TPG Reader Hall of Fame: A $30,000 vacation for 700,000 points
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Today’s TPG Reader Hall of Fame story comes to you courtesy of Jessica and her husband, who managed to take three weeks off together for a one-of-a-kind honeymoon around the world. From Vienna to Delhi and Malé to Singapore, these two spent their time in ultra-luxe accommodations and economy seats alike, cleverly using their points to stretch their vacation. Let’s see how they did it.
As self-professed readers of TPG for the last few years, Jessica and her husband knew exactly how to maximize their points and miles. A combination of limited-time sign-up bonuses, business travel and credit card spend (especially for wedding expenses!) meant that the couple were able to save up hundreds of thousands of points for their honeymoon. Here are the cards they used:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card: 25,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (They actually used the now defunct SPG Amex, but this is the closest comparison).
Unlike many travelers for whom getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible is key, Jessica and her husband took advantage of some crazy routings to stuff in a few more experiences. Take, for example, their flight from Vienna to Malé, which they flew entirely in business class and stopped in Zurich, Delhi and Trivandrum on the way to the Maldives.
Or, even better, their intentional layovers in both Seoul and Honolulu. “We originally planned to fly direct to San Francisco, but when we looked at flights, we found that United actually had a flight leaving from SIN (Singapore), with an 18-hour layover at ICN (Seoul, South Korea), AND a 12 hour layover in HNL (Honolulu, Hawaii) before flying back to SFO for the same price! We had never been to Seoul and we love Honolulu so we were sold! This flight cost 200,000 United points + $167.42 in taxes and fees to visit 3 cities! Not bad at all.”
Here are the points and miles Jessica and her husband used for their trip (and how much they’re worth based on TPG’s latest valuations):
|Program||Points Used||Current TPG Valuation|
|World of Hyatt||75,000||1.7|
Here’s how they used their points and miles — plus a little cash — for flights:
|City||AIRLINE||Class||Cash Value||Points Used||Comments|
|San Francisco to Newark||United Airlines||Economy Plus||$302||N/A|
|New York to Frankfurt||Singapore Airlines||Business||$3,000||130,000||Singapore miles (transferred from Chase)|
|Vienna to Zurich to Delhi to Trivandrum to Malé||Swiss Airlines/ Air India||Business||$12,000||110,000||United miles|
|Malé to Singapore||Scoot||Economy||$388||N/A|
|Singapore to Incheon to Honolulu to San Francisco||Asiana Airlines||Business||$10,000||200,000||United miles (some transferred from Chase)|
And here’s how they used points and cash on hotels:
|City||HOTEL||Cash Value||Points Used||Comments|
|Nuremburg||Le Meridien Grand||$101||N/A|
|Prague||Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague||$1,064||N/A|
|Vienna||Hotel Imperial||$1,000||150,000||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Maldives||Park Hyatt Hadahaa||$2,000||75,000||World of Hyatt|
|Singapore||JW Marriott South Beach||$500||100,000||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Seoul||Grand Hyatt Seoul||$175||N/A||World of Hyatt card free anniversary night|
All together, Jessica and her husband managed to take a $30,000 dollar vacation with roughly $2,000 in cash and under a million points. What a great way to start a marriage!
Featured image courtesy of Jessica Ngan.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
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