Travel Hacking: How i Booked a Trip to Vietnam for Just Rs.3700

By | April 19, 2017

Note: The cost includes only flights and hotel expenses and not any personal expenses incurred in the trip.

The summer is upon us and you can now notice a lot of Flight/Hotel offers flashing everywhere. So is this the right time for a trip? Not really. All hotel prices are now inflated at-least by 50% and by using the offers you do save, but marginally. I prefer to travel during Off season when the rates are at its lowest and on top of it, coupons makes it even cheaper.

Travel Hacking in India

This is about my recent trip with my friend to Vietnam during February 2017 wherein i was able to book both Flight tickets and stay at 3 Star hotels for 6 days @ just Rs.3700 (per head). Its all about reward points redemption and using coupons at right time, lets see that in detail and before that..

Why Vietnam?

If you ask why Vietnam?! well, they’ve Visa on arrival for Indians, however you need “Approval letter” before landing in Vietnam. I got my approval letter from a reliable provider called “Vietnam Visa Easy” that provides Vietnam Visa for Indians. You generally get the approval letter on email within 2-3 days but mine was delivered in less than 24 hrs.

 Travel Hacking: Booking the Flights & Hotels

The biggest expense in any foreign trip are flights and hotels and so i covered this part of the trip, rest day to day expenses aren’t much unless you wish to spend a lot.

#1 Booking Flight Tickets

Our Trip to Vietnam includes 2 Destinations: Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. So apart from two international Flights i had to take one domestic flight as well to fly from one city to other. I flew on Malindo Air from Trichy(India) via Kuala Lumpur to Vietnam. So my routing is as below.

  • TRZ -> KUL -> SGN
  • SGN -> HAN
  • HAN -> KUL -> TRZ
  • Revenue Ticket Cost: ~25,000 INR
  • Paid: Nil

I have been accumulating quite a lot of reward points on my HDFC Regalia Credit card and this was the perfect time to burn them all and the regalia devaluation became another reason. The revenue ticket costs about INR 25,000 for which i simply redeemed my equivalent HDFC Regalia Reward Points. So the effective cost for me is ZERO and hence my flight tickets for the entire trip is completely Free.

#2 Booking Hotel Stays

We stayed in 2 hotels – one in each city, so 3 days in each hotel as below:

  1. Blue Diamond Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
  2. Angel Palace Hotel, Hanoi
  3. Actual Cost of Stay: 17,400 INR

As you can see, the actual cost of stay in 3 Star Hotels for 6 days is really cheap by default, because its relatively Off Season and on top of that i availed the Amex MMT International Hotel Offer that gave me Flat Rs.5000 off with each hotel booking on MakemyTrip thus saving Rs.10,000 Off on both hotels. So the numbers goes like this,

  • Total Cost for 6 Days: Rs.17,400
  • Paid: 17,400 – 10,000 (Discount) = Rs.7400 (for 2 members)
  • Per Head Cost: Rs.3,700 (perks of traveling with a friend)

And hey i forgot to mention that this also includes complimentary breakfast for two that we had for all 6 days, which itself is worth the cost in my perspective. Coming to the Hotel experience, they weren’t like Taj Santacruz, Mumbai but i can still call them as luxurious hotels at affordable cost. See it for yourself:

Blue Diamond Hotel – Ho Chi Minh City

Angel Palace Hotel – Hanoi

And this is how i saved a whooping ~Rs.30,000 in a single foreign trip and ended up paying just Rs.3,750 for transport & stay.

Do you Know? Makemytrip uses Expedia’s Booking Engine for International Hotels

Travel hacking – Things to note:

  • Amex Hotel offers are very lucrative and so if you love Travelling, you must need atleast one Amex Card in your wallet.
  • Grab the offers when available. I booked the Hotels with MMT offer 3 months in advance, which is too early. You can get such deals usually during festive season, so book accordingly.
  • Tip to accrue more Credit Card Reward points: Use it on 2X, 5X, 10X categories to speed up the accrual Process.
  • Redeem your Credit Card Reward Points every 6 months or 1 Year. Beyond that you’re at risk of Devaluations and Loyalty program changes.

While i do find deals and ways to save like this, i don’t really “save to save” but i “save to spend” on experiences. For example, in this vietnam trip we also spent one more day in the country in a Luxury cruise overnight, that costs about Rs.10,000 per head and it was worth every penny.

On Cruise @ Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay – The King Kong Island

The above shot was taken at Halong Bay, Vietnam – the same location where the movie “Kong: Skull Island” was filmed. We were surprised to know this as the movie was released just after our visit to vietnam. Perfect Timing and yes i didn’t miss the movie. It was filmed good but the location and especially the weather was infact much better than whats shown in the movie.

Got something to say? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below, as always 🙂

39 thoughts on “Travel Hacking: How i Booked a Trip to Vietnam for Just Rs.3700

  1. Srikrsna

    Awesome article for those who would to spend on experiences without burning pocket. Thanks Sid!

