It was Friday morning, December 15, 2017 – the travel world was buzzing with headlines of “Business Class Roundtrip LA – Lima, Peru Just $659” – and of course, I had to check it out. At that time, I was in the middle of preparing for our upcoming holiday trip to Washington DC and New York City, yet this Peru deal got me all interested. I wasn’t sure if it was an error fare, meaning, the price could very well correct itself.
Nancy and I agreed to check it out. Peru was never on my immediate list of places to visit. I didn’t really know much about Peru, other than my dear neighbor and family friend, Giovanna, who is Peruvian, and of course, there’s Machu Picchu. That was all the knowledge I had about Peru. I surveyed a few travelers about traveling to Peru in April, places to stay, things to do, etc. By noon, I felt I had enough information to move forward with booking the trip.
I booked the $659 airfare deal, right?
The only thing that wasn’t that interesting for us was having to pay $1,300 out of pocket for two roundtrip tickets. I knew it was a great deal. But I just didn’t want to fork out the cash. So naturally, I checked my account with Chase and their travel portal. I picked travel dates in April, and was pleasantly surprised to see that we could both go and fly business class from Los Angeles to Lima, Peru roundtrip and by using our Chase Ultimate Reward points, we’d be using 43,940 points/person (87,880 for two) with ZERO out of pocket. This included all taxes and fees. At that point, since we had rewards to use, it was a no-brainer. We booked our trip to Peru.
Which credit cards give Ultimate Rewards points
There are many credit cards out there. But when it comes to most of our travels, I can share with you the cards that have gotten me and my family free tickets simply by using the points earned with these credit cards. These points could be used for airfare, hotel, car rentals. The points earned from these cards have been our ticket to traveling the world:
a. Chase Sapphire Preferred – earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards
b. Chase Sapphire Reserve – earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards
c. Chase Ink Business Preferred – earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards.
d. Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited – excellent cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. The Chase Freedom offers rotational deals where you get to earn more points each quarter. The Freedom Unlimited gets you 1.5x for every dollar you spend. ((I don’t have an active link at the time)
I value my points earned with Chase. Here’s a write-up I wrote last year as to how we travel for nearly free (click here) with points earned with these credit cards.
We’ve traveled quite a bit since booking this
As I had mentioned, when I booked this trip to Peru, we had trips to Washington DC and New York City, an eleven day visit to the East Coast. It was simply unforgettable. We used points for everything. Six roundtrip tickets from LA and we paid ZERO out of pocket after using our points. We also used our free nights and points with the Hyatt when we stayed at Grand Hyatt Washington – it was three nights and we were upgraded to a Presidential Suite. Following our stay in DC, we moved our winter vacation to NYC where we stayed at Sheraton Tribeca for two nights and five nights at Fairfield Inn Marriott Times Square West (where we stayed in a Penthouse suite).
We also just got back from Hawaii in early April. We used our points earned with our Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Cards and spent $11 per person – a total of $67 for all six of us. We spent eight days on the Big Island of Hawaii. We got to explore various highlights of the island, including our visit to Volcanoes National Park. It was thrilling, exciting, and extremely rewarding to be able to bring our family to these global destinations.
We booked Peru, now what?
You would think that since we had four months from booking that we’d be extremely prepared for Peru. Well, not really. Life got in the way, and we were ever so busy. It wasn’t until mid March right before we flew to Hawaii, when I finally started to plan our trip to Peru. I reached out to a few friends on Facebook, the different travel groups I joined, including specific tips from Scott S. on how he booked his trip, where he stayed etc..
A good friend of mine, Arni Jane, was in Peru for a month. I spoke with her while vacationing on the Big Island, and she gave us tips that helped booking her Peru adventures. It was comforting to know that I knew someone who was in Peru right at that moment. Many thanks to social media – I was able to see all of Arni’s pictures in Peru which heightened our interest in visiting.
Another great resource was our dear friend, Giovanna, a Peruvian herself, she referred us to work with a travel agency based in Lima.
She got me in touch with Sandra Inti, Travel Product Manager for American Reps. Sandra and I were in touch quite a few times (even while I was in Hawaii) and she helped customize a package for us. All I had done at that point was to book our flights from LA to Lima, and Lima to Cusco. It was Sandra who helped fill in the blanks and gave us multiple options for this vacation.
To those who know me well, I like taking control and planning everything out myself. But I know when to back off. We had less than four weeks when we finally decided to begin preparing for Peru. We had the perfect storm of busy activities – a kitchen remodeling (flooring and painting work, purchased a new Tesla, appointments with solar panel providers, track and field meets for the kids….oh and yes, we had to work too. We were in the midst of our Hawaiian vacation, and we just had no more time to do more of the research. So I trusted the experts, all the tips from my friends, and found the best of both worlds by working with American Reps.
What’s in the tour package? You’ll just have to wait until I publish my next blog entries.