Membership Rewards Pay With Points Promotion: My Readers Have Spoken and I’ll Be Going To…

by on August 2, 2011 · 30 comments

in American Express, General TPG Business

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Urubamba, Peruand Vieques, Puerto Rico!

Huh? Okay, hear me out. After I posted the Peru option, I got a ton of emails and comments about a long weekend not being enough time and the more research I did, I had to agree. Plus, the point of using my Pay With Points was to gain elite status and Delta does not do Medallion upgrades on flights to Lima, so I’d have to rough it in coach and connect via Atlanta. No thanks.

Instead, I’ll be using the 150,000 Amex points to plan a true long weekend getaway at the W Vieques Resort and Spa (airfare is ~$270 nonstop on Delta from JFK and as a Diamond Medallion it’s a slam-dunk upgrade). I also have a couple free resort nights, which I’ll combine with a paid night (to help me with my Starwood status), which will leave me with a lot of flexibility to use the Pay With Points on a bunch of other things, like a rental car and excursions. More on that in my planning post. Timeline: mid/late November after hurricane season.

As for Peru, I will be using 80,000 British Airways miles and planning a ridiculous multi-stopover tour of South America. I’ve booked these awards for others, but never myself and since I always talk about them, I’ll bring you through my entire planning process so you can all replicate since I know many of you have racked up tons of British Airways miles.

Right now my plan is to do a night in Lima, a night in Cusco, 4 nights in Urubama, 2 nights in Santiago, Chile and 3 nights on Easter Island. Give or take, we will figure the whole trip out soon. Timeline: late September/early October.

Sound good?

Now for the fun part, the three random winners out of over 700 comments are:

Michael K. – $100 Amex gift certificate

Blake – VIP membership

Katie – VIP membership

I don’t want to post your last names or emails (obviously) and I recognize there are probably multiple Michael Ks and Katies out there, so TPG Membership Liaison Danielle will be in touch with you shortly to get your information for the prizes.

Thanks to everyone for playing along. I am very much looking forward to my two upcoming trips and you can expect not only detailed trip reports with pictures, but also information on how I planned each from scratch.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • infamousdx

    ” I’ll bring you through my entire planning process so you can all replicate since I know many of you have racked up tons of British Airways miles.”

    THIS is why you are the top travel blogger. Looking forward to this and have fun in PR!

  • Lauren

    Great choices!
    I’d strong recommend 2 days in Lima. We thought it was such an underrated city. Be sure to stay in the old city area and not the touristy Miraflores. As a platinum I got a fantastic suite update at the Sheraton Lima and it was a 10min walk from all the cool sights. Enjoy!

  • egwg

    I planned to do a similar South American itinerary. I wanted to do JFK-GYE-LIM-SLC-IPC-JFK. If you stopped in GYE you could also visit the Galapagos Islands.

  • Brendan

    Will BA miles let you backtrack from CUZ to LIM if CUZ isn’t your final destination? I wouldn’t have thought so because I don’t believe LAN has other routes from CUZ. One can get cheap TACA flights LIM/CUZ, though.

  • sheri

    pr for the weekend is good, plus a few extra days sounds right. the st regis is terrific there too! as for your peru trip, you need more days in cusco, and maybe only 2 days in easter island. maybe we’ll meet you in easter island…

  • Twiggers

    Can’t wait to hear how you plan out the SA trip!

  • Kris

    Really excited to hear about both trips! I had the same question as Brendan about whether you have to/ are allowed to backtrack through through Lima/Cuzco, so I’ll be curious to see what your routing ends up being.

  • Allen

    TPG – Unless you plan on just walking around rather slowly in Cusco, one day isn’t enough to get acclimated.

  • Ssgtravel

    If I were you, I’d also try to get to the Galapagos Islands.

  • Peter

    TPG: It is the best arrangement!

    Can TPG mention the details of the “Membership Rewards Pay With Points Promotion”? Thanks!

  • MichaelSinn

    Have a great time!

  • Chris Atwood

    i recommend 2 days too…astrid y gascon is the place i’d eat at..i spent 11 days there a couple years ago

  • Vishal

    Is there any way to add GIG, BOG and Galapagos islands to this route?

  • Paul Henell

    I just returned from a similar trip. I was not able to get CUZ as a stopover, and needed to book a separate side trip. I’m curious to see how TPG will handle this.

