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Berkshire Weekend Logistics and Cost


BG2008
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Going to Omaha is a logistics nightmare every year for me.  It doesn't help that I procrastinate till the last minute.  Just spent 6 hours booking my flight, rental car, hotel.  Will be flying into Kansas City on Thursday and driving to Omaha Thursday night. Returning to NYC on Monday.  Direct flight both ways but need to drive 3 hours to go from Omaha to Kansas City Airport.  Staying at the Holiday Inn Express Cherry Hill which is about 30 mins away from CenturyLink.  I have a few questions to other Pilgrimage makers.

 

- When do you start booking flights hotel?

- How much does it cost?

- Where do you stay in Omaha? 

- What's your logistics like?

 

I really need to do a better job with the planning etc. 

 

FWIW - Direct flight from NYC to Kansas City (3 hours) plus full size rental car $363

Hotel in Omaha 4 nights - $619.20

 

It's not cheap to go visit Uncle Buffet.  For these prices, you can probably go on a nice Caribbean vacation. 

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Going to Omaha is a logistics nightmare every year for me.  It doesn't help that I procrastinate till the last minute.  Just spent 6 hours booking my flight, rental car, hotel.  Will be flying into Kansas City on Thursday and driving to Omaha Thursday night. Returning to NYC on Monday.  Direct flight both ways but need to drive 3 hours to go from Omaha to Kansas City Airport.  Staying at the Holiday Inn Express Cherry Hill which is about 30 mins away from CenturyLink.  I have a few questions to other Pilgrimage makers.

 

- When do you start booking flights hotel?

- How much does it cost?

- Where do you stay in Omaha? 

- What's your logistics like?

 

I really need to do a better job with the planning etc. 

 

FWIW - Direct flight from NYC to Kansas City (3 hours) plus full size rental car $363

Hotel in Omaha 4 nights - $619.20

 

It's not cheap to go visit Uncle Buffet.  For these prices, you can probably go on a nice Caribbean vacation.

 

I book my flight around October the year before. That's when Southwest releases their flights, and they are almost always much cheaper than other airlines. It usually costs me $400 or so round trip to Omaha. Occasionally, I use points to bring that price down even more. (Chase Sapphire points transfer to Southwest pretty well.)

 

As for hotels, I generally book about two months after the last meeting. Your best bet, again, is to use points.

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I'm staying for five nights and everything is basically free with points, obtained from three different credit cards.

 

I booked my hotel the farthest in advance.  I stay at the Sheraton and booked in May using SPG points so my room is free.  It's a cheap hotel in their rate schedule so I only had to pay 18,000 points total for the five nights.  With the SPG credit card you can usually get 30,000 points for free just for signing up and I still have some points left from a couple years ago when I got two of the cards.

 

I booked my flights later in the year using AA miles which are easy to get from Citi AA credit cards.  I have over 200k in leftover miles from old credit cards and used 45k for the round trip, including one leg in first class.

 

I rented a car using chase ultimate reward points.  I got a compact car from Avis for 5 days for 19,000 points.  You can get 40-50k points pretty often for signup offers from their cards.

 

So all totaled I basically used up a little less than two credit card signup bonuses for my trip.

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everything is basically free with points

 

::)

 

Points ain't free.

First of all, you can use them for other things including cash, so they have monetary value.

Second, even if you get them for signup, it's not really "free".

Do you do accounting this way too? :)

Would you like your companies to do accounting this way?

"Yeah, we give out options, but it's really no cost. It's free."  ???

 

OTOH, if you can get everything for two signup bonuses, that's around $400 or so. So yeah, very cheap for a flight + 5 nights in a hotel + car rental. The hotel seems to be the biggest score. Great point juggling there - I don't do points, always take cashback. This is second time where I'm amazed how farther points seem to go. Not free though. ;)

 

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When do airlines typically release their flights? I remember checking about 10-11 months prior to the event and they were not available.  Is the strategy to book flights and hotel/car separately?  I kept checking and tried to get it booked early.  When they were available as a package on priceline, I remember it costing an absurd amount on priceline as a package.  This is very frustrating and should not take up 6 hours of my time each year.  Makes me like Buffett a little less each year.  The improvement in the economy doesn't help either. 

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everything is basically free with points

 

::)

 

Points ain't free.

First of all, you can use them for other things including cash, so they have monetary value.

Second, even if you get them for signup, it's not really "free".

Do you do accounting this way too? :)

Would you like your companies to do accounting this way?

"Yeah, we give out options, but it's really no cost. It's free."  ???

 

OTOH, if you can get everything for two signup bonuses, that's around $400 or so. So yeah, very cheap for a flight + 5 nights in a hotel + car rental. The hotel seems to be the biggest score. Great point juggling there - I don't do points, always take cashback. This is second time where I'm amazed how farther points seem to go. Not free though. ;)

 

Well with that logic nothing is free, because no matter what you were given you could always sell it and keep the cash instead.  There's an opportunity cost, but it still meets my definition of free.  Let's just say yes I do my accounting this way, at least with the IRS.

