Success! A Family of 4 Got a Round-the-World Trip and a Free Month in Hotels With Miles & Points!

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Welcome to the next installment of our Reader Success Series where Million Mile Secrets Readers share how they booked a trip with miles & points to get Big Travel with Small Money!

Success A Family Of 4 Got A Round The World Trip And A Free Month In Hotels With Miles Points

The Meckley Family Was Able to Travel to Australia and See the World-Famous Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. They Used Miles & Points for Their Trip!

The Meckley Family is our newest reader success story to show folks it’s possible to travel without spending a lot of money.

A big thank you to The Meckleys for sharing their story!

Please introduce yourself to everyone and tell us how long you’ve been involved in the miles & points hobby.

We are The Meckley Family:  Christine, Tom, Riley, and Sawyer.  We are currently on a half-year journey around the world! 

What was the goal of your trip?

To experience the world through our children’s eyes.  

We have always had a thirst for travel long before having kids.  We wanted to share this enjoyment with our children.   

Success A Family Of 4 Got A Round The World Trip And A Free Month In Hotels With Miles Points

Witnessing Buddhist Monks Meditating in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Kids Thought They Were Statues Because They Stay So Still!

We waited until they were old enough (10 and 12) to understand and learn from their experiences, and young enough to still want to be with each other 24/7.  Plus, hanging out with Mom and Dad is always a plus for me!

Our journey has been filled with ups and downs, but so far the experience is priceless!

How long did you collect miles and points for your trip? 

We started collecting airline miles with the AMEX Delta Platinum SkyMiles card 4 years ago.  The sign-up bonus offered, plus the accumulation of domestic flights we have taken and purchasing everything on this card, helped us acquire almost 200,000 Delta miles.

We saved them up for our world trip.  And only 1 year ago I stumbled across Million Mile Secrets and learned how to open up hotel credit cards to accumulate points to use for hotel stays.  Brilliant!

Which points did you save to take your trip?

We had plenty of Delta miles.  Both of us opened:

After spending the required minimum we earned a lot of hotel points!

How did you search for and find the award flights?

If I am not using the Delta website to search, I use Skyscanner.  Then I will go to the web site of the airline to see which offers the better rate.

Success A Family Of 4 Got A Round The World Trip And A Free Month In Hotels With Miles Points

Visiting the Grand Canyon & Hoover Dam With Our Mothers Was a Great Way to Begin Our World Trip! We Redeemed IHG Points at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Canyon for 2 Nights Before Heading to Las Vegas

We used Delta miles earned from Delta partner airlines to fly for free from:

  • New York to Anchorage
  • New York to Las Vegas
  • Las Vegas to Los Angeles
  • Bangkok to Paris 
  • London to New York

How did you find your hotel accommodations?

For hotel accommodations (when not redeeming points) I use Booking.com for apartment searches with kitchen, Wi-Fi, and laundry included. 

I also check TripAdvisor for customer reviews.  I love TripAdvisor!

So far we’ve redeemed:

That’s ONE MONTH of free hotel stays!

And we are continuing to accumulate points from the credit cards we are using throughout our trip.

Success A Family Of 4 Got A Round The World Trip And A Free Month In Hotels With Miles Points

At the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand, Where We Stayed 5 Nights for Free at the Courtyard by Marriott Bangkok

I enjoy looking online to see the balance each month and use the points as soon as I can.  Sometimes combining small amount of points with some money (Cash + Points) extends the length of stay for us. 

We have Hilton Diamond status and have been upgraded to junior suites with Executive Lounge access every time!  That means free breakfast, snacks, computer access with printers (great for homeschooling) and all drinks included!  

We stayed in Hilton hotels in Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Australia, and soon to be in Budapest!  

What was the most challenging part about planning your trip? How did you solve it?

The most challenging part of planning a journey with children was making the decision to commit to a date!

Both Riley and Sawyer are very involved with soccer teams and Sawyer also plays lacrosse.  They miss their teams.

Success A Family Of 4 Got A Round The World Trip And A Free Month In Hotels With Miles Points

Visiting the Vatican and Seeing the Pope Give a Mass Was a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience!

Also, we wanted the kids to start and end the school year with their classes, so we will return before the end of the semester.

Taking a leave of absence from work was important to finalize our plans.

