Reward True Stories: How CashPoints made Martin’s dream holiday come true
A CashPoint here, a CashPoint there. Saving Norwegian Reward points and making the most of the program’s benefits isn’t hard to do and it can take you places. Literally.
That’s what Martin Berulfsen, a 28-year-old from Oslo, and his girlfriend, Sissel, found out this summer.
Generous in-laws and some smart choices gave Martin and Sissel the chance to enjoy the trip of a lifetime in the United States. The majority of the holiday was paid with CashPoints.
Over the course of a year Martin and Sissel saved up all their CashPoints and added them to their travel fund, ready to spend on one big trip.
The couple also forms part of Sissel’s parents’ Family Account, so all of the CashPoints the in-laws saved went into one account. As well as using Norwegian Reward partners, Sissel’s parents fly quite often, so they managed to save quite a few CashPoints this way.
Last year, the pair were given the CashPoints as a Christmas gift to add to their travel fund.
“It was very kind. Most people like to receive cash, and CashPoints are just as good,” says Martin.
They used the points to enjoy three weeks in the US this summer, buying the tickets to and from the States mostly with their CashPoints. They also made sure to book their hotels through Norwegian and got 5% CashPoints on each reservation, ready to save for their next trip.
The steep slopes of San Francisco
From New York, they travelled to San Francisco, a ‘very cool and weird city’, according to Martin, who has a great tip for some free fun:
“Grab your camera, find the steepest ground and play with all the weird perspectives. You’ll get loads of cool photos!” he advises.
He also suggests visitors get out of the city for a day or two and head to the Wine Country: “One of the highlights of San Francisco was the wine tour in Sonoma Valley. Here we cruised around in a hippie camper van and visited some vineyards!”
The scenic route to Las Vegas
After four days in San Francisco, the couple rented a Ford Mustang and travelled down the coast to Las Vegas.
“It was a great experience, particularly because of the varied landscape,” says Martin enthusiastically. “At first it was a bit like driving in Norway, but at some point we experienced landslides and had to stay in the car. We saw everything from sea lions to squirrels. We drove over long, open plains and eventually it was just desert.”
The whole trip was about 11 hours long, and by the time they reached Las Vegas, the temperature had risen by 25 degrees Celsius.
In Las Vegas, Martin and Sissel started off on a strict budget. But they don’t recommend it for this part of a USA trip:
“We decided to save money and go for a hotel just outside The Strip in Las Vegas. But all the action is right on the main street, so we quickly switched to a more expensive hotel,” explains Martin.
“But it was worth it,” he emphasises. “We ended up at the Flamingo Hotel, the oldest in town.”
Martin goes on to describe Las Vegas as a ‘playground for adults.’ Of course, for this part of the holiday, a spot of gambling was on the program…
LA from the bicycle seat
After Vegas, the couple still had enough money left to travel to Los Angeles. They chose the bus.
“I don’t recommend it. It brings along hefty delays and zero air conditioning,” says Martin, who later stated that on the bright side, Los Angeles met all the couple’s expectations.
“I recommend renting a bicycle or scooter in LA and exploring Venice Beach,” he adds.
GetYourGuide has lots of options for cycling in LA, both with regular bikes or electric ones for those who prefer a little help.
An amazing experience
Both CashPoints and Norwegian got the couple safely back to Norway after three weeks of unforgettable adventures. At the very top of the list of best moments was the pair’s helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon.
“It surpassed all the experiences of the holiday,” concludes Martin, who describes the tour as ’simply crazy!’
Don’t go home from New York hungry
New York has an endless selection of amazing eateries, so it can be hard to choose where to dine out, especially if it’s your first time in the city.
To make sure you don’t go home disappointed, it’s worth doing a bit of research in advance. That’s why Martin and Sissel took advantage of the Reward Blog’s post on where to eat in New York.
Martin’s 5 best places for eating and drinking in NYC
An American-style steakhouse in a small building amidst the tall blocks of Midtown. None of the waiters are under 60 years old and they all have a charming, honest New York attitude. Lots of good meat dishes here!
Order at the counter, eat and go. That pretty much sums up this place which has round-the-clock queues to get in – and for good reason! In Martin’s opinion, this joint offers the world’s best pizza, where the sauce makes all the difference. Try the signature square slice with pepperoni!
At this shabby-chic South American cocktail bar you absolutely have to order the tequila shot with orange, sugar, coffee and cinnamon!
A cool brunch place where you can eat good bagels, which is a must in New York, of course.
An uber-trendy Asian fusion restaurant, with spectacular ceilings and heavy chandeliers.
5 recommended hotels in the USA
Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas – A large resort-style hotel in Las Vegas with five restaurants and two outdoor swimming pools.
Fairmont Heritage Place, San Francisco – Treat yourself to some luxury and a good view.
Orchard Garden Hotel, San Franciscod – A boutique hotel with an elegant décor, excellent location and pleasant atmosphere.
Vdara Suites by AirPads, Las Vegas – Lovely apartments with great amenities in West Harmon Avenue.
Bellagio, Las Vegas – An iconic hotel on the Las Vegas Strip