BOOKED! I’m going to Fiji! …but in economy?

I’m so excited…I just booked a trip to Fiji!!

Picture this….beaches lined with palm trees….amazing soft coral reefs (which means world-class scuba diving)…friendly faces… succulent tropical fruit…and Fijian music playing well into the night. It’s no wonder Fiji is ranked as the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH! <–I’m not kidding. Google it.

Fiji is the definition of tropical paradise (I looked it up)!

WHY FIJI?

I’ve always wanted to go to Fiji. To be honest, I don’t know much about the Fijian islands but the word “Fiji” just sounds like tropical amazing-ness. So, I guess the better question is “why not?”

Truth be told, there are a lot of amazing places in this world. I have a list of places that I am really interested in going but if I am paying money (and not redeeming miles), most of my travel is dictated by the final costs. Obviously, the cheaper, the better. Some of my cheapest paid travel happens by sheer luck and not because I am super organized or had any intention of visiting immediately.

CASE IN POINT

I needed to fly to Fiji for an event that I am attending. I had been comparing various options for redeeming points, however, I had not secured a booking because I had been busy solidifying the details for a few trips that were taking place before my Fiji trip.

This morning, as I was searching for Fiji reward redemptions, I stumble across a paid economy flight from Los Angeles to Fiji (LAX-NAN) and this is what I see…

screenshot via Google Flights

22 total hours roundtrip for an economy flight to Fiji….for $395 total??? That can’t be right!

If you’re unfamiliar with how much it cost to fly to Fiji, typically, the range looks more like this…

screenshot from google flights

So I logged into the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Travel Portal to see if the dates that I needed to be in Fiji would price at $395 also…and they did…

Chase UR Travel Portal
Chase UR Travel Portal

At this point, I had a few options but I narrowed it down to four options:
1) I could book the ticket directly through fijiairways.com for $395
2) I could login to the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Travel Portal and buy the ticket for Fiji Airways for $395 (as seen above) or;
3) I could login to the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Travel Portal and buy the ticket for Fiji Airways and use 31,630 points (as seen above) in exchange $395 cash value.
4) I could transfer points directly to Fiji Airways or (a partner airline) and pay ~50,000 points for a one-way business class on an outdated seat.

MY POINTS RATIONALE

There is nothing wrong with #1 or #4. However, I narrowed it down to either #2 or #3. The price is cheap enough that I don’t mind paying cash but I also have a “healthy balance” of UR points so I don’t mind redeeming points even though I’m not getting mind-blowing value out of my points. I could get a lot more value by “saving” the 31,630 points for a later redemption, but I didn’t want to pay cash so I redeemed the points.

Once I redeem the points, my ticket is completely paid for. An additonal benefit to booking with points THROUGH THE UR PORTAL is that Chase, essentially, redeems your points for a revenue ticket so you will still receive frequently flyer miles.

HOW EXCITED AM I?

…very excited! On one hand, I sort of wish that I had booked a ticket in the front of the plane but on the other hand, $395 (or ~30k miles round-trip) is hard to beat. I’ll let you know how my back feels after the 11 hour flight.

FINAL STAMP

I’m a big fan of island life and I read that a healthy exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s production of serotonin (the chemical found in your body that makes you happy). With an average, annual temperature of 77 degrees (24.9 Celcius), it’s not surprising that Fijians are in such good moods.

Don’t worry, I’ll take one for the team and test this theory. It’s all about market research 😉

How happy are you with life? Do you think visiting Fiji would make you happier?

Random Fact: Did you know that 93% of Fijians replied that they were either “happy” or “very happy.” Compare that to 57% of Americans (a respectable, if not quite blissful, figure) considered themselves content with life.

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