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The Master Travel Redemptions Thread

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On 8/1/2018 at 7:12 AM, Konrad2012 said:

On the contrary, please take Disco and try it in a couple places to test acceptance.  We have a thread on here dedicated to the failure rate of Disco outside the US. 

Hey Konrad

 

I actually did not take it and am proud to say I didn't use any of the cards.  We stayed an all inclusive resort the RIU and so we only used cash for taxis and souvenirs.  I actually spent a total of $100. I even played at the casino at Atlantis and won $100.  All in all a great trip but the city downtown is very dirty and those taxis were horrible. 

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On 7/25/2018 at 4:28 PM, cv91915 said:

Take more than one card.  Carry a couple and keep a couple in the room's safe.  Don't take any card that charges a foreign transaction fee and/or has the Discovery logo on it.

 

No idea on how much cash to suggest.  I would imagine if you are in touristy areas credit card acceptance should be good.  Except for Discovery.  

 

With that said, if you plan to buy and smuggle large quantities of drugs back into the US you will need a lot more cash than the average tourist, who is mainly buying expensive drinks made from cheap rum and served in hollowed-out pineapples (probably -- and tragically -- with Jimmy Buffet music in the background).

 

Hi CV  thanks for your wonderful advice.

 

The trip was amazing and am proud to say I didn't use any of the cards.  We stayed at an all inclusive resort the RIU and so we only used cash for taxis and souvenirs.  I actually spent a total of $100. I even played at the casino at Atlantis and won $100.  All in all a great trip but the city downtown is very dirty and those taxis were horrible.  Those all you can drink rum drinks were fabulous!!!  Fish fry at Oh Andras was fantastic too! 

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8 hours ago, blqbutterfly said:

Hi CV  thanks for your wonderful advice.

 

The trip was amazing and am proud to say I didn't use any of the cards.  We stayed at an all inclusive resort the RIU and so we only used cash for taxis and souvenirs.  I actually spent a total of $100. I even played at the casino at Atlantis and won $100.  All in all a great trip but the city downtown is very dirty and those taxis were horrible.  Those all you can drink rum drinks were fabulous!!!  Fish fry at Oh Andras was fantastic too! 

Awesome.  Glad you had a memorable trip.  Time to start planning the next one!

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On 8/17/2018 at 9:36 PM, cv91915 said:

Awesome.  Glad you had a memorable trip.  Time to start planning the next one!

Heck yea....we haven't decided where yet!

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On 7/25/2018 at 9:00 AM, mendelssohn said:

I just booked my flight for Oktoberfest yesterday.

 

The connection on the US side so that I'm not connecting in Europe.

 

DFW-IAD-MUC

140K United miles for Business Class on Lufthansa (I transferred UR points to top off my account)

Current market price for this itinerary is about $5600.

 

5600 / 140K = 4cpm

I finally booked hotels for this trip, and was extremely lucky to be able to get all of the nights with points during Oktoberfest. We are using a combination of Hilton, Marriott and Club Carlson points for this trip, Hilton for the first part of the stay in Munich, Club Carlson for the Radisson Blu in Salzburg and then Marriott points for the last part of the stay in Munich. I will try to post updates with the value per point later when I have more time.

 

On a side note, I will also be taking my Discover card to test acceptance.

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5 minutes ago, mendelssohn said:

 

On a side note, I will also be taking my Discover card to test acceptance.

I LOVE YOUR OPTIMISM!!!

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I made a tactical error when I booked TAD's MUD-SAN-MUD award trip from 8/30 - 9/6, using his miles.

 

His plans changed, and now on the return he needs to spend a couple of days in Salt Lake City on the way back to MUD.

 

If I had used my miles we could have just canceled the existing trip and started over (with Executive Platinum status AA waives the $200 fee to cancel the trip and redeposit the miles).

 

At that point I could have just re-booked the three-legged MUD-SAN-SLC-MUD trip from scratch. 

 

So instead he's going to cancel the return SAN-MUD portion of the itinerary that we already booked, and we'll use it at later date (it's good for 12 months with no change fees).

