Monday, November 18, 2013

I'm Going to Tokyo + Hong Kong!

Hello Hong Kong!
A sponsored hip + urban girl post.

My dream trip has always been to go to Tokyo + Hong Kong to visit an aunt, uncle and eight first cousins that I have never met before. I also hope to reunite with another aunt and uncle along with three other cousins I haven’t seen in over 25 years.

Well, it’s finally happening. 

Did I mention that I will be flying Air Hello Kitty?
I’ve been saving all of my American Express Membership Rewards Points for this big endeavour. After finally hitting the 90,000 points mark, I converted all of my Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan points and finally reached my goal of 150,000 points!

This gave me two round-trip tickets to Tokyo-Hong Kong and home again. The only additional fee I paid was $350/person in fuel surcharges and taxes, but comparing that to the $2000 ticket that I priced out – I think I’m still coming out ahead.

Brian Kelly of The Points Guy
I am pretty passionate about my points and if you want to finally go on your dream trip too, I would definitely suggest evaluating what your credit card is giving back to you. I had the chance to chat with professional points fanatic, Brian Kelly of It turns out that 60% of Canadians are just using the credit card that their bank provided to them with some cards offering little in terms of rewards or kickbacks. 

Why is this? Brian’s response, “People don’t love change especially when it comes to personal finance. It can seem annoying to get a new card, but really you’re throwing money down the drain.” Meaning you could be earning free travel rewards or merchandise redemptions. If all these points and miles are simply too overwhelming or confusing, Brian suggests that you look at each point having a value of about one cent. Brian also notes that you choose a credit card that provides value to you. Is it cash back that you want or would you prefer travel rewards? 

For me, it was no question. Travel is one of the top priorities in my life right now and if I can somehow subsidize the cost of this expensive hobby – the better! I have been a Gold Rewards Cardmember for a few years now and I redeem for a flight almost every 4-5 months.

Earn 25,000 Bonus Welcome Points! – Right now, American Express Canada is awarding new Cardmembers a 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you sign-up for a Gold Rewards Card and charge at least $500 in purchases within the first three months. If you’re an Aeroplan collector like me, that’s enough for a round-trip flight from Toronto to Los Angeles! The card also lets you earn 1 point for every $1 you put on the card and 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, groceries,drugstore or travel purchases. 

I will eat ramen until I burst!
Why Am I Telling You This? It’s a great time to sign-up because the welcome bonus has been increased from the usual 15,000 points to 25,000 points! If you’re going to spending money anyway on everyday things – you might as well be getting something for doing so. In fact – take things one step further and refer a friend or family member to the Gold Rewards Card. Each successful referral gives you 10,000 bonus points, enough for an additional $100 in travel purchases!

Your First Year is FREE – Yes, that’s right. The annual fee ($150 value) for the first year is waived. Want to earn points faster? Order one free supplementary card for a friend or family member on your account. Do keep in mind that the Gold Rewards Card is a charge card that you pay in full every month. I never carry a balance on my card and it’s definitely a worthwhile benefit to have to pay it off at the end of the month.

Get Yourself a Gold Rewards Card! Start earning so you can start traveling. Sign up for an American Express Gold Rewards Card and experience for yourself the World of YES.

Do you have a dream trip in mind? If so where would you go?

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