protagonist wrote:I have owned property in a lovely village on a Venezuelan island for the past 23 years, where I spend my winters windsurfing.
Given the current situation in Venezuela, I probably will not go there this winter, and am looking forward to trying something new for a change.
Yeah, I have not really considered owning vacation property because even though I may to some countries twice, I often want to visit different cities.
My preliminary research (today) has led me to Mui Ne, Vietnam, which is supposedly quite beautiful and also a windsurfing destination. I was astounded to find flights from NYC in the $500-700 range RT! I also imagine Vietnam to be a fascinating and beautiful country- when I was backpacking in SE Asia in my younger days it was strictly off limits for Americans. (Another supposedly great windsurfing spot in SE Asia, and another possibility, is Boracay, Philippines- also a cheap flight and supposedly a gorgeous island- but from what I read I expect it to be way over-developed and mobbed with partying tourists).
I have not heard of or been to Mui Ne. I will ask my husband later tonight.
The fares you found are good - I assume these are not at Xmas time when airfares double or triple.
I booked airfare for my husband on China Eastern last week for only $572 roundtrip. I used Chase UR 38000 Chase UR points to pay for it. This is SFO-PVG-SGN, then 2 weeks later SGN-PVG, then another week later, PVG-SFO . The airfare cost is unreal, I have never seen fares this low. Probably because it's in November and that is not peak season.
I won't fly exactly the same route myself - I will go to Paris first for a week. So I booked the SFO-CDG 1-way as an Award flight on Flying blue.
Then, I will fly CDG-SGN nonstop and join my husband in Vietnam.
And finally, we'll fly together for the last part of the trip on China Eastern , ie. SGN-PVG and PVG-SFO.
Funny thing is that my China Eastern ticket for SGN-PVG and PVG-SFO cost me $738. But my husband's fare for one more flight (SFO-SGN added as first flight) is only $572 . Unfortunately, I couldn't book the same cheaper ticket as him, because the entire itinerary would be cancelled if I "missed" the first leg. I booked my ticket with Chase UR points at 1.5cpp also. We have already selected seats next to each other for the last 2 flights on which we'll be together.
I just got the CSR card (as did you- congrats!)
Yes, and now we got 2 of them
The second one should arrive in a few days.
It makes NO sense to me to use points when I can get $300 off my $500 or $600 ticket from NYC with CSR if I pay with cash and collect loads of points on the flight.
Well, if that's the totality of the airfares you have, I agree. But the Chase $300 travel credit is not only good for the base airfares. You can use it for baggage fees as well. It's good towards hotels too, and a few other transportation charges that are not necessarily travel-related, like tolls or local train or bus tickets.
I already used my CSR $300 credit for a short trip to Vegas around Labor day. But I have two other credits left to use before year's end:
- the $300 credit on my husband's new CSR which will arrive in a few days . This is fairly flexible so I'm not really worried about how to spend it.
- the $250 credit on my Citi prestige that I got on saturday. This is only valid for airfare apparently, no other travel charges.
For my CDG-SGN flight, I paid using the Barclay Arrival + I received last week. It was $504. The 40,000 points I will earn soon will be redeemed as a $400 credit towards that flight.
We'll likely have a couple more destinations and additional flights. We have 7 days together in Vietnam and will not spend them all in Saigon. We'll probably take a (very short and cheap!) flight to Phu Quoc. Then we'll have another week in Shanghai, and that's too much to spend just in that city. We may visit Hangzhou by land. Or we might fly to another city. I have looked at cheap flights from China on english.ctrip.com which are not found anywhere else on regular travel engines like Orbitz, Expedia, etc. Looks like we could fly to Hong Kong for very cheap for a few days. However, the stay surely won't be cheap (we were there last year). My camera got lost in Hong Kong on january 1st so I don't have any pics from there; and that may be reason to go again. And stay in a better hotel/neighborhood.
I have not booked any hotel yet. Not quite sure what makes the most sense to book first. We have so many different options to pay for them !
- the use-it-or-lose-it $300 travel credit from the 2nd CSR
- or use the Citi Prestige which gives the 4th night free on consecutive 4 night stays. Unfortunately, this won't work well with 7 days in Vietnam and 7 days in Shanghai if we add one more destination for each week - we may just not have 4 consecutive nights.
But my husband will be in Saigon from 11/11 through 11/28 so that's a lot of hotel nights. He can use the Prestige card to redeem 4th night free, as long as he changes hotel every 4 nights
. But he wasn't planning on being in an expensive place by himself. Most likely he will check in to a nice hotel the day before I fly from Paris, then we spend the next 3 nights together at that hotel, so we get the 4th night free. But we still have to pay cash for 3 nights, when could just redeem UR points and pay for all nights for zero cash, and maybe stay there only 3 nights instead of 4
- redeem UR points at 1.5cpp . Right now, we only have 24000 points left after booking the flights. But I should get another 100,000 after my next CSR statement closes. And my husband will get his 200,000 too after we are done with the spending. Probably not in time for this next trip in November, though, unless I get much better at MS
Decisions, decisions. We are literally drowning in travel rewards, lol. I'm inclined to spend the points sooner rather than later, as points tend not to be a particularly stable currency in the long run. They tend to get devalued, expire, etc. I have had one rewards card cancelled unilaterally in the past (Barclay, in 2008) and had to forfeit about $300 worth of rewards.
Plus, I avoid using points at any less than .02/point.
I assume you must be flying something more than the base economy fare at least occasionally - I just haven't found any useful option beyond the 1.5cpp redemption that Chase offers, except the 1-way SFO-CDG on Air France. And believe me, I have certainly been looking as far as airfares go ! When transferring to redeem award flights to Asia, the value is usually < 1cpp as you can see from above posts.
For some of the flights we'll take on discount carriers, we won't get 1.5cpp, though, as those flights can't be booked through Chase UR at all. We'll probably just pay cash price.
Do you go to Vietnam as a tourist? Do you know anything about Mui Ne? Any other tidbits you can share re: traveling to, or in, Vietnam?
(If posting here seems to derail the thread please do not hesitate to send a PM. I responded here since I think the way we strategize with points and cash may be of general interest within the context of this thread).
I go as tourist, my husband sometimes has other additional reasons to be there. He is Vietnam-born and raised, but naturalized US citizen. Most of his immediate family has moved to the US, but he still has some more distant family members there. A few years ago, he attended a school reunion in Saigon.
We have not visited Mui Ne. We have been to Saigon, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Vung Tau . Saigon is my favorite, but all those places are great. I may be forgetting some cities. This will be our 5th visit to Vietnam.
I could see myself early retiring in Vietnam if it wasn't for the sorry state of healthcare there. My husband isn't so keen on going back to live there, however. Even though he would now have a legal opportunity to re-acquire his (renounced) Vietnamese citizenship without losing his US citizenship, his distrust of the Vietnamese government is such that he does not want to do so. And it would still not grant me the right to permanently reside in Vietnam, unfortunately, as we are a same-sex couple and I could not legally reside permanently there.