A few days ago, I turned on my computer after having my morning coffee, which I need to start consuming within an hour after I awaken lest I suffer from an excruciating migraine (I am horribly addicted to caffeine). I started flipping through my emails, first a Hotmail account for which I have notifications and other miscellaneous garbage routed to, then I was to be off to my more important email accounts. As I scrolled through all the junk, checking each box so that I could delete them all upon reaching the bottom, I found an email that had me do a double-take. It was from JetBlue, which I subscribe to along with numerous other airlines for their offers and deals, though in truth I discard them while cursing each time I receive them. The subject line read “Your Mystery Offer Awaits: Save Up to $300.

For some reason, I clicked on the email. Inside, they gave one code to be used on their website. The code was good for a single use for a 24-hour period, and varied in amount for each recipient. If one received the code, it was worth either $20, $50, $100, $200, or $300. I copied the code and then strolled over to the site. The rules stated that my code’s value wouldn’t be revealed until I searched for a flight and had basically “added it to my shopping cart,” so to speak. So, I looked up a flight for the last weekend in October, from the 26th through the 28th, from New York City to Kingston, Jamaica.

It was for a whopping $20 off the fare, so not enough to even arouse my interest. I closed that browser window, and continued checking my emails. Once I finished cleaning my Hotmail account for the morning, I did my Gmail account, then I started going through my work emails. I came across the same email, not realizing until that moment that JetBlue had both of these email addresses on file. I copied the code and opened the browser window to JetBlue.com once more. I typed in the same search terms I’d given the previous time, NYC-KIN, Oct 26-28, and I was blown away.

I was the proud recipient of a $236.00 coupon!

All I had to pay was the $151.91 for the taxes and fees, a bargain nonetheless. But wait – a $236 coupon? That didn’t make sense. I tried a different route, one that was just as lucrative to me: New York City to Bridgetown, Barbados (I haven’t been to either city or country). For the third time, I typed in the same items in the search field, with the updated destination.

Guess what?

I was the proud recipient of a $300.00 coupon!!!

I was in shock. The fare from New York City to Bridgetown, Barbados was $306 for the base, plus $89.40 for the taxes and fees. The sidebar showed that I owed them $395.40 for the ticket, a round trip fare, minus $300! I was to pay $6.00 plus the taxes and fees for a grand total of $95.40.

I booked the ticket, superstitiously thinking that something might happen if I didn’t book it immediately. It was even better, because that Kingston fare would have only allowed me to realize $236 off of the fare, which is still great, but not amazing like taking away $300, especially since the taxes and fees to Barbados seem to be much cheaper though the base fare is more expensive.

So, after this, I told all the friends whom I spoke with in the following three or four hours. One asked me if they could also obtain a code, but it was not available to those who hadn’t previously signed up. Ya snooze, ya lose, as the saying goes. Now I am thinking of not only signing up for emails from every goddamn airline in the western world, but also to each in every email account that I own. What if I could have received two offers of high value from JetBlue had I only provided them with a few more email addresses?

I like to talk from time to time about “travel hacking,” and this is a totally new method I never even came close to thinking about. But hey, these emails were free lottery tickets to me this time; actually, they were much better because they all were winning tickets, just the amounts varied. So, armed with this new knowledge and giddy from this recent “win,” I will be subscribing to anything and everything in sight. Like my home state’s lottery logo puts it: Hey, you never know. 

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