~$8,000 Worth of Travel for Less Than $500 – My Top 3 Trips of 2018 Made Possible Thanks to the Best Travel Credit Cards! (You Can Do It, Too!)

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~$8,000 Worth of Travel for Less Than $500 – My Top 3 Trips of 2018 Made Possible Thanks to the Best Travel Credit Cards! (You Can Do It, Too!)

Emily~$8,000 Worth of Travel for Less Than $500 – My Top 3 Trips of 2018 Made Possible Thanks to the Best Travel Credit Cards! (You Can Do It, Too!)Million Mile Secrets Team

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In 2018, I took 3 trips that really stand out as my favorite.  We took a family trip to Hawaii using American Airlines miles, a vacation to Spain in Business Class with AMEX Membership Rewards points and American Airlines miles, and a couples getaway to Costa Rica with Southwest points!

In total, these trips would have cost at least $8,000 if we paid the full retail price.  But we paid less than $500 out of pocket thanks to miles & points.  Because having the best travel credit cards allowed me to earn hundreds of thousands of rewards that I used to book cheap travel, like the trips I’ll discuss below!

My Family And I Really Enjoyed Our SWISS Business Class Flight We Booked With Travel Credit Card Points!

1.   Hawaii With American Airlines Miles

Earlier this year I booked 2 round-trip award flights to Hawaii by using 90,000 American Airlines miles.  I paid just ~$22 in taxes and fees.  It was my third time to Hawaii and this time we went to Oahu!  Flights to Hawaii can cost more than $525, so we saved a lot of money!

If you’re short on American Airlines miles, you can apply for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®.  You can earn 70,000 American Airlines bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.  That’s enough for a round-trip Saver award flight to Hawaii in coach and you’ll still have 25,000 American Airlines miles leftover!

My mom recently applied for the Citi American Airlines small business card and was approved for it, even though her business activities only earn her just a few hundred dollars of profit per year.

We Introduced Our Daughter to the Beach on Our Hawaii Trip

Southwest will soon be flying to Hawaii, so if you have a regular travel partner and have the Southwest Companion Pass (or plan on getting it soon), stocking up on Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Southwest points is a great idea.  I recently applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.  Earning points with this card counts toward the Southwest Companion Pass.  I also have the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, which has the highest welcome bonus among any Chase Ultimate Rewards point earning credit card.  And you can transfer points from this card directly to Southwest.

2.   Business Class to Spain With AMEX Points & American Airlines Miles

There are LOTS of award options when it comes to flying to Europe, including using United Airlines milesAMEX Membership Rewards pointsChase Ultimate Rewards points, or American Airlines miles!

I wanted to use points earned from The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.  We booked flights on SWISS Airlines and were very happy in our Business Class seats!  These flights would regularly cost ~$7,000 round-trip.  Instead, we transferred 55,000 American Express Membership Rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan and paid ~$40 in taxes & fees for a one-way trip per person.

During Our Stay in Spain, We Visited the Alhambra, a Palace and Fortress Complex Originally Constructed in AD 889

For our return flights, I used 57,500 American Airlines miles per person and the taxes and fees were ~$370 per person.

3.   Costa Rica With Southwest Points

For our first trip to Costa Rica, I booked 2 tickets on Southwest for ~$170 (~$85 per person) in taxes and fees, plus ~20,000 Southwest points total for a couples’ getaway vacation in Costa Rica.

These tickets would have otherwise cost us ~$450 each.  I recently applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card to replenish my balance of Southwest points.

We Had So Much Fun White Water Rafting for the First Time

What were your favorite trips on points in 2018?  Share with us in the comments below!

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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

More Info

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! :)

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I want to earn Southwests companion pass asap in 2019.What is the quickest way to do this.We have excellent credit and have Chase Sapphire and Business Ink cards.Thanks

Looking for Business or First Class seats from LAX to Rome (FCO) in August. Unfortunately I only have about 75k AMEX reward points and 370k Marriott points. Any suggestions?

Look into transferring to Japan Airlines and redeeming for a partner award, possibly Alaska miles as well for a partner award

I like to get in the program

I don’t have a favorite trip. I just like seeing photos of Emily and the asian girl and thinking of the possibilities of what they could do together.

A tad off-color comment for this site.

Tuck? More like cuck

What was off-color about it? Also, which sites do you recommend to make such comments? You probably have a whole sleu of pervy sites….