I still have friends who think the whole points and miles world is some type of scam. The good news is that I get to continue taking fun trips while they all sit on the side lines.
Today I’m going to show you how my wife and I travelled to Bali, Indonesia for less than $700. Best of all, we flew there in business class and flew home in first class.
Outbound Trip Details:
In June, my wife and I flew Denver – Chicago – Toronto – New York in American Airlines First Class. We then flew from New York to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific business class. Our final flight was an economy class flight from Hong Kong to Denpasar Bali with Cathay Pacific.
- We were originally scheduled to fly out of Toronto to Hong Kong. Unfortunately, we arrived in Toronto 7 hours late because we had two mechanical delays in Denver and then we had a tornado touch down between two runways. We were evacuated off the plane and forced into the basement of the Denver airport.
- We had to rebook flights from Toronto to Denpasar. Unfortunately, as a result, we were unable to get business class flights from Hong Kong to Denpasar. In the end, it all worked out because we actually earned miles for the flights from New York to Hong Kong (for me) and Denpasar for my wife. As a result, I earned 10,084 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. My wife earned 12,209 AA miles.
Return Trip Details:
On the trip home we flew Denpasar to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific in business class. From Hong Kong to Chicago we flew first class on Cathay Pacific. From Chicago, we flew to Denver in American First.
We also had to use Avios points to get back to Toronto to get our kids and spend time with my family.
Total Mileage and Total Cost:
Outbound Mileage = 55,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for business class flights
Return = 67,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for first class flights
Miles Subtotal = 122,500 miles per person and $56.20
However, since my wife and I both have the American Airlines Visa credit card, we received a 10% mileage rebate (limit of 10,000 miles per calendar year). Also, we received a $100 credit for purchasing American Airlines tickets with the credit card.
Adjusted subtotal = 112,500 miles per person and we received $43.80.
Since we earned some miles for the travel, the final mileage total was 102,416 American Airlines AAdvantage for me and 100,291 for my wife. That’s not bad for tickets that cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
We also took the kids along as far as Toronto . Here are the segments we purchased using Avios points:
- Denver – Chicago – Toronto = 36,000 Avios for three kids
- My wife and I flew Chicago to Toronto on the trip home. That cost us 9,000 Avios.
- Since we needed to get back to Chicago to connect to our original itinerary, we paid 22,500 Avios for our family to fly from Buffalo to Chicago.
Total Avios redeemed: 67,500 + $32.50.
All in all, we felt like it was a solid redemption getting the five of us to Toronto to visit family and also getting two tickets on to Bali. I like combining trips (trip to Toronto and a trip to Bali) because it’s a great way to save miles.
To learn how to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles, I suggest you check out this post on the current best AAdvantage credit card offers. During our most recent American Airlines Citi applications, my wife and I both received a combined 150,000 miles for the Visa personal, American Express personal, and Visa business cards (50,000 points each).
Earning Avios is really simple. You can get the British Airways credit card with 50,000 bonus points after $1,000 minimum spend. British Airways is also a transfer partner of both Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards so there should be no shortage of ways to earn Avios points.
Hotel in Bali
We spent four nights in Bali at the Hyatt Bali. This beautiful resort is only a Hyatt category one. A relaxing night is only 5,000 Hyatt points (a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards). We went ahead and upgraded to a Club Room which gave us access to the lounge (included free breakfast and evening light meal or snack). The cost for a Club Room was 8,000 Hyatt points per night.
We transfered 32,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to cover our hotel expenses.
The best way to get Ultimate Rewards points is by getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold and transferring the points into your Hyatt account. You can see the best current Ultimate Rewards earning cards here.
Hotel in Hong Kong
On the way going to and from Bali, we had an overnight in Hong Kong each way. We paid 20,000 Priority Club points to stay at the Holiday Inn Express Soho. It wasn’t the best deal imaginable, but since we made the bookings last minute, it was better than paying cash.
A Priority Club Chase credit card can get you 80,000 Priority Club points after the first use.
It was a great trip and a great example of how points and miles can take you to amazing places around the world.
Out of pocket, we paid just under $700. That included all our meals, activities, entry visa costs, and airline fees and taxes. It’s amazing that for $350 per person we were able to fly business and first class as well as spend two nights in Hong Kong and four nights in Bali.