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

Feb 7, 2020

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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 photo by Mendowong Photography/Getty Images.

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