I’m pretty sure most of our friends think we’re workaholics. Truth be told, they may not be that far off, but it’s not like we don’t have any hobbies.
A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked what we like to do for fun. I said we enjoyed travel, spending time with the kids, and working.
“But what do you do for fun?” was his reply.
Well, we like to travel. And spend time with the kids. And dream up new plans for our business. And plan our travel. It’s what we do, it’s how we relax, and it’s what we enjoy. It’s also why we’re able to travel for pretty close to free.
Of course, we also love to help others save, which is why we offer free travel advice. Finding ways to save is an enjoyable challenge for us, plus it provides a huge sense of satisfaction to help others save on their dream vacations. Just a few days ago, Holly helped a reader save about $1,200 on airfare for their family trip! Needless to say, our reader was thrilled.
In the spirit of sharing travel stories and having fun, we want to pull back the curtain on some of our upcoming adventures. Better yet, we’ll show you how we’re using credit card rewards to cut down on costs. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few ideas you can use yourself. Enjoy!
Where We’re Traveling on Credit Card Rewards
This fall, we’re headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the first time…and we’re taking the family! I’m super excited for this trip because St. Thomas looks absolutely stunning. I even geeked out by watching the old Real World season in St. Thomas. #guiltypleasures
We booked a couple of condos through VRBO which are located right next to the famed Sapphire Beach. Like, we can literally walk down the beach and be there in less than 5 minutes. We’re also going swimming with sea turtles and taking the ferry over to St. John for the day. I can’t wait!!!
As I mentioned, we’re taking the family with us – including Holly’s mom and dad. That means we needed 2 condos, a rental that seats 6 (plus luggage), and 6 airline tickets. The condos weren’t too bad, but renting a 6-passenger van on St. Thomas is a little steep. We checked around but couldn’t find a better rate than what we found on Expedia. For our flights, we’re using some Citi Thankyou points, a credit we got from American Airlines, plus some cash. If you want to be nosy, you can check out the condo we’re renting here!
Oh. My. God. As a former theatre major and straight up history dweeb, this is seriously a dream trip for me. Toss in a the fact that I’m an Olympics fanatic, and I can’t tell you how freakin’ stoked I am to go to Greece. This ridiculous trip is also taking place this fall, and it can’t get here fast enough.
For our first day, we plan to stay in the Plaka district in Athens. From there, we’ll have awesome views of the Acropolis (which we’ll obviously be visiting) and access to all kinds of yummy restaurants. Then, we’re going on a 4-day tour of mainland Greece that we booked through Viator. This is the first time we’re taking an extended tour, so we’ll let you know how we like it. During the tour, we’ll be seeing places like Olympia (where you can bet your bosom I’m going to run on the original Olympic track), Delphi, and Meteora. After that, it’s back to Athens for our last day.
As with most of our trips to Europe, we’ll be flying coach with American. We have a ton of AAdvantage miles, but flights are ridiculously cheap right now. For us, it made more sense to book with general travel points instead. Our flights cost about $650 round-trip each, which we paid for using points from our Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier Cards. If you aren’t sure where to find them, you can compare the best rewards cards here.
It’s official. We’ve decided to head back to Montego Bay, Jamaica for our annual Spring Break trip with the kids. Once again, we’re staying at the Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay All-Inclusive…and we’ll be saving money by paying for some of it with points.
We absolutely adore this place. The rooms are nice, the beach is wonderful, and the food is pretty darn good for an all-inclusive. This place is extremely family friendly, and it will be our third trip here. Our kids swim like fish, but we still don’t want them to fight choppy water. At this resort, there is a small island and a reef that blocks the rough surf from hitting the beach. It’s awesome, and it allows us to relax and watch the kids play from the shore. You can read our complete review of the Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay here.
Getting to Jamaica cheaply is easy, especially if you have some Chase Ultimate Rewards or Southwest miles to burn. We’ll transfer some of our Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest and fly the four of us down using that. If you haven’t had a Southwest credit card, you can pick up a ton of points using one of those too.
Additionally, we’ll transfer a few more Ultimate Rewards points to IHG to pay for the hotel. We haven’t booked it yet, but I’m sure we’ll choose the points and cash option, making our stay about $70 per night. I think that’s great considering all of our food, entertainment, and drinks are included. For more on how to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, read our complete summary by following the link.
I think we’re finally doing it. We’re going to Europe next summer for about 3 weeks…and we’re taking the kids with us. The kids are excited to get another stamp in their passport and see some “real castles” for the first time. (I can’t wait to see their faces when we take them to Mad King Ludwig’s fantasy castles!) Holly and I are excited check out Bavaria and the Swiss Alps before heading back to Italy for the second time in 18 months.
We’re still contemplating the best itinerary, but the tentative plan is to fly into Munich and out of either Rome or Naples. If we find better flights starting in Italy, we’ll reverse course. Anyway, we’ll spend the first few days in Munich, then head down to Lucerne and either Interlaken or Gimmelwald in Switzerland. From there, we plan to hit Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Florence/Tuscany, and then Rome. We’re also considering another trip to Capri or Pompeii for a day. It’s going to be epic, and we can’t wait.
This type of trip is obviously going to require some serious cash. We know we’re going to have to pony up some money, but we haven’t figured out exactly how much yet. But if you know us, you realize we’re already using our best budget travel tips to pile up points and save money on the trip.
We’ve started compiling a buttload of American Express Membership Rewards points using our American Express Platinum and American Express Business Platinum Cards. By the time we’ve collected all the points for signup bonuses and spending, we should have about 315,000 points to burn. Those points transfer to over 20 travel partners, but I think we’ll probably use them for flights. We can claim them as a credit for about $3,000 in flights, which will certainly come in handy.
Traveling the world is one of the biggest motivators that drives us to work so hard. We love seeing new places, experiencing new things, and introducing our children to new cultures. Taking time to prepare and getting the most out of our credit card rewards helps us to do the things we love on a pretty grand scale.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek at our upcoming travels! Let us know if you have any questions, or click here for help planning a trip of your own!
What trips do you have planned? Are you using rewards to help pay for it? Sound off in the comments!