So, I unexpectedly used most of my 50,000 point sign up bonus from the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. I was in the process of planning some sort of winter getaway (and I probably will still go somewhere soon), when there was a family decision to take a vacation to the US Virgin Islands later this year. While I had no plans to use these points, I ended up finding a very fair deal and the costs of the trip are quite small by splitting the cost of the condo we are renting in St. Thomas. I’m cool with an island getaway coming at the expense of having that extra 50,000 point ace up my sleeve and with it the ability to travel just about anywhere on short notice and not having to worry about the flight costs. At least until I get my Chase 100,000 points.
Now, I didn’t even have to give up the complete bonus in order to book this flight. Plus, I actually received a further discount than if I had just paid cash through a website such as Orbitz. On those types of sites, the best price I was finding for this particular flight to St. Thomas was right around $410, with others charging about $420 per seat. This was pretty much my only flying option for the days I would be leaving. Add to the fact, that the rest of my family was going to be on that flight also, and I was pretty much stuck with buying a ticket.
Surprisingly, using the Membership Rewards portal on American Express, the flight that I needed to book was listed as an Insider Fare which meant it was further discounted. Instead of the $410 price tag, it was marked down to $373.45 which is roughly a 9% price break. Not much, but I have no problems with saving money of any amount. When translated to points, it costed 37,345 or about 75% of my total signup bonus.
Could I have transferred to an airline partner and gotten it for cheaper? In this case, I don’t think so. The flight is on American which isn’t a transfer partner with American Express. I believe I could’ve indirectly gotten points there through another One World partner but it might have cost even more when transferring.Also, I needed to confirm my booking that day, for us to all be on the same page with the itinerary.
Honestly, I’m pretty damn excited for the Virgin Islands, even if the journey is still a seemingly long ways off. I still have roughly 25,000+ points left in my Amex account, so I should be able to pick up another domestic flight or put it towards a portion of overseas travel costs. I do need to plan another trip for the next few months while I am waiting to reach the minimum spend on my Chase Sapphire. This sign up bonus utilization has already yielded two vacations, the first being my Vegas vacation with the Capital One Venture, and now the flight portion of my USVI extravaganza. In reality, this upcoming trip was free because I paid my portion of the condo with bonus cash from a bank account I opened up earlier last year. That means that I’ve gotten over $1200 worth of travel covered by various bonuses…which is fuckin’ great.
It appears as though 2017 will be a year with plenty of travel and adventurism and I’m completely okay with that.