This past weekend I had a (very) mini vacation that perhaps would be more satisfactory for some of my interlocutors here. Free flights are fine in terms of starving the profit beast, but there's no doubt they are horrible for the environment. How about just getting a hotel nearby with a nice pool and some free breakfast? This was how I spent this last Saturday. Total cost with food and movie rental was about $30 for the one night. Not bad for 4 people.
It started with a Marriott Rewards credit card. They gave me 70K points, which is good for almost 5 nights of lodging, depending on the hotel category, and they additionally gave me a voucher for a free night, and that voucher expires in early February.
So I kept saving it thinking that perhaps an opportunity where I would need it would come up, but nothing did. So I decided to use it anyway. Take my wife and kids to my old stomping grounds, Ann Arbor, Michigan where I went to school. We could wander around campus and take in the views, then back to the hotel for swimming or whatever.
So that's what we did. The family loved it and are looking forward to more of the same, which is likely since I don't often need a hotel but can easily acquire free nights via credit cards. Just an idea I thought I'd share.