“We’ve Successfully Used Miles & Points for Vacations With Our Family of 6”

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Welcome to the next installment of our interview series where folks share their thoughts about Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview:   Crazy 4 Rewards

Anabelle writes Crazy 4 Rewards to share their experiences using miles and points and to also post some of their couponing deals.  She’s also giving away a $25 Amazon gift card.

You an follow Crazy 4 Rewards on Twitter.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

Anabella and Jorge at a Wedding in Temecula, California

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

After watching the Extreme Couponing show, I started to use coupons for a while.  Wanting to find coupon deals at CVS, I found a post about buying Vanilla Reload cards at CVS and was amazed how people were able to travel using miles and points.  I was hooked immediately.

We have always collected miles through credit card spending, but at a lower rate.  We only had 2 credit cards, the Capital One Venture and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.  We redeemed miles and points for some flights and free nights, but never were able to book a full trip with miles and points.

I abandoned the coupons (and my husband took over) and I started collecting miles and points through credit card sign-up bonuses.

We like to travel and we try to do it twice a year.  One trip with the kids and another trip just for us.  Thanks to the miles and points game we can now travel to more exotic places that we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.

We’ve successfully used miles and points for vacations with our family of six.  Last spring we went to Hawaii and thanks to the Citi American Airlines Executive card’s 100,000 miles sign-up bonus at that time, I’ve already booked our trip to Paris and Switzerland for next spring.

For our anniversary trip last year we went to Hawaii, and in August of this year went to Germany and Thailand.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

We Had Fun at the Old Lahaina Luau in Maui

Why did you start your blog?  What’s special about it?

My husband, Jorge, read a post on how to start a blog by The Krazy Coupon Lady (where he gets his coupon deals) and since people wanted to know how we were able to travel with miles and points, he encouraged me to start one.

In our blog we share our experiences using miles and points and we also post some of Jorge’s couponing deals.

Our blog is different from other blogs because not many blogs share experiences traveling with families, and I haven’t seen any for a family as big as ours.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

Seeing the Kids so Excited for the Trips We Take Is Priceless

What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?

Stop using cash and pay for everything with credit cards.  If you don’t want to have too many credit cards, get a flexible 1 like the Barclays Arrival Plus card that you can use for any travel expense.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

We valued many travel experiences.  Out of our recent trips, Hawaii has been a memorable experience.

In Kauai, we loved the Na Pali Coast Sunset Cruise.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

Na Pali Coast, Kauai

And on the Big Island, my kids loved the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

Our Kids at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Pool

What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?

Many of our friends and family are interested in the hobby and want to learn.  We receive a lot of calls asking for advice on which credit card they should apply for and “training” on how to redeem their points.

We are very happy to help!

Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?

Loading gift cards to Bluebird has been helpful to meet minimum spend requirements, and buying the gift cards at the supermarket when they earn gas points also saves us a lot of money in gas.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

Buying Gift Cards at the Supermarket Dropped Our Gas Price by ~$2.20 per Gallon!

What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?

For our anniversary trip to Hawaii we booked the flights with Hawaiian Airlines miles and somehow we earned miles from the trip.  I was also expecting to earn miles when we traveled with the kids (X 6), but we were not lucky that time.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

Family Photo at the Beach Along the Honoapiilani Highway, Maui

What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?

You can save a lot more by getting miles and points from credit card sign-up bonuses and the impact on the credit score is minimal.  In comparison, the process of earning points through credit card spending is very slow and the savings might never be enough to book a full trip with miles and points.

The perks that you get from the credit cards (like elite status) can be very valuable, especially if you have kids.  Being able to share miles when you have a big family is another great benefit.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

My Kids in the Hilton Logan Airport Executive Lounge, Thanks to Our Gold status with Hilton

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Although we both studied Chemistry, according to a professional aptitude test Jorge’s aptitude is for Education, and mine is for Finance.  No wonder why I’m always looking for opportunities to spend less money, especially for travel related expenses.

Any parting words?

As parents, giving our kids the opportunity to explore the world has been very rewarding.  Everywhere we go people always compliment us for having such well-behaved kids.  We feel very proud and happy when people say that to us and sometimes they ask what our secret is.

