Adventures in Thailand
Bryce from 10xTravel is sharing a real points redemption that involves an extremely sought after travel destination – Thailand!
Bryce works full time in corporate banking but runs his blog 10xTravel with a LOT of enthusiasm. Like many points bloggers, Bryce is an avid traveler who dedicates his free time to helping others learn how to better earn/redeem their travel points! He prides himself in taking an active role in helping each and every one of his readers, no matter how popular his blog becomes!
The trip Bryce is sharing with us took him and his wife to Thailand for 2 weeks! Using their earnings for airfare AND accommodation, they were able to completely cover the trip on points except for taxes and fees!
The jet-setting couple earned their points for this trip via credit card sign-up bonuses and spending; they specifically used the United Mileage Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and Chase Ink Plus cards. For accommodations, they utilized both personal and business Marriott cards.
In order to book the flights to Chiang Mai, Bryce transferred 30,000 Chase points to United to pair with his existing 50,000 United points. They booked a business class ticket on Air Canada and had the pleasure of flying the new 787 Dreamliner from Toronto to Copenhagen, then Thai Airways Business Class to Bangkok and on to Chiang Mai!
Bryce and his wife also cashed in 310,000 Marriott Points on a Nights & Flights Package for a 7-night stay at the Renaissance Koh Samui and got 100,000 Southwest Points back as a bonus. With 10,000 additional points, this qualified them for a Southwest Companion Pass…WHAT A DEAL!
For their return trip, they utilized Chase points again, redeeming 40,000 United miles for an economy flight from Koh Samui.
Bryce states this was one of his favorite redemptions because simply put, Thailand is a blast! Also, saving so much money on flights and accommodations meant they could splurge on other fantastic adventures and activities while they were there!
What’s next? Bryce and his wife are headed to Buenos Aires (also in business class, purchased with points) to spend a few days visiting friends and exploring everything the city has to offer.
Thanks for sharing Bryce. It’s so great to know that even exotic locations like Thailand are achievable on points!
An Epic Suite in Tokyo
Daniel a.k.a The Hotelion comes to the Real Redemptions series with a pretty epic hotel redemption: the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel!
In his day job, Daniel is a full-time consultant, but in his spare time he writes for TravelUpdate, a multi-author travel blog. Daniel shares his expertise by publishing stories related to efficient traveling, hotel deal analyses, and economic perspectives.
Daniel earns points via a combination of many methods: general spending on credit cards, hotel stays, and extra credits/referral bonuses. He’s constantly earning/redeeming points, so each redemption varies slightly depending on where he’s staying.
So let’s get to his favorite…
Daniel utilized his points to book a corner room at the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho in Akasaka-Mitsuki, Tokyo for one night. This booking wasn’t available online, so Daniel called his Amex Platinum Concierge and utilized 21,500 SPG Starpoints. This was especially lucrative at the time, since he ended up staying the day of the Starwood points revaluation. This hotel was later promoted to category 7, which now costs 30,000-35,000 points per night (an increase of over 40%)!
Daniel e-mailed beforehand to apply a suite night award to hopefully confirm an upgrade for his anniversary, and it totally paid off. Initially having booked a corner room, he was offered the Kioi Suite – a huge bonus with over 1,000 square feet!
Daniel chose to share this redemption with us due to the great value he received: this specific suite typically goes for ~$2,000 USD per night. He states the service at the Prince Gallery was superb, the room was ridiculous, and the amenities were fantastic (including access to the club lounge). Just one example: his room rate included a “platinum breakfast” that was easily worth $100 USD.
While nothing has been officially booked, Daniel tells us he’s considering a European trip next, hopefully including London and Paris. His goal is to hit several more elite Starwood and Mariott properties, as well as a few Fairmont and Hyatt locations.
We appreciate the contribution and can’t wait to see what’s in store for you, Daniel!
An Escape to Honolulu
(Are you picturing pineapples and hula dancers now? We are!)
At pointshogger, Matt blogs about the Canadian points world. He aims to give readers all the information on major loyalty miles and points programs in Canada and assist Canadians in maximizing rewards on every dollar they spend.
In this series, we love when people get specific about how they earned/redeemed their points, and Matt has certainly done just that!
For the flights: Matt earned 20,000 Aeroplan miles as a welcome bonus with the American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card. He then earned another 25,000 Membership Rewards points from the welcome bonus on the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (this card has now been replaced with the American Express® Gold Card). These Membership Rewards points were then transferred to Aeroplan for a total of 45,000 Aeroplan miles.
Matt’s then-girlfriend (now wife) also signed up for these same 2 cards and went with the exact same strategy to double their points. Another bonus? Both cards had a “first-year fee waived” promotion, so neither of them incurred any annual fees!
They used 45,000 Aeroplan miles plus $162.93 CAD taxes/fees to fly Air Canada and United (with a couple stops) from Ottawa to Honolulu.
For the accommodation: Matt initially signed up for the Capital One Priority Club Platinum MasterCard (now discontinued) and earned a sign-up bonus of 15,000 points. (Priority Club is now called IHG Rewards). These points took much longer to accumulate; Matt utilized various methods such as business travel, E-Reward dollars (every $100 gives 4,000 points), and general everyday spending on the Capital One card. Eventually, he amassed just over 90,000 points.
At the time of booking, they chose the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber. The hotel was redeemed for 90,000 points per night + $120 USD for 3 nights. (At the time, CAD and USD were at a 1:1 conversion rate)
Another inadvertent perk to this trip was a flight issue that turned into silver lining: a 24-hour luggage delay on their final United flight awarded them $100 to cover incidentals. Those items (beach towels, flip-flops, swimsuits) ended up being their souvenirs.
In total, Matt estimates the trip would have cost them well over $4,000 as a couple, but with redemptions, they spent well under $1,000 each.
Matt chimes in here to say that while it may not be the most impressive, this redemption took him to his favorite place in the world: Hawaii. Possibly more exciting is the fact that this was Matt’s very first redemption he ever made, and these credit cards were his first batch ever!
Everyone in the points world knows your first redemption holds a special place in your heart! Plus, traveling somewhere tropical in the middle of Canadian winter? So wonderful. All in all, this trip was a total home-run.>
Matt’s next redemption will take him and his wife to Switzerland! Flights were again booked with Aeroplan miles via United Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines.
We can’t thank you enough for sharing such a detailed account of your redemption, Matt!