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
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