In case you missed it, this is a multi-part trip framework. You can catch up on all the segments here:
- New York-Chicago, Staying in Chicago
- Chicago-Seattle, Staying in Seattle, Seattle-New York
- How It Was Accomplished
So, now to the nitty-gritty: how do you accomplish this trip? To recap:
- Amtrak: New York to Chicago and Chicago to Seattle
- Hyatt: 2 nights in Chicago
- IHG: 3 nights in Seattle
- Alaska Airlines: Seattle to New York
Here’s the breakdown:
|Items||Points Used||Cash Value of Points||Cash Spent|
|1x Amtrak ticket New York – Chicago||19,424 Amtrak Guest Rewards miles
(18,453 if you have the Amtrak card)
|2 nights Hyatt Place Chicago-Downtown/The Loop||0 Hyatt Gold Passport Points (2 free nights certificate used)||$700.90||$0.00|
|1x Amtrak ticket Chicago – Seattle||27,635 Amtrak Guest Rewards miles
(26,253 if you have the Amtrak card)
|3 nights Holiday Inn Express – Seattle City Center||60,000 IHG points
(54,000 if you have the IHG card)
|1x Alaska Airlines ticket SEA-JFK||20,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles||$263.10||$5.60|
Cost of trip: 118,706 points and $305.60 ($459.60 if you include the annual fees detailed below)
Cost of trip without miles/points: $3,207.93
Savings: $2,902.33, or 91% off!
You’ll need five cards, and that equates to $5,075 in spending over the course of 90 days (about ~$1,692 a month) if you do it all at once, you can also stagger the cards and do a couple at a time. So which cards make this possible?
|Card||Annual Fee||Spending Requirement||Bonus Points||Notes|
|Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards World||$79||$1,000 in 90 days||20,000 points||You will have at least 21,000 Amtrak points from this card.|
|American Express Starwood Preferred Guest||$0 for the first year, $95 every year after that||$3,000 in 90 days||25,000 points||You will convert 25,000 SPG points to 25,000 Amtrak miles|
|Chase IHG Rewards Club Select||$0 for the first year, $49 every year after that||$1,000 in 90 days||60,000 points||Use all these points at Holiday Inn Express – Seattle City Center|
|Chase Hyatt Credit Card||$0 for the first year, $75 every year after that||$1,000 in 90 days||2 Free Nights||Use these free nights at Hyatt Place Chicago-Downtown/The Loop|
|Bank of America Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Visa Signature||$75||$0||25,000 miles|
Some of these cards are great longterm investments, like the Amtrak card and the IHG card, so I would recommend keeping those and ditching (or downgrading) the other cards when the yearly fee comes due.
So there you have it! Go west, my friends!
Note: This trip is planned for 1 person, but the only additional cost if you wanted to bring a friend would be another 20,000 Alaska Airlines miles, as the Amtrak roomettes are the same price, regardless if you have one or two people on the reservation.