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