Posted on June 5, 2015
Let’s Break It Down: Tokyo/Seoul 2015
Now that we have talked about all the awesome aspects of our trip we will breakdown the actually cost in points/miles and cash. We will also, to the best of our ability, try to identify where the points/miles came from and what cash it might have cost us to acquire them. This will be from my perspective so Joe’s might be slightly different.
Previous posts of our great trip:
Park Hyatt Seoul X3 Nights (usually around $400/night)
At the time I booked this hotel it was 15K Hyatt points a night (now increased to 20K). Some of my Hyatt points I had obtained from previous stays and from everyday spending on my Hyatt Credit Card. However, the vast majority of these points came from manufactured spending on my way to spending $40K on my Hyatt card in order to get 5 stay credits and complete Diamond Status. At the time most of my MS was at a rate of $5.90 per 1K points.
Manufactured Spending + points from stays = 45K points = <$260
Even though there are several flights listed above, they were all on the same ticket using American Airline miles. For flights using American Airlines miles in first class to the Asia 1 Region, which Japan and South Korea are in, costs 62.5K miles. At the time I booked this flight the vast majority of my large stockpile of America Airlines miles were from getting the 100K mile sign-up bonus over and over from the Citi/AA Executive card. Due to getting this bonus and some creative manufactured spending combined with prompt cancellations, I was able to obtain well over 600K miles for around $0.0017 per mile. In addition there are of course tax and fees which came out to around $75.
Citi AA Exec Card bonus (multiple times)+ creative MS and canceling = $0.0017/mile X 62.5K miles +tax/fees = $181
—Just the JAL First Class portion of this flight was selling for over $9,000 a few months before the trip.
2) Return: Singapore Airlines First Class (ICN-SFO)
For this flight I used a combination of American Express Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points which both transfer to Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program. This flight costs roughly 74K KrisFlyer miles with approximately 34K coming from MR and the remaining 40K coming from UR. The Membership Rewards were obtained from a Gold Premier Card sign up bonus and some MS costing me about $48. The Ultimate Rewards are much harder to calculate as they came from MS, regular spending and shopping portals. I know how I was doing most of my MS at the time so I would put that as my ceiling if they were all obtained that way at $236. However, I know at least 1/3 weren’t obtained that way so I know it is significantly less than that. The fuel surcharge and tax on this route were $180.69 (although now they are significantly less at only ~$88).
AMEX Gold Bonus + MS + regular spend +tax/surcharges = <$465
—–The flight was selling for around $4,500 a couple months before the trip.
3)Onward to Vegas! Virgin America Economy (SFO-LAS)
No miles or points used, just $118.
4) Home from Vegas: AA Economy (LAS-LAX-STL)
No miles or points used, just $120. But of course AA miles were earned and this flight helped me get AA Gold Status.
Luxury Five Star Hotel in the most expensive region of Seoul for 3 nights = <$260 (for 2 people)
Multiple flights in First and Business class from St. Louis to Tokyo to Seoul = ~$181
First Class on Singapore Airlines = <$465
Flights from SFO to Vegas and then back home= $238
You could say it is even less as Joe paid for a lot of my meals to reimburse me for my Hyatt points. Retail price would have been well over $15,000.
****Left out the hotel room price in Vegas because I was the Bachelor and didn’t pay 😉 . I did win almost $1,000 (Joe won even more) there too, so actually it was almost a free trip!