We are off this morning to the Greek Isle of Kos, our first stop on this frugal adventure. Our flights are on United and Lufthansa as follows: United from Savannah to Washington Dulles then Lufthansa to Frankfurt and and then to Athens. We end the day with a flight on Aegean Airlines to Kos.
The one way ticket is in business class paid for with frequent flyer miles earned while flying United and using their promotions and credit cards. The cost was 50,000 miles for each of us and $60.80 in taxes. Our return in June is from Amsterdam, also in business class and at 50,000 miles as well. It is another one way award using United miles and flying Continental from AMS to Newark then Newark to Savannah. Taxes are about the same on the return.
Our first four nights are at the Doubletree Resort by Hilton on Kos as an award using 50,000 Hilton Honors points. We earned the points when Katy applied for a Hilton Honors Surpass card and made her first purchase. In addition to the points she earned for applying for the card, she also was granted Gold Status with the Hilton Honors program. Gold status usually provides amenities at the hotels like free Internet, maybe a room upgrade and in some cases complimentary breakfast. We got Katy this card ($75 fee) anticipating two to three weeks in Europe in Hilton hotels. The typical cost for breakfast is $20-30 Euros each per day so we will more than recover the $75 fee with two days of breakfasts. We are staying at Hiltons in Kos, Dubrovnik, and Amsterdam.
As the trip progresses I’ll be sending photos, observations and the costs associated with the trip. Most of the flights were free with miles and all the hotels were on points. You have all changed one of my travel behaviors as well. Being on the road and facing foreign transaction fees, I actually changed out a credit card yesterday and put the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in my wallet. Your emails are constant reminders that I was paying those fees when I could have avoided them. No foreign transaction fees for me this time and I’ll be able to add to my points balance on the Chase card. I just got 8500 points for asking based on the new 50K offer being out. When I get to 10K I can redeem for a $100 hotel gift card.
During our stay on Kos we hope to catch the ferry for a day in Bodrum, Turkey. I have no idea what to expect there, but it will be another day and another country visited.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases