Double Duty Daddy

How I Booked My Next Two Trips

With a fairly busy period at work commencing this week and running through the end of October, I’ve been getting the itch to book trips for Fall and Spring since I’ll be grounded with no flights planned until November. This week I decided to pull the trigger and look into using some of my point balances to book these trips.

I’ve discussed how valuable Chase Ultimate Reward points are to myself and a lot of points/miles enthusiasts on the blog before. With trips planned to Puerto Rico in November and Jamaica in February, I knew I’d be looking into transferring some of my Chase UR points to Southwest and British Airways, as they are Chase travel partners and both have very favorable award costs.

Puerto Rico

For our trip to Puerto Rico, we’re attending a friend’s wedding and taking G&O. Cash rates per person were resulting in $248 on Spirit to $410 on American Airlines. With Southwest and Jetblue in the middle at about $350 per person. For a family of 4, the average total cost of 4 flights would be $1,400! OUCH!

Luckily, I know British Airways Avios are perfect for this type of situation and since BA is a travel partner of Chase, I could transfer my points easily to BA. BA’s distance-based award chart would only charge 15,000 Avios per person. Read here on my post on Avios.

15,000 Avios per person x 4 people is 60,000 Avios which I can transfer from my Chase Ultimate Reward account to British Airways and book for 60,000 points + $44 in taxes . I’d be booking on BA.com but flying on American Airlines as they are partners and AA services MIA-SJU with about 8 flights a day. Just for comparisons sake, I wanted to see how many miles American Airlines was charging for the same exact flights. The result: 220,000 AA miles + $44.80. Yowzer!

60,000 miles vs 220,000 miles? What would you prefer to spend?

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Well, now I had to see if their was any availability on the British Airways site to book my flights. Shockingly, there wasn’t. I’m usually fairly successful in booking short distanced AA flights with British Airways Avios and availability is normally good. I didn’t want to fly Spirit, the flight times on Jetblue weren’t all that great and American Airlines was charging $400+ cash rate so I decided to check Southwest since I knew that I could also transfer Chase UR points to Southwest.

Luckily, Southwest had availability and was charging 19,000 miles per person. Perfect times, non-stop flights and Southwest doesn’t charge any extra fees so it was by far, my best option. I transferred almost 80,000 Chase UR points to Southwest and booked the flights. Moral of the story: Without points, I would have had to cough up $400 cash per person or force my family to fly during inconvenient times. The cash price without points would have been $1400. With points, 78,000 Southwest miles transferred from Chase. That’s like paying $780 for flights costing $1400. 50% OFF! A very good value and almost 2 cents per mile. I felt good about this redemption.

Jamaica

In February, I want to take the girls for a quick weekend to the Hyatt Ziva in Montego Bay, a brand new all-inclusive property that we can stay at for FREE thanks to our Chase Hyatt credit card sign-up bonus of 2 free nights at ANY Hyatt property in the world. Cash rates for February at this hotel are a whopping $1100! It is an ALL-INCLUSIVE so the room rate does include all meals and beverages but still, $1100 is high and G&O aren’t necessarily going to tear up the buffet at the resort. Gladly, I’m using our 2 free nights here which is the equivalent of $2200/2 nights for ZERO dollars.

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Before booking the hotel, I needed to ensure I could use points to book my flights. The first thing I always do is check cash rates. If cash rates for flights are well-priced, I’ll consider saving my valued points and pay cash for flights. In this case, flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica were pricing out at $391 which I consider high for this route so I went over to the British Airways website and looked to see if there was availability. This time, there was availability for flights to MBJ from MIA with Avios. At 9,000 Avios roundtrip per person, I paid 36,000 Avios (transferred from Chase) plus $464 in taxes for the 4 of us. Taxes are high on this route but the alternative would have been to pay cash rate of $391 or $1,564 for the 4 of us or book with AA miles. How many AA miles would I have needed for the same exact flights? Check it out:

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So let me get this straight. American wants to charge 140,000 miles + $464  for the same exact flights that I’d be using 36,000 British Airways Avios and same amount of taxes and fees on? You betcha! Do you understand how incredibly valuable it is to have a credit card that uses a flexible point currency? Read my post on flexible vs fixed point currency here. It goes without saying, I opted to book with Avios and saved over 100,000 points/miles on the Jamaica flight booking alone! Excellent redemption value if I do say so myself.

Conclusion

I was able to spend a total of 110,000 of my Chase UR points and transfer them to airline partners that offer great return on my points. The standard value is 1 point per 0.01 cents, so with this formula, 110,000 Chase UR points = $1,100. I spent $1100 worth of points but all EIGHT airline tickets I booked would have came out to over $3,000 had I paid cash. I got a 3 cents per mile redemption value out of these points and that puts a huge smile on my face. Points and miles allow me to build trips for my family with ease. It’s an empowering feeling to know I can share the world with G&O often and for less than what people think a vacation normally costs. Quite frankly, understanding a little bit about points and miles can change the way you view travel.

Questions about points, miles or general travel topics? Message me on Facebook, tweet me on Twitter, comment on Instagram or leave a comment on my posts.

 

 

 

 

 

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