I love getting the stories and readers enjoy them as well. Come on, brag yourself up a bit! Rick,I just read this week’s success story and remembered I promised a couple of buddies of mine that I would write my own success story of when we were all together in El Salvador on a college friend reunion trip. We are all in our 30s now and we love to meet up for surf trips. It’s no surprise that we all like surf trips since we all met in college in Hawaii. So here it is…
In August of this year, eight friends and I flew in from around the country to El Salvador for 11 days of pure surfing, hanging out, and fun. The thing is, I had been earning miles and points using your blog for a year and had not cashed in on any miles yet. So I decided to use some of my 900K+ miles/points I had accumulated. How did I get those miles within a year? I applied for cards with 50K points or more as a bonus and simply met the minimum spends by buying products for my healthy living store WheatgrassHome.com.
Flights were costing about $520 from LAX to SAL but I used 38K American Airlines (AA) miles to fly into El Salvador. Since hotels and food are very inexpensive there and my friends and I are all willing to stay wherever, I did not use any hotel points. Anyway, we had the best time down there, caught great waves, made memories, and spent very little money 00 I think under $700 for 11 days for everything. Amazing!
But wait! Here is the cherry on top of it all. American Airlines allows you to book multiple destinations as one itinerary using rewards, so I booked my airfare in the following way:
- Los Angeles to San Salvador on Aug 18th,
- San Salvador to Los Angeles on Aug 29th,
- THEN Los Angeles to Honolulu (for a winter trip) on Jan. 11th 2012. Oh yeah!
So, for 38K AA miles I got a trip and a half! I love flying for free! I’ll probably use some Capital One points to buy my one-way back to LA from Oahu.
My wife and I have about three more trips planned next year including an around-the-world trip to Tahiiti, Fiji, Italy, South Africa, and Peru. I want to give a shout out to my friend Dan who told me about the game and your blog. Since starting I have earned enough miles to go around the world with my wife and take two or three surf trips a year. Not bad!
Thanks to Rick and all who give great ideas on how to see the world at affordable prices!
Travis: Way to use that redemption earning half a trip to Hawaii! Most people miss that one. Congrats.
Citi Thank You Premier Card, 50,000 Thank You Points!
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases