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!
Mohit 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 Mohit for sharing his story!
Please introduce yourself to everyone and tell us how long you’ve been involved in the miles & points hobby.
Mohit Bhatia – I started collecting miles in September 2014. Since I became interested in collecting points, I have been actively reading Million Mile Secrets to get good travel tips and plan my future trips.
What was the goal of your trip?
The goal was to get 2 return tickets to Europe for almost free. Thanks to all the tips and information your blog provided, I was able to achieve my target.
How long did you collect miles and points for your trip?
I collected miles for almost 8 months before booking an award ticket and let me tell you this – once you book an award ticket then you feel on top of the world. 🙂
Which points did you save to take your trip?
One thing I will mention – in the last year whenever I knew I would be spending a lot of money, I applied for a new card so meeting the minimum spending requirement was not a very big deal.
How did you search for and find the award flights?
Your post on how to search ITA Matrix and another 1 on how to book United Airlines flights to Europe were very helpful. Initially, I booked a round-trip award to Italy without knowing I could add a stopover and an open jaw.
Thankfully, I read the booking guide on your blog within 24 hours of booking my award ticket, so I cancelled the ticket and then added a stopover and an open jaw!
We flew to Italy and then back from Switzerland. We also took advantage of the stopover and have an upcoming trip to New York in December.
How did you find your hotel accommodations?
All my focus was to get the airfare taken care of and so I didn’t apply for any hotel cards at that time (a big mistake, I know!). BUT I have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and that took care of some of the expenses as I booked my accommodations using Airbnb.
For a few nights I also used my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a hotel.
What was the most challenging part about planning your trip? How did you solve it?
The most challenging part was to book 2 award tickets when only I was eligible to apply for credit cards.
But this was easily solved by maintaining a good credit score and getting approved for good cards with nice bonus.
I used 55,000 United Airlines miles from my Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Card and 45,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred (always add your spouse as an authorized user to get an additional 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!).
And I took 1 paid trip to India at the start of the year before United Airlines changed their miles system, so that gave me the additional miles I needed to get to the 120,000 United Airlines miles mark for getting 2 round-trip coach award tickets to Europe!
Give us a few recommendations or tips for what to do at your destination. Parks, restaurants, hidden gems, etc.
Everywhere in Italy and Switzerland, food is very expensive, especially in touristy areas. So we went to supermarkets to get our lunch and that was relatively cheap.
It was a win-win for us as local food tasted really good and we also saved a lot of money during our 12-day trip to Europe. There were quite a few restaurants and eating joints in Florence, Italy, where we ate multiple times.
All’antico Vinaio is the best sandwich shop in Florence where you get a sandwich for 5 Euros and it’s the best sandwich you will ever eat. 🙂
Then there was ZaZa restaurant where you get amazing typical Italian food at a very reasonable rate!
What did you learn about yourself on the trip?
That my wife and I love traveling. We love to meet new people and learn more about their culture and share experiences.
And most importantly it is not necessary to spend big bucks in order to have an amazing vacation!
What would you say to folks looking to plan a similar trip? Or to those who haven’t taken a miles & points trip yet!
Please please please if you like to travel, then start collecting miles – all these credit card bonuses help a lot!
If you are a little organized then you can get Big Travel with Small Money!
Mohit – Thanks for sharing your Success Story! I love hearing about how folks use their miles & points for Big Travel with Small Money!
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!