Need help getting started

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by onyeks01, Jul 29, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    I'm completely new to this forum, I've been poking around online for the last few days and I've been intrigued and impressed by what many people have been able to accomplish.

    I hope to be able to take my wife to Bora Bora, Maldives, or Thailand next year for our honeymoon. Also, I would also love to go to Japan in the next few days as well. Unfortunately, I have no miles and as for credit cards, I recently applied for the chase ink card and hope to take advantage of the 50k bonus. Also, I registered for the target prepaid red card and hope to use that to meet credit card minimums.

    I'm based out of New York and my job does allow me to travel, however I can't keep airline miles, but I can keep hotel points. As such, I typically stick with SPG properties, as they offer gold and platinum for life opportunities.

    Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    The cool thing about SPG is you can transfer the to AA at 1.25, and an extra spiff before Aug 9th I think...so 20,000 will get you 25k,

    The bad thing SPG points are best used at the hotels, but if the company pays why worry.
     
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  3. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    I completely agree with you there. We've taken a few vacations were we used points for the hotel. For kicks, I called the SPG Platinum Reservations line and asked how many points would it take to stay at Le Meriden in the Bora Bora...the guy said during the low season it's about 60k per night...having recently burned through some 80k points, I don't think I'll enough for a stay anytime soon.
     
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  4. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    Welcome to the board, other will chime in,

    SPG is a great way to gain points...apply for the card..or any card, that is the easiest way to gain miles...
     
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  5. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    I have the card and it has been pretty helpful in racking up points. Anyone know a way to rack up SPG points?
     
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  6. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    You might be letting the cart lead the horse here. You've said you're choosing SPG for paid stays because of lifetime status.

    But now you're thinking about award travel. If you had SPG points on hand, that might suggest looking at SPG properties. But you don't. So why limit yourself to SPG? Why not ask "what other appealing hotels are in these places, and how can I get points for stays there?" Hint: since you're branching out into Chase UR, look at their transfer partners. Hyatt has a nice award chart and an even nicer points+cash award chart.

    Other things to consider: use the websites. Rather than call and ask about specific hotels, study the SPG (and other!) award charts. Study the points and cash award chart. Look at lists of hotels showing (or even sorted by) award category. You may see opportunities for stretching your points further by slightly adjusting your vacation plans/dreams.
     
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  7. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Having not encountered an employer like that: how do they implement that restriction? (And are you sure there's no way around it?)
     
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  8. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    What standard of luxury do you require? Are you willing to fly in economy? What sort of hotel are you content with?

    I have not heard you say you really want to be in the front of the plane, so just outright buying plane tickets might be the way to go. Japan fares can be under $1000.

    That would leave you free to use CC signup bonuses to cover your hotel stays.
     
  9. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    I'll have to see if there are any ways around the restriction put on us...ones that preferably don't leave me without a job.
    In terms of luxury, I don't mind economy at all, especially if it means I can use credits for hotel stays! I've admittedly been quite biased and narrow minded in the use of SPG points. However, research has easily disabused me of this notion.
     
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  10. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    Agreed. Do you already have the SPG AMEX card? If not, I would definitely recommend it. There are cycles where the signup bonus is higher.
     
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  11. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    Yeah, this sucks. Do you book on a corporate credit card, or do you book on your personal cards and get reimbursed? Is it a large company? Does your employer then use those miles to book corporate travel? Im just trying to determine the mechanism they use to keep these miles.

    At one time, a finance director in my company tried to find a way to do this. There was a big uproar, and it never really went anywhere. I see it as a bonus for us to keep those miles. When I travel for a show, I am away from my family and usually end up working the weekend before and weekend after travel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  12. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    It's very satisfying to help people who are willing to stretch and learn. Thanks for being one of them.
     
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  13. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    That's the absolutely exciting part!
     
  14. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    This is a rough idea of what I've been thinking... I take my current paltry amount of current SPG points and exchange them for AA points (approximately 50k) before the bonus ends in August. When I get the bonus for the Chase Ink, 50k points, with an additional 30k after spending ($2000/month with 5x category bonus), I can transfer the Ultimate Rewards to AA at 1:1...This should get me approximately 130k.
    I'd also apply for the Citi HIlton Reserve card and use the 2 free nights for the stay at the Concord Maldives...
    I'd hope to take this trip next year June...
    Again, absolutely none of this is concrete. From what I've read and researched thus far, it's important to have a game plan and a flexible frame of mind.
     
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  15. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Except that AA isn't a Chase transfer partner. Here's a current list: British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Amtrak Guest Rewards®, Hyatt Gold Passport®, IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®.

    There are some great programs on there, but AA isn't one of them.

    I know that View from the Wing (Gary, who shows up here occasionally) has been a fan of Maldives travel, but I forget who he has advocated using to get there - dig through some of his old posts to help in picking an airline (and mileage program).

    I've not been to the Maldives, but my first thought was to get the hotel using some combination of free nights from the Hyatt credit card (maybe your wife would be willing to apply for a separate account, giving you four free nights between the two of you) plus some award stays (points+cash?) using HGP points transferred over from Chase. It hits Chase pretty hard, but maybe in addition to the Ink card you could get:
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred (separate accounts for both of you!)
    • Chase Hyatt cards (again, separate accounts for both), and
    • Chase Freedom
    The Freedom card is great for earning points. If you only have the Freedom card, those points won't transfer to partners. But if you also have Ink or CSP, you can first transfer them into the CSP/Ink account and from there to partners.

    What other hotel options exist in the Maldives? Does Fairmont have a property there? (The Chase Fairmont card also gives two free nights as a signup bonus.)
     
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  16. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    I didn't even consider her getting the card and doubling the free nights award! This is exactly why I love forums like these!
    I currently have the Chase Freedom card and the Hyatt card and Citi Hilton will definitely be applied for by the both of us! I'll look through the posts and look for the preferred method to get to the Maldives!
     
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  17. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Just keep track of the expiry dates on the free night awards. And remember that if you go through the process of booking a reservation on hyatt.com (even if you then cancel it!), you may get an offer for a first-year-fee-waived Hyatt card.
     
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  18. onyeks01

    onyeks01 Member

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    I can see how meticulous organization would be paramount with all these cards and various expiration dates.
     
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  19. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    Send your self an email in the future, their is an app for that,,,

    Organization is easy, or use a spreadsheet...or an old fashion calendar.

    August 7th is. the last day for the SPG 20% bonus.for air miles.,AA,

    Booked Long Beach WESTIN last night 11,500, wife's room $209.00 convention rate...company paid it..

    Cat 4...

    Lot of good ideas from the members above, sure us easier now..
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015

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