    Reply
  2. Ankit Marwah

    How many points HDFC did you have to spend for the flight tickets? As far as I know one still needs to pay for taxes. Was that free for you as well?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      About 40k points. Its not an airmile, its redeemed for a revenue ticket and hence no taxes 🙂

      Reply
  3. Praveen Perumalla

    Such articles inspire people to choose the right credit cards and use the reward points the right way at the right time. Well done!

    Reply
  4. mayur

    the mmt amex offer was till 31st march check out?? is the offer still there?

    Reply
  5. Majumdar

    The MMTAMXGLD/PLT offer has been extended till Sep 30, 2017.

    Regards

    Reply
  6. sravan

    good and very different article.
    hope to see these kind of articles regularly

    Reply
  7. udayakumar mohan

    amex card menioned as max 35% – 2400 rs only- for plainum card- how you got 5000

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Its not MMTAMXGLD offer, its a different one. Check the respective link.

      Reply
  8. Saurabh Patil

    Thats owesome travel hack Siddharth..specially Halong bay part 💀👍👍😁

    Reply
  9. Ajit

    Awesome stuff buddy. How much did you have to spend to get to 40k points?

    I use a JP world Credit card and have got 90k miles (with truckload of spending). Unfortunately, this translates to a return trip for 1 to Europe and payment of differential (~10k).

    Would it be right to assume regalia is a better card to have?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Well, JPmiles are best used in some situations. Check out this article comments for some ideas on JPMiles redemption’s.

      Reply
  10. Bibhash

    Is AMEX card offer applicable on Indusind Iconia AMEX card too?

    Reply
  11. Md Faisal

    Citibank cards too offer whopping cash backs for international hotels on MMT . Last year they were offering 90%cashback (max ₹5000) for minimum 2 nights booking. In 2017 its 80% cashback (max ₹4000/₹5000). Offer is usually there every Saturday. One booking per Saturday. Add-on card is treated as a separate card so I have taken one add-on card, so I book 2 booking per Saturday. Split the stay into two nights and book from two Accounts. Effective cost per night comes to ₹500-700 with breakfast.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yes, Citi also has good Hotel offers on MMT like Amex.

      Reply
  12. Vietnam Visa Easy

    Hi Siddharth,

    I really enjoiy reading your post. It is short but informative and intersting. Wait to see more post about Vietnam travel from you. 🙂

    Have a good day!

    Reply
  13. Bhavesh Swami

    Hi Sid,

    Seems any VC funding wallah would start a special venture with you for C cards and making you the chief info. officer there, you provide not only unbiased usage techniques and benefits but applicable to a whole set of people.

    BankBazar fear- Sid is coming

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Thanks much for super charging me with that comment.
      A good motivation for more such articles in future 🙂

      Reply
  14. bharat

    your travel detail
    “TRZ -> KUL -> SGN
    SGN -> HAN
    HAN -> KUL -> TRZ
    Revenue Ticket Cost: ~25,000 INR
    Paid: Nil ”

    rechecked your route fare and its showing upto Rs. 1 lakh odd per person… how did you get upto Rs. 25000 ? :-S
    kindly share details please. 🙂 was it Rs. 25000 per person or including your friends fare ?
    where there some special discounts going on that time. ? and secondly how did you get to know about the vietnam places and route ?
    asking details as I have some plans for tour as well in near future.. possible to places at a lowest price. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Its still in similar numbers per person, note that KUL is just a layover.
      Places, routes, etc all through a bit of research. I spend a week or two on that.
      You can find all info online.

      Reply
      1. Anoop

        @ Siddharth, I had gone through the post and comments but couldn’t find on which site you made the booking, I do not think it is on Malindo because they do not operate SGN to HAN leg. Pls advise.

        @ bharat, You may fly with AirAsia from India to Vietnam and consider Jetstar & Vietjet for domestic flights within Vietnam. You can find cheapest fares from 12 noon – 2 pm for Vietjet and there is Friday Frenzy sale for Jetstar.

        The cheapest fares I paid on Airasia from KL:

        to Hanoi – 129 Ringgit
        to Ho Chi Minh City – 99 Ringgit

        SGN to HAN- 799,000 Vietnamese Dong.

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          Anoop,
          Looks like i missed to mention that. That particular leg was on Jetstar Pacific as its domestic. Rest on Malindo.

          Reply
  15. Ravinder dwivedi

    Great sid sir Traveling is a good part of life & it become cheaper that two good

    Reply
  16. Randhir

    Hi,

    It seems tough to spend 2-3 lakhs on business expenses as tax payments cannot be done via a credit card
    for utilities there is a hefty transaction fee of around 1% of the transaction amount

    Pls suggest where all can a regalia be used for business expenses (other than travelling of course to accumulate points)

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Travel is the only part where you could spend on card for biz exp. or maybe pay vendors using cards.

      Reply
  17. ramkumar nagaraj

    i have 35k points on regalia.
    shall i book flights to vietnam using that?

    I believe i ll incur only 75rs+15rs taxes if i book on regalia correct?
    anyway, to avoid these fees?

    Reply

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