~$53,000 Around-the-World Honeymoon for ~$6,700! Part 1 Introduction & Planning
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One of the best ways to use miles & points is to make unforgettable memories with loved ones. And even better if you include once-in-a-lifetime experiences most folks normally wouldn’t be able to afford.
Million Mile Secrets team member Keith recently returned from a 25,000 mile around-the-world honeymoon to Amsterdam, Cape Town, Dubai, Bali, and Singapore. I’ll let him tell you about it!Keith: Thanks Daraius! My wife Liz and I built up hundreds of thousands of miles from credit card sign-up bonuses and bank promotions that we used to visit 5 countries on an around-the-world honeymoon.
Due to work commitments, we only had 17 days to circle the globe. This might not seem like enough time for such a trip. But, I’ll explain how we made the most of our time and enjoyed a romantic dinner at one of Amsterdam’s top restaurants, rest and relaxation in Bali, a beautiful hike and Afternoon Tea in Cape Town, cultural experiences in Dubai, and much more!
I’m happy to share how I paid ~$6,700 for a trip with a retail cost of ~$53,000!
Around-the-World Honeymoon Trip Series:
- Part 1 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Introduction & Planning
- Part 2 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Booking Flights
- Part 3 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Booking Hotels
- Part 4 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Making Airports More Enjoyable
- Part 5 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Highlights of Amsterdam, Cape Town, Dubai, Bali, and Singapore
- Part 6 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Tips to Book YOUR Trip!
We used miles & points for 5 Business Class and First Class award flights and stays at 5-star hotels. And, we had help from my mother-in-law who is a travel consultant and recommended hotels in each country. We also took advantage of credit card concierge services to book excursions and restaurant reservations along the way.
Although many of our flights were long (9+ hours), flying Business Class made our trip efficient and unforgettable. There was no time wasted in airports or waiting for our bags. And, we didn’t experience any flight delays! While traveling between countries, we enjoyed perks like:
- Airport lounges with complimentary champagne and showers
- Expedited airport security and immigration screening
- Free chauffeur services to and from the airport
- Lie-flat beds on the planes to sleep comfortably
- Priority baggage check with extra weight allowance
6 Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses That Made Our Trip Possible
Because my wife and I take our credit scores and financial health very seriously, we did tons of research before applying for miles and points earning credit cards. There are many myths associated with applying for credit cards and the impact to your credit score.
Actually, since we started in the points hobby 18 months ago, our credit scores have both increased above 800! We pay our accounts in FULL each month and have never carried a balance. And, we’re careful to only apply for credit card offers that help our travel and financial goals. We do NOT just apply for every credit card offer that’s available daily.
To take advantage of the best credit card offers, Liz and I submit separate applications, so we can each earn the sign-up bonus. And we usually send each other referral links to earn easy extra bonus points. I’ll explain more about this later in the series.
Liz and I also qualify for small business credit cards because we regularly sell items on eBay and Amazon for profit. This helps us accumulate more miles and points!
Here are the 6 credit cards that made our honeymoon possible. Note, some sign-up bonuses in the table below were only available for a limited time and have since expired. Check here for a list of current available sign-up bonuses.Some of the offers in the table below are no longer available. [table id=239 responsive=scroll responsive_breakpoint=phone /]
Of the 6 cards we applied for, 5 waived the annual fee for the first year. When it comes time to pay the annual fee, we will evaluate to see if we both need the same card. Or, if there’s overlap in the bonus spending categories. Then, we can make a decision to cancel or downgrade to a no annual fee card.
If you are new to collecting miles and points, start off by reading the Beginner’s Guide and applying for 1 to 2 credit cards to get comfortable with the process. I have applied for 2 to 4 cards every few months, but do what you are comfortable with.
If you have questions on how to complete the minimum spending requirements, see the 40+ Ways to Meet your Minimum Spend.
Planning and booking our honeymoon required a lot of points. But, in the past 12 months, we were still able to use miles and points from our cards to enjoy trips to Hawaii, Italy, Mexico, and Paris.
Getting More Miles & Points
We didn’t just rely on the sign-up bonuses for our points. For everyday spending, we made sure to use the card that earns us the highest spending bonus.
For example, we used the Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points when dining out or paying for taxes and fees on airline award tickets. And we used the Ink Plus in the 5X bonus categories for purchases we had to make anyway.
In addition to credit card sign-up bonuses and bonus spending categories, we also signed-up for promotions like 50,000 ThankYou points for opening a Citigold checking account. This bonus was enough to pay for the first flight in our trip, 2 JetBlue Mint Business Class tickets from Los Angeles to New York.
Here’s a summary of our trip. I’ll explain later in the series why I paid cash for certain flights and hotels where we could have used points.[table id=238 responsive=scroll responsive_breakpoint=phone /]
In the next part of the series, I’ll explain exactly how I booked the flights and hotels for our trip!
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