We love to hear stories from our readers about how our passion for collecting miles and points has affected their lives. Honeymoon plans in the works, a gift to their parents, a vacation to Srinagar or Singapore or just that premium airline seat that they secured on redemption. We’ve heard many such stories, and this year, we will try and bring more of these stories to you.
This week, I want to share with you the success story of our reader, Anil. I met Anil at the LiveFromALounge Points and Pints meetup in Delhi last year. When Anil shared about how reading Live From A Lounge helped him put together a 10-day luxury vacation in Singapore with his wife and their little one, I knew that this was a story we wanted to share with our community. Here is how he did it with his Singapore Vacation cost Zero (almost!)
Anil meticulously worked towards his travel goal, planned all his work travel and personal in a way that earned him more miles. Not just flying, he also switched his work travel stays from a no chain hotel to a Marriott and racked up Marriott Rewards (now BONVOY) points which he redeemed for free hotel stays in Singapore. Last I added up the numbers; Anil scored a vacation worth a few lakhs using his miles and points.
So without further delay, in Anil’s own words here is how he did it.
Here’s how I earned the points
After reading Live From A Lounge’s credit card review, I upgraded my existing HDFC credit card to the HDFC Bank Diners Club Black Credit Card in July 2017. Once I got the card in hand, I used it extensively and exhausted the monthly 25,000 points limit on 10X partners. This way, within 6 months, I accumulated more than 1.5 lakh HDFC Bank Diners Club Black Reward Points. I had only managed to collect 35,000 Reward Points on the previous variant of the card.
My work requires me to regularly shuttle between Delhi and Bengaluru. I started flying Jet Airways, and in no time I became a JetPrivilege Platinum. Additionally, I got myself 3 new cards with sign up bonuses: the Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro credit card, the Jet Airways IndusInd Bank Odyssey Credit Card and the Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card. Applying for these 3 cards via the JetPrivilege credit cards portal added over 50,000 JPMiles to my account as joining bonus. Altogether the sign-up bonuses, expenses on the card and flying Jet Airways as much as possible helped me accumulate 1.8 lakh JetPrivilege miles in just 15 months.
For my work travels, I switched all my stays to Marriott brands properties. I signed up for their loyalty programme (Starwood Preferred Guest then), and after that, I would sign up for every SPG promotion that Live From A Lounge would publish. The promotions and stays not only got me the SPG Platinum status but also I managed to earn 1.5 lakh Marriott Rewards points in less than a year given I was spending half my time in those hotels for a project.
Here’s how I redeemed the points
In December 2018, I wanted to take my wife and the little one for an international holiday to Singapore. I used the Reward Points from my HDFC Bank Diners Club Black card to book a Jet Airways return flight from Delhi to Singapore. Since I wanted this trip to be special for them, I booked upgradable fares and then used the Platinum upgrade vouchers to upgrade us all to Premiere (Business Class). I booked myself and my infant son in the Saver fare category and wife in the Classic fare category on 2 different bookings. I had 5 upgrade voucher as a JetPrivilege Platinum, and I received 3 from a friend. That is how I used 8 upgrade vouchers to upgrade us on Premiere on both legs of the trip.
As for hotels in Singapore, I reached out to Shipra at the Delhi NCR Points & Pints meetup for stay advice. I used my Marriott Rewards points to book a 7-nights stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Singapore, Riverview. It is a beautiful hotel in the centre of the city and staying here made it so convenient for us to explore Singapore. I first paid for 4-nights using my Marriott Rewards Points, making it a total of 100,000 MR points and got the 5th night free. I then paid separately for two more nights as well.
We also wanted to visit Sentosa Island. Since I was travelling with an infant, I didn’t want to do a hectic one day trip, so I used my Diners Club reward points to book a one-night stay in Sentosa Island.
In Singapore, I used my Diners Club card wherever I could to the get 10x points on International Spends. At Singapore flyer, they were offering a 10% discount on HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card that helped me save some money too.
The wait at the Changi Airport was a comfortable one as flying Premiere on Jet Airways gave us access to the SATS Premiere Lounge, and my Priority Pass got us access to the DNATA lounge and The Haven by Jet Quay arrival lounge.
All together on this 10 day family holiday, I redeemed 74,000 HDFC Bank Diners Club Reward Points, and 150,000 Marriott Rewards points and my total out-of-pocket expenses on this trip were less than INR 50,000.
Thank you LFAL for keeping me up to date about credit card offers, all SPG and Marriott hotel and reviews about airport lounges in Singapore.
For sharing his story, we are sending Anil an INR 1,000 Gift Card.
Also, we would love to hear more from you, our readers. Tell us about your success stories with scoring a great redemption, a fantastic hotel deal and everything in between, please share it with us, on ajay @ livefromalounge.com and shipra @ livefromalounge.com and we will pick the best stories and publish them for everyone to read. Also, you get a prize to share your stories from our side as well.
Tell us the different ways you earn and burn miles and points in the comments section below.