Give us a few recommendations or tips for what to do at your destination.  Parks, restaurants, hidden gems, etc.

PACK LIGHT!  

No need for a lot of stuff.  We travel with 1 small suitcase each and a small backpack.

Go to popular tourist destinations (like Europe) in the off-season.  I couldn’t imagine doing Europe with kids in the summer.  We strolled through major sights with NO LINES in Rome, Paris, Holland, and Spain, because we went in winter.

Use public transportation.  Eat locally away from tourist restaurants.  Rent an apartment when you can.  

For homeschooling and to make your kids (and you) understand what you are seeing, use YouTube for informative documentaries on historical and cultural sites (like Normandy, Rome, Buddhist temples, and the Great Barrier Reef) and museums (The Louvre, Anne Frank House, Vatican Museums).  This is a tremendous help – and fun too! 

Don’t plan too much, but have a general idea on what you want to do.  Then go with the flow!

What did you learn about yourself on the trip?

We are constantly learning about the world and ourselves as we travel on this journey. 

When you are with each other 24/7, you rely on each other.  There are moments when the kids get on each other’s nerves (and ours), but they are few and far between compared to all the moments we are amazed and encouraged by one another and our surroundings. 

There are “teachable” moments every day.   We are still on our journey and as parents, we can tell it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for our children.  To enjoy the adventure of traveling and learning about “real” things in the world. 

To date, we have visited 11 countries and 19 World Heritage sites.  The kids have attended school and made friends in Thailand, Cambodia, and Holland

Riley’s blog, Travel With Riley, has been a success.  Her followers email her about her adventures and she answers all of their questions. 

What would you say to folks looking to plan a similar trip?  Or to those who haven’t taken a miles & points trip yet!

For families planning a similar trip I would start by obtaining as many credit cards with big sign-up bonuses as you can. 

Plan on 1 or 2 countries for a month.  Then commit to a date and just GO! 

Use the miles from the airline credit cards and the hotel points for award flights and hotel nights.  You don’t have to be rich to travel the world! 

Refer to Million Mile Secrets because they have a very thorough and easy to use website.  Also, read other family travel blogs.  There are many on the web.  That’s how I started.  Involve your kids, too!

If you’d like to be considered for our reader success story series, please send me a note!  Emily and I would love to hear about how you travel with miles and points!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

10 responses to “Success! A Family of 4 Got a Round-the-World Trip and a Free Month in Hotels With Miles & Points!

  1. What an amazing experience for your family. Your children will be enriched forever.

  2. SO awesome. We did something similar with our kids at similar ages. It has really contributed to a “global citizen” mentality. Nice work!

  3. Awesome article!! Really one of my favorites because it shows how a family can leave their normal life and go and explore the world! Obviously the kids miss their classes, sports teams, the parents leave of absence from work and so on, but props for pulling the trigger and doing this! AMAZING!

  4. Thank you all for the encouraging words. We are still on the journey and currently driving around the United Kingdom.

  5. What a wonderful Experiance for the whole family. I have been following Riley’s Blog travelwithriley.com and have loved seeing the world through her eyes.

  6. What a tremendous experience for the kids and the family as a unit. I love Riley’s blog as it is seeing the world through the eyes of a child. These are lessons and memories that they will treasure forever. Kudos for all the hard work in planning your trip. It seems like a success!

  7. Russell Ainbinder

    Great story I have posted Travelwithriley.com on my school Web page because your trip is so amazing.

  8. This is fantastic and something that we aspire to when my step-daughter is a little bit older. In the meanwhile, I plan to share with her Riley’s blog. How awesome 😉

  9. I would love to know what hotels you were able to find for a family of 4 using points. I am looking into Europe for our family this summer and am having a hard time finding rooms for all four of us using points. Thanks for any help you can offer!

  10. Sarah through trial and error I learned that if you are not renting an apartment in the big cities ( Rome, Paris, London , Sydney, Auckland) then search for hotels. With points I search online through IHG. Then Marriot. Then Hilton. Even though there are 4 of us ALWAYS just put “3” into your search. Most of what is availsble is a queen with sofa bed. Kids slept in lots of sofa beds. Many European hotels never have 2 queen beds in s room. Only in Ireland did we have to book 2 separate rooms bc the room only had 1 double bed in it. Belfast and Dublin. Good luck.

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