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I wanted to share a story from 1TP reader LaShaun, who dropped this sweet gem in my inbox this morning…
First, let apologize for the delay in this message. I should’ve sent this email to you a few weeks ago but alas it is here.
I know that you don’t know me but I’ve been following you on IG for about a year now. I love the travel photos and captions that you post and live vicariously through you. I was very excited when you said that you were going to blog and share your secrets because I’ve always wanted to travel. However, I am a graduate student and don’t have much money.
I’ve been consistently reading your blog since Day 1, look forward to your daily email in the morning, and I wanted to share the story of my first award redemption and how it saved me more than $1700.
After reading your first blog, I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. In July of 2019 I took your advice, applied and was approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. A few months later I was approved for the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited card so I could start earning 1.5x points/dollar on all my non-bonus spending.
Fast forward to December 2019 and I had accumulated well over 100,000 points on my accounts. I also graduated from school in December and was invited for a 3-day job interview in Las Vegas the first week of January. Ironically, it was CES2020 that week and the hotel prices were astronomically high. Alternative accommodations (e.g. Airbnb) were equally as high.
I had read on your site that transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt often represented a good value so I began to research my options as it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Here are the redemptions:
Los Angeles to Las Vegas Flight: 15,000 miles (+ $11.20 in taxes) Roundtrip
Flight Retail Value: $240 at the minimum (high because of CES)
MGM Grand Hotel: $459/Night or 15,000 points per night (for 3 nights)
Total: 60,000 points (+ $11.20 in taxes)
I transferred my Chase points to British Airways to take advantage of flying on American Airlines’ planes as you said in your blog and also transferred my Chase points to Hyatt for the hotel redemption.
Although I was saving my points for a future dream vacation, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not possessed those points. I accepted the job, I’m not living like a student anymore, and now I really can’t wait for your email in the morning. hahaha
I cannot say “thank you” enough! My biggest challenge now is determining where I’m going next.
LaShaun attached a screenshot of the MGM pricing below.
If you’re not familiar with CES, it’s a technology conference that takes place annually in January at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s not open to the public but hosts nearly 200,000 people from around the world. The conference is a big deal so the hotel prices do not surprise me one bit.
This message makes my heart happy. When I try to explain award travel, I’m sometimes met with skepticism about earning and redeeming points and as people expect there to be a catch. However, this is a simple example of how much value you can extract from a credit card (or two…or three…) welcome bonuses.
If you’re in a position to get approved and meet the spending requirements, it’s not hard to earn a lot of points and redeem them for amazing value.
Although the MGM should never cost $450/night, this is a great example of how points can come to the rescue. There’s also little downside to the points and miles hobby as long as you stay organized and manage your expenses and credit responsibly.
Additionally, there’s no need to feel intimidated if you’re new to points and miles. Start by checking out our beginner’s guide and learning basic strategies to maximize your rewards. And if you ever have questions, drop me a blog comment or email. Most of all, have fun! Award travel can be rewarding far beyond the money saved, so dive in and see where it takes you.
Have you had an experience where points have saved you a lot money?