Reader Daniel & His Wife Spent 3 Weeks in Europe Using Only Points!

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Reader Daniel & His Wife Spent 3 Weeks in Europe Using Only Points!

Million Mile SecretsReader Daniel & His Wife Spent 3 Weeks in Europe Using Only Points!Million Mile Secrets Team

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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!

Daniel is our newest reader success story to show folks it’s possible to travel without spending a lot of money.

Reader Daniel His Wife Spent 3 Weeks In Europe Using Only Points
Gondola Ride in Venice

A big thank you to Daniel for sharing his story!

Please introduce yourself to everyone and tell us how long you’ve been involved in the miles & points hobby.

My name is Daniel Jeon.  My wife Miel and I began collecting points since January 2016.

What was the goal of your trip?

When we got married, I “promised” her that we would go on one international trip a year.  We have been married two years.  Last year we went to Korea for 2 weeks.

Reader Daniel His Wife Spent 3 Weeks In Europe Using Only Points
In Vienna With the Love of My Life 🙂

This was our “Third Honeymoon.”  I wanted to visit many of the historical sights in Europe as well as make memories with my wife.  We traveled in Europe for 3 weeks, using ONLY points.

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

It took us about a year to collect around 1,000,000 points across all different types of credit cards.

Which points did you save to take your trip?

What cards would you recommend to someone starting out with miles & points?

How did you search for and find the award flights?

We were privileged enough to receive the 100,000-point Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus (offer expired).  We also qualified for the Sapphire Preferred bonus which placed us at 200,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Reader Daniel His Wife Spent 3 Weeks In Europe Using Only Points
Third Honeymoon. Every Trip Is a Honeymoon and Every Meal Is a Date When You Marry the Love of Your Life

Through the Chase travel portal, we found a ticket with multiple stops from Los Angeles to Copenhagen and Copenhagen to Chicago.  If we paid with cash, the tickets would’ve cost $510.  But with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, we paid 34,000 points.

How did you find your hotel accommodations?

We used Expedia and the IHG website as well as the Chase travel portal.  With Expedia, we used the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card to make the purchases and redeemed the points to cover the charge.

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

Meeting the minimum spendings.  But my immediate family pitched in to help me.  My brother and mother used my card to make purchases and reimbursed me afterwards.

Reader Daniel His Wife Spent 3 Weeks In Europe Using Only Points
Burano, Italy. The Most Colorful Town I Have Ever Been to

I also bought many gift cards throughout the year.  Mainly Mejier and Amazon gift cards.

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

Rent a car.  It is cheaper than trains or plane when traveling between your destinations.  We rented ours in Prague.  We rented the car for just a few days under 3 weeks and it cost us $160.  We had to pay for gas of course.

Unless you’ve had a lifelong desire to go to Venice, don’t plan on spending more than 2 days in the crowded city.  It gets old pretty quickly.  I personally appreciated the Alps for their beauty.

Reader Daniel His Wife Spent 3 Weeks In Europe Using Only Points
Best and Prettiest Gelato in Europe. Budapest, Hungary

 Airbnb is a great option, especially in Hungary.

What did you learn about yourself on the trip?

I learned that I need to be mindful of details in planning for trips as well as going about my everyday life.  If I was a little more aware I wouldn’t have plunged my drone into the lake in Hungary.

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

DO IT!  It’s the greatest thing you can do especially if you are married and without kids.  It’s totally worth all the headache that comes with looking for and making the most of each credit card bonuses.

Want to Share Your Story?

If you’d like to be considered for our reader success story series, please send me a note!  Emily and I would love to hear about how you travel with miles and points!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 36,000+ 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!

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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Thanks for sharing your story! I felt strange at first offering to charge a large purchase for family members (after making certain they can pay me back), but now they initiate the asking. My older relatives don’t have credit cards and don’t want to deal with them so it’s a win-win.

Your such a cute young couple in love and already diving into this hobby full force. I’m sure you will have many more fun trips together!

thank you so much!

Would like to know what website you used to rent the car for almost three weeks? I have rented cars in PRG many times and have never gotten that good of a rate.
Even the off site rental agencies away from the airport still know one is a tourist.
Did you use Just wondering.
Thanks a lot. Rob

I used travelocity. it was very good to us.

We rented the car for about 2.5 weeks, and it was around $168 for the whole time.

It was stickshift so I think that made the car much cheaper.

Please comment on how you fulfilled the 10s of k’s spending requirement when getting these bonuses, especially as students 🙂

You know, it is a very good question.
We paid our bills, and rent etc. We also had my family members use our cards to make big purchases with our cards and repay us. So I would have to say it was a mix of things. We did reserve our big purchases for big credit card bonuses. We bought our laptop with the chase sapphire preferred and that was already at $1200.

I’d like to hear more details about how you accrued 1million points in a year. The 200,000 UR points is pretty straight forward but that leaves 800,000 points that are in accounted for.

Hey Alex!
So it was a joint venture between my wife and I.

This is my own blog post detailing all the cards that we opened up together with my wife.

But the 1,000,000 points are not just from the bonuses but also from the spending (including 5% with chase freedom) I also took into account the 1.5% increase in value via Chase Sapphire Reserve Ultimate Rewards Portal.

Thanks for the response and the link. After reading it I don’t know if I agree that your statement about earnings 1million points is really true (that seems like more of a way to get people’s attention) but it is still a significant amount of points in a short amount of time.

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