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
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