I started signing up for credit cards in late December when I read about a friend of a friend doing this insane around-the-world trip using just miles. And I’ve been hooked since.
So far this year, I have gone or will go to:
- San Francisco for a conference in March (I had to pay for all that since the miles weren’t logged in my account yet, but I spent to meet spend requirements!)
- The Netherlands and Germany for a week on summer vacation (for 62,500 miles from the Delta Platinum 90K deal)
- Orlando for a fraternity conference in July (flight using prior credit card points, hotel thanks to Capital One matching of my Delta miles)
- Boston for Thanksgiving with the family (AirTran $99+99 gift cards from the American Express Platinum reimbursement, plus the remaining through Capital One miles that can be credited post purchase)
- Urbana-Champaign, IL for my younger brother’s graduation in the fall
- Singapore for Christmas/New Years vacation. Here’s the story:
|Singapore Water Lilies, photo by Andrew Ingersoll
My parents live in Singapore now and I haven’t been there in about two years. My 100K+ was from the United & Continental deals plus spending, and I just couldn’t find a suitable flight to minimize layovers for a two-week trip. I saw one opportunity for what could have been 65K, but that disappeared the next day while I waited to find out when I could travel. I couldn’t find much better options, so I called Continental and asked for help in booking reward flights on Star Alliance. The operator managed to get me on an outbound flight on Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines on economy class (Singapore Airlines on economy is still much better than most others on economy). And the best part was that she managed to get me a return trip all on business class or better: business class on Singapore Airlines to Beijing, then first class on United to San Francisco, first class on US Airways to Charlotte, and then back to Atlanta. For a long haul flight, flying on luxury helps, especially for someone like me who finds it extremely hard to sleep on a plane.
She told me the total will be 102.5K miles. I told her that, though the return trip offer is nice, I wanted to get a round trip for less than what I had (around 103K+). She corrected me, saying the entire trip was for 102.5K. And to think that the bare minimum I could see on the Continental website was all for economy on United or Continental economy for 130K!
After all that, I’m still sitting on 200K Delta miles, 50K with Capital One, and 50K with Chase. I better start planning my trips for next year!
The target I set for myself when I started this back in December was to be able to fly to Singapore using only miles. I’ve been doing the trip every two to three years and traveling on Christmas/New Years time. It usually ends costing at least $1500. I’m sure others would have been able to fly the same trips for better and for fewer miles, but for someone who does this somewhat passively while working as a professional full time and being a graduate student part time, this is fantastic.
Thanks, Rick, for all that you do,so that we can all see and visit the world for prices we can afford. This has been an amazing year and I hope to continue traveling like this. My next big target is to rack up enough to completely finance a trip to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup!
Congrats, Walid, on your successes. We can all do this. Watch for the promos. It never hurts to ask, Take care of your credit and see the world at prices we all can afford.
Tomorrow is the Final Day for the Starwood 30,000 Point Limited Time Offer
Lower minimum spend, no annual fee first year, and 5000 more points than the standard offer? Just sayin’ There is a link in the right-hand blog column.
American Express Premier Rewards 15,000 Membership Rewards Points, NO First Year Fee 3X Airfare 2X Gas and Groceries