Buenos Aires is a beautiful town and a surprisingly easy trip. It requires only two cards, a credit score of 710, and the ability to spend a minimum of $1,500 per month on credit cards. Here’s how you can spend five nights in Argentina for nothin’.
ITINERARY OVERVIEW: Leave home from anywhere in the continental USA to Buenos Aires on American Airlines on May 20, 2013, arriving the next day. Stay for five nights at the Sheraton Libertador and return home on May 26.
TOTAL TRIP VALUE: $2,002
HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT:
May 20, 2013 – Round-Trip: USA to Buenos Aires
Method: American AAdvantage Miles
- Citi Platinum Select /AAdvantage Visa Signature Card– 43,000 miles
- You receive 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months, which you can accomplish in the first and second months of spend
- You receive 3,000 miles from your $3,000 spend at one AA mile per dollar spent
Explanation: The official offer, which is what we’re using this time, is 40,000 miles after a $3,000 spend and an additional 10,000 miles after an additional $7,000 spend within the first year. There are also unofficial offers for 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 within four months–this doesn’t have an offer page, but has proven successful.
An off-peak round-trip ticket from the continental US to Buenos Aires is 40,000 miles. (Off-peak goes from March 1 to May 31; and from August 16 to November 30.) Even with the official offer, you can still get your 40,000 miles.
Out of Pocket Cost: Taxes
May 21-26, 2013 – Sheraton Libertador Hotel
Cost: $650 ($130 per night)
- Starwood Preferred Guest– 30,000 Starpoints
- You receive 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase
- You received another 15,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 within six months, which you’ll accomplish in your third, fourth, fifth, and sixth months
- You receive 5,000 Starpoints from your $5,000 spend at one point per dollar spent
Explanation: The Sheraton Libertador is a great hotel in the heart of the Microcenter district. Plus it’s only a Category 3, meaning it only costs 7,000 points per night. With the 30,000 Starpoints you’ve got from you SPG card, you can get 4 night. Plus with Starwood’s Fifth Night Free deal, when you book 4 reward nights, you get a fifth for free. So you’ve got five nights in the center of Buenos Aires for only 28,000 Starpoints!
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