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!
J. Jace 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! Or check out our guides to learn how YOU can start booking vacations with miles & points!
What’s your name and how long have you been involved in the miles & points hobby?
My name is J. Jace and I first got involved in the miles and points hobby in 2016. I was rebuilding my credit at the time, so I used airline shopping portals as a way to earn miles.
What was the goal of your trip?
I’ve taken a few different trips using miles and points, which have helped me save money on airfare and hotel stays. My biggest trip was to Sri Lanka just last month. I really enjoyed experiencing its culture, the people, and a wonderful religious convention they had!
How long did you collect miles and points for your trip?
For this trip to Sri Lanka, it took me around 6 to 9 months to earn enough points to book the trip.
Which points did you save to take your trip?
I only used Chase Ultimate Rewards points for this trip.
Which cards would you recommend to open for a trip like yours?
I opened the Chase Sapphire Reserve® when the card first launched. At the time, it offered a 100,000-point sign-up bonus (no longer available to new applicants). Check out Million Mile Secrets review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve for the current offer.
I find this card really handy, especially because you earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining worldwide!
I’d also recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited® because you can earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
How did you search and find the award flights?
I used a pretty simple strategy. I just booked my flights through the Chase travel portal! Points linked to the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel through the Chase portal, which is a nice perk of being a cardholder!
How did you find your hotel accommodations?
The Hilton Colombo was a fantastic hotel that came recommended by many people online. I found it to be as amazing as the reviews when I saw it in-person! There are great restaurants near the hotel with delicious food and customer service.
If you stay in or near this hotel, you have to get a massage at the sports complex! I did and it was HEAVENLY! And with the strength of the US dollar, you’ll find that it’s pretty inexpensive!
What was the most challenging part about planning your trip? How did you solve it?
The most challenging part about planning the trip was finding good award fights that had no long layovers. In the end, I opted for a simple approach and just booked through the Chase travel portal.
Give us a few recommendations or tips for what to do at your destination. Parks, restaurants, hidden gems, etc.
I love being around the ocean, or any body of water for that matter, and just enjoying the feeling of being on vacation, relaxing, and eating lots of great food!
I particularly enjoyed the private beach at the Mount Lavinia hotel. And you can get there by using Uber! The Waters Edge also has multiple gardens and a river where you can sit, relax, and just enjoy the outdoor breeze.
I’d also recommend making a visit to the elephant sanctuary and a sea turtle hatchery if you get the chance.
Finally, I enjoyed taking a tuk-tuk to get to Lanka Gem Exchange, where I got some Ceylon tea and blue topaz earrings. But be prepared to haggle a bit if you want to get a good price!
What did you learn about yourself on the trip?
I was reminded that when you focus on giving and showing love to others it can be returned to you in spades! People feel it and it allows you to make wonderful connections, even with complete strangers!
What would you say to folks looking to plan a similar trip? Or to those who haven’t taken a miles & points trip yet!
If you’re looking to take a similar trip, it can be really helpful to find airlines that fly to your destination. And when it comes to redeeming your miles, don’t forget that you might be able to use them on partner airlines as well! If it gets too confusing for you though, don’t fret. You can always just simplify things and do what I did, which was to book through the Chase travel portal.
If you have never taken a miles and points trip, take the leap. Do it! You won’t regret it. Let yourself have the chance to have an experience of a lifetime!
Want to Share Your Story?
If you’d like to be considered for our Reader Success Series, please send us a note! We would love to hear about how you travel with miles and points!
If you enjoyed this article, please take a second to subscribe to our email newsletter!