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I’m about to head out of my year-end vacation. I’ll be hitting up Rio de Janeiro for New Years Eve and then heading on to Uruguay (Montevideo, Punta del Este) and ending in Buenos Aires. I’ll be blogging from down south, but you may have to forgive the frequency. It’s been a crazy year and I’m really excited to relax and down some caipirinhas.

I’ll also be writing detailed trip reports since I’ll be flying United’s “new” First Class product and American’s Flagship suite on the way home.

In summary, this 12 day trip was almost entirely financed with points. I’m not bragging, but moreso showing the value of working hard to accrue points and miles. I would have never been able to afford this trip, especially in the peak season, if I had to pay for it out of pocket.

Summary of the trip:
67,500 One way first class award to Rio on United on their 767 aircraft (new first class)
4 nights at Intercontinental Rio at 20,000 Priority Club points and $60 a night over New Years (when the hotel was retailing at $500+/night)
Tickets from Rio to Montevideo were purchased on Pluna for ~$300 each. Delta announced their partnership with Gol two weeks after I booked tickets, so I would have tried going that route if possible.
1 night at the Four Points Montevideo- was only $120, so I am paying for that room. Didn’t make sense to use points
3 nights at the Conrad Punta Del Este. Rooms were over $400/night, so I converted 55,000 AA miles to 110,000 Hilton points for $30 and then used 35,000 points a night.
2 nights at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. I booked it before Hyatt’s category changes at 15,000 points a night. A steal if you ask me, since the average daily rate is currently $545 for the nights we will be there.
67,500 One way first class award EZE (Buenos Aires)-JFK on American

Escaping cold, snow battered NYC: Priceless.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
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  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
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