Finance Punk’s $10K Trip to St. Kitts for almost Free

As promised, I am going to spend most [if not all] of my travel rewards on travel.

Converting travel rewards to cash:

It would take some effort to cash out travel rewards for a decent value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points would be the easiest because you can cash them out for 1 cent per point but, depending on the hotel or flight, I can get over 3 cents per point of value on travel.

Let’s look at some other numbers:

But first, let me explain them.

The “Travel Value/point” column is the value that I am confident I can get, or have gotten, for a travel redemption – this is not the value you should expect to get. Go to TPG’s valuations for that and please don’t use his credit card links – there are often higher bonus offers than the one’s he’s getting commissions for.

The “Cash Value/point” column is the value I can get if I go to the website and click redeem for cash or statement credit. Notice, you can’t do that with hotel and airline points but I put a penny cash value on SPG because there is a way to transfer it to another point for that value.

Point Travel Value/point Cash Value/point
Chase UR $0.030 $0.010
Amex MR $0.030 $0.067
Citi TY $0.013 $0.067
Hilton Honors $0.010 $0.000
IHG $0.020 $0.000
SPG $0.030 $0.010
Hyatt $0.040 $0.000
Delta $0.030 $0.000

What should you get from the above chart?

On average, credit card points are worth 3x as much towards travel vs. cash and travel points are worthless when sold for cash.

I’ll take the $1,000 per night hotels and the first class flights over becoming a travel agent and trying to get cash for travel points – or maybe I’ll do both.

I have $50,000 worth of vacations booked for 2018:

That number might be slightly exaggerated and I only have 2 of 3 vacations booked but will have the 3rd booked soon. The first of which is a $10,000 [non-exagerated $8,800] trip to St. Kitts in the Caribbean.

I booked a week in January, 2018 on this 2 island nation in the Caribbean with incredible beaches, hiking, and a rich history…

And, even though it would cost close to $10,000 if you were to pay cash for the same trip, I paid less than $100 on fees.

Getting there: 2 round trip tickets on Delta from my home airport for $1,800 or 90k delta points and $100 in taxes and fees (I used an airline fee credit for the $100)

($0.02/point which is lower than the 3 cents per point I put in my table valuations above because I got a higher redemption value on other trips)

 

The hotel: Hyatt is opening [was supposed to be open now] a brand new Park Hyatt in St. Kitts this year. The rooms are going for over $1,000/night in January, 2018. I booked 4 nights with free night certificates and am hoping the construction isn’t delayed even more, resulting in my reservation being cancelled.

The Park Hyatt is the only resort on the lower part of the main island. I booked the other 3 nights on the other island at Mount Nevis Hotel with Chase UR points when they were having a sale. 3 nights would have cost about $2,000 for this time of year.

Activities: I plan to book through the hotel concierge so I can use travel credits from Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ritz cards to pay for things like scuba diving, bikes to ride around the islands, and anything else.

The cost for activities and restaurants will probably be about $2,000 for 2 people for the week but, with the travel credits, the only cost in cash should be food.

 

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