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Following an epic layover in London, a quick ride on the Eurostar train from London to Paris and an okay-but-snug flight on Vietnam Airlines’ A350, I finally reached Hanoi, the first stop on my first trip to Vietnam. I managed to sleep for most of the 11-hour and 20-minute flight, so I was able to start exploring the city as soon as I got there. Watch the latest episode of TPGtv below to see my first impressions of this incredible city, the legendary hotel I stayed in and how Hanoi’s hottest DJ took us on a tour of the local nightlife scene.
Since this was my first trip to Vietnam, my friends recommended that I go to the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, the same hotel Jane Fonda had stayed in during her infamous trip to Northern Vietnam back in 1972. Rates start at about $312 per night in June for a room in the historic wing of the hotel, where I stayed.
Sofitel is part of the Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program, along with Novotel, Mercure, Ibis and Pullman Hotels and Resorts, among several other AccorHotels brands. As a Le Club AccorHotels member, I had access to Club Metropole, a lounge area that served breakfast, lunch and dinner, so it was easy to grab food on the go if I needed to.
The Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program lets you earn about a 5% return on spending at a value of 2.17 points per dollar — you can also redeem 2,000 points to get 40 euros (~$50) off the price of a future stay.
While this isn’t a bad deal, I did find a better one by booking my stay through Hotels.com, which offers about a 10% return on spending. I paid $566 per night for my three-night stay and used my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card so I’d get 2x points for booking travel, earning a total of 3,396 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the purchase. Note that other cards like the Citi ThankYou Premier Card and Citi Prestige give you 3x points on hotel bookings, so those are good options to book with as well.
After a day of sightseeing, it was time to check out the local nightlife. Our guides hooked us up with DJ Hùng Anh, one of Hanoi’s top DJs, and we headed out for the night. Our first stop was the Hangover Bar, which was pretty cool. When I asked what other places we’d visit that night, my new friends started chanting “Temple! Temple! Temple!” and I knew we had to go there next. As we kept going, our group got bigger and bigger — and the people we met all seemed friendly. We ended our big night out at Ultra, pictured below.
Stay tuned to for our next episode of TPGtv, where I discover a Vietnamese dish so delicious I learn how to cook it myself.
Can’t wait to see what I’m working on next? Follow along with all my travel adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for a behind-the-scenes look at what’s coming up on TPGtv, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Points Guy on YouTube — you’ll be notified as soon as each new episode appears.
The Points Guy Assessment: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees