How we earned our trip to Maldives

Each year my wife and I sit down and decide where out next goal is going to be. We have a wish list of places we want to go.

The first step was to apply for the American Express Hilton Surpass card. It came with 62500 points and the opportunity to earn Diamond status with a $40,000 annual spend on the card. In 2009 I spent $40,000 on the card which gave me Diamond status through March 2012.

Next I started applying for the Citi American Airlines cards which at the time gave 25,000 bonus points. I did this every three months until I had 150,000 American Airline miles. I then converted them to Hilton points at a 1:2 ratio that I now had 300,000 Hilton points plus 62500 from the American Express bonus.

I am always looking for ways to accumulate Delta Skymiles and recently did both the personal and business account through Suntrust Bank for 140,000 Skymiles.

I’ve also been participating in all of the Priority Club promotions an have over 400,000 points.

In addition, we applied for the British Airways cards and spent $30,000 in 2010 in order to earn a buy get one free award ticket with enough combined miles to fly first class while getting a first class ticket free.

Armed with this – we began to narrow our wish list down to Greece, Maldives, or Bali. We had Hilton, Priority Club, Delta, and British Airways to use.

We had been emailing the Hilton Conrad Maldives asking when they were going to release reward nights. We had pretty much decided on going to Bali when we received an email back from Hilton stating that there would be opening up award nights in a week. Our decision was made – it was going to be the Maldives.

The day that the reward nights opened up, we called and asked what weeks were available – it was wide open. We grabbed 9 reward nights.

We called Delta to see about business class tickets to Male. We were willing to go anywhere and ended with a routing through Dubai. We would then have to purchase a ticket from Dubai to Male and decided we needed to try another routing. We started to inquire about any other Asia routings, perhaps via Japan. The agent mentioned we could go via Malaysia. SLC >> LAX >> Malaysia >> Male – all in business class for 120,000 Skymiles a piece.

We booked this trip 10 months ago and are leaving shortly. It is times like this that make this hobby so rewarding. To see exotic places for a fraction of the cost.

I’ll be sure and post from the road!


  1. Hi Jason,

    somehow I am having a really hard (as in difficult!) time exchanging my AA miles to HH points. AA said that does it but says it’s AA. I tried to do it online but everytime, I get a proxy error message. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

  2. When churning today, how soon after you get the card and points do you cancel the card…and how long until you reapply?

    • @Ross you used to be able to churn it very often – they’ve clamped down on it now – but the bonuses are much higher now – we also did this same thing with my wife so have 150k AA miles in reserve

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