This trip, as I arise from eleven hours of blissful jet lagged sleep, was never meant to be about earning reward points. Quite the opposite in fact. It was all about travelling in the best way possible while spending my accrued Avios points before the cancer gets me.
272,000 points on a undeniably good first class flying experience (cash value £8,000) to be precise. I doubt I’ll do it again. Business class is good enough for my level of snobbery. But at the time of booking my frame of mind was all about getting rid of the points. They can’t be transferred to somebody else and they can’t be inherited.
Since that moment I’ve somehow managed to accrue 69,000+ more Avios and will earn c60,000 from flights to Chile and Qatar. And even a trip which was all about spending my points has earned a few more.
Hotels.com now consider me a Gold member, triggered by the eleven nights booked with them in New England. That doesn’t really mean a lot to me, other than discounts for destinations I’m not that bothered by, more marketing email and a priority helpline if things go wrong. Still, better than nothing.
I also estimate that Topcashback have paid around £60 in commission on those eleven nights. Around five were paid in advance on my Amex Platinum card earning a modest 500 points and contributing towards 30,000 bonus Avios for exceeding a spending threshold on that Amex card. One night was a freebie accrued from previous Hotels.com stays. The others I paid for on arrival with my soon to be redundant Travelex Supercard. Linked to a 1% cashback credit card there’s another £5 or so I’ll see in October. Oh, and an extra free night for staying ten.
The first three nights were cash stays in very expensive Hilton hotels. 700 Avios from the Platinum card booking. £45 from cashback sites. 15,000 Hilton points achieved by utilising special offers mean I now have enough Hilton points for three nights in lower value hotels. More likely, that’ll just be a night somewhere I actually want to go! Not to be forgotten is an extra 650 Avios from Hilton in addition to their own loyalty scheme.
The car hire has chipped in too. 952 Avios from Avis. £6.40 Topcashback. 320 Avios from my other Amex card. I believe the trip will trigger a free three day European weekend hire too (I’ve still got one to redeem). And I move up a status level with Avis Preferred which implies they’ll be even nicer to me.
Thats not to say it hasn’t cost me. The USA is expensive for a Brit at the moment and while cheap eating is an option we’ve not exactly sought out the bargain Buck eateries or Subway six inches.
But overall I reckon the trip has earned:
A free hotel night, value £80, from hotels.com
A free hotel night, value £100, from Hilton.
£111 from Cashback sites for booking hotels and car hire.
c3,000 Avios, nearly enough for a one way flight, from several places.
Triggered 30,000 bonus Avios for spending on the Amex Playinum.
Around £15 cash using the Supercard for much of the spending.
I’ll take that as a decent effort!