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!
Daniel 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 Daniel for sharing his story!
Please introduce yourself to everyone and tell us how long you’ve been involved in the miles & points hobby.
What was the goal of your trip?
When we got married, I “promised” her that we would go on one international trip a year. We have been married two years. Last year we went to Korea for 2 weeks.
This was our “Third Honeymoon.” I wanted to visit many of the historical sights in Europe as well as make memories with my wife. We traveled in Europe for 3 weeks, using ONLY points.
How long did you collect miles and points for your trip?
It took us about a year to collect around 1,000,000 points across all different types of credit cards.
Which points did you save to take your trip?
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points were most valuable to us on this trip
- Barclaycard Arrival miles were helpful as well
- Citi ThankYou points were used to buy camera gear from Best Buy
What cards would you recommend to someone starting out with miles & points?
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (Maximizes your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 1.5X)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (Extra 50,000 bonus points earned from the sign-up bonus doesn’t hurt)
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
- Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Citi ThankYou Premier Card
How did you search for and find the award flights?
We were privileged enough to receive the 100,000-point Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus (offer expired). We also qualified for the Sapphire Preferred bonus which placed us at 200,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Through the Chase travel portal, we found a ticket with multiple stops from Los Angeles to Copenhagen and Copenhagen to Chicago. If we paid with cash, the tickets would’ve cost $510. But with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, we paid 34,000 points.
How did you find your hotel accommodations?
We used Expedia and the IHG website as well as the Chase travel portal. With Expedia, we used the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card to make the purchases and redeemed the points to cover the charge.
What was the most challenging part about planning your trip? How did you solve it?
Meeting the minimum spendings. But my immediate family pitched in to help me. My brother and mother used my card to make purchases and reimbursed me afterwards.
I also bought many gift cards throughout the year. Mainly Mejier and Amazon gift cards.
Give us a few recommendations or tips for what to do at your destination. Parks, restaurants, hidden gems, etc.
Rent a car. It is cheaper than trains or plane when traveling between your destinations. We rented ours in Prague. We rented the car for just a few days under 3 weeks and it cost us $160. We had to pay for gas of course.
Unless you’ve had a lifelong desire to go to Venice, don’t plan on spending more than 2 days in the crowded city. It gets old pretty quickly. I personally appreciated the Alps for their beauty.
Airbnb is a great option, especially in Hungary.
What did you learn about yourself on the trip?
I learned that I need to be mindful of details in planning for trips as well as going about my everyday life. If I was a little more aware I wouldn’t have plunged my drone into the lake in Hungary.
What would you say to folks looking to plan a similar trip? Or to those who haven’t taken a miles & points trip yet!
DO IT! It’s the greatest thing you can do especially if you are married and without kids. It’s totally worth all the headache that comes with looking for and making the most of each credit card bonuses.
Want to Share Your Story?
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!