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.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49