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Cost to attend London Olympics

I’m tired of annoying commercials.  An unnamed credit card company has been running an ad implying you could see the London Olympics using their “Rewards Program.”  I decided to see what you would have to spend to get your “free” trip to London.

I Googled the following expenses and took the cheapest quote from the first page of results.  (I’m sure they are teaser rates to get you to visit the site.  The only way to get to London from LA for $585 is probably by hitchhiking and swimming.  But they illustrate my point.)

Flight to London  $585×2 = $1170

3 Nights at a Hotel  $29×3 = $87  (A little hard to believe…)

The most popular events:

  • Archery Finals £30
  • Fencing Finals £30
  • Table Tennis Finals £45

Total for events 105×2 = £210 or ~$327

Total cost = $1584

(The highest price tickets I saw were £450 for diving, swimming and gymnastics…)

A friend recently exchanged 14,500 “Reward Points” to credit her account $100.  If I use the ratio to figure out how many Reward Points I need to go to London…

1584*(14,500/100) = 229,680

For most of their cards you earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on purchases.

Soooo…  You have to spend almost 230 thousand dollars to get your free trip to the London Olympics!

But wait!  There are other ways to add points.  You can link an eligible checking account and earn 50 points (I think) a month.  So you only have to do this for 229680/50 = 4594 months or 383 years.  (I rounded to the nearest year.)

But wait!  If you’re a few points short, you can buy 1000 points for $25.  So your free trip to London only costs 229,680*(25/1000) = $57,420.  (Much less expensive!)

Or you can do some combination of these things.

The least expensive way to see the Olympics is NOT using their credit card reward program.  I’ll be watching them on my TV.

Update:  I forgot you have to eat!  Take some granola bars….

Image from The Warshaw Curve