 

 

When do airlines typically release their flights? I remember checking about 10-11 months prior to the event and they were not available.  Is the strategy to book flights and hotel/car separately?  I kept checking and tried to get it booked early.  When they were available as a package on priceline, I remember it costing an absurd amount on priceline as a package.  This is very frustrating and should not take up 6 hours of my time each year.  Makes me like Buffett a little less each year.  The improvement in the economy doesn't help either.

 

I believe airline flights show up 330 days in advance.  What takes you six hours to book?  I think I spent less than an hour to book everything and did each part separately, but I did know where I was looking in advance since I've done it three years in a row.

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It took me 6 hours to book because Priceline wanted to charge me $1,200 for a flight into Omaha plus 3 nights of hotel/car rental.  When I went to pay, they said "this deal is not available" anymore.  Then it's $1,300-1,400.  Then it's layovers at different cities.  7-8 hours at airports.  All the available solutions involve a lot of pain points.  Looked into Airbnb.  It's just gouging all around!  It seriously makes me resent Berkshire a bit.  The fact that it cost so much and you're sleeping at crappy hotels.  Then I played around with getting in on Thursday rather than Friday and leaving on Monday rather than Sunday.  It's a giant pain.  I dread the process every year. 

 

Fairfax on the other hand is like 4 clicks of a button and you're done.   

 

 

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BG, I recall being able to purchase flights about 10 month prior on United -- but still waited until Southwest released its schedule in late October. (Of course, memories are fallible, so I'm not 100% sure about United -- I have a calendar reminder on Southwest though, so that memory is 100% true.)

 

In theory, webcasting will alleviate some of the logistical burdens of the Berkshire Weekend, but looking at the Garrett Hardin book on my desk right now, I'm inclined to remind myself that "you can never just do one thing," and I suppose it's possible that the webcast increases rather than decreases demand for an in person experience.

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It took me 6 hours to book because Priceline wanted to charge me $1,200 for a flight into Omaha plus 3 nights of hotel/car rental.  When I went to pay, they said "this deal is not available" anymore.  Then it's $1,300-1,400.  Then it's layovers at different cities.  7-8 hours at airports.  All the available solutions involve a lot of pain points.  Looked into Airbnb.  It's just gouging all around!  It seriously makes me resent Berkshire a bit.  The fact that it cost so much and you're sleeping at crappy hotels.  Then I played around with getting in on Thursday rather than Friday and leaving on Monday rather than Sunday.  It's a giant pain.  I dread the process every year. 

 

Fairfax on the other hand is like 4 clicks of a button and you're done.   

 

 

 

Road trip in a RV with some buddies?  ;D

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It took me 6 hours to book because Priceline wanted to charge me $1,200 for a flight into Omaha plus 3 nights of hotel/car rental.  When I went to pay, they said "this deal is not available" anymore.  Then it's $1,300-1,400.  Then it's layovers at different cities.  7-8 hours at airports.  All the available solutions involve a lot of pain points.  Looked into Airbnb.  It's just gouging all around!  It seriously makes me resent Berkshire a bit.  The fact that it cost so much and you're sleeping at crappy hotels.  Then I played around with getting in on Thursday rather than Friday and leaving on Monday rather than Sunday.  It's a giant pain.  I dread the process every year. 

 

Fairfax on the other hand is like 4 clicks of a button and you're done.   

 

 

 

 

I wind up booking flights into Kansas City and driving to Omaha.  Regarding roadtripping, I'm like absolutely the worst when it comes to logistics and what not. 

 

Road trip in a RV with some buddies?  ;D

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I booked min middle of feb, Buffalo to omaha, 2 hour layover in Detroit, friday through sunday at a countryside and rental car entire time 1200 total for two people booked through priceline.

 

I had the samething happen to me with priceline so cleared my cookies, and went back and got it at the original price again.

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I booked my hotel in February. Five nights at something called Value Place in Council Bluffs. Cost approximately $75 (CDN) per night. I got the cost down by booking Thursday through Sunday.

 

Just booked my flight yesterday, $550 (again, CDN) return from Calgary to Omaha. Connect through Dallas/Ft. Worth on the way there (ugh) and through Chicago on the way back. Wednesday flight out, Monday flight back.

 

Staying a couple of extra days isn't a big deal for me, since I can work from my hotel room. Once my buddy rents a car for us I'm looking at a cost of under $1000 for the trip, which isn't too bad.

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Guest longinvestor

They seemed to have reconciled to the logistical issues with the live streaming, no?

 

If the underlying issue is whether there is value (incremental value for repeat attendees) or not, the cost and time can be a burden. I did Toronto and Omaha for a few years and gave up on Toronto because I didn't see value there. Surely there're many who have the opposite idea. It'll be interesting to see if the numbers go down this year. Anecdotally, it appears that rooms are a bit more available late.

 

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