Two months ago, points took me and my wife to Europe for twelve days. We had a great trip, ate and drank way too much, and gained a small bit of culture (an upgrade from 'merkin to Amerkin', perhaps) with a total of less than $3,000 out of pocket.
Today, I booked our next trip: six nights in Tokyo.
We fly direct from Denver to Tokyo on a United Dreamliner. Upon arrival, we stay four nights at the Hilton Tokyo Hotel
on an AXON award. For the last two nights, we transfer to the Conrad Tokyo
using two weekend night certificates from the Citi Hhonors Reserve. On the way home, we stop in Seattle for a short layover and then arrive in Denver at a reasonable hour.
Flights and hotels have, so far, cost 145,000 Hhonors points, two weekend certs, 130,000 miles, and under $100.
You may recall me asking questions about Hong Kong previously. I originally had our stay booked at the Conrad HK for October. Then, my wife changed jobs and vacation schedules, so we had to reschedule our trip. I started the day by booking our flights to Hong Kong. That took some serious work because the United website refused to put the itinerary together, despite the fact that I could see saver space available on every segment I wanted. I finally got that booked over the phone (with the phone booking fees waived) and moved on to changing the hotel reservation.
I called up Hilton's Diamond office to change the AXON award. After 30 minutes on the phone, Hilton wouldn't let me move the booking to March because a) there was no availability and b) the devaluation has completely messed up AXON awards on the new category 8-10 hotels. We finally figured out that I could reuse the award at a category 7 Hilton in Tokyo. Then, I tried to use the weekend certs to extend the stay, but there were no standard rooms available, which kills the redemption. I asked if I could use the weekend certs at the category 10 Tokyo Conrad. No problem there!
But, crap! Now I have a flight to Hong Kong and a hotel stay in Tokyo. Back to United to stop the itinerary in Tokyo. That was the most painless call I made all day.
All told, I spent about three hours on the phone this morning, but we now have a week in Tokyo for less than $100 out of pocket in taxes and fees. Even those may get reimbursed because I paid with the Amex Platinum card and selected United as my reimbursement airline.
Now, what to do in Tokyo?
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