Author Topic: Credit Card Points Experts - help me get to Australia  (Read 232 times)

CheapScholar

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Credit Card Points Experts - help me get to Australia
« on: March 18, 2017, 05:41:40 PM »
Ok, here's my situation.  I've been to Europe a couple times and I'm running out of new places to see in the US.  I've always really wanted to visit Australia.  I imagine this would be a solo trip, as my wife gets anxiety on a 2 hour flight.  I don't think she'd survive a trip to the down under.

I travel for work between 5 and 10 times per year.  Not an awful lot, but enough to earn some miles/points.  I live in northern Indiana.  I always drive to Chicago midway because I fly Southwest.  I love Southwest and their points system, but I've accumulated enough points to provide for at least a few family vacation flights.  I also enjoy Midway and Southwest because I can get direct flights to just about anywhere.  I could use the South Bend Airport for my work travel to accumulate points; the airport is serviced by United and Delta.

I am looking to find the best CC to accumulate miles/points to get a round trip ticket from Chicago to Sydney.  I could rack up additional points by booking my work hotels on the new card.  I realize I don't travel a crazy amount and this might take a few years.  Any advice would be appreciated.  I'd especially be interested in the hotel component of this.  For example, when I book certain hotels on my Southwest card for work travel, they offer deals like 12,000 bonus points for certain hotels.  Obviously, these are not the best financial deals, but it's my employer's money and I'm always well below my budget as far as my work is concerned. 

crazy jane

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Re: Credit Card Points Experts - help me get to Australia
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 06:39:20 PM »
I would start with the Wikipedia page for the Sydney airport. This will help you with which Airlines fly between the wast coast and Sydney. Use Southwest to get to the west coast city that flies to Sydney. Churn the credit card that gets you to Sydney. Use the site Award Mapper to see which hotel brands are popular in Sydney. I know Hyatt has an excellent hotel near the opera house and the Hyatt credit card will get you two free nights. Hope this helps.

johnny847

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Re: Credit Card Points Experts - help me get to Australia
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 06:50:33 PM »
There's a MUCH easier way to figre out the possible routings than starting with the Wikipedia page for the Sydney airport.

Use Award Hacker. Specifically, for your route http://www.awardhacker.com/#f=Chicago&t=Sydney&o=0&c=y&s=1&p=0

This tool will tell you which miles to use and which program you can transfer points from. The cheapest result is 60k JL (that's Japan airlines) miles, redeemed for a flight that's actually operated by AA (American airlines). AFAIK there's no viable JL cc available in the US, so the best way to get their points would be to transfer them from SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest). Unfortunately, the SPG cc signup bonus has never exceed 35k points AFAIK, so if you don't already have a bunch of SPG points, that's out.

The first viable option is 70K NH miles (That's Al Nippon Airways) on a flight operated by NH. It does involve a transfer in Japan (I assume Tokyo). You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points there. You'll need 70k of those, which usually isn't available from just one card, but sometimes is. I've seen a 75k MR points bonus on the Business Gold Rewards card (need a business - work reimbursed travel expenses DO NOT count). I've also seen 100k Amex MR points in the past from the various flavors of the Amex Plat, but I don't think they're available at the moment. So it'll probably require two or more cards - 50k from an Amex Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) and 25k from an Amex Green (not always available). There's also 10k from an Amex Everyday.
The sad truth is if you're starting from zero, barring a 75k or 100k Amex MR signup bonus on the BGR or Plat, respectively, you're going to need at least two cards no matter what routing you pick because no other single card offers more than 50k, or sometimes 60k, miles as a signup bonus.


Now with that all said, Award Hacker only checks what is possible via the mileage charts. It does NOT check if that routing is available on the dates you wish to fly - in fact, it doesn't even ask what dates. Once you find an option from this site, you need to check if such an award seat is available by checking the appropriate airline's website for a ticket booked wih miles.

bacchi

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Re: Credit Card Points Experts - help me get to Australia
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 09:25:14 PM »
Marriott points transfer to SPG. The Chase Marriott 80k and Amex SPG 35k would do it.

Then you get the Chase Hyatt for 2 free nights.


mary w

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Re: Credit Card Points Experts - help me get to Australia
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 01:35:14 PM »
There's a MUCH easier way to figre out the possible routings than starting with the Wikipedia page for the Sydney airport.

Use Award Hacker. Specifically, for your route http://www.awardhacker.com/#f=Chicago&t=Sydney&o=0&c=y&s=1&p=0

This tool will tell you which miles to use and which program you can transfer points from. The cheapest result is 60k JL (that's Japan airlines) miles, redeemed for a flight that's actually operated by AA (American airlines). AFAIK there's no viable JL cc available in the US, so the best way to get their points would be to transfer them from SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest). Unfortunately, the SPG cc signup bonus has never exceed 35k points AFAIK, so if you don't already have a bunch of SPG points, that's out.

The first viable option is 70K NH miles (That's Al Nippon Airways) on a flight operated by NH. It does involve a transfer in Japan (I assume Tokyo). You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points there. You'll need 70k of those, which usually isn't available from just one card, but sometimes is. I've seen a 75k MR points bonus on the Business Gold Rewards card (need a business - work reimbursed travel expenses DO NOT count). I've also seen 100k Amex MR points in the past from the various flavors of the Amex Plat, but I don't think they're available at the moment. So it'll probably require two or more cards - 50k from an Amex Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) and 25k from an Amex Green (not always available). There's also 10k from an Amex Everyday.
The sad truth is if you're starting from zero, barring a 75k or 100k Amex MR signup bonus on the BGR or Plat, respectively, you're going to need at least two cards no matter what routing you pick because no other single card offers more than 50k, or sometimes 60k, miles as a signup bonus.


Now with that all said, Award Hacker only checks what is possible via the mileage charts. It does NOT check if that routing is available on the dates you wish to fly - in fact, it doesn't even ask what dates. Once you find an option from this site, you need to check if such an award seat is available by checking the appropriate airline's website for a ticket booked wih miles.

Thanks for the tip on award hacker.  I'm at the point in my travel hacking that I need to expand beyond just having/using points in major US based airlines.  This will be invaluable.

Trifele

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Re: Credit Card Points Experts - help me get to Australia
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 03:24:18 PM »
Yes, thanks Johnny 847!  Had not heard about AwardHacker.  I'm trying to plan a big trip using Chase UR points and this will be super helpful.