How to Do Coachella on Points and Miles: Experiences and Transportation
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Among the many music festivals that take place around the globe each year, one stands out for variety, verve and sheer star power: Coachella. The festival is held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, over two weekends and draws headliners who regularly pack major stadiums, not to mention celebrities, chefs and international visitors from all over the world.
This year’s festival takes place April 13-15 and April 20-22. Among the big names who will be there are Beyoncé (yes, Beyoncé!), Eminem and The Weeknd, plus about five dozen other bands and performers.
In part one of this series, we explored the ways you could use points and miles to get to Coachella and find a place to stay. Now let’s dive into the experiences and transportation options you can find at Coachella using points, miles and credit card perks once you’re there.
If you’re an Amex cardholder, you can tie your Coachella wristband to your American Express account via the Coachella app to get exclusive access to the American Express Card Member Club, which in past years has included fun amenities like make-your-own music videos. Enrolled cardmembers also get a complimentary ferris wheel ride, a one-time complimentary monogram embroidery on any item at the Lot, Stock and Barrel Embroidery station and access to an exclusive Uber Priority Line at the ride share lot. Cardholders who are enrolled with the app can also get $10 back on purchases of $10 or more at merchants at the festival.
For people who have The Platinum Card from American Express, the issuer is once again providing access to the Platinum House lounge at the Parker Hotel, which includes fitness classes and premium food and drinks, as well as makeup and hair services and even live music performances.
Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are also offering a number of exclusive experiences via auction through the Marriott Rewards Experiences Marketplace and SPG Moments websites to all Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards members. Marriott currently has options ranging from 3-Day Artist Passes to VIP festival passes available for bid, while SPG Moments is offering behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive “Best Views of the Stage” viewing areas and private tours of the festival grounds.
While some of these offerings aren’t cheap and will easily reach into six figures’ worth of points when the bidding is done, others are currently sitting at reasonable bid amounts from 5,000 to 30,000 points. So if you’re interested in exclusive experiences at Coachella, these auctions could be a great way to use points to get them.
Chances are you’re going to need a car either to get to Palm Springs or to get around the area once you’re there. Be sure to maximize a car rental, whether you’re earning or redeeming points with some of these ideas.
Many rental agencies partner with airlines to offer travelers bonus miles on rentals. You can also save on paid rentals with a few simple strategies, like renting from a non-airport location. It pays to use a card that offers primary rental insurance like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the United MileagePlus Explorer Card or the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card rather than secondary insurance, to save you time, hassles and money in case something does go wrong with your rental.
If you decide to use ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft instead, there are also ways to rake in the bonus points. By using the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can earn up to 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Uber. If you have the Amex Platinum, you get $15 off Uber rides each month, so that might come in handy.
If you plan on taking the service a lot both at Coachella and beyond, this might be an opportune time to apply for the Uber Visa Card, which earns 4% back on restaurants, takeout and bars, 3% back on airfare, hotel and vacation home rentals (Airbnb again!), 2% back on online purchases including Uber rides and 1% back on all other purchases. Finally, for its part, Lyft partners with both Delta and JetBlue to offer riders bonus miles.
Though it’s now just around the corner, it’s not to late to use your points and miles on a Coachella trip this year. Consider creative ways to spend your points, and pay attention to special experiences your credit card might offer just for being a cardholder. That way, you can save money while maximizing your time, and enjoyment, at the festival.
Featured photo by Eric Ward/Unsplash.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
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- Terms Apply.
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