Note: This is the first destination in an around-the-world journey. Tentatively we have 25+ countries scheduled across six continents over the next seven months, cumulatively using over 1,000,000 miles on airlines and hotel stays. Follow our journey every step of the way.
Buenos Aires has long been on my list of must-sees. The reasons are endless, but ultimately boil down to one: out of all the places on earth, B.A. is the most frequent answer when I question fellow travelers of their favorite destination.
After five nights at the Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires – I can now see why. The energy of the city matches that of New York City, but the distinct European style combined with South American flair makes it unparalleled in my (albeit minimal) experience.
Long referenced as an expensive destination in South America, Andrea and I utilized a combination of American Airlines miles and Hyatt points to spend five luxurious nights in, dare I say, my new favorite city on earth.
As I mentioned above, the cards we utilized date back to the Citibank 100,000 AA offer, which is now extinct. But fear not, a one-way or round-trip flight can still be had with current credit card options. And, not surprisingly, I recommend you stick with Citibank and sign up for both the personal and business 50,000 AA mile offer. Two of these cards will net you one round trip flight in business class, or two one-way flights. For hotels, I recommend the Chase Hyatt card for two free nights and any of the bank-branded Chase cards transferring to Ultimate Rewards if you want additional nights.
50,000 American Airlines miles secures a business class seat on flight AA 997 from Dallas to Buenos Aires (including an Orange County to Dallas initial connection, in our case). This would only be 30,000 miles in economy – quite the steal for a nearly 11-hour flight. Pictures of our experience can be seen below, or read my full flight review here.
30,000 Hyatt points a night for the Palacio Duhau, one of the top Hyatt properties in the world both in terms of dollar value and overall ratings. Rooms climb above $700 a night USD during peak season.
The property includes two structures – a 1930’s French palace and a modern wing – with rooms overlooking either their own garden or neighboring streets. After spending five nights in a Park King room, I left rating the hotel at the very top of my hotel experiences. See pictures below.
Buenos Aires is far from the tourist trap I had expected, with few people speaking English outside of luxury hotels. Brushing up on minor phrases and numbers would be beneficial, depending on your travel style. In general, Buenos Aires is as safe as any major U.S. city, although it is important to be wary of the “safe” – like Recoleta, Palermo and Puerto Madero – and “not safe” – like La Boca – areas, especially at night. Taxis were also not a problem as they are abundant throughout the city.
Arriving at the EZE airport was easy, just remember to pre-pay the $160 Argentina entry fee and print it out prior to arriving at the airport in the U.S (also print out a copy of your flight out of Argentina for immigration, if possible). This is extremely important as American Airlines requested both documents before we boarded our initial Orange County to Dallas flight.
We reserved a taxi with Ezeiza Taxi for approximately $40 USD one-way – they had an English-speaking associate at the check-in counter, which can’t be missed after clearing customs and walking out of the arrival hall.
Cost of travel was relatively cheap when compared with a major U.S. city like New York City. Most of our meals, for two, fell into the $20-40 range and were almost always in the “safer” neighborhoods.
Tipping etiquette is also lower than U.S. standards, as 10% on a restaurant is considered proper. Rounding up to the nearest dollar after taxi rides is appreciated but not expected. And for maids, doormen, etc., is up to the individual and we never felt an expectation - 5 Argentine pesos (under a dollar) a day is considered to be a lot.
One special event to consider is a tango show – while pricey, the experience we had at Rojo Tango (for Andrea’s birthday, so we splurged) was extremely memorable, although the dinner was just okay. If you do make a reservation, request a front row table for the best experience.
And there you have it – two cards will net you an incredible weekend escape in Buenos Aires, a top destination for travelers to South America. Signing up for more cards could net you even more, like the five-night stay we just completed.
Regardless, Buenos Aires is an amazing destination and – using the above guideline – you can unlock thousands of dollars in value for about ten U.S. dollars in booking fees.
As always, feel free to ask any questions about the cards, the flight, the hotel or the rest. Thanks for reading and safe travels.