  • Tzimmr

    Cusco has way more things to do than Urubamba. You may want to rejig the number of days there.

  • Anonymous

    Keep the feedback coming! This is why I love TPG readers… I will readjust the days accordingly. Expect a full planning post to come shortly

  • Jeff R

    I’ve got a bit of bias here, as I live in Miraflores, but I’d recommend NOT staying at the Sheraton or in central Lima. There are nicer hotels in nicer (read: safer) areas (Lima is not a fear-for-your-life kind of city, but it is a keep-your-wallet-in-your-front-pocket kind of city and there is a reason the cafe chairs have chains where you can attach your pocketbook). Miraflores is a vibrant, multi-cultural district where you can walk about freely, enjoy terrific views and restaurants, visit beautiful parks overlooking the Pacific, run on the malacon, and still be close to the main tourist sites (and the guided tours you’ll likely want to go on all pick up/drop off at the big hotels in Miraflores). Heck, Paul McCartney stayed in Miraflores (at the highly recommended Miraflores Park Hotel) a couple of months back. Need I say more?

    A few restaurant recommendations: Pescados Capitales, Cebicheria El Mercado (indeed, just typing that makes me want to eat there), La Gloria (just check the bill and remember that they charge you for the bread). Astrid y Gascon (as mentioned below) is a top pick, too.

    Two days is probably a good amount for Lima. I’d up Cusco to two days, as well (you really need that first day to go slow and get acclimated). Four days is probably overkill for Urubamba. Whatever you do, you’ll have a great time. And, hey, the airport actually has jetways now :)

  • Carl

    I am planning a similar trip to Easter Island next Autumn with my BA miles. Has ANA reinstated their Lima-Easter Island flight?

  • Carl

    correction. LAN flight.

  • Angel

    You should add EZE (my hometown) to your trip! At least a couple of nights and maybe you can have another fantastic experience at the Hyatt Palacio Duhau. What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE Buenos Aires, but for this trip I’m going to focus on western South America.. am now contemplating making this a whopper of a trip and trying to do Galapagos, Macchu Picchu and Easter Island all in one trip!

    Ever since my last visit to Buenos Aires, my goal is to rent an apartment for a month or two and live down there in February/March..not sure if I’ll be able to swing it in 2012, but its on my to-do list!

  • Anonymous

    I’m looking forward to reading about how you plan your South America trip because I’m going there as well with my BA miles. Unfortunately my trip won’t be until next spring/summer. If you ever need another great destination, I highly recommend Vietnam. We spent two weeks there this spring and loved it.

  • Federico

    You can’t do GYE from JFK (with LAN), and since you go to CUZ, the best option IMO (but you know better than me) is

    JFK-LIM(stopover*)-IPC(in order to avoid SCL visa fee)

    IPC-SCL(stopover)-JFK for a total of 80k in J

    *one award LIM-CUZ for 10k on Y
    * one award CUZ-LIM-GYE-GPS for 12.5k on Y (I never saw GPS on BA)
    * one award GPS-GYE-LIM for 10k on Y (I never saw GPS on BA)

    or from MIA/LAX (you may have a pending AA JFK-MIA/LAX award waiting around)

    + GYE-GPS R/T and LIM-CUZ R/T

  • federico vaca

    There is no JFK-GYE with LAN Airlines

  • Federico

    PS: from MIA you can add BOG on your route


  • RubberCityRebel

    I … I… think I love you! It is your sharing the thought process and the nuts and bolts of planning trips like this that make this the best travel blog EVER!
    Please keep up the wonder work. Thank you for all you do!

  • incaman

    We’ll need to be in Lima next May and am excited to hear about the details of planning a similar Great South American Trip. While I’ve been to Peru several times (family), I’m new to BA and the unlimited stopovers/LAN connections. Easter Island here we come! BTW, a few years back we rented an apartment in BsAs (several days instead of several weeks) and enjoyed ourselves immensely. However, a recent return trip in May showed that inflation, despite a more favorable 4:1 peso/dollar, has eroded the great bargain the country once was.

  • Katie

    I am very excited to hear about this trip!!

  • Jerad Kaliher

    Will you be going over the details of how you planned this trip soon? Thanks!

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