I’m going to Aruba on the 26th. And for this week’s Challenge, we’ll show you how you can get there too and stay for four nights for only $75. To do it, you’ll need at least a 715 credit score and be able to spend at least $2,000 per month on credit cards.
THE APS: Three cards – Citi Platinum Select /AAdvantage Visa Signature Card, Hyatt Credit Card, Starwood Preferred Guest
ITINERARY OVERVIEW: Leave home from anywhere in the continental USA to Aruba on October 7, 2013, aboard American Airlines, with a return ticket for October 11. For the first two nights, October 7 and 8, stay at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino. For the second two nights, October 9 and 10, stay at the Westin Resort and Casino.
TOTAL TRIP VALUE: $2,047.40
HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT:
October 7, 2013 – Round-Trip: USA to Aruba
Method: American AAdvantage Miles
- Citi Platinum Select /AAdvantage Visa Signature Card– 60,000 miles
- You receive 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months, which you can accomplish in the first two months of spend
- You receive 10,000 miles after spending an additional $7,000 within the first year, which you can accomplish in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth months of spend
- You receive 10,000 miles from you $10,000 spend at one AA mile per dollar spent.
Explanation: The limited-time Citi AAdvantage offer gives you 50,000 miles after a $10,000 spend. There are unofficial offers out there that will give you a 50,000 mile bonus on a lower spend, however some of those links don’t include an offer page–so you’re rolling the dice to see if you’ll really get the miles.
A one-way MileSAAver Peak ticket between the continental United States and Aruba is 17,500 miles. So for 35,000 miles, you’ve got yourself a round-trip to the Caribbean.
Out of Pocket Cost: Taxes
October 7-9 – Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino
Cost: $670 ($335 per night)
Method: Hyatt Free Nights
- Hyatt Credit Card– 2 Free Nights
- You receive 2 Free Nights after spending $1,000 within the first three months, which you’ll accomplish in the second month
Explanation: You’ve got two Hyatt nights available at any property after a fairly low minimum spend, so you might as well use them in Aruba.
Out of Pocket Cost: $75 (annual card fee)
October 9-11 – The Westin Resort & Casino Aruba
Cost: $396 ($198 per night)
- Starwood Preferred Guest– 30,000 Starpoints
- You receive 10,000 points upon your first spend
- You receive 15,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first six months, which you’ll accomplish in the third, fourth and fifth months of your spending
- You receive 5,000 points for your $5,000 spend at one point per dollar
Explanation: The Westin is a Category 5 Starwood hotel. It will cost 12,000 Starpoints per night, so for 24,000 you’ve got another two nights in Aruba.
Out of Pocket Cost: $0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95