I have just arrived back home in Los Angeles after having a wonderful vacation in Kauai, Hawaii. One of my goals this year was to go on a relaxing vacation, since it’s probably been about five or six years since I’ve had one.
The cost didn’t really matter to me that much, though it had to be within reason. It ended up being a pretty expensive trip, though after adding all of the expenses, I realized it wasn’t too pricey. I actually reduced my expenses by a lot.
I believe it is important to have a balance between work and pleasure, therefore going on this trip was pretty important to me and I wasn’t too concerned about the cost. Yet, I put in an awful lot of time into finding the best deals and ways to reduce the cost without reducing the experience.
I packed one bag and left every electronic device, besides my phone at home. I thought it was crucial to have a completely different experience while being away from home.
I know it is very easy to get sucked back into your regular life again when you have access to your laptop or iPad. I saw it all the time during my trip. Families sitting at breakfast, lunch and the dinner table not talking to each other. They were all having an iPad or iPhone in front of them, just staring in front of them for about an hour or two without saying a word. It was pretty scary to watch actually. I was glad I was free from my “normal” life and enjoyed every bit of it. Even though I had my phone with me, I barely used it and left it in my room most of the time.
I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai for nine days, which was an amazing experience. The hotel was a bit pricey, but I was able to reduce some of the costs tremendously by using something we all have access to. A simple credit card. Now before I say which credit card, I want you to know that I am absolutely not writing this as a sponsored or promotional post. I simply had a wonderful time on my vacation and mainly because of this credit card, I was able to reduce my cost and have a nicer experience then if I wouldn’t have had it.
What credit card am I talking about? An American Express credit card to be exact. I know people like exact numbers and facts, but I also like to keep certain things private. So I’ll try to show you as clearly as possible how I was able to reduce some of these costs. This by simply being resourceful and using the perks I had already access to. I’m sure there are plenty of other credit cards out there that have similar perks and could give you tremendous deals. For now, let’s have a look at some of the expenses and how I reduced them. Here we go.
First of all, I booked a flight through Hawaiian Airlines. I was able to use some perviously earned American Express points to cover an entire flight, roundtrip. Result, there was no need to pay for the flight. This already easily saved me around $500. The way you can rack up these points is by simply spending money on your credit card and eventually having gained enough points to cover your flight.
The hotel itself is known to be pricey. I chose a room which costs about $550/night, though I actually ended up paying less. When I arrived at the hotel, I was able to be upgraded to a higher room through American Express. The moment I arrived at the hotel, the front desk manager was searching for possible upgrades. They told me every possible upgrade was already occupied for the duration of my stay.
I called Amex and explained my situation to them. They asked me to sit tight and wait for a call back, so I did. An hour later I received a call back from Amex. Not only did they upgrade me to a suite which would cost between $850 – $1350 per night, I was able to have this room while still paying for my original price ($550). Not only that, but I also received every 4th night free. Meaning, at the end of my bill, Amex had deducted $1100 off of my total bill, since there were two “4th” nights included in my trip. The 4th night and the 8th night.
Breakfast at the hotel costs about $64.35 per day, for two people. This was waved and paid for by American Express. Because of the upgrade I had received I was able to have access to their Club program. This meant that I had access to a dinner buffet and snacks at any time, for free. I probably only spend $100 on food off of the resort during those nine days by going out to eat in a few other restaurants. There was no need for lunch. Their breakfast was huge.
I rented a car using “Budget”. I rented the smallest Sedan possible, since I knew I wouldn’t really drive that much. There was no need for car insurance since American Express covers Car Rental Insurances. In nine days I used less then half a tank of gas and drove around half the island of Kauai twice.
Me and my girlfriend both had 1 bag we checked in each time we flew. Both to and back from Kauai. Which turned out to cost about $100 since each checked bag costs $25 per flight. This was covered by American Express as well since they grant a $100 expense bonus on your trip.
American Express saved me a ton of money on expenses. There were a few other expenses and deductions that I didn’t mention on here. Bottom line is that the use of credit cards and rapid rewards points can clearly pay of. I honestly chose that hotel, because I knew I was able to have access to a ton of deductions and upgrades. I don’t think at the time (updating this article currently) I would have paid the full standard amounts. I knew I would only go if I could figure out was to deduct the total cost by a lot.
I’m not trying to sell Amex here, even though I love them. I just wanted to share and show how to use and take advantage of some of these amazing perks credit card companies have to offer. Not all credit cards have the same perks and provide the same possibilities and opportunities, but this is a perfect example of one that did provide tremendous perks. Some people say some credit cards with high annual fees are not worth it. That is because you will only see those pay off when you use them where they shine. In this case, while traveling.