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.
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..
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:
- Blue Diamond Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
- Angel Palace Hotel, Hanoi
- 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:
And this is how i saved a nice ~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.20,000 a night and it was worth every penny.
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 🙂
Awesome article for those who would to spend on experiences without burning pocket. Thanks Sid!
Thanks Srikrsna, Glad you liked it 🙂
Good article Sidharth! Way to go😊
Thank you Seetharaman 🙂
Please tell me how to do it
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?
About 40k points. Its not an airmile, its redeemed for a revenue ticket and hence no taxes 🙂
What is Revenue Ticket? How it is different from normal ticket.
Such articles inspire people to choose the right credit cards and use the reward points the right way at the right time. Well done!
My Pleasure 🙂
the mmt amex offer was till 31st march check out?? is the offer still there?
Referring to MMTAMXGLD? Its still live.
Very helpful and interesting dear x
Glad you liked it!
The MMTAMXGLD/PLT offer has been extended till Sep 30, 2017.
good and very different article.
hope to see these kind of articles regularly
Thanks, Sure thing 🙂
amex card menioned as max 35% – 2400 rs only- for plainum card- how you got 5000
Its not MMTAMXGLD offer, its a different one. Check the respective link.
Thats owesome travel hack Siddharth..specially Halong bay part 💀👍👍😁
Thank you, glad you liked it 🙂
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?
Well, JPmiles are best used in some situations. Check out this article comments for some ideas on JPMiles redemption’s.
Is AMEX card offer applicable on Indusind Iconia AMEX card too?
No, only on Proprietary Amex Cards.
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.
Yes, Citi also has good Hotel offers on MMT like Amex.
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!
Sure thing 🙂
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
Thanks much for super charging me with that comment.
A good motivation for more such articles in future 🙂
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. 🙂
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.
@ 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.
Looks like i missed to mention that. That particular leg was on Jetstar Pacific as its domestic. Rest on Malindo.
Great sid sir Traveling is a good part of life & it become cheaper that two good
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)
Travel is the only part where you could spend on card for biz exp. or maybe pay vendors using cards.
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?
What forex you used for Vietnam? Did u carry cash or use any card. Have a trip coming up to Vietnam hence asking..
I used Indusind Signature Exclusive debit card. But the thing is, all Vietnam ATM has extra ATM charges per withdrawal, which is about Rs.150 per txn.
I see only 30% cashback upto Rs. 2000 for Citi credit cards, that too valid till March 31, 2018. Has the offer been discontinued now?
Your site is a treasure trove of information about credit cards. I had no idea I was missing out on so many great cards that suit my requirements perfectly.
This was quite informative Siddharth. Between the HDFC infinia and Hdfc Diners Black – do you have any preference if you are looking to maximize for travel rewards( transfer to airline partners in particular)?