I have shown some of the amazing views and video clips of the diving we did this year. It was so relaxing and I just loved my time coming back to the Reef resort again. Please note I was able to lock in early at the old pricing and costs have gone up (like over 50%) so keep this in mind if you want to go for a visit.
I really love Grand Cayman Island. From the botanical garden in the middle of the island to the 7 mile beach – there is so much to see and do. But most of all it is just relaxation and time in the sun. Oh, that and spending a ton of time under the water!
But this is not Facebook and you can take your own vacations 🙂 What you want to see is just what it cost me using points – right?!? Please note I took a conservative evaluation of expenses and included many things others maybe do not. I want to see the real out of pocket costs to me for our trip. Let me break it down for you:
- Air was Hawaiian points flying on Delta via 2 – 35k cards $79 each, hours of time on the phone, plus tax was $77 each thus $312 total for the two of us vs $900 to buy direct from Delta.
- Car was $425 for two weeks paid for with Barclay’s Arrival via 42,500 points from my wife’s new card no fee 1st year so just the gas of almost $50.
- I also had to park at SBN and that set me back $92 and I may be able to get the airport to code this for travel and get it paid back but if not I can live with that expense (at least I earn 2x points back).
- Total for resort and diving (billed to resort so I could pay with points at 1.25 cents each) $3310.48 all in or almost 265,000 UR points. I will count as cost the fee’s to have my Chase INK Plus & Chase INK Bold cards (from Lisa & Me) and my Chase Sapphire cards (Chase Freedom has no fee) I hold so a total of $95×3 each or $285! (I canceled my BOLD and Lisa canceled her Sapphire so no second year fee there). Some may say this is a bad use of UR points – I say hogwash! I have more airline points than I can spend already with loads more on the way. This is real value to me!
- Hotel incidental and wifi $135 paid with my Barclays Arrival card 13,500 points and this is year two for me with this so let’s add the $89 fee for that card to this trip.
- The rules of what you can bring into Grand Cayman are very liberal so we brought some food to have breakfast and some lunch in the room. I did pay $40 for a wheeled cooler (looks like luggage) so let’s count that too as a cost.
- Dinners were expensive on this vacation. The average cost was $60 each night for the two of us, but we did have a few leftover meals and our unit had a fridge etc. Not to the penny but food, drinks and such was basically $1000!
So how much was my “FREE” two weeks vacation? Almost $2000 all-in. However, this is vs NOT using points to offset much of the cost and it would have been almost $6000! In other words by using points I paid 33% out of pocket what it would have cost for this trip. That is the value of points! Not free, but affordable travel and a savings of over $4000.
Now this math is cold hard facts. It does NOT count back the value I get from many of these cards like TripIt Pro from the Arrival cards or no international transaction fees or 2 Lounge Club passes from EACH INK card and on and on. Not just that, but if I had been at home I would have to eat and buy food. Sure not for $1000 for two weeks but still it would have cost me to live at home too.
What will I take from this latest adventure? I am not all that sad to see Hawaiian no longer redeemable for flying Delta as wow what a total pain to spend and manage. Delta Skymiles I can manage very simply, but not Hawaiian. I think Alaska points are going to be a good option to supplement my Delta points spending to fly Delta. I love to use my Ultimate rewards points for this type of spending. Others may poo-poo this but just I love it and they keep pouring in. I also just UBER love my Arrival card for hotels, cars and other such spend. I need to rethink just using these points for positioning flights for mileage runs (good I have US BANK FlexPerks for that kind of thing anyway).
Have you had a good year redeeming points for trips? Are you geared up for 2014? I am! – René
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