Several days ago, American Airlines released an incredibly good fare from Toronto to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for just about $400, which is a fantastic deal.
First off, you’re wondering why I mentioned in the title that this ticket was worth $200. Well, it is…to me. With my American Express Platinum card, I receive $200 of airline credit annually. I use this credit to purchase gift cards, effectively reducing the cost of this flight in question to $200 – that’s $100 one-way from North America (practically, the United States) to Brazil!
I ended up not purchasing the ticket I had held, and thought it would be beneficial to discuss why…even though it was price that’s never published that low.
I was dissuaded by the Visa requirements and price
The price of a visa to Brazil is $160 – something that I didn’t see practical for a 4 day trip. Building in my time to get the visa (if I were to drive up to DC to an embassy), and the passport sized photos, I valued this at around $200. So, that’s $200 I just didn’t see as worth it for such a short jaunt.
There’s no Hyatt in Rio
Okay, call me crazy on this one. I’m a Hyatt fan, and try to stay with them when I can internationally. Unfortunately, Hyatt doesn’t have a property in Rio as of yet, though they’re opening up a Grand Hyatt there later in 2015 – but, that’s well beyond the dates I wanted to visit. Alternatively, I did check the pricing of hotels participating in American Expresses’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program, though the room rates there were in the $500s-ish per night, which I was unwilling to pay. So, call me crazy, but because I didn’t find a Hyatt, I was dissuaded on going. For some reason, I was “attached” for this trip – kudos to the folks at Gold Passport, though.
Avios, Avios and More Avios
Right now, American Express is running a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios. Needing to get from Washington DC to Toronto, I would have had to have spent 4,500 Avios each-way, although with a 40% bonus, that would have been much less. Oddly, I wasn’t thrilled about the positioning, even though it was such a short flight, and the bonus is still in effect. Had the deal been directly from DC, I think I would have been more likely to partake, but because it required an extra points booking – something I might loose had I needed to cancel the trip, it just put another wrench into the plans.
Luckily, a friend of mine, Tim, who is putting together a show called Exploring the Obscure and is from Canada, got in on the deal thanks to my post, and will be videoing one of his episodes down there. So, in the end, even though I didn’t get on the deal, someone else did, which is great. For me, however, I’m pretty happy I didn’t – while I may regret it later, I guess my reasons make sense to myself.
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