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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your first name and last initial, along with your occupation and a photo, if you wish. - Rick
I’ve been enjoying your blog for a little bit over a year now. My first foray into the world of credit card applications started in December 2010 when there was a great credit card offer on Southwest Airlines Card from Chase where it essentially gave me like 2 round trips for just signing up and spending what I normally spend. That got me to looking for more credit card offers which is when I stumbled on to your blog. Based on your recommendations, I’ve signed up for various cards from Chase and American Express – but for this particular story, notably the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Continental One Plus (now United
), but that’s what it was when I signed up.
By signing up and making the required spend, I had gotten 50k points from the Sapphire Preferred and another 50k points from the Mileage Plus. Of course, by focusing my spend on dining/travel with my Sapphire card or the UR rewards mall, coupled with the 7% dividend that even applies on sign-up bonus points, I watched my UR points accumulate very quickly (from newbie standards).
Then, this spring, my buddy and I were talking and one night at a bar (isn’t that how all great stories start?); we decided that we should go on a trip to China. Neither one of us have ever been to China so we thought it would be really cool to go check out some of the major cities. We plotted out the spots and decided that the best way to do this would be to hit multiple cities over the course of a 10-day period … Long story short, we hit Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau. Because of the way we wanted this trip to work, we were going to fly out of Tampa to Beijing, and fly back from Hong Kong to Tampa. I had remembered that the best way (the only way, really) to redeem miles would be for an international first class … so I started browsing through and while this was no bargain, I was able to get a business first class from Tampa to Beijing (through Newark on United) for 60,000 miles, and the global first class from Hong Kong to Tampa (through Chicago, again on United) for 70,000 miles. Because of the sign up bonuses and just the regular spend, I had enough points in UR points to transfer to United miles (which was instantaneous) and book these flights. So, I paid 130,000 miles and $20 (for fees) to fly first class in a 14 hr flight!!!
It was my first time in a lie flat bed and this was also the first time I thought “oh my god, there’s only an hour left on this flight!!! I don’t want us to land yet!!!” (it’s so comfortable and I had a few more movies I wanted to lay around and watch … literally!) Of course, not to mention the fact that the retail value of these flights would have totaled $11,143. While I would never spend that much on a flight, it was awesome to get that. I am sure others could have gotten even better deals but I was stoked.
In the meantime, I also had my SPG card
(your favorite!) which allowed me to stay at the Westin/Sheraton’s at all 4 cities. Since I used the cash and points option, we did have to shell out $460 … for all 10 nights!!!
Being able to check out the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, the great cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong, and gamble some in Macau for so little was great and this was all thanks to you and your blog. Thanks again!!!