Success! Colorful Cherry Blossoms, Legendary Pizza, and a Jaunt Across the Brooklyn Bridge! Reader Chris Showed His Family the East Coast in Style

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Success! Colorful Cherry Blossoms, Legendary Pizza, and a Jaunt Across the Brooklyn Bridge! Reader Chris Showed His Family the East Coast in Style

Million Mile SecretsSuccess! Colorful Cherry Blossoms, Legendary Pizza, and a Jaunt Across the Brooklyn Bridge! Reader Chris Showed His Family the East Coast in StyleMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

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!  This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

Chris is our newest reader success story to show folks it’s possible to travel without spending a lot of money.  If you would like to be inspired by more stories like this one, take a second to subscribe to our newsletter!

Success Colorful Cherry Blossoms Legendary Pizza And A Jaunt Across The Brooklyn Bridge Reader Chris Showed His Family The East Coast In Style
The White House Was in Full Bloom

What’s your name and how long have you been involved in the miles & points hobby?

My name is Chris Clauson.  I started, in earnest, one year ago in April 2017.  You can join me as I uncover the secrets to getting free travel for you and your family.

What was the goal of your trip?

I wanted to share the magic of Washington, DC, and New York with my daughter and wife.  It was my daughter’s first visit.  Using points, the objective was to get the most out of the experience.

How long did you collect miles and points for your trip?

I collected miles and points for 6 months.

Which points did you save to take your trip?

I saved Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  And we were able to stay 4 nights for free because of the the sign-up bonuses we earned with the Chase Hyatt Credit Card.  We also earned enough Southwest points to get a Southwest Companion Pass.

Success Colorful Cherry Blossoms Legendary Pizza And A Jaunt Across The Brooklyn Bridge Reader Chris Showed His Family The East Coast In Style
The Brooklyn Bridge Is Worth a Visit

Which cards would you recommend to open for a trip like yours?

And I recommend getting the Southwest cards to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

How did you search and find the award flights?

I searched for flights on the Southwest website.

How did you find your hotel accommodations?

I found our hotel stays on the Hyatt website.

What was the most challenging part about planning your trip?  How did you solve it?

The hardest part was finding availability to take advantage of the Hyatt award nights.

Success Colorful Cherry Blossoms Legendary Pizza And A Jaunt Across The Brooklyn Bridge Reader Chris Showed His Family The East Coast In Style
This Was Our Room at the Park Hyatt New York

Give us a few recommendations or tips for what to do at your destination.  Parks, restaurants, hidden gems, etc.

For Washington, DC, I highly recommend reaching out to the office of your Congressional representative.  My representative thrived at the opportunity to set things up for us.

On our behalf, they arranged 3 separate tours, including a private tour of the U.S. Capitol.  If you’ve been to the Capitol, you’ve no doubt seen the 50+ person groups, often wearing headsets so they can hear what’s being said.  The personal touch of the private tour was superb.

For New York City, don’t be hesitant to tackle the subway.  It’s a must if you want to get around the city.  We rode it from deep into Brooklyn to the top of the Bronx, feeling completely safe.

One of our favorite days was taking the subway from midtown Manhattan to the Dumbo area in Brooklyn.  There, we enjoyed some fabulous pizza at Juliana’s, walked the pier, then traversed back into Lower Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge – what a treat!

What did you learn about yourself on the trip?

I really, REALLY, love Broadway.  I also learned it’s important to not have an agenda every day.  There’s so much to do in both locations.  Some of our best days were when we didn’t have anything planned and just played it by ear.

Success Colorful Cherry Blossoms Legendary Pizza And A Jaunt Across The Brooklyn Bridge Reader Chris Showed His Family The East Coast In Style
The Cherry Blossoms Are Quite Photogenic!

What would you say to folks looking to plan a similar trip?  Or to those who haven’t taken a miles & points trip yet!

Above all else, I would emphasize how attainable this is for many.  For the financially astute, not using point earning credit cards, wherever possible, is akin to throwing away valuable travel currency.

Start with your end goal in mind, then reverse engineer the best way to get there with a card strategy.  Safe travels!

Want to Share Your Story?

If you’d like to be considered for our reader success story series, please send us a note!  We would love to hear about how you travel with miles and points!  And if you want to get more stories like this one delivered straight to your inbox, please sign up for our email list!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!