Guys, I booked a trip to Hong Kong and Thailand in the new year! I haven’t been back to Hong Kong since 2000, during my two week bike tour of the south east corner of China with Backroads, the cycling vacation specialists. Prior to that, I spent a few days in HK and Bangkok with my parents in 1998, at the height of the currency crisis where we ate all the dim sum…for cheap!
Asia isn’t as cheap as it was in 1998, so I’ve had to be pretty cash-flow conscious about my 15 night visit. I am really trying not to pay for any hotel rooms at all, and instead I’m relying on hotel points and airline miles. I’m not as sophisticated as people like The Points Guy, so I’m sure I’m not always making the best decisions with my points and getting the most bang for my buck out of them, but really, I’m making these decisions primarily based on cash flow. I just can’t afford $100 to $200 USD per night for this trip, and nor am I a backpacker willing to share a dorm room with 3 to 5 other travelers. Decent business-class hotels are what I am looking for. To facilitate this trip, I signed up for a new credit card, the IHG Rewards Club Credit Card, and earned 80,000 points, which will facilitate two nights in Hong Kong. (More if I am open to a Holiday Inn.) I’m still fiddling around with exactly which points to use where, but here’s my current plan, points spend, and estimated dollar savings…an estimated $2000 USD in savings using points.
|2||Hong Kong||Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui|
|Hyatt Gold Passport||
|1||Hong Kong||Hotel Indigo|
|United Mileage Plus||
|2||Hong Kong||Hotel Indigo|
|4||Chiang Mai||U Chiang Mai|
|United Mileage Plus||
A couple of thoughts:
- Expiration dates: I actually have to use a lot of my points in 2016 because they will expire! Pay close attention to the expiration dates on your points. I use TripIt Pro to keep track of everything. My Hyatt points expire in May and without the 80,000 IHG Rewards Credit Card bonus, my IHG points would have also expired in May.
- Working from the road: I mentioned I need business class hotels. It’s very possible that I may need to work from the road, so it’s important to me that I have easy access to the internet and hotel business centers. So while some people might say “I can’t believe you are blowing all your points on the Hyatt Regency,” the fact that I HAVE TO use my points by May AND that I need a good business center leads me to spend all my points on two nights.
- Location, location, location: In choosing hotels, I could have course stayed in places for fewer points, but I prioritized central locations over everything else. For example, I could get 3 nights at a different Hyatt instead of 2 nights at the Hyatt in TTS, but I want to be in TTS.
- Safety and traveling alone: Although I plan to meet up with friends throughout my trip, I’ll be traveling solo. So staying in better quality places is important to me.
- Spending money on other things: Besides for general cash-flow concerns, another reason I am doing all this on points is so I have the extra cash to spend on restaurants!!
I am super-excited about this trip. Really, words cannot describe. If yo have any tips or suggestions, I am all ears!!