, keep in mind: The NFL has more teams and fewer games than baseball, so this tour will take longer. Also, the NFL has instituted Flexible Scheduling, which could move some afternoon games into the evening. This itinerary gives you a bye week in Week 5 to allow you some wiggle room.

So here’s an itinerary to see all 32 National Football League teams in 60 days, for fewer than 140,000 points and miles. (Note that hotels are not included in that figure.) Are you ready for some football?

Photographic evidence that America loves football. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Visual evidence that America loves football. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

A Few Things Before You Go

This itinerary uses lots of Ultimate Rewards points (which you can earn from cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom and Ink Plus) and ThankYou points (which you can earn from cards like Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Preferred Card). (The Chase Freedom is no longer open to new applicants)

When preparing to rent a car, always check the partner pages of your frequent flyer program to see what bonuses and discounts are being offered. That way, you can score a discount, earn bonus miles and still double-dip by booking with a credit card that earns you bonus points or miles on car rentals.

Consider using your points and miles to upgrade your football frenzy. Check out the experience sites listed at the bottom of this post for some ways to take each game over the goal line.

The links for each game listing will send you to the home team’s official (full-price) ticket site. For the more cost-conscious, search Craigslist and StubHub for game tickets below face value. You can also look on the NFL’s official Ticket Exchange. All game times are Eastern.

OK, Let’s Go!

Your countdown kicks off on/in:

Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts

Thursday, September 10 — Foxborough, Massachusetts

8:30pm –  Gillette Stadium: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots 

The season begins at the home of the reigning Super Bowl Champions. See if Tom Brady gets to play, and if he does, keep an eye on those footballs.

Teams seen: 2
Points used: 0

NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Sunday, September 13 — Houston & Dallas, Texas

Fly JetBlue from Boston (BOS) to Houston (HOU) using 5,500 TrueBlue points (if you don’t have enough, you can transfer 7,000 Membership Rewards points).

1pm — NRG Stadium: Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans

If the Chiefs hadn’t moved from Dallas and changed their name in 1963, this game could have been Texans vs. Texans.

After the game, grab a flight from Houston (HOU) to Dallas (DFW) on American using 4,500 Avios points (which you can transfer 1:1 from Chase Ultimate Rewards).

8:30pm — AT&T Stadium: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

The largest seating capacity in the NFL can’t hold all the bad vibes in this rivalry. But certainly all sides can agree that you must try the Texas-shaped chicken and waffles.

Teams seen: 6
Points used: 10,000

Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.

Monday, September 14 — Atlanta, Georgia

Fly from Dallas (DFW) to Atlanta (ATL) on Spirit using 4,368 ThankYou points.

7:10pm — Georgia Dome: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons

It’s the first Monday Night Football game of the season, and you’ll be there to enjoy it. The Falcons are still two seasons away from a new stadium, but it looks to be something special. Fun fact: The last time the Falcons played the Eagles on Monday Night Football was 2005.

Teams seen: 8
Points used: 14,368

Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Sunday, September 20 — Chicago, Illinois and Green Bay, Wisconsin

Fly from Atlanta (ATL) to Chicago (ORD) on American using 3,006 ThankYou points.

1pm — Soldier Field: Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears

Bear down as you watch the two oldest franchises in the NFL battle it out.

After the game, rent a car and drive to Green Bay, Wisconsin — the 200-mile trip should take about three hours. Warning: remove any Chicago Bears clothing or risk the consequences.

8:30pm — Lambeau Field: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

Enjoy a rematch of the 2014-15 NFC Championship game in the longest continuously occupied stadium in the league.

Teams seen: 12
Points used: 17,374

Lucas Oil Stadium.
Lucas Oil Stadium.

Monday, September 21 — Indianapolis, Indiana

Drive to Indianapolis, a 400-mile trip that should take about six hours. (There are flights you could take instead, but neither the routing nor the mileage values are good.) Recommended stop: Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its Hall of Fame museum.

8:30pm –  Lucas Oil Stadium: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

This could be Geno Smith’s return to action after being sucker-punched by his then-teammate! (Sorry, it’s hard to make the Jets seem compelling.) Meanwhile, Andrew Luck continues to dazzle.

Teams seen: 14
Points used: 17,374

MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Thursday, September 24 — East Rutherford, New Jersey

Fly from Indianapolis (IND) to New York (JFK) on American using 7,500 Avios. A designated bus goes to/from the stadium and Manhattan for $10 round-trip.

8:25pm –  MetLife Stadium: Washington Redskins at New York Giants

What’s more offensive: Washington’s team name or a New York team playing in New Jersey? The game should provide great conflicts, too.

Teams seen: 15
Points used: 24,874

TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sunday, September 27— Minneapolis, Minnesota and Detroit, Michigan

Fly from Newark (EWR) to Minneapolis / St. Paul (MSP) on United using 12,500 MileagePlus miles. (If you’re short, you can transfer 1:1 from Ultimate Rewards.)

