Getting $1,000 to Watch Soccer in Nashville
First off, a quick apology for the long delay between posts. The last month has been an insane whirlwind between work, wedding planning, family stuff, and an event I've been helping organize coming to fruition (more on that later). Stuff is calmer, I have a lot of posts in progress, and I'm aiming to update regularly going forward.
As you may remember from my trip to London (or if you've ever met me), I'm a fan of the English football (soccer) team Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (a.k.a. Spurs). I'm a board member of NY Spurs, an official supporters club affiliated with the team, and I've travelled to see them a few times. The team came to the United States during this summer's off-season for a friendly tournament, playing a midweek game in New York sandwiched by weekend games in Orlando and Nashville.
These summer games are a lot of fun when they happen in the U.S. Fans from local supporters clubs around the country travel to some of the games, which usually makes the games feel like a bit of a national fan convention. Obviously I went to to the New York game, and a handful of friends and I decided to travel to Nashville for the weekend match.
Usually, I wouldn't take a leisure trip so far away for just a day, but I wanted to see the game and hang out with everyone, and, as can happen, I was a little too busy to spend longer than one overnight away from home. I booked my travel with one friend, who also wanted to go for just an overnight. We found direct flights on Delta out of LGA, and found a well-priced Airbnb. The plan was to fly down, watch the game at Nissan Stadium (home of the Titans), enjoy an afternoon and night of eating (and drinking) in Nashville with friends and fly back early the next afternoon.
Our flight out was at 9:50 a.m., so we got to the airport a little after 8:30 (we took a Lyft, which earns 3x SkyMiles/dollar if you link your Delta account and travel to or from an airport). We grabbed coffee before heading to the gate, where the gate agent announced that the flight was oversold; they needed four people to take a later flight in exchange for $400 in the form of a gift card.
Only two people took the offer, so the gate agent came back on the P.A. system to announce an increased offer of $700. With no takers, the offer rose to $1000. Considering that the offer was well over double what we'd spent on the entire trip, it was tempting. We'd cancel the cost of the trip and make more back, and we'd still get to Nashville in time for the game. It's relatively infrequent that either of our travel plans have much flexibility, so neither of us could resist. We went up to the desk and volunteered.
When I've been on overbooked flights before, Delta has only offered compensation in the form of a travel credit which has to be used within one year. This was the first time I've heard a gift card offered instead. When we went up to volunteer, the gate agent gave us a list of choices, including Macy's, Target, an American Express prepaid card, or a Delta gift card. If you volunteer, Delta sends you an e-mail with a link you can visit to choose the merchant you want.
All else being equal, I'd suggest anyone in this situation take the American Express gift card, since you can spend it like cash at basically anywhere that accepts Amex. The only catch is that the Amex card expires in six months, while every other choice lasts longer. Just something to keep in mind if you wanted to put the compensation towards a future purchase or trip.
We were booked on a flight which would arrive about five hours later than our original flight — routed through Atlanta, rather than nonstop — so we decided to head to the Delta Sky Club lounge. We could buy access for a discounted rate of $29 thanks to the fact that we both held a Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express — if we had a regular American Express Platinum card, access would have been free. At LGA, there are Sky Clubs in both Terminals C and D, though we were at C. It was early so breakfast was available at the buffet, including bagels and pastries. We decided to start our drinking early with complimentary mimosas. After 11 a.m., the mimosas were replaced by a surprisingly tasty watermelon sangria.
Our flight to Atlanta was uneventful, and because we had another wait before our next flight, we splurged and bought into the Sky Club there. Considering we had both made $1000, we figured we could spare the cash. The Atlanta Sky Club was nice, with a few decent beer offerings and pimento cheese, of all things. Local flavor (pun intended), I guess.
Soon enough, we landed in Nashville. We took a quick Lyft to drop off our bags at the Airbnb in the East Nashville/Lockland Springs area, and grabbed another one to Nissan Stadium for the match.
I was impressed by the size of the crowd in town for the match, which was against Manchester City FC. Nashville Spurs had a huge presence and did a great job organizing events through the weekend, which helped energy at the stadium in the Spurs supporters section stay high. Sadly, it was a terrible match, with Spurs losing 0-3. After the game, we went out for a night in Nashville. Highlights of our bar/restaurant crawl included FGL House, which is, oddly, a bar opened by the country band Florida Georgia Line; Pinewood Social, which had great food, coffee and drinks; and No. 308, a fun cocktail bar.
The next morning, we stopped at the Nashville Biscuit House for post-drinking breakfast. The eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits and sausage gravy were as gluttonously delicious as one would hope.
We went straight to the airport to board our flight home, and had an uneventful trip.
The real bottom line here is an obvious one: when you can take a bump without ruining your travel plans, go for it. If you don't take the first offer, it'll increase, but remember that if you wait too long someone else might jump on it before you.
Nashville made for a fun day and night, beyond seeing Spurs play. It was my first time there, so I'm looking forward to going back for longer.