All of our Sunday Success Stories serve as a living example that all of us average Americans can, indeed, see the world at prices we all can afford. We can do this by working together and sharing our stories. Send your story to me at email@example.com. Include your first name and last initial, along with your occupation and a photo, if you wish. -Rick
Ever since I joined the workforce 9 years ago, I have always been cognizant of earning miles, joining award programs, and making sure that I get credit for travel in some way. The company I work for flies United, so I even signed up for the United branded credit card after a year and got 25,000 miles! My excitement back then was undeniable … a free ticket for doing nothing but signing up for a credit card. I was fresh out of college, had good credit (for what little credit I had accumulated), and was happy. After 3 or 4 years I flew enough to at least be Premier, I gained enough miles to take several trips within the US, and it was great. But my travel for work subsided; I got tired of paying the annual credit card fee so I ultimately cancelled it.
This is when things got interesting for me. I got a letter in the mail a couple of months later saying “We want you back with this NEW United Visa Card … and we’ll give you 30,000 miles!” I jumped on the opportunity and signed up again. I knew I had good credit (I had just bought a house and my score was 790+) so I wasn’t worried about the hit. This is when I started doing searches on the Internet about credit card signup bonuses, and came across an entirely new world. I thought I was gaming the system by cancelling and re-signing up for a single credit card. Little did I know that people were out there doing this dozens of times a year!
Since that moment, I have played the game very conservatively. I have even convinced my wife to get in on the action at times. Within the past year and a half we both signed up for the American Airlines Visa for 75k each, the Hyatt Visa card for 2 free nights each, and I have signed up for both the Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold (50k and 50k plus 10k bump). We used two of the free Hyatt nights at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek for a great weekend ski getaway, and saved a bundle. We now have a trip booked to Paris for our anniversary entirely for free. Two more Hyatt free nights, 3 nights on Ultimate Rewards points (66k points) and we are avoiding $4300 to stay at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome for 5 nights! Since we want to travel as much as possible with the points, we decided to take the opportunity to fly for 40,000 miles each round trip to Paris with the off-peak saver award (tickets still would have cost $2500 for both of us). It was hard to pass up business class, but this means we still have 80,000 American miles to use, and 80,000 UR points (after initial spend, yearly dividend, etc). Heck, just the $500/mo we spend on cell phones, cable, and internet will net us 30,000 UR points each year. This trip could have cost us $6800, and we got it free!
Our plan forward is to get into the “game” a little more. The US Airways Grand Slam promo looks like fun (plus, being in Denver gives us great use for those miles). Keep the trips rolling
Now to figure out what we’re doing with the remaining AA and UR points ……