Travel by Credit Card Points
“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.”
Traveling has provided so much meaning to our lives. To escape for a little while and discover a new world inspires us to live in new ways and see the world from a new perspective. We love to travel as often as possible. However, it can be very expensive to take long domestic or international flights. But we have a secret! This past year, we took a trip with both of our parents to Europe, and we were able to pay for most of the airfare and hotels using credit card points.
Only through the following credit cards and points programs were we able to fly six people over the Atlantic for a two week vacation in Europe! We began our trip in London for a couple days, then off to Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days. We then flew from Edinburgh to Rome, where we took a train and rental car to a vacation-rental villa in Tuscany! None of this would have been possible without using our credit card points, which we had been saving up for over a year.
The cards that we used to travel are:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
After arriving in Rome, we used points from these two cards to book our train tickets to Florence and Venice and to rent a couple cars in order to drive to our villa in Montopoli in Val D’Arno, Tuscany.
***On a side note, if you are traveling with other couples, friends or family, check out vacation rental options! We got an incredible deal, and split between 3 couples, this was the most affordable option available. The villa was stunning as well! We found the villa through Luxury Villa Rentals. Their service is impeccable.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Credit Card from American Express
We used our SPG points for our stay in Edinburgh, where we stayed at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa, which had very comfortable rooms, incredible baths and breathtaking views of the castle.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
We used this card to stay at the London Edition, which was a beautiful hotel in a great location. The decor was very fancy and posh, as expected from a nice London hotel.
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard
This card helped us build up enough American Airlines points for six round-trip tickets. We used our American Airlines points to book the flights from Albuquerque to London. We chose economy seats to make the points stretch, which wasn’t the most comfortable ride, but it made the trip possible for all six of us. Also, we booked the trip in off peak season, right before tourist season began, so our points were more valuable.
We then used points to fly British Airways from Edinburgh to Rome in first class! The service was incredible, and they were sure to keep the champagne flowing. British Airways is a partner airway of American Airlines, so the points are fully transferable, and they will sometimes offer points bonuses to transfer to their airline! So we got extra points by transferring some to British Airways, which allowed us to take the flight to Rome in style.
Biggest tip: taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for each credit card is key. By reaching a minimum spending amount on each card in the first few months, you can get a mega sign up bonus! Then, continue to charge all of your monthly expenses for gas, groceries, eating out, etc., and watch the points really add up over the course of a year. Just be sure to budget and only charge what you can afford to pay off each month!
That is a short summary of traveling on a budget and taking full advantage of credit card points. Stay tuned for a curated story about this trip, with all the details of where to stay, eat, drink, etc.
One last thing to mention before we sign off; the blog I read that inspired me to do this is called Million Mile Secrets. They break down everything you need to know about credit card travel! They also highlight the best credit card offers at any given time. Check them out!
The MM Family