 

I just booked the new return to MUD with a 2-day stop in SLC (using my miles this time, just in case).  There were still plenty of Saver Award choices available, so I was able to do this redemption on relatively short notice for 25,000 miles (+$11.20).   

 

AA waived the $75 close-in redemption fee since we used my miles (another EP benefit).

 

Cash price for the new ticket would have been $443, so for this redemption we got:

 

(44300 - 1120) / 25000 = 1.7 cpm

 

Edited by cv91915

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On 8/24/2018 at 1:05 PM, mendelssohn said:

I finally booked hotels for this trip, and was extremely lucky to be able to get all of the nights with points during Oktoberfest. We are using a combination of Hilton, Marriott and Club Carlson points for this trip, Hilton for the first part of the stay in Munich, Club Carlson for the Radisson Blu in Salzburg and then Marriott points for the last part of the stay in Munich. I will try to post updates with the value per point later when I have more time.

 

On a side note, I will also be taking my Discover card to test acceptance.

The least expensive price at the Radisson Blu in Salzburg during the time I am there is $241. At 50K points per night, this works out to just under .5 cpp which is not too bad. The location of the hotel is perfect though.

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On 8/24/2018 at 1:05 PM, mendelssohn said:

I finally booked hotels for this trip, and was extremely lucky to be able to get all of the nights with points during Oktoberfest. We are using a combination of Hilton, Marriott and Club Carlson points for this trip, Hilton for the first part of the stay in Munich, Club Carlson for the Radisson Blu in Salzburg and then Marriott points for the last part of the stay in Munich. I will try to post updates with the value per point later when I have more time.

 

On a side note, I will also be taking my Discover card to test acceptance.

Sweet.  Congrats.

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6 hours ago, mendelssohn said:

The least expensive price at the Radisson Blu in Salzburg during the time I am there is $241. At 50K points per night, this works out to just under .5 cpp which is not too bad. The location of the hotel is perfect though.

I'm impressed that you still have Club Carlson points.  Wasn't that card the big thing in 2012?

 

I know we used most of the SUB points at the Art'otel in Amsterdam.  That was the summer of 2013.

 

I think I got a couple more nights later at a Country Inn & Suites somewhere in the Midwest.  Nebraska maybe?

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On 8/7/2018 at 5:02 AM, cv91915 said:

When I checked out, the guy behind the counter had no idea how the gift card rate worked, so he told me that he would have the manager mail the card to my home address.

 

At around 6 weeks after check-out the card still hadn't arrived, so I called the property yesterday and left a VM for the manager.

 

About two hours later I got a call back.  They were out of the North Hills gift cards, but they offered to send me a $50 Visa gift card instead. 

 

Much better.  I have no idea if the North Hills GC was like a Simon Visa or if you have to use it at that specific mall, but a plain Visa gift card will be perfect.

 

They gave me 1,000 Marriott points for my trouble.  A little weak, but, hey, free points.

The Visa gift card from the Residence Inn arrived in the mail while we were in the UK.

 

I have since tried to use it online multiple times, but it got declined every time I tried.  

 

The GC was issued by NC State Employees Credit Union, so go figure.  Another simple product from a credit union that doesn't work.

 

I finally used it at a physical store today, and it worked fine when I had them run it as a debit and I entered the PIN that was assigned upon activation.

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On 8/28/2018 at 6:54 PM, cv91915 said:

I'm impressed that you still have Club Carlson points.  Wasn't that card the big thing in 2012?

 

I know we used most of the SUB points at the Art'otel in Amsterdam.  That was the summer of 2013.

 

I think I got a couple more nights later at a Country Inn & Suites somewhere in the Midwest.  Nebraska maybe?

I think there is still some value to the CC and the rewards program. I intend(ed) to use the points for 1-2 night stays in Europe, but I didn't get there last year. The Radisson Blu hotels in Europe are a good redemption option and they also seem to have hotels in cities that are not that large.

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I gotta start remembering to log down what ticket prices are when I use miles.

 

CLT-PHL-MAD-FAO-MAD-CLT 2 people, biz class with a deliberate overnight in Madrid on the way back.  112K miles.

