Well, here’s something you probably all knew: blogging is hard work! I’m only a post in and it’s been a week. I think part of the slowness comes from the fact that publishing something (no matter the size) can be a little scary–you’re putting yourself out there for people to judge. The other side is that coming up with content can be tricky–I want what I post to be interesting, but also relevant. What’s a guy to do?
With that said, let’s explore the root of why I started this blog: I’m taking a $6,000+ trip to Hawaii in April for only about $600. A vacation for 90% off–do I have your attention now?!
Here’s what it looks like so far:
|Items||Points Used||Cash Value of Points||Cash Spent|
|2x Delta tickets JFK-LAX-HNL||130,000 Delta SkyMiles||$1,021.00||$11.20|
|2x Hawaiian tickets HNL-KOA||9,000 American AAdvantage Miles||$174.00||$11.20|
|2x United tickets KOA-DEN-LGA||90,000 United MileagePlus Miles||$2,818.00||$11.20|
|4 nights Hilton Waikiki Beach||160,000 Hilton HHonors||$998.28||$0.00|
|3 nights Hilton Waikoloa Beach (Cash+Points)||60,000 Hilton HHonors||$737.94||$515.34|
|Oahu Rental Car||13,056 Chase Ultimate Rewards||$163.20||$0.00|
|Big Island Rental Car||23,808 Chase Ultimate Rewards||$297.60||$0.00|
Total: 485,864 points spent for a total value of $6,210.02. We’re paying only $548.94.
As this was a very “pieced together” trip, this wasn’t accomplished with only one or two credit cards. Between Nick and me, we applied for the following cards to make this trip happen:
- American Express Delta Gold (Sam)
- American Express Hilton HHonors card (Nick and Sam)
- American Express Hilton Surpass (Nick)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (Nick)
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (Sam)
- Citi American AAdvantage Gold (Sam)
Honestly, this is a long term game. We’ve been collecting points for almost a year, and this is our first major redemption. And in truth, we’re doing it sort of backwards. Rather than plan a trip and then base credit card bonuses around it, we’ve applied for credit cards and made a trip out of it. Because of this, there was no way that with our individual point balances we could create an entire roundtrip on one airline. For some, that might be an issue, but I think it’s actually a positive as it allows us to try out a bunch of different airlines and to use a variety of points.
What I will say is this: many people make it seem like you can only fly Emirates first class to get a great value out of your points. I disagree, and will disagree forever. What matters is that points got you to a vacation you might not otherwise take or a surprise visit home. That’s what matters most to me, and something I plan to highlight over and over again in this blog.
So, with a little planning–and a careful, methodical approach to managing credit cards–we’re taking the trip of a lifetime, and so could you!
EDIT: I think my next project will be detailing every leg of the trip and going into more detail on how we booked them. Thoughts?