Derp Report Goes Domestic

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Proper Midwestern Breakfast at Hilton St. Louis Airport (free with HHonors Diamond status (also free))

You don’t appreciate how awesome exploring America is until you spend 1096 days on a tiny island where there is no potential of a road trip to drive to another prefecture/state. I just did my first road trip from St. Louis to Springfield, Illinois going a whopping 100 km/h! The vastness of the land and the endless non-tolled infrastructure is appreciated, the $2 gas is awesome as well.

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Additionally the lack of bowing and taking off my shoes every location has saved me countless hours in pointless pleasantries. A simple “thanks” has replaced “arigatou gozaimasu” and “morin'” has replaced “Ohayō gozaimasu”. Out of the 26,304 hours spent in Japan I estimate I spend at least 1,000 hours avoiding eye contact and bowing. Yes very novel at first but only for the first 16,000 hours.

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$15 Wifi! Waived at checkout with HHonors Diamond (gold as well?)

The best part is much better redemption for points. As in hotels you can drive to, staycations abound, no more reliance in airplanes just to change the scene. In the past 76 hours I have already started my redemption process towards my goal of spending all my points before the end of 2017.

First staycation to empty my Marriott Account. The Ritz Carlton Chicago which was under the Four Seasons Group until it recently reverted back to an actual Ritz. I had 45,000 points left in my Marriott account which I topped off with some UR points to redeem for a single night at 50k points for a tier 3 hotel.

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The Ritz at Water Tower Place, Chicago

at $400 a night for 50k points we are getting 8/10 of a cent per point. Which is slightly better than the 0.7 cents the points guys says they are worth.

Second redemption is for a wedding I am going to in Florida. I had earned 50k IHG points by playing their Priceless Surprises sweepstakes. I was able to book the Melburne Oceanfront where the wedding will be for a mere 30k points for a single night.

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Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront

At a cost of $120 a night the redemption of  30K points gets you only 4/10 of a cent per point. Terrible redemption, but been sitting on these points for too long. In the past I was able to get a $400 room for 50k points at the Inter-Contential Tokyo for twice the redemption value of 8/10 of one cent, but don’t forget where the points came from, a free mail in sweepstakes.

Now the flights from ORD to MLB usually run $210 a piece on Delta. Now that Delta status matched me to our United Silver and Gold for Silver and Gold Medallion I get to sample the good life. I went ahead and used 30k Delta Sky Pesos for 2 tickets at a redemption of 1.4 cents per mile. This is better than the 1.2 the points guy gets. I moved 5k points from my AmEx MR points to top off my account and then instantly redeem for the trip. Do not for any reason transfer points without the intent to redeem them right away as devaluations happen randomly and you don’t want to convert a reserve currency into a worthless one.

More to come as I explore this vast country.

-Derp

My Last Hurrah! ORD to NRT UA Business First for $600 and 30K Miles

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Row 10 is rear facing, forcing you stare into the abyss that is “Economy Plus” ewwwww, jkjkjkjk

I have finally amassed enough money in my United Travel Bank Gift Registry to finally get round trip for both of us to and from Chicago. Now before you dump any money into this using your 3 AmEx Platinum Cards (MB, Reg, Biz $200 each), or Premier Rewards Gold ($100) check here to make sure its still auto reimbursed. Because one day they will fix the glitch and your stuck with non reimbursed charges.

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Better than a toaster

There are so many restrictions on using these travel bank points. If any segment is on a partner airline you can’t use the bank at all! So for this trip I had to book a separate Experience Japan round trip OKA to NRT ($98 a segment) on a different ANA itinerary. I did this right after I booked my $1,200 ticket on United from NRT to ORD with my Travel Bank and used the ticket number to be eligible.

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Because of the strictness, next year, I might start using the MPX loophole  for Amazon Credit as it will be much harder for international travel with my studies. Again, if it dries up please don’t call up to AmEx and complain. I just let the auto reimburse robot give me that statement credit without question. I know one day its gonna dry up, so be it, since the annual fees were waived anyways.

Since I got this free flight home and back, I went ahead and applied for a Business First Upgrade for the return segment for $600 and 30k miles per ticket. In less than 12 hours my upgrade was confirmed! Essentially I got Business first for $600 and the sign up bonus on my United Explorer Card, netting me a sweet 1,200 MP miles per ticket by putting it on my United Club Credit card.

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Using seat guru as my guide I was able to get a nice seat! I will have a report soon enough regarding the value of such a redemption. Just for comparison these tickets booked alone would cost $3,017 each one way!

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I think we got the upgrade right away due to our *A Silver and Gold Status, but I think its because no one want to fly on a Tuesday. Think about taking your leave over the weekdays, no lines anywhere! However I wonder if I would be more comfortable in First Class:

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Maybe some day…

-Derp