Reader Questions: My best redemption and most-used credit card

Every Sunday, the site will feature questions from readers about points and miles. I encourage you to ask your questions by submitting this form or by sending me an email at john@everydaypointsandmiles.com.

What’s your best points redemption? (Michael from Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Oh man, this is a good question. I don’t think I have a specific redemption in mind. I think I’ve saved the most money with the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare or my many Hyatt all-inclusive redemptions. And while saving money is the primary reason I have points and miles, but “best” points redemption might be my most memorable one which was a combination of a few.

In Summer 2017, we traveled to Hawaii for our summer trip and mostly used points and miles to pay for it.

Flights

We used the Alaska Airlines companion fare to get to and from Hawaii which saved us hundreds of dollars. We flew into Kona and out of Honolulu – the companion fare saved us $588.81. And, we actually got upgraded to first class on the way back.

Lodging

For lodging, we also used points and miles for the majority of our stays.

We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Kona for three nights. I can’t suggest this hotel enough. While it’s not directly on the beach, it’s three blocks from it and has plenty of parking. It’s in the heart of downtown Kona making it really convenient to access everything.

We used a free night certificate I receive from having the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card plus 60,000 IHG points (which I had from the sign-up bonus) for two additional nights. This saved us just under $600.

We stayed at an Airbnb on top of lava for a few nights which we paid for, however, we did earn Delta Skymiles for booking with Airbnb.

We traveled to Oahu via a cheap Hawaiian Airlines flight and then stayed two nights at the Hyatt Place in Waikiki Beach. We also used my annual free night for having the Hyatt credit card in addition to just 12,000 Hyatt points (transferred from Chase) for the second night. Because I have complimentary elite status for having the credit card, we were also upgraded to an oceanfront suite. This saved us a little more than $400.

All in, points and miles, along with credit card perks, saved us more than $1,500. It allowed us to splurge on “adventures” like scuba diving with Manta Rays in the Pacific Ocean and staying on top of hardened lava. It was one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever taken.

What credit card do you use the most? (Danielle from Miami, Fla.)

As I wrote in my post about my 2019 goals, my credit card usage is really dependent on the types of points and miles I’m trying to earn given my travel goals.

I tend to focus on two types of points – both transferable – Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.

I really value Chase Ultimate Rewards because of the 13 transfer partners including Hyatt, which is my favorite way to redeem those points. I use the Chase TrifectaChase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Reserve. I earn bonus points on travel (3x), restaurants (3x), quarterly categories like gas and department stores (5x) and all other purchases (1.5x).

With all that said, I’m currently trying to stockpile American Express Membership Rewards for an ANA Around the World ticket. I am planning to write about this later, but it’s a 125,000-point redemption for a trip of a lifetime.

My favorite card right now is my American Express Gold card which nets me 4x bonus at US Supermarkets and US Restaurants. Because that accounts for a lot of my expenses, it’s an easy way to accrue points quickly.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Danielle and Michael for submitting questions this week. We will feature questions every week, so if you have them, please ask!

We look forward to answering your questions in the future!

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