TPG Reader Hall of Fame: Earning a vacation while on vacation

Nov 15, 2019

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Today’s TPG Reader Hall of fame story comes to you courtesy of Kyle, whose very first award redemption (ever!) with his wife was a huge success. Not only did they fly business and first class from New York to Tokyo and then on to Hawaii, they also earned enough cash and points for an additional vacation along the way.

Let’s check out how they did it.

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Photo courtesy of Kyle Parks.
(Photo courtesy of Kyle Parks.)

Kyle and his wife had an incredible time visiting both big cities and tropical beaches — while still managing to swing flights all over the world in the pointy end of the plane.

They used their points for maximum effect to fly Japan Airlines first class and Hawaiian Airlines in business, building their stash of American Airlines Advantage miles with shopping portals, big credit card sign-up bonuses and clever maximization of spend categories. When all that wasn’t quite enough, they leveraged an American Airlines buy miles sale to top off their accounts. Here are the cards they used:

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card, Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer

Related: How to earn miles with American Airlines AAdvantage

Japan Airlines first class. Photo courtesy of Kyle Parks.
Japan Airlines first class. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Parks.)

Though they chose to pay cash for their hotels over this twelve day trip, they did it with style — by opening a Marriott Premier Plus credit card (closed to new applicants) and earning the sign-up bonus with spend on their stays. Even better, they took the opportunity to complete a Marriott status challenge, which meant they were able to achieve Platinum Elite status by maximizing their vacation days. After all was said and done, they walked away with 266,570 Marriott points to use for a future vacation.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Parks.
(Photo courtesy of Kyle Parks.)

Of course, that’s not all they earned. Thanks to an overbooked flight on the way home, Kyle and his wife scored $1,200 each to spend an extra five hours in Hawaii, walking away with a total of $2,400 in flight vouchers. They later put these to good use with round-trip premium economy tickets to Vietnam.

Related: How to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles

All told, they redeemed 300,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for their flights. Here’s a breakdown of how they spent them:

Flights City Name Class of Service Points Used Comments
Flight Louisville to New York City (LGA) American Airlines Economy N/A Paid $120
Flight New York City (JFK) to Narita (NRT) Japan Airlines First 150,000 American Airlines miles
Flight Narita to Honolulu to Maui Hawaiian Airlines Business 105,000 American Airlines miles
Flight Maui to Los Angeles to Lousiville American Airlines Economy 45,000 American Airlines miles

Kyle and his wife came out ahead on their vacation, spending a phenomenal twelve days in some of the best first-class seats around and still managing to earn 266,570 points and $2,400. Now that’s an amazing redemption!

Feature photo courtesy of Kyle Parks.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
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