“Here’s How I Go on $50,000 Vacations With Miles While Others Can’t Collect Enough Points”
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Do you dream of taking unforgettable family vacations with little out-of-pocket expense? A simple miles & points strategy can make this possible!
Team member Keith recently shared how he collected more than 1 million miles & points to get $66,000 worth of travel to New Zealand and Australia. But he didn’t do it on his own! I’ll let him explain his card strategy and booking methods, which you can copy to achieve Big Travel with Small Money!Keith: Thanks, Daraius! When multiple family members earn miles & points, it makes it a whole lot easier to book once-in-a-lifetime adventures. The key is planning ahead to make sure the rewards each family member earns can help you achieve your travel goals!
Whether you’re new to miles & points or a veteran looking to take your award trips to the next level, you can follow these tips to save lots of money booking your ideal vacation!
6 Tips to Make Dream Family Award Travel a Reality!
1. Set a Family Travel Goal
- Do you want to travel within the US or abroad?
- Are you looking to travel as cheaply as possible or stay at 5-star resorts and fly Business Class?
- Do you have an airline or hotel chain preference?
Daraius recommends earning transferable points. And I strongly agree! This way, you’ll have flexibility to transfer points to airline and hotel partners when you’re ready to book a trip.
You can earn flexible transferable points with these programs:
For example, earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points came in handy for my recent trip to Sydney. Because we were able to transfer points to United Airlines to secure 6 Business Class award seats on our flight home!
If you’re looking for potential vacation itineraries using miles & points, be sure to look at Emily and Daraius’ trip reports and reader success stories on our Inspiration page.
2. Develop a Family Credit Card Application Strategy
The quickest way to boost your miles & points balances is to take advantage of lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses.
And when each family member submits a separate application for a new card, the number of sign-up bonuses you earn will multiply. For example, my wife and I along with my parents and her parents each apply for certain card offers if they’ll help us with a travel goal.
This means we have the potential to earn 6 new cardmember sign-up bonuses!
I know some couples prefer to have one person apply for a new card. Then, add a partner as an authorized user. This is a good strategy if the card offers bonus points for adding an authorized user.
And remember, authorized users can still earn a sign-up bonus on the same card if they decide to apply for their own card in the future. Just keep in mind, authorized user accounts appear on personal credit reports and could count towards Chase’s tougher application rules.
Similarly, you can add a child as an authorized user if they’re too young to apply for credit cards. Team member Jasmin adds her daughters to her Chase Sapphire Preferred Card account. This helps them establish credit history and she earns points when they make purchases!
3. Apply for Personal and Small Business Cards to Earn Sign-Up Bonuses Quicker!
One card strategy I highly recommend is applying for a personal AND small business card that earns the same type of rewards. With 2 cards, you can:
- Earn bonus miles & points in multiple spending categories
- Quickly boost your miles & points balance by earning 2 sign-up bonuses
- Separate personal and business purchases to track your expenses
It’s much easier than you might think to qualify for a small business card. You just have to earn income on the side selling items for a profit on eBay or Etsy or with any of these quick small business ventures. I’ve had lots of card approval success by just entering my Social Security Number on business card applications.
By applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred AND Ink Business Preferred you could earn a total of 139,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements on each card (80,000 Ink Business Preferred sign-up bonus + at least 5,000 points for minimum spending + 50,000 Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus + at least 4,000 points from minimum spending). If your partner and family members do the same, you could have enough points to take an incredible vacation!
Another advantage of applying for small business cards is most do NOT appear on your personal credit report. So opening new business card accounts with many banks won’t impact your ability to get cards with banks that have strict card limits, like Chase.
4. Track Your Miles & Points Balances
When you (and family members) start earning rewards with different credit cards, it’s important to keep track of how many miles & points you’re collecting.
Or you can just keep an old-fashioned spreadsheet. Whatever works for you!
5. Combine Points (When Possible) to Increase Award Booking Options
It depends on the rewards program, but sometimes you can combine the points you earn with a partner or family member to make it easier to book award travel.
For example, Chase allows folks to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to someone else. Keep in mind, the transfer rules vary if you have a personal or small business card.
This came in handy for my wife and me when we were booking 6 United Airlines Business Class award seats. Because my wife was able to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my account. Then, I transferred enough points to my United Airlines frequent flyer account to book the reservation.
You can also combine points with many hotel loyalty programs too. Depending on the chain, you might have to pay a small fee. But it could be worth it if you’ll end up saving money on a hotel stay.
6. Book Multiple Award Tickets by Taking Advantage of Airline Alliances
A common frustration I hear from folks looking to book award travel for a family vacation is not having enough miles or points with one specific program.
You can get around this if you know how to use airline alliances to your advantage. For example, it’s possible to redeem miles with one airline to book travel on a completely different partner airline.
Let’s say there’s a United Airlines award flight that works well with your travel schedule. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to your United Airlines account to book the award flight.
But if you don’t have enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points for multiple tickets, you can also transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan and book award seats on the same United Airlines flight. Because both airlines are part of the Star Alliance.
Just remember, when using miles or points from a partner airline, you can only book an award flight if low-level award seats are available.
You can develop a miles & points system to achieve your ultimate family vacation goals.
Team member Keith recently returned from an incredible family adventure to New Zealand and Australia. Together with his wife and family, they redeemed more than 1 million miles & points to make the trip a reality! Here are his 6 tips you can follow to book family award travel:
- Set a family travel goal
- Develop a family credit card application strategy so multiple family members earn miles & points
- Apply for personal AND small business cards to quickly boost your miles & points balances
- Track your rewards balances using tools like AwardWallet
- Combine miles & points in one account (when possible) to increase award booking options
- Take advantage of airline alliances and partnerships to use the miles you have to book award travel
Any tips you’d add to the list to help make family award travel possible?
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)