TPG Reader Hall of Fame: Qsuite and Cairo

Nov 2, 2019

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Today’s TPG Reader Hall of Fame story comes to you courtesy of Loren, who — together with her daughter Erin — managed a bucket-list trip to Egypt complete with a stint in Qatar Airways’ famous Qsuite business class. Let’s take a look at how they did it:

Loren is a self-professed points and miles newbie, though you wouldn’t know it from her bookings. She and her daughter flew business class in both directions, taking advantage of generous partnerships and transferable points currencies to book award tickets on two separate airlines while still managing to fly together. This is in part thanks to Juicy Miles, an award-booking service that helps customers maximize their mileage redemptions.

Photo courtesy of Loren McLean.
Business class in Royal Jordanian.

First, however, they had to earn their points and miles. They acquired these via a variety of techniques with travel rewards credit cards, including welcome bonuses, everyday spend, and referrals, eventually racking up 315,000 points that they used for lavish flights — and even a stay at an expensive Marriott in Zurich. Here are the cards they used:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express — Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.
  • American Express® Gold Card — Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months. Terms apply.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from 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.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® — Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® — Earn 60,000 bonus miles and a companion certificate after your first purchase and payment of the annual fee in the first 90 days of opening your account

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.   

They spent most of their points on premium-cabin flights, choosing to pay out of pocket for a (nearly) all-inclusive tour once in Egypt, that lasted a full 10 days. Prior to their aspirational adventure to the ancient country, however, they spent 36 hours in Zurich, touring the city and saying their goodbyes to the western world.

Here’s a breakdown of the points they spent:

Program Points Used Current TPG valuation (cents per point)
American Express Membership Rewards 55,000 2.00
Chase Ultimate Rewards 70,000 2.00
American Airlines AAdvantage 140,000 1.40
Marriott Bonvoy 50,000 0.80

Here’s how they redeemed them:

Flights City Name Class of service Points used Comments
Flight Boston to Zurich Swiss Airlines Business 70,000 Chase (transferred to United)
Flight Boston to Zurich Swiss Airlines Business 55,000 American Express (transferred to Aeroplan)
Flight Zurich to Cairo Alitalia Economy N/A $600 paid
Flight Cairo to Amman to Doha to Boston Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways Business 140,000 American Airlines miles (20,000 transferred from Marriott)

 

Hotels City Name Points used Comments
Hotel rewards Zurich Zurich Marriott 50,000 N/A
Hotel paid Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Luxor, Hurghada N/A N/A Paid $1600 (2 people)

All told, they spent just over 12 days on their journey, which included sights from some of the most famous spots in the world. Best of all? Maximizing their use of points and miles meant that they were able to take on a truly inspirational vacation and make it affordable. Great job, guys!

 

All photos courtesy of Loren McLean.

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