|Venetian Canal; photo by Andrew Ingersoll|
I read your blog daily and always find it to be invaluable information. I wanted to share my success story since starting the miles and points hobby in July 2011.
I started reading Flyertalk, MilePoint and your blog about four months ago. All had one recommendation for new folks: set a travel goal. My partner and I have talked about going to Europe for the last few years, but neither of us could agree on a budget for the flights. She can sleep anywhere, whereas I cannot sleep unless I am on a bed. So we have basically put off a trip to Europe for two years because we could not agree on a budget!
We always thought first/business class was too expensive to fly, so we just didn’t go. That is, until I started collecting points and miles. I started out small, and applied for three cards for myself back in July (American Express Platinum for the benefits, and two 75K American Airlines cards). My spouse was VERY skeptical about this new “hobby” but agreed to apply for two AA cards as well. Our goal was to fly either first of business class to Europe in the spring of 2012 and stay in nice/upscale hotels for two weeks.
Since I thought the AA cards would take care of the flights, I realized I must start looking into hotels. The next month (August), I applied for the Starwood Amex personal for 30K points and with the $4.5K minimum and other spending, we now have about 45K points on that card, which should get us about 2-3 nights in Europe — still not enough for a two-week stay. So I began investigating other options. After a 60 day “cooling off” period between credit card applications, I applied for several Hilton cards (Surpass Amex, Citi Hilton, Hawaiian Airlines (xfers 1:2 to Hilton) and a Chase Sapphire Preferred). We are almost done meeting the spending minimums for our October app-o-rama and should have approximately 210K Hilton points once complete.
|Next stop for Carol!|
The Hilton (210K), Starwood (45K), Membership Rewards (100K), and Sapphire (50K + 45K existing) will be roughly enough points to pay for all of our hotels during the two weeks we are in Europe! Given that we will be spending only $120 for each of us to fly and stay in Europe, we were finally able to agree on a budget and my spouse is definitely no longer skeptical! Our flights are booked (first class there and biz class return) and we are now looking at hotels for London, Paris, Rome, and Venice. Who knew that our hardest challenge would be choosing which hotels to book for low to no cost?!?!
Here is a breakdown of our miles/points accumulation since starting in July 2011:
- AA – 300,000
- Amex – 100,000 (+Starwood Gold status)
- Hilton – 250,000 (+Gold status)
- Southwest - 150,000 (+Companion Pass)
- Starwood - 45,000
- US Airways – 40,000 (for grand slam)
- Ultimate Rewards - 95,000
- Grand Total - 980,000 (in four months!!)
In addition to meeting our goal of a cheap Europe trip, I also applied for both the Southwest personal and biz cards for 100K points. Since we already had 10K points from flying, this gave us a total of 110K points, enough for a companion pass for the rest of this year, and all of 2012. We fly for pleasure about two times a month on Southwest, so this will save us a ton of money!
A huge thanks to your blog and all the other blogs and message boards for providing great information on how to travel for little to no cost. This hobby has truly been a life changing experience for us.
50,000 Thank You Points, $2,500 minimum spend !