With the wife pregnant (3.5 months to go!), I’ve cooled down significantly with my churns. Not because I’m trying to protect my credit, but more because the days of luxe trips are gone… at least for the next 10 years, probably. Sigh.
We did go on our final “babymoon” trip between Christmas and New Years (I owe y’all a post) to London and Paris, but I don’t foresee any other trips like the ones we took in 2011. (2011, in fact, really was the banner year for me personally in terms of travel. Two international trips, covering 4 countries, plus two trips to the San Diego area, plus a trip to Boston, plus a couple of road trips.) The babymoon did take a big bite out of my points and miles though (a total of 340k), so I was looking to replenish, especially around hotel points.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I applied for three cards – the United MileagePlus Explorer, and both Hawaiian Airlines cards. I know what you’re thinking — there are two Hawaiian Airlines cards?? Word, to big bird.
The Hawaiian cards give 35k miles per – 20k after the first purchase, plus another 10k after meeting $1k in spend within the first 4 months. The thresholds are easier than a teenage boy in a room full of models. After I meet the minimums for both, I’ll have 70k miles in my Hawaiian Airlines account. More on this later.
The United card actually offers 60k miles – 50k after the first purchase, and 10k after spending $25k in a year. I’m going to punt the 10k kicker, and just focus on the 50k bonus. I have about 183k miles already in my Continental OnePass account, so once that merges with United later this year, I’ll have over 230k miles in total. Yipee!
So, back to Hawaiian. Two things. First, these cards are actually managed by the same company, but officially come from two banks – the Bank of Hawaii and Bank of America. Your application to either will get processed by the same company, and if you applied for both cards at the same time, you’ll likely have some explaining to do (topic for another post). I worked my magic, though, and was approved for both cards over the phone.
Do I really want 70k Hawaiian Airlines miles though? If my wife and I wanted to go to Hawaii, I guess that might be of interest. However, neither of us really have a thing for Hawaii (probably because everyone and their mother wants to go there?), so that’s not why I decided to pay an annual fee for both cards (total cost – $158). Rather, if you read the blog, you will have read about how Hawaiian Airlines miles transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio.
Therefore, I’m planning on converting my Hawaiian miles into 140k Hilton Honors points. On that alone, I can redeem for 2-3 nights at a Category 6-7 property, or that can be 2 nights at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives during off-season. (I do plan on getting the wife on this too, so the total number of points in my account should be higher. Read the other post for details, yo.) For the annual fees paid, I’d say that’s well worth it!
(Disclaimer: I actually haven’t had much experience with Hilton properties, so I hope I’m not shooting myself in the foot!)