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amazon-gift-cardFor the past week, we’ve been hosting an Amazon gift card giveaway to help reader Jordan plan out his dream trip.

Overall, we want to go somewhere new and exciting. Preferably, we’d like a trip to China with an extra stopover or two, maybe to Hawaii. The whole thing could be around 10 days and it will be just my wife and I. I’d like to have at least one leg be in first or business class, just for the experience, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. We’d obviously like to use as few points as possible. We’re thinking we’d like to travel early next year (2016) but we’re flexible on that.

Here’s our point balances

  • Citi Thank You Points = 50,000
  • Amex Membership Rewards = 251,000
  • Aadvantage miles = 321,000
  • United miles = 57,000
  • Delta Skymiles = 50,000
  • BA Avios = 58,000
  • We also have $600 in AA gift cards and two U.S. Airways companion certificates.

What we’re looking for:

– Either an “around the world” trip or a trip with some stopovers.  Leaving from the Washington DC area
– Should include 1 or 2 stops in China.
– Should include another stopover somewhere exotic like Fiji or Hawaii.
– Any other locations are a bonus. But know that we prefer culture and nature to luxury and pampering.
– Approximately a 10 day trip.  Two passengers
– Would like at least one leg to be first class or business.
Use as little cash as possible. Maximize point value.

Amazon gift card giveaway


The winner of the original contest was John F., who entered the contest by following me on Twitter!  I’ve reached out to John to make sure he gets his gift card.

If you remember though, we were giving away a SECOND Amazon gift card for the person who left the best itinerary for Jordan and his wife.  Many of the comments on the original post were not very helpful at all, but we did have some good ones, which I’ve included below.

  1. – Use United for roundtrip IAD to PEK in first or in business on ANA, since it’s roundtrip you get 1 free stopover and 2 free layovers, can stopover in Hawaii outbound or inbound. Inbound can be Shanghai – IAD since it allows you to have a layover.
    -Within China, can use Avios to travel between cities, such like Shanghai to Beijing.
    – Another idea is using AA miles for Cathay Pacific business or first class (best premium seat) between IAD – HKG and from HKG use Avios to China. Return trip can use United miles on ANA business or first
  2. 1. I would do this. Scratch Hawaii. 10 days is not nearly enough time for 3-4 destinations.

    2. Transfer MR to ANA and fly in Biz BOTH WAYS. Will cost you both 190,000 max, if you use Star partner and less with ANA, especially in Low Season, so–use ANA.

    3. ANA allows open jaws, so you can fly to Beijing and out of Shanghai, for example. Buy a one-way domestic ticket with United miles, or pay a little cash.

    4. If you fly in and out of the same city, book domestic RT tickets with ANA for an extra 50 miles (for 2).

  3. With only 10 days I would focus my travels on china. Having been there, I would suggest 3 days in Beijing, 2 in xian and 3 in Shanghai. Then throw in a 24 hour stopover in tokyo to make it interesting.

    Day 1: IAD – ORD – HKG – PEK
    – cathay pacific business
    – 110,000 total
    Day 2: flying
    Day 3: beijing – city sights
    Day 4: private driver to wall
    Day 5: beijing – summer palace and Peking duck
    Day 6: PEK – XIAN
    – air china coach
    – 25,000 amex to air canada
    Day 7: xian – terra cotta warriors
    Day 8: xian – Shanghai
    – air China coach
    – 25,000 amex to air canada
    Day 9: Shanghai
    Day 10: PVG – TYO – ORD – IAD
    – possible 24 hour stopover in tokyo
    – JL First
    – 135,000 AA

  4. 10 days does not seem like enough time for such a trip. A few days each way in a place like Hawaii leaves 6 days for China. This does not even account for the travel time. If you stop in Hawaii, I would stop one way in Oahu and one way in Maui. Pearl Harbor is a must see and the tour company The Home of The Brave is a great way to really experience it. The tour is small and they book up quickly. Have a great trip.
  5. I think you shoulder travel to New Zealand with a stop in China along the way. You should go snorkeling, hiking and kayaking in New Zealand!
  6. Best 10 day trip I’ve taken was to South Africa. Five nights in Cape Town, three nights at private game reserve, two days of travel. Lots to see and do and not one boring moment. Definitely recommend business class – 15 hr flight from NYC to Johanishburg then another 2 hr to Cape Town. Same FF miles as going to Europe which is much shorter by comparison. I’ve also been to China but there are so many must see stops that it’s hard to do in 10 days.
  7. So I think they should first fly coach with AA to china, and make two stops,one in Shanghai and chech out what they built for the 2010 Expo they held. Then (with a taxi or transportation of choice) there is a three houre ride to naibghoring cities, that have there historical old town to see that explane there historical backround and a little Venice like in ningbo. (So they don’t waist flight time science it is only 10 days). Afterwards they should fly coach AA to Hawaii. First to uwahu and take sirfe lessons then fly AA Buisness or First to another island of Hawaii ( a lot of the island have good sporting activetys) so I would recommend snorcaling or rock climbing. Then fly AA buisness or first back home.
  8. Just 10 days for a RTW trip? Half would be spent just traveling and at the airport! I’d use points to fly from D.C. to the Pacific Northwest (Washington or Oregon) for 2-3 days, then hop over to China for the rest of the time. No idea on how to best utilize points, I’m still working on that myself
  9. I am also going to suggest scratching out Hawaii as well. I travel a lot and just got back from Hawaii. For some places, I don’t need to spend anymore than 2-3 days. But for Hawaii, there is actually a lot to see and do there. The reader should be looking at 5-7 days to visit one or two islands. Even if you’re visiting just 1 island, you should budget 2-3 days at a minimum. To pack within a 10 day trip to China where flying is going to take up a huge chunk of time, it may not be worth it if you are going to have to rush through the the whole trip. Just my 2 cents. Have a great trip!
  10. Why not stop in the great cities of the world?
    New York to London-Copenhagen-Paris-Rome-Hong Kong-Sydney and home.
  11. I agree with the previous people that 10 days isn’t that much time to hit the highlights of china. I’d use my points for united so that you can fly direct from DC to China to eliminate the hassles of a layover. I’ve almost gotten stuck overnight a few times. Good luck on the trip.

Picking a 2nd winner

I’ve asked Jordan privately to give his thoughts on which of these comments he feels is most deserving.  In the meantime, what do you guys think?  Which was the best advice for their trip?  Leave a note in the comments!  (and no fair trying to shill your own entry, if one of them is yours 😀 )

Stay tuned later this week for some more giveaways! Make sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our [follow email] if you want to make sure you don’t miss it.

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