733,844 Miles & Points + $4,000= 5 Weeks in the Pacific for Family of 4

Polynesian Air DHC-6 300 Twin Otter

The Michael W Travels family is currently on a 5 week trip around the Pacific.

I usually like to write up a detailed trip report to show all of the costs involved but for this trip it’s just too much info.  To simplify things, I’ll just share all of the miles and points used to help book our epic trip as well as an approximate amount of cash spent.

For those of you not so familiar with the Michael W Travels family, first let me fill you in on who’s traveling. Along for the trip is my wife Kim and our sons, Lucas- 5 years old and Theo who turned 11 months old earlier in the trip.

During our visit to the Pacific, I’ll be visiting 6 countries plus American Samoa. The rest of my family is visiting 5 countries and American Samoa.

Countries Visited:

  1. Tonga
  2. Fiji
  3. Solomon Islands
  4. Samoa
  5. Vanuatu
  6. Kiribati (Christmas Island)- which is a solo side-trip for me.

To make a trip of this length and distance happen, diversity is key. If we were paying out of pocket for the trip it just wouldn’t be possible. This is where miles and points come into play. I used a mixture of airline and hotel points to offset the costs.

The Flights: For our flights to and from the Pacific, I spent 240,000 AA miles to fly Los Angeles to Tonga, and Vanuatu to San Francisco. Since we’re based in Brooklyn, NY we needed to get to and from California. To do so, I used 63,270 Virgin America points.

Total cost: 303,270 miles/ points + $248.58 in taxes. Find out about  the problem I had with Theo’s lap baby taxes here (which cost $165.06).

Inter-Island Flights: Most flights were booked with AA miles to fly on Fiji Air however, some were either not available or not worth using miles to book due to their price. We also bought a flight on Polynesian Airlines.

Total Cost: 50,574 Thank You Points, 180,000 AA Miles + cash.

Total Flights: 15 for Kim, Lucas and Theo, 17 for me.

Hotels: Points covered 7 nights of hotel stays: 100,000 Club Carlson Points, 60,000 IHG points, 40,000 Hilton points. We paid for the rest of our hotel stays with discounted Hotels.com gift cards and cash. The average cost per night was about $73.

Recap: Overall, I spent 733,844 miles and points on flights and hotels as well as approximately $4,000.

It’s tough to say what this trip would’ve cost had it all been paid for with cash. I think a fair estimate would be at least $10,000. As you can see, getting creative with your miles and points can help to make any trip more attainable.

Make sure to keep checking back for more about our trip!

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6 thoughts on “733,844 Miles & Points + $4,000= 5 Weeks in the Pacific for Family of 4

  1. Michael
    Looking forward to reading the rest of your trip report! Looks amazing so far.

    Question – if you spent 700K+ points + $4k cash, wouldnt it be better paying the $10k cash and keeping your miles and (hopefully) getting more value from them? (More then 10 cents at least?)
    Apology in advance for the rookie question.


  2. Hi Michael. Is it too much work to list your exact itinerary and airlines and the programms you have used ? I am guessing LA to Fiji to Tonga and inbound Vanuatu to Fiji to SFO on Fiji Air, the intra Pacific on Fiji Air via Fiji for 15K/each way/person/economy, no Air NZ? I appreciate your report and responses.

  3. “It’s tough to say what this trip would’ve cost had it all been paid for with cash. I think a fair estimate would be at least $10,000.”

    All things considered, it seems TOO LOW to me! Might have really been more like $15,000+!

  4. Mileage Man- I’m not really sure about what you are asking… Traveling where we are, you are limited with choices with Fiji Air being pretty much the only option. For a couple of flights we could only get 2 seats with miles so we bought the third seat. One flight was way too cheap to bother using miles and for a couple- no mileage awards were available so the only option was to buy the tickets or not get to where we needed to go. Hope that answers your question.

  5. What were the alternate use of mile & points use you considered for your trip but did what you did due to lack of availability. Maybe those alternates work out for others also

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