1pm –  TCF Bank Stadium: San Diego Chargers at Minnesota Vikings

While they’re waiting for their new stadium, check out the Vikings’ temporary digs at the University of Minnesota. And congratulations, you’re more than halfway through seeing all NFL teams!

You can celebrate on the plane. After this game, fly from Minneapolis / St. Paul (MSP) to Detroit (DTW) on Delta using 17,500 SkyMiles. (You can transfer 1:1 from American Express Membership Rewards and in different ratios from several hotel loyalty programs.)

8:30pm – Ford Field: Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions

Watch two Pro Bowl quarterbacks (Stafford actually replaced Manning on the roster last season) slug it out under the dome. In the unlikely event you can’t get into Ford Field, it should be pretty easy to get into the Lions’ previous stadium, the Silverdome.

Teams seen: 19
Points used: 54,874

Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, October 1— Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Drive to Pittsburgh, a 300-mile trip that should take 4.5 hours. You could fly using 9,000 Avios, but then you wouldn’t get to stop at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

8:25pm –  Heinz Field: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Rivalry alert! These teams hate each other. The best thing about seeing a game at Heinz Field? If the Steelers are down, they can probably … ketchup.

Teams seen: 20
Points used: 54,874

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Sunday, October 4— Tampa, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana

Fly from Pittsburgh (PIT) to St. Petersburg – Clearwater (PIE) on Allegiant using 4,511 ThankYou points. (Note: You may have to call to book, as Allegiant flights are not commonly shown on the ThankYou travel site.)

1pm –  Raymond James Stadium: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers: The only team with a head coach named Lovie and a stadium with a pirate ship.

After this game, fly from Tampa (TPA) to New Orleans (MSY) on Southwest using 8,264 Rapid Rewards points (transferable 1:1 from Ultimate Rewards).

8:30pm – Mercedes-Benz Superdome: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints

After missing out on the playoffs last season (for the first time since 2012), will 2015 bring the return of the brown paper bags to the heads of Saints fans?

Teams seen: 23
Points used: 67,649

Sunday, October 18— Nashville, Tennessee

Use your bye week to catch a team whose game got shifted due to Flexible Scheduling (or just catch your breath). Then, take it all to Tennessee! Fly from New Orleans (MSY) to Nashville (BNA) on Southwest for 9,924 Rapid Rewards points.

Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

1pm –  Nissan Stadium: Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans

Not to be confused with Stadium Nissan, the Titans’ home looks an awful lot like it did last year when it was LP Field. And speaking of awful, it’s been a rough go for the team too …

Teams seen: 25
Points used: 77,573

Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Wembley Stadium in London, England.

Sunday, October 25— London, England

Fly from Nashville (BNA)-Chicago (ORD)-London (LHR) on American for 20,000 AAdvantage miles.

9:30am –  Wembley Stadium: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars

Tea and crumpets and gridiron, oh my! Previous opening acts for the NFL’s International Series have included Def Leppard and Goo Goo Dolls. Too hardcore for your tastes? You’re in luck. This time around, it’s the Ohio State University Marching Band.

Teams seen: 27
Points used: 97,573

Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.
Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sunday, November 1— St. Louis, Missouri

Fly from London (LHR)-Dallas (DFW)-St. Louis (STL) on American for 20,000 AAdvantage miles.

1pm –  Edward Jones Dome: San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

They’re more than 2,000 miles and two time zones apart, but somehow both of these teams are division rivals in the NFC West.

Teams seen: 29
Points used: 117,573

Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Thursday, November 5— Cincinnati, Ohio

Fly from St. Louis (STL)-Chicago (ORD)-Cincinnati (CVG) on American for 9,000 Avios points.

8:25pm –  Paul Brown Stadium: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

You can enjoy the Battle of Ohio while drinking the league’s least expensive beer, but please, don’t throw anything on the field.

Teams seen: 31
Points used: 126,573

Heinz Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Exterior of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, November 8— Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Fly from Cincinnati (CVG) on Delta for 12,500 SkyMiles.

8:25pm –  Heinz Field: Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers

Welcome back to Heinz Field (your only revisited stadium of the tour) for the final game of your frenzy! Exhausted? Wipe away the sweat with a genuine Terrible Towel.

Teams seen: 32
Points used: 139,073

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Hooray — you saw 32 NFL teams in 60 days for less than 140,000 points and miles! Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Congratulations! Using fewer than 140,000 points and miles, you saw all 32 National Football League teams in 60 days. And there’s enough of the season left to do it again …

But if you’re planning to go to just a few games this season, visit experience and auction sites for ways to use your points on individual games and special perks. Note that of this writing, none of the major experience/auction sites’ offerings align with this Football Frenzy itinerary, but new events are added all the time.

Check out these other TPG posts on using points for sports experiences:

Evaluating IHG Rewards Club and Other Auction Programs
My Favorite Use of Points Ever? VIP at the Knicks With SPG
Experience With Points: Hilton HHonors Auction Platform
Are Flights and Hotels Really the Best Award Redemptions?

Got any tips we missed? Think you can plan it better? Let us know in the comments below!

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