How We Got Here: Istanbul

We are hoping to do a series of posts for our destinations, sharing a bit more in depth about how we used points and miles to get here. Since Rick is the expert in all things points related, he'll be the one explaining how all of this works! Enjoy!

The Barclaycard company offers a Lufthansa credit card sign up bonus for 50,000 points after $5,000 dollars in spending within 3 months. I signed up for the card and after meeting the spending requirements, we booked 2 separate one-way flights from San Fransisco to Istanbul (no layovers).  

It was only 25,000 points per one-way flight, so the bonus was perfect to book both of our trips to Istanbul.  Each flight has $175.60 in taxes, so we really booked two of us to Istanbul for $351.20.  Keep in mind these flights would have cost a couple thousand dollars each if we had paid with cash only.  

Now obviously, we needed to get to San Francisco to catch our first flight; so we booked a quick Southwest flight from LAX for $46.10 and with the Companion Pass, we only needed to book one flight and the second was free ($5.60 in taxes actually).

In Istanbul, we wanted to stay in Old City, so we booked 4 nights at the Black Tulip Hotel through gives you a free night after 10 paid nights, and these 4 nights will take us up to our 9th night.  

For 4 nights, our total came out to $312.18 (around $78.00 a night).  

Here is where it starts to get complicated.  On, if you book through on their website, you can get 7% cash back.  So now our cost is down to $290.33.  

Next, using the CapitalOne Venture card, you can write off travel expenses using the points you have earned.  The Venture card offers 40,000 points after meeting your spending requirements and offers 2 points/dollar for regular spending.  I redeemed 29,033 points to completely write off the 4 nights in Istanbul (1000 points = 10 dollars).  

Phew! That's a lot of math! But, it hopefully gives you a bit of insight into our process and how we figured out this leg of our trip!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Dr. Bruce! Rick really does great work with all of this stuff!


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