 

8 nights at a SPG Cat 6 hotel, honestly not all that sure of how many points because there was so much transferring between Marriott/SPG and mine and hubby's accounts.  I think it ended up being 12,000 SPG points per night.  I do know rooms at that hotel for that date range was about 350EUR which is $406.75 at today's conversion rates.  I dunno if that's a good value for SPG points, tbh.

 

 

 

 

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On 8/26/2018 at 1:52 AM, cv91915 said:

I made a tactical error when I booked TAD's MUD-SAN-MUD award trip from 8/30 - 9/6, using his miles.

 

His plans changed, and now on the return he needs to spend a couple of days in Salt Lake City on the way back to MUD.

 

If I had used my miles we could have just canceled the existing trip and started over (with Executive Platinum status AA waives the $200 fee to cancel the trip and redeposit the miles).

 

At that point I could have just re-booked the three-legged MUD-SAN-SLC-MUD trip from scratch. 

 

So instead he's going to cancel the return SAN-MUD portion of the itinerary that we already booked, and we'll use it at later date (it's good for 12 months with no change fees).

 

I just booked the new return to MUD with a 2-day stop in SLC (using my miles this time, just in case).  There were still plenty of Saver Award choices available, so I was able to do this redemption on relatively short notice for 25,000 miles (+$11.20).   

 

AA waived the $75 close-in redemption fee since we used my miles (another EP benefit).

 

Cash price for the new ticket would have been $443, so for this redemption we got:

 

(44300 - 1120) / 25000 = 1.7 cpm

 

 

Plans changed again.  Since I booked this award ticket with my miles I just canceled the itinerary and AA put the miles back into my account at no charge (EP benefit).

 

I just rebooked SAN-MUD for Friday.  There was no Saver space left in Economy, so rather than booking an Anytime Award in Economy for 20,000 miles I booked a Saver Award in First for 25,000 + $5.60.

 

Cash value of SAN-MUD on Friday in First is $625.  So for this redemption:

 

(62500 - 560) / 25000 = 2.5 cpm

 

... although one could easily argue that we'd never book this itinerary in First with real money.  Nice to have the flexibility, though.

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I just booked TAD's annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage to San Diego.

 

Like most years he'll travel on Thanksgiving Day and arrive before noon.  I picked up a one-way Saver Award in Economy for 20,000 miles + $5.60.  

 

Cash value of this one-way ticket on 11/22 is $232, so we got:

 

(23200 - 560) / 20,000 = 1.0 cpm

 

This is probably my worst redemption yet.  :lol:  We have so many AA miles, though, it still didn't make sense to spend the money.

 

The return, on the other hand, was a different story.  

 

One-way Economy redemptions started from:

 

11/24 (Sat):   50,000 miles (or 75,000 miles in First)

11/25 (Sun):  75,000 miles (or 100,000 miles in First)

11/26 (Mon): 65,000 miles (or 90,000 miles in First)

 

He has to be back in Mudland for a meeting on the morning of Tuesday the 27th, so I booked him on a redeye on Monday night (11/26) on Delta and paid $198.30 in cash.  He'll land at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, in time to take make it home for breakfast and a leisurely shower before heading into work.

 

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On 9/1/2018 at 4:10 PM, Pam said:

I gotta start remembering to log down what ticket prices are when I use miles.

 

CLT-PHL-MAD-FAO-MAD-CLT 2 people, biz class with a deliberate overnight in Madrid on the way back.  112K miles.

 

8 nights at a SPG Cat 6 hotel, honestly not all that sure of how many points because there was so much transferring between Marriott/SPG and mine and hubby's accounts.  I think it ended up being 12,000 SPG points per night.  I do know rooms at that hotel for that date range was about 350EUR which is $406.75 at today's conversion rates.  I dunno if that's a good value for SPG points, tbh.

 

 

 

 

That comes out to 3.4 cpp for SPG which is pretty good.

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On 8/7/2018 at 6:53 AM, cv91915 said:

I'm planning a short stop to visit my grandparents on the way to a meeting in DC at the end of September.

