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How points, miles and our travel community helped a family in crisis

Feb. 07, 2020
3 min read
How points, miles and our travel community helped a family in crisis
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Today we're sharing a story from one of our readers, Eunice, whose vacation to Hong Kong took an unexpected turn when her husband landed in the hospital for emergency surgery. Eunice originally reached out to us in the TPG Lounge to share her story and give thanks to those who helped her and her family.

Her experience is inspiring: Communities rally at the worst of times to make the best of a poor situation, having a stash of points and miles at hand can be priceless and knowing the best ways to redeem them means saving thousands of dollars in a crunch.

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Having originally booked a family vacation to Hong Kong and Singapore, Eunice and her family found themselves in dire straits when her husband had stroke symptoms and a family friend suggested they head to the hospital. The group was staying at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel (as it is relatively insulated from the ongoing protests) and rather than call an ambulance, one of the hotel workers flagged a taxi to take them to the best hospital in the city with the greatest speed possible. This move meant that her husband — who immediately underwent surgery — was seen quickly enough for a full recovery.

Though quick thinking alone is worthy of thanks, Eunice and her family found themselves awash in hospitality at the hotel, where personalized Christmas cards (due to the unexpected extension of the trip for her husband's recovery), birthday decorations and special treats brought them joy in such a trying time.

Of course, managing a family is difficult on its own. Coupled with a husband in recovery and two small children, Eunice needed help to keep everything together. After calling the airlines with whom she booked her original flights, she was able to cancel and rebook for a later time with no fees. Eunice also reached out to a fellow TPG reader, who offered to search for last-minute award flights for her family to fly in.

With the help of Kim, the generous TPG reader, and Citi ThankYou points transferred to Avianca, Eunice was able to book flights for her family to Hong Kong. While she did spend some cash, she also saved thousands of dollars in airfare, which goes to show that the best redemptions aren't the most aspirational, but the ones that mean the most.

Related: Why points and miles are the best insurance policy

In total, they spent sixteen days at the hotel, countless hours on the phone with airline representatives, bundles of Citi ThankYou points on flight tickets and one unforgettable trip that could have gone so badly, but didn't.

Eunice's story is one of community and humanity in some of the worst times a family can go through. From the dedicated hotel staff — who threw a goodbye party when they finally checked out — to a fellow reader who spent her time finding award flights, her family's saga is both unique and inspirational.

Thank you for sharing, Eunice, and thank you to TPG reader Kim and all who helped her and her family along the road to healing.

Featured image by Getty Images

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases