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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!
Bob is our newest reader success story to show folks it’s possible to travel without spending a lot of money.
What’s your name and how long have you been involved in the miles & points hobby?
My name is Bob and I have been collecting miles & points since January of 2017.
It started when we were preparing for our wedding. I really didn’t know anything about miles & points then. We were paying everything with our debit card and with my 12 year old credit card that earns very little cash back. I realized there must be a better incentive than cash back.
What was the goal of your trip?
My wife is 6 months pregnant, so I wanted to take her for a week long trip before our little one arrives.
I also wanted to take pregnancy photos of her while we were there. Check out my Instagram to see more of my photos. And take a look at a little video of our trip I put together!
How long did you collect miles and points for your trip?
It took me ~6 months to earn enough points to cover this trip. It didn’t take me too long to collect points, because I convinced my wife to get on board. So we were able to combine our points together.
Which points did you save to take your trip?
For our round-trip flight to Hawaii, I saved British Airways Avios points because they have one of the lowest award prices for a main cabin seat to Hawaii. I redeemed 25,000 British Airways Avios points per person per round-trip ticket.
My wife and I saved Chase Ultimate Rewards points for our hotel accommodations.
Which cards (max 5) would you recommend to open for a trip like yours?
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Chase Freedom®
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
How did you search and find the award flights?
I used Award Hacker to check for the lowest award redemption for a flight. This led me to use British Airways Avios points. I then used the airline’s website to look for a flight from Los Angeles to Honololu, then Kahului back to Los Angeles. Using British Airways Avios, I booked tickets on partner American Airlines.
How did you find your hotel accommodations?
I couldn’t find any available award nights. So I used the Chase Travel Portal to book our hotels. It saved me hundreds because of the 1.5 cent per point value I got with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
What was the most challenging part about planning your trip? How did you solve it?
Trying to find hotel award nights was a nightmare. I couldn’t find any available awards with major hotel chains in both islands where we stayed. So I ended up booking rooms through the Chase Travel Portal.
Give us a few recommendations or tips for what to do at your destination. Parks, restaurants, hidden gems, etc.
Oahu is very touristy, especially down in the Waikiki area. So try to drive up to the North Shore and enjoy a better view and good Hawaiian food.
Kahuku Farms has the best organic Acai bowl in all of Oahu, if not the world. Also, they offer a farm tour and you will see and learn a lot there.
Papa Ole’s Kitchen serves Hawaiian breakfast and a mouth watering lunch and dinner.
At the Tropical Macadamia Nut Farm you will have a chance to crack a macadamia nut yourself.
What did you learn about yourself on the trip?
I am a photo and video enthusiast, so I tend to forget how to fully enjoy the place. This time, I was able to do both. I would capture pictures, take aerial shots, record a few clips, and spend the rest of the time enjoying the scenery with my wife.
What would you say to folks looking to plan a similar trip? Or to those who haven’t taken a miles & points trip yet!
It seemed like a very basic redemption, but it felt good taking a comfortable trip without spending so much.
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