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Reader Success Story: Roundtrip to South Korea and Taiwan

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This is a guest post by 10xT Reader Nilesh. For more examples of readers using points/miles to take amazing trips to check out our 10xT Insiders Facebook Group.

By: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel

Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan, South Korea (the bridge from Black Panther)

Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan, South Korea (the bridge from Black Panther)

When I first started researching the credit card points and miles world, I was definitely a skeptic. I still remember my mom, an accountant, having me sign up for my first credit card before college and to only use for emergencies.

She also stressed the importance of paying off the statement balance in full every month. I figured having one card is what responsible people did. After 7 years with that card (a non-rewards card), I decided to be bold and get a second card, the Capital One Quicksilver Card.

I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long to get a card that had the benefits of 1.5% cash back (I was still naïve to the points and miles world). As I started to travel more in my mid-20s (for fun), I began to wonder how much I’d actually have to travel to get upgrades on flights and hotels. I do not travel for work so I quickly realized that it would be nearly impossible to achieve any airline or hotel status.

In 2016, as I was dreaming of my next trip, I began reading about points and miles and I haven’t stopped collecting points since then.

Today, I want to share my biggest points redemption.

My girlfriend and I had our sights set on visiting South Korea in April 2018 for cherry blossom season and the amazing food. Since this was going to be a graduation gift, I wanted to make it extra special.

Using Miles To Fly To Asia

Bryce (10xTravel’s Founder) recommended starting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)

I started slowly and, after hitting the minimum spend, I moved onto the Chase Sapphire Reserve (at the time you could have both). At this point, I was hooked!

I then added the United MileagePlus Explorer and Chase Ink Preferred to my wallet.

All in all, I racked up 245,000 Ultimate Rewards points and 75,000 United miles. I transferred the Ultimate Rewards points to United to bring my balance to 320,000 miles. This was enough for round-trip flights from the US to Asia in business class for both of us.

Business class on Asiana Airlines to Seoul (the best part was on-demand Ramen)

Business class on Asiana Airlines to Seoul (the best part was on-demand Ramen)

Since we were booking an award ticket, we chose to take advantage of United’s Excursionist Perk which provides a free one-way segment within a region so we could also explore Taiwan.

Business class on EVA Air Taiwan→US (hands down the best flight of the trip and we still have our PJs)

Business class on EVA Air Taiwan→US (hands down the best flight of the trip and we still have our PJs)

The flights alone would have cost approximately $6,500 per person out of pocket.

Booking Hotels With Points

On the hotel side of things, I applied for the Chase Hyatt Card, Starwood Preferred Guest Card from Amex and the Starwood Preferred Guest Card Business Card from Amex.

The welcome bonuses from the three cards earned us 3 nights at the Park Hyatt Seoul — 45,000 Hyatt points plus 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points, 2 nights at the Westin Chosun Busan — 24,000 SPG Starpoints, 1 night at the Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel — 10,000 SPG points, and 2 nights at the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel — 20,000 SPG points.

View from our Park Hyatt Seoul room including the Gangnam Style statue!

View from our Park Hyatt Seoul room including the Gangnam Style statue!

A total of 8 nights at these hotels would have cost $2,100.

Side note: we were able to get free and drinks at Sheraton Club lounges at the two Sheraton hotels thanks to the SPG Business credit card. It was a nice perk, but food in Southeast Asia is super cheap and way better on the streets!

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, now that the merger of Marriott Rewards and SPG is complete, the SPG Business Amex no longer provides lounge access at Sheraton properties

The Sheraton Club Lounge at the Sheraton Grand Taipei

The Sheraton Club Lounge at the Sheraton Grand Taipei

Bottom Line

This trip would have cost us over $15,000 out-of-pocket if it weren’t for miles and points and I was able to earn the needed points In just over a year.

Despite opening new cards, my credit is still in the mid-700s and I was able to purchase my first home in June.

So, for those of you who are still on the fence about entering the credit card points and miles world, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that your credit score won’t bottom out!

In return for taking advantage of credit card rewards, you won’t have to spend a fortune to travel in style to any destination in the world!

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Thank you 10xTravel for helping us plan an amazing trip!

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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