We have just returned from our Hawaii trip and it is going to take some time before I finish editing all the photos and posting the trip reports. In the meantime, I wanted to share how we planned for this trip using points and miles to reduce our costs significantly. Long story short, the entire planning process took about 10 months with multiple changes in between, which explains this lengthy post.
After booking the flights for our 'Asia Hopper' trip, our next task was to sort out the accommodation for 1-week in Taiwan and 1-night in Hong Kong.
IHG hasn't been on my radar in the past as I've always preferred SPG (now Marriott) when I travel for work. It wasn't until last year when I started planning for our New Zealand trip that I started looking more into IHG and was able to score 6 free hotel nights in New Zealand for 108,000 IHG points.
Travel Is Free posted a few posts about IHG earlier this year and this post got me checking my Q2/Q3 2019 IHG Accelerate promotion and my offer was actually really good...complete 6 offers and earn 105,000! P.S. I'm glad to see Drew back in the blog-sphere again as his posts are always intriguing and interesting. =)
Here's my offer:
In October 2016, United changed its lucrative award stopover rules and replaced it with the 'Excursionist Perk'. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the old stopover rules and pieced together a Round-the-World trip right before United made the change.
While it's unfortunate that all good things must come to an end, the Excursionist perk is still quite a valuable perk for award redemption with United miles. After all, it still gives you a FREE stopover, which is not an option for many other airlines.
Back in January, I used United's Excursionist perk to book our September trip to Malaysia with a stopover in Taiwan. Our flight route looks like this...
After our trip to Iceland this past summer, our second trip of the year brought us to the South Pacific. Iceland and New Zealand...two expensive "lands" within a year, what were we thinking?! Surprisingly, the total "all-in" cost for the both of us was less than ONE round-trip economy flight ticket from the US to New Zealand. =) Read on to find out where we went, what we did, and how much we spent.
To celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, we are traveling to Fiji & New Zealand!! From Iceland to New Zealand, two expensive destinations within a year, this is definitely a year of "travel splurge"!! We spent a total of $900/person on our 9-day Iceland trip. My goal for this 15-day trip to the South Pacific is to spend less than what we spent for Iceland, do you think it is possible? Read on to find out how we plan to accomplish this goal. (Hint: Credit card rewards)
These are the places we will be visiting this trip:
Tokyo was our longest stop during our 2017 Round-the-World trip. As we all know, Tokyo is an expensive city, and spending 7 nights in Tokyo would cost a lot of $$$. However, we were able stay 7-nights at a 4-star hotel in Tokyo for $0. Thanks to Marriott's awesome 7-night travel package (which has devalued big time after Aug 17, 2018).
Almost 2 years after the announcement of the SPG-Marriott merger on September 23rd, 2016, these 2 loyalty programs are finally merging on August 18th, 2018.
SPG has been my preferred loyalty program since I first signed up for it in April 2015. Even though I'm a lil' bummed that the program is rolling into Marriott's big umbrella, I can't really say it's all bad as I've benefited a pretty good bit from the merger and have certainly enjoyed all the perks and benefits.
During my recent home trip to Malaysia, I decided to spend a night in Kuala Lumpur as my flight landed in KL close to midnight and there weren't any flights to Penang after midnight. Besides, I had a free night certificate from the 2017 Marriott Fall Megabonus (earned from 2 stays) that was expiring in June 2018, so this trip was a good time to use it.