Introduction: A Bittersweet Bowl Game: New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl

To ring in the new year, Mrs. ATX and I decided to head down to New Orleans and watch her Texas Longhorns take on the Washington Huskies in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. As an added bonus, a bunch of my college friends still live in the city so we would get to celebrate with some people I haven’t seen in a long time.

Once it was clear that Texas had a shot at making the College Football Playoff, we decided that going to watch the Longhorns would be more fun than watching my LSU Tigers play a noon game in Tampa. Before the playoff selection show, I booked flights to, and hotels in, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Dallas, and New Orleans on points and cheap cash rates to avoid paying the exorbitant rates that were sure to follow the bowl paring announcements.

Booking Flights

I was sitting on quite a few Southwest and United points and the itinerary that ended up sticking was a late night DAL-MSY direct on Southwest on December 30th and a MSY-IAH-DFW return on United on January 2nd. Prior to this, I booked on Delta in Comfort+ DAL-ATL-MSY and back but Mrs. ATX quickly vetoed that in favor of the direct option.

Gate 12 at Dallas Love Field

I booked our outbound using 20,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points plus $5.60 in fees per person. Our return on United was booked using 17,000 MileagePlus points plus $5.60 in fees per person.

A few days after we booked, the bowl parings were announced and flights jumped to over $1200 RT in Economy and award inventory was zeroed out.

Booking Lodging

The lodging was a bit more complicated for this trip as, with or without a major sporting event, New Years Eve in New Orleans is still a major attraction. With ATX Jr. on the way, Mrs. ATX was unable to take part in any libations so we decided to get a hotel out in Metairie and rent a car instead of staying in the Central Business District.

I originally booked the Courtyard Marriott but a great cash rate opened up at the Sheraton Metairie so I swapped our booking over to that. Hotels downtown were going for insane rates, the JW Marriott was $3800 per night, so I was happy to pay under $180 for the Sheraton. With the game on the night of January 1st, we did some additional searching downtown and discovered a great, last minute rate at the Le Meridien walking distance from the stadium for under $225.

The Le Meridien Hotel Tower in New Orleans' Central Business District

Thanks for coming along as we ring in the new year in The Big Easy. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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