Some people fantasize about winning the lottery. Me? I fantasize about winning million-mile giveaways. It’s like all the fun of winning money, except you avoid the curse of winning a lottery. This week, we’ll cover Chase Ultimate Rewards. If I had a million Ultimate Rewards points, that means I’d probably take a year off from heavy gift card churning, since there would really be no need for it. I’d transfer these to a few different rewards programs for a fun multi-city trip, along with a family vacation.
Family Vacation in Cancun (600,000 points)
A family trip to Cancun has been on my mind for a while and I can’t think of a better place to relax and spend quality time together than the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. The all-inclusive resort is very family friendly and even has its own dolphins on sight (something I’m a little conflicted about). With a huge stash of Ultimate Rewards points, I would book four rooms for four nights. The total? 400,000 Hyatt points. I know – ouch! During high season, when standard rooms go for well over $500 per night, it actually makes sense. Otherwise, I would also check the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal for deals. In the past, I’ve found rates at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos for $250 or less.
Aside from the 400,000 points spent on hotels, I’d also spend around 200,000 miles roundtrip on airfare. Depending on the rewards program, I could probably get airfare cheaper. But if I put in zero effort into earning all those points, I probably would take the easy route and not compare redemption rates as much as I normally would.
JetBlue Mint (60,000 points one way)
My recent trip to New York was railroaded, thanks to American Airlines. I showed up for my confirmed flight, yet the airline insisted the itinerary ended in Las Vegas. No onward flight to New York, despite me printing out the itinerary and showing them my AA account. In the future, I won’t rely on American Airlines to get me there again. This time around, I’d transfer ~60,000 Ultimate Rewards points to JetBlue for a transcontinental flight in their Mint (first class) cabin. Then I’d probably pay ~10,000 miles to return in economy class for a reality check.
New York to London on Virgin Atlantic (10,000 miles one way)
Once I’d exhausted my time in New York, I’d transfer 10,000 miles to Virgin Atlantic and hop on a flight to London. This is an incredible value for a 7-hour flight. Plus, the taxes ($150) are much more reasonable than in Upper Class ($578). I’m all about getting a good deal and in this case, a 10,000-mile economy class ticket to Europe is an absolute bargain.
Three Nights in Paris (75,000 points)
After a few days of visiting family and exploring London, I’d jump on a train to Paris and spend three nights at the Hyatt Paris Madeleine while taking in the sights and gorging on pastries.
Air France Business Class Paris to Singapore (90,000 miles one way)
Air France has improved its business class product and I’d love to give it a try. I would redeem 90,000 miles for a one-way flight between Paris and Singapore. There’s nothing inherently special about Air France business class, but at roughly 14 hours, it would to give me an opportunity to relax between all the sightseeing I’d do in Paris and Singapore.
Three Nights in Singapore (60,000 points)
I’ve already stayed at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, so I’d want to give the Andaz a try. It’s just 20,000 points per night. Depending on the cash rate, I might just book it through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal for a cheaper redemption rate.
Singapore Suites to Sydney (80,000 miles)
Singapore Suites are pretty much the Gold standard when it comes to flying first class. Their A380 first class is no exception. I would redeem 80,000 miles one-way between Singapore and Sydney for this product. It’s an 8-hour flight, giving me lots of time in the air, and I’d end up in Australia. What can be better than that? A round-the-world trip in Singapore Suites, but we’re sticking to realistic goals here.
That’s about as much as I’d be able to travel without getting a pink slip and it’s really plenty. All of that clocks in at around 975,000 Ultimate Rewards points. I’d use the remaining points towards off-setting my other travel expenses. As for getting home? I might make good on my offer and just stay in Sydney for good.
There are certainly more glamorous ways to put 1 million Ultimate Rewards points to use. But I’ve got limited time and simple tastes. A couple of weeks spent in four continents, between some nice hotels and family members’ homes is good enough for me.
How would you redeem 1 million Ultimate Rewards points?
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