After flying on 90 flight segments in 2013, I feel like I am getting the shakes – my last flight was from SEA-EWR on December 8. I mentally penciled-in a nice 5-month break between the last weeks of pregnancy and first few months of motherhood to adjust to our new life as a family, but with devaluations happening left and right, I couldn’t help but to already search for my next escape!
I figured Aruba would be a nice and relaxing solo getaway for Mr. Points Traveler and I, and since there is non-stop service from EWR-AUA, just 3 nights away would be plenty. Baby Points Traveler will be in good hands, spending the weekend with Mom and Dad, but I’m sure I’ll be missing him like crazy.
For a total of 70,000 United Miles and $140 in taxes, I booked two round-trip flights from EWR-AUA, and was even able to squeeze in a free one-way trip from EWR-LAS for both of us to use at a later date (one of my favorite benefits of booking International round trip tickets with United). If I were to book the EWR-LAS segment separately, it would have cost us an additional 25,000 miles for both of us. Tacking this segment on to our round trip only resulted in an increase of $5 in taxes for 2 tickets – no brainer.
As for hotels, we are spending all 3 nights at the Radisson in Aruba entirely on points. Room-rates are astronomically priced at over $546 a night (including taxes) for a standard room during the nights we will be there, so this is definitely a case where points save the day. Here is my strategy in booking the 3-night stay: I booked the first two nights on ClubCarlson.com at the standard rate of 50,000 points per night.
Since I am a Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card holder (IMHO, the best hotel credit card by far), one of the most-valuable perks is this: a free night when you redeem points for 2 or more consecutive nights at a Club Carlson property. With that said, it’s like I booked my first two nights at 25,000 points a pop – truly a steal! 50,000 points for ~$1,100 worth of hotel nights. For the 3rd night, I had a free-night certificate that is valid at any Radisson property in North America that I was able to use.
Another good thing is that I have top-tier Concierge status with Club Carlson from a previous MegaDo, so I am hoping to receive a complimentary room upgrade, and I am looking forward to the free hot breakfasts every morning.
All in all I am very proud of my choice of redemption – For just 70,000 United miles, $140 in airline taxes, 50,000 Club Carlson points, and a free hotel night voucher, we were able to book a weekend getaway that easily prices out at over $2,500… and that’s not even including value of the free one-way tickets to Las Vegas later on.
Credit Card Resources
If you’re looking to duplicate this trip, here are credit cards that can help you book something similar:
- Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card Earn up to 85,000 points (50,000 points after your first purchase!), first year free
- United MileagePlus Explorer Card Earn 30,000 MileagePlus miles after spending $1,000 in 3 months (note: there is also a targeted offer with a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus that some people have been receiving – check your junk mail frequently)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months (points transfer 1:1 to United)
- Ink Plus® Business Card 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months (points transfer 1:1 to United)
This will be my first time visiting Aruba – Any tips? Restaurant suggestions? “Must see attractions?”. Looking forward to recommendations!
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