 

I just booked two nights at the Delta Hotels South Sioux City Waterfront using the free annual Category 1-5 night from the Chase Marriott Visa (which I just canceled) plus 20,000 Marriott points.

 

The equivalent cash rate for this room with taxes is $155.12/night, so this redemption got me:

 

15512/20000 = 0.78 cpp

 

UAyX2zA.png

 

Normally I wouldn't blow 20,000 Marriott points for one night in the Sioux City area, where you can get a room at the Hilton Garden Inn (also located directly on the Missouri River) -- arguably the nicest place in town -- for around $100.  Plus I often have 10% back offers for Hilton Garden Inn on our Bank of America credit cards.  

 

With the free night certificate, though, this was a pretty good combo for two free nights.

 

Looks like my flight from SAN-OMA is only going to be ~$123 on AA (it was almost 3x into SUX), and I picked up a one-way rental from OMA-SUX from Hertz via Hotwire for around $135 for two days, all-in.  

I checked in this afternoon.  My status got me an upgrade to a King Executive Suite.  This place is enormous.

 

I guess if you have the stones to offer a $349 room on a weekend night in South Sioux City, Nebraska, you come out with guns blazing.

 

Great redemption.

 

3JwufKb.jpg

 

 

 

 

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On 8/7/2018 at 6:53 AM, cv91915 said:

I'm planning a short stop to visit my grandparents on the way to a meeting in DC at the end of September.

 

I just booked two nights at the Delta Hotels South Sioux City Waterfront using the free annual Category 1-5 night from the Chase Marriott Visa (which I just canceled) plus 20,000 Marriott points.

 

The equivalent cash rate for this room with taxes is $155.12/night, so this redemption got me:

 

15512/20000 = 0.78 cpp

 

UAyX2zA.png

 

Normally I wouldn't blow 20,000 Marriott points for one night in the Sioux City area, where you can get a room at the Hilton Garden Inn (also located directly on the Missouri River) -- arguably the nicest place in town -- for around $100.  Plus I often have 10% back offers for Hilton Garden Inn on our Bank of America credit cards.  

 

With the free night certificate, though, this was a pretty good combo for two free nights.

 

Looks like my flight from SAN-OMA is only going to be ~$123 on AA (it was almost 3x into SUX), and I picked up a one-way rental from OMA-SUX from Hertz via Hotwire for around $135 for two days, all-in.  

 

On 9/22/2018 at 7:14 PM, cv91915 said:

I checked in this afternoon.  My status got me an upgrade to a King Executive Suite.  This place is enormous.

 

I guess if you have the stones to offer a $349 room on a weekend night in South Sioux City, Nebraska, you come out with guns blazing.

 

Great redemption.

 

3JwufKb.jpg

 

The Ritz-Carlton I checked into today mistakenly gave me a room that wasn't ready.  The maid was still cleaning it when I got to the door.

 

I went back downstairs and they gave me a different room and put 20,000 Marriott points into my account for the inconvenience.

 

That replaces the 20,000 points I spent on one of the nights in the suite at the Delta.  :D 

 

For the other night I paid with my anniversary Category 1-5 certificate that came with the Chase Marriott Visa, which I canceled after I got the certificate but before the AF was due. 

 

We had one certificate that was going to go unused last year, and Chase was unwilling to extend the expiration date, so I don't feel entirely badly about this.

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Just booked :

 

MUD-SAN in Economy on 11/15 for 12,500 miles + $5.60.  Cash price = $163.

 

(16300-560) / 12500 = 1.3 cpm

 

And

 

SAN-MUD-SAN, 11/28-12/5 in Ecomony for 25,000 miles + $11.20.  Cash price = $356.

 

(35600-1120) / 25000 = 1.4 cpm

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We are doing a short trip to Asia for Valentine's Day...  MUD-HKG in Premium Economy for 84,210 URs at $0.015/point plus $33.18 (I used all of my URs and paid the balance with my C$R). 

 

I'm buying TAD's $1,297 ticket with AA gift cards we have on hand plus cash.

