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Located about a four-hour drive from Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is a beautiful coastal area consisting of roughly 2,000 islands that’s been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994. I was excited to embark on an overnight cruise and spend two days checking out the sights and getting to know the locals. Watch the latest episode of TPGtv below to see how it went!
Getting from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay was pretty easy thanks to a $385 one-way flight on a seaplane run by Hai Au Aviation, which I booked with my Platinum Card from American Express. I only earned 1 Amex Membership Rewards point per dollar for this one, but chose to use this card because of all the travel protection I’d receive from American Express.
I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred card to book a two-day cruise package with Indochina Sails on a luxurious junk ship — the $558 total ended up earning me 1,116 Chase Ultimate Rewards points since the card gives you 2x points on travel, including cruises. My cruise package included an overnight stay in a suite onboard the ship, complete with a full-sized bathroom, jacuzzi tub, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a private balcony.
I had so much fun sailing around Ha Long Bay and getting a chance to see some of the islands — most had cool names, too, like The Finger, Incense Burning Island and Fighting Cock Island just to name a few. We also had a unique opportunity during an afternoon excursion to visit the Cua Van Floating Fishing Village, a local Vietnamese community that lives in houseboats and runs a fish farm in Ha Long Bay. I spoke to some people there who told us about the area and recommended we also check out Surprise Cave, Tree Cave and Jungle Cave, three hidden caves on three of the islands, all popular stops on the Ha Long Bay tourist trail.
Despite a brief tumble as we exited the boat and stepped onto the slippery dock — which I wasn’t too worried about since I knew my nifty $249 annual trip insurance policy from Allianz had my back just in case! — I had a great time on this overnight cruise! I’d definitely recommend a trip to Ha Long Bay if you’re ever thinking of visiting Vietnam, and I hope to travel here again soon.
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