Trip to Bring in the New Year

A couple of weeks ago, Kristin saw she had 4 days off in a row around the new year and that never happens! I was scheduled to work, but thanks to some awesome colleagues I was able to make a few changes to have the time off as well. We wanted to go away and after a few days of deciding where we should go. We decided that we wanted to visit Charleston, South Carolina. Thankfully we still had enough points to make this happen. After a searching for a few days, I was able to finally book our flight and hotel stay. How did I book this trip?

Since I have burnt all of our vacation time, we were very happy to somehow squeeze another trip into our schedule. Although, I quickly found out, booking flights around the new year was not cheap on points, but that was okay. They are there to be used and that’s exactly what we decided to do!

Booking the Flight to Charleston

Since we have a smaller airport a few minutes from our house, I ideally would have liked to leave from there, but if the price was cheaper to leave from Boston, we might have left from Boston. Fortunately for us, the price in miles was the exact same, so I was happy to book our flight leaving from Manchester.

Traveling around the New Year is not cheap, but I was hopeful I could find us flights that wouldn’t completely drain out point accounts.

After looking at different airlines, I did something I thought I would never do!

I transferred 65,000 Membership Reward points to Delta Airlines! To do that, I had to pay the tax which came to $39. I was not happy to pay this, especially since neither Chase, nor Citi has this charge.

That being said, the cost of the flight would have been $979.20 for 2 one way tickets! So, paying the tax to transfer the points was inconveniently beneficial.

Cash cost of flight
Cash cost of flight

Since Delta no longer has award charts and has shifted to more revenue based redemptions, the cost in points was equally ridiculously expensive. We had plenty of Membership Reward points, I preferred to burn these points over my Ultimate Reward points for the flight down.

To fly us from Manchester to Charleston, it cost us a total 65,000 miles and $50.20.

I redeemed my points for 1.43 cents per point. Which was right on par with Southwest redemption’s, so I had no issue with the value I received for my redemption. Sure beats spending almost $1,000!

Expensive!
Expensive!

 

Even though the cost of the this one way was pricey, our flight will land in Charleston around noon, giving us more time to explore. Sometimes award flights have terrible time of arrival or departure. Luckily, we arrive at a decent time!

Booking our Hotel Stay:

We had a few options for our hotel stay, I could have used our IHG points or used points at Hyatt. Since I was a new Diamond member for Hyatt, I decided I would book there if possible. Hyatt properties are very nice and since they upgraded my status, I felt I should stay there.

We are staying the Historical District and this Hyatt has great reviews. I wouldn’t expect anything less from them. I am happy we were able to book our stay there!

Cost of the room
Cost of the room

Booking a 4 night stay at the Hyatt House in Charleston, would have cost over $1,100! Thankfully we didn’t have to spend that much to book this room!

Great use of points!
Great use of points!

I decided to use Cash and Points instead of all points, this allows me to extend my points and save money on a future trip. I transferred 24,000 points from my Ultimate Reward account to my Hyatt account. 

The cash portion plus the taxes for the room came to $345.06. I was able to use an American Express offer to buy Hyatt gift cards which saved me an extra $25 for my stay.

I redeemed my points for a value around 3.4 cents per point. Anytime I can redeem for over 2 cents per point, I am extremely happy!

Booking the Flight Home:

I typically start with Southwest when I look for flights. They were the only airline I needed to look at (even though I looked at others).

This was shockingly inexpensive, compared to what I thought we would need to pay to get home. I’m not complaining though!

I was lucky enough to fly back into Manchester, instead of flying into Boston. Flying in and out of Manchester, is more convenient than Boston, and it’s even better when Manchester is cheaper to use!

Cash cost of flight home
Cash cost of flight home

Compared to the cost to fly to Charleston, this wasn’t nearly as bad. Thankfully, I was able to transfer points from my Ultimate Reward account to Southwest to save us another $400!

Total cost in points
Total cost in points

This cost to fly us home a few days after New Years totaled 23,752 points and $11.20 to fly us home. Much better than shelling out $400 for flights!

I redeemed my points for the flight home for about 1.68 cents per point. Although, it is not 2 cents per point, I am happy to use them for this flight, since I value saving actual money over points.

Overall:

I am very happy we will be able to spend 4 days in Charleston. I’m even happier we were able to book all of this using our points, especially since it was around a holiday!

If we were to have paid cash for this trip it would have cost $2523.39!

Even though the flight to Charleston was more points than I would have liked to use, we saved a lot of money with our points!

In the end, this trip cost a total of 112,752 points and $386.46. Meaning I was able to redeem my points for a total of 1.9 cents per point. Even though I much happier to redeem my points when I get 2 cents per point, I have no issue with the value I received from this redemption.

Another to think about the cost, I paid about 15% of the actual cost for this adventure in Charleston over New Year’s. I would gladly pay 15% of the actual cost for any trip!

How are your points helping you travel this holiday season?

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