 

This trip will get me just over 27,000 EQMs on AA for $33.18 OOP... that's where the value is for me.

 

For hotels we are using the Marriott 5th Night Free benefit at The Mira Hong Kong, for an average of 28,000 points per night (35,000 x 4, with the 5th night free).  Cash for this stay would run HKD 7,832 ($999 US), so we are getting 99900/140000 = 0.7 cpp.  Not exactly magical.  

 

I'm considering this Plan A for lodging.  Further research may result in a change in hotel plans. 

 

 

VJxtWcL.png

Edited by cv91915

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I tried to book a 2 week, 8 flight itinerary this morning through an Aeroplan phone rep. I had a list of dates and flight numbers that were all available one way through the Aeroplan site. Everything was a go except for the 2 TK legs (DBV to IST & IST to ZRH), which were showing phantom availability and were un-bookable. Seven days from today will be less than half a year until the flight dates, so I was thinking of just trying again next Saturday and to try switching those legs (one at 1.75 hours and the other at 3.00 hours) to economy class if there was still no availability for those flights. I do want to avoid connecting flights that would eat up large portions of those travel days if possible.

 

If anyone has any experiences with TK phantom availability issues, I'd love to hear about them.

 

 

Edited by mec

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Istanbul is out.

 

Pushed the plans ahead about a month and spent 10 hours, 2+ on the phone with agents, finding workable flights on Aeroplan. Got a booking reference this evening.

 

PIT -EWR - UA x

EWR - BOS - UA x

BOS - LIS - TP i

LIS - FLR - TP i

Florence (5 nights at the St Regis [240k marriott {2¢ pp} ] )

FLR - VIE - OS i

VIE - MUN - OS i

MUN - DBV- OU i

Dubrovnick (7 nights in Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia [details yet to be ironed out] )

DBV - VIE - OS i

Vienna (4 nights in Vienna [middle of the night departure for a 06:45 takeoff to return home] )

VIE - ZRH - LX i

ZRH - GVA - LX i

GVA - JFK - LX i

EWR - PIT - UA x

230k Aeroplan miles (190k MRs transfered at 1.2 and 2k transfered at 1.0)

 

Lots more details to iron out here but I feel like I've got a real good thing underway. I will be arriving in Florence the day before the Calcio Storico finals. An event I have been fascinated by since I first came across it on YouTube. I need to get a connection for tickets.

 

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2 passengers...

 

PIT -EWR - UA x

EWR - BOS - UA x

 

layover Boston (1 night at the Residence Inn Downtown Seaport [1 35k cert related to $95 fee {$3.39 per fee dollar} ] )

 

BOS - LIS - TP i

LIS - FLR - TP i

 

Florence (5 nights at the St Regis [240k marriott {0.02 ppd} ] )

 

FLR - VIE - OS i

VIE - MUN - OS i

MUN - DBV- OU i

 

Dubrovnick (7 nights in Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia [details yet to be ironed out] )

 

DBV - VIE - OS i

 

Vienna (4 nights in Vienna at Le Meridian [140k marriott {0.007 ppd} ] )

 

VIE - ZRH - LX i

ZRH - GVA - LX i

GVA - JFK - LX i

EWR - PIT - UA x

[230k Aeroplan miles +$499.xx USD in taxes and fees.  (190k MRs transfered at 1.2 and 2k transfered at 1.0) {not sure how to value this flight, google has a Business class booking through TP for about $4,600 per seat, that would put it ~0.045 mpd} ] )

 

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On 10/12/2018 at 7:50 AM, cv91915 said:

SAN-MUD-SAN, 11/28-12/5 in Ecomony for 25,000 miles + $11.20.  Cash price = $356.

 

(35600-1120) / 25000 = 1.4 cpm

I just canceled this trip.  

 

AA waives the mileage reinstatement fee for Executive Platinum customers, so this change in plans didn't cost me anything.

 

I was really surprised, five minutes after I hung up the phone, to find that the miles were already back in my account.  It used to take a couple of days.

 

2w0npix.png

 

 

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