Lead image from Paris, France, April 2017
- Miles & Points: 150,000; 2 free Hilton hotel nights; 2 free Fairmont hotel nights
- Cashback: $709
June saw the completion of the April bonuses and another gift card sale producing a high yield of points. Bank bonuses have been quiet the last two months, but a strong return on cash back cards produced the entirety of the cash back.
I had previously been to the Olympics in 2012 and fondly remember that trip as one of the best ones I’v ever taken. I was excited to see that the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea would be not only a good fit for our schedule, but very available on points. We’d be able to pay for the hotel and airfare on points, leaving our only major out of pocket cost being tickets. Plus it seemed as good a time as any for our son’s first trip to Asia
- Miles used for airfare (two travelers and one infant): 336,000
- Taxes and fees for airfare: : 32,467 Arrival miles
- 7 nights hotel in the Seoul: 60,000 SPG points
I strongly considered booking business class (and saving 73,500 miles) but eventually decided to spring for first class since: a) I love Korean Airlines First Class, and I’d get to experience it on the A380 for the outbound and B747-9 on the return; b) the extra space would be beneficial since we are traveling with our son as a lap child; and c) I had the points available, so why not use them. I was able to pay for the taxes using Arrival miles, allowing the booking to be cash-free. For the hotel, I had previously stayed at the Sheraton on a prior trip to Seoul, and I found the hotel itself to be surprisingly wonderful and the location to be perfect. Given hotel prices during this peak time, it was one of my best redemption on a cent-per-point basis, and I am excited to be able to use my platinum status for free breakfast and lounge access during the trip.
Lead image from Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, November 2013
- Miles & Points: 470,000
- Cashback: $922
Very productive month in terms of earning – the majority of the April credit cards were run and I was able to score another 200,000 in AMEX referrals and upgrades. My April credit card applications included a couple of cashback-centric cards that should produce solid cash back rewards for the next 6+ months. Only two credit card bonuses from April have yet to be run; I expect them to be completed next month.
A busy month of travel postponed any burning this month – but plans were made for an award booking next month.
Lead image from Bucharest, Romania, April 2017
- Miles & Points: 330,000
- Cashback: $365
April would mark the start of a cycle of new credit cards as my wife and myself were approved for 10 new credit cards, which we plan to run over the next three months. While the majority of the bonuses will be achieved in May, I was able to get a head start on some smaller spend. Additionally, a gift card sale at a local store proved to be very fruitful, resulting in 75,000 points, and a AMEX referral promotion resulted in an additional 140,000 points.
After a big redemption last month, I took April off from redeeming points… but I did start to put the framework together for a trip to book next month.
Lead image from Maui, Hawaii, January 2013
- Miles & Points: 195,000; 4 free Fairmont hotel nights and suite upgrades
- Cashback: $1,335
Continued cash back strength from a run of exceptional bank bonuses, which accounted for over 99% of the cash back for the month. Miles and points earned were from upgrade offers, authorized user bonuses, and the rest of the sign up bonuses from my last round of credit card applications.
We booked our major vacation for the fall – a bucket list trip to the Maldives. It had long been high on my list of destinations to visit, and after a bit of work to find award space, I had finally pieced together an itinerary that was (nearly) perfect.
- Miles used for airfare (two travelers): 365,000
- Fairmont free nights and upgrade certificates (Dubai): 2
- Taxes and fees for airfare: $101.60 + 14,312 Arrival miles
- 5 nights hotel in the Maldives: 380,000 points (plus $360 for room upgrades)
- 1 night hotel in Abu Dhabi: 9,512 Arrival miles (will receive $40 rebate)
- Positioning flights: 25,000 miles
Flights over were booked on Emirates business class with Alaska miles. A two night stop over en route at the Fairmont Palm in Dubai in an upgraded suite was secured using free nights and upgrade certs earned from the Fairmont CC. Our return trip will be with Etihad in their first class “Apartments,” using AA miles. Our redemption came with a 10,000 mile rebate per passenger, applied to the cost of the trip above. For our Maldives hotel, we booked the Conrad. Since a trip to the Maldives isn’t complete without staying over water, we secured three nights in an over water “sunset” bungalow at a reason cost of $120 per night.
The “boring” stuff: additional miles were used for positioning flights – flights used to get our infant son to his grandparents for the 10 days we are away. An overnight was required in Abu Dhabi on the way home – a reservation for an airport hotel on Booking.com was covered with Barclay Arrival miles, and came with a $40 rebate, to be paid after the stay (making the estimated overnight cost ~$55). Lastly, some of the taxes were also reimbursed using Barclay Arrival miles to lessen the overall out of pocket expenses
Also booked –
Another trip to visit my wife’s family in Boston/RI.
- Miles used for airfare (two travelers, one infant): 13,200
- Taxes and fees for airfare: $21