Award Trip Report – July, 18 2012

Award Trip Report – July, 18 2012

Wine Tasting in South America

Last month I took my first trip to South America and it was amazing! The destination and particulars of this trip were picked based on the friend I was traveling with. She prefers Europe, I prefer Asia. But we both valued eating really good food, drinking really good wine and sitting around looking at beautiful mountains. So we picked Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile. To get from D.C. to Miami the night before the award flight, we decided just to purchase the tickets on United rather than burn more miles. The recently opened Element by Westin hotel was our top pick for the overnight in Miami. It was close, it had a free airport shuttle, it was brand new and only 4,000 Starpoints a night!

We flew from Miami to Santiago on LAN business class for 100,000 Avios and stayed at the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport, which was directly in front of arrival doors 3 and 4 at the airport. I’d booked the hotel on $60 cash and 5,000 Priority Club points, the equivalent of $100. We had a friendly reception at the desk and as a Priority Club Platinum member, I was given a room on the sixth (top) floor overlooking the departures level.

It was a short 25-minute flight from Santiago to Mendoza where we began our first day of wine tasting. The first thing that struck me enroute to the wineries in the Lujan de Cuyo Valley on our first day of wine tasting in Mendoza was the beauty of the Andes visible from almost everywhere. Wow. The second thing that struck me was the lack of paved roads once you got off the highway. Even the secondary “paved” roads looked more like gravel driveways than official roads. The second day of wine tasting we headed to Uco Valley, which is a beautiful hour and a half drive from Mendoza, returning in time for a massage. We had a suite at the Park Hyatt Mendoza for only 12,000 points a night, and I highly recommend staying there if visiting Mendoza, especially on points!

Keri http://www.HeelsFirstTravel.com
(KLA on Milepoint)

FFP miles spent:
100,000 Avios per person

Hotel points spent:
8,000 SPG points, 5,000 Priority Club points plus $60, 48,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points

Approximate fees:
$175.80 for award ticket
$140 Chile entrance fee
$250 paid ticket SCL-MDZ

Airline(s) / Routing:
MIA-SCL-MDZ-SCL-MIA

How booked:
Over the phone

Type of award(s):
Business class

Hotel(s):
Element by Westin Miami, Holiday Inn Santiago, Park Hyatt Mendoza

Month/year of trip:
May 2012

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