We take them to different places and have them in all kinds of activities.  Those experiences make them who they are and hopefully will be valuable memories when they grow up.

Crazy4Rewards - Interview With Anabelle

At the Grand Hyatt, Kauai

Anabelle – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!

If you’d like to be considered for our interview series, please send me a note!

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18 responses to ““We’ve Successfully Used Miles & Points for Vacations With Our Family of 6”

  1. Yaaaaaawwwwwnnnnn.

  2. I very much enjoyed this post and agree there’s not much in the way of advice one finds for miles/points for large families. The pictures of this family are wonderful!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experices Anabelle. I look forward in learning more from you on miles and points for family travel. I’m amazed that you are able to pull off miles and points travel for the 6 of you!!

  4. @Paul: That’s rude. The family was probably thrilled to have been featured. I’m reminded of the advice that if you can’t say anything kind, don’t say anything at all. Sometimes I think that’s a naive outlook, but you’ve reminded me that it makes a valid point.

  5. How did you get $2.20 off gas prices?

  6. Mister "The Hammer"

    Nice post. My family used to drive from Michigan to Florida or other southern US destinations each year. Since we started the point game we’re flying 3-4 times a year and visiting places that we wouldn’t be able to visit if not for websites like this and the points game. For the 4 of us, the companion pass from southwest has been a total game changer. Both my wife and I earned companion pass status for 2014/2015 and currently have 2 trips to Aruba planned, another to San Juan (cruise) and we’re exploring more options. It will be disappointing when the companion pass expires.

  7. Thank you Anabelle! I will definitely be checking out your blog.

  8. @ Scott – I am temporarily ignoring your advice.

    @Phil – You are a dick.

  9. * @Paul, not Phil

  10. Very nice. We are a family of 5. I don’t like signing up for every piddly card, but I like to travel smarter; which means being selective about which cards I’m interested in. We had a wedding photographer take pictures of our family on our 1st trip to Hawaii 5 years ago and they are some of our treasured photos. Happy trails.

  11. No offense… I love this series but I am disappointed by her site. Just in skimming over the main page there is this error about Small Business Saturday.

    “You can receive a $30 Statement Credit on Black Friday (Nov 29) when you use your American Express credit card to spend $30 or more in any of the participating businesses.”

    Come on… it’s not Black Friday… It’s small business Saturday.

  12. Good interview but the site has many errors that need correcting. I hope that they update them.

  13. I wish she’d provide some actual tips on how she did it. I have a family of 5 so this could be handy for me as well and looked at her blog she didn’t really provide anything except “sign up for card promos”.

  14. Nice article. Your article got me thinking that I have to look at a fuel rewards program and see what is available for where I live.

  15. Anabelle and Jorge congratulations! I am so proud of both of you! I have the pleasure of knowing both of them, and they truly are great couple, parents and friends. I have learned a lot from them and I already have the rewards for our next vacation to Europe. If it weren’t for them, I would have never thought I could afford a family vacation of 5 to Europe. I really don’t know how they are able to manage all what they do…..work, blog, vacation; take kids to sports, travel, couponing…etc… I guess the reason is because they have God in their lives, and they are blessed in everything they do. Keep up the great work! Don’t feel discouraged. I agree with @Scott. Thank you for having the patience to teach me and for keeping me updated on ways to save money. You guys have many followers and I am one of them!

  16. Congratulations! I have the pleasure of knowing both of them, and they truly are great couple, parents and friends. I have learned a lot from them and I already have the rewards for our next vacation to Europe. If it weren’t for them, I would have never thought I could afford a family vacation of 5 to Europe. I really don’t know how they are able to manage all what they do…..work, blog, vacation; take kids to sports, travel, couponing…etc… I guess the reason is because they have God in their lives, and they are blessed in everything they do. Keep up the great work! Don’t feel discouraged. I agree with @Scott. Thank you for having the patience to teach me and for keeping me updated on ways to save money. You guys have many followers and I am one of them!

  17. The grocery I shop at that has the gas card does not credits to it for gift cards

  18. what is the blog url?

    have a family of 6 and would be interested in any tips or hints. ie booking suites, adjacent rooms, rows on airplanes, taxi vs rental of minivans, etc.