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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!
Konstantin 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!
1. What’s your name and how long have you been involved in the miles & points hobby?
Hi, my name is Konstantin and I started with the miles and points hobby about a year ago. After following travel blogs for some time, I decided to finally try it for myself!
2. What was the goal of your trip?
I decided to treat myself to an exotic trip to Bali for my birthday. I had heard lots of great things about Bali, and some research had shown that June was a good time to go.
3. How long did you collect miles and points for your trip?
I did not exactly plan for the trip, as it really was booked on a whim, so I already had quite a few miles and points. But I would say it took about 6 to 8 months to earn the points I ultimately ended up redeeming for the trip.
4. Which points did you save to take your trip?
I used about 80,000 Delta miles for a round-trip award flight from Seoul to Denpasar, and approximately 135,000 IHG points for my hotel stays.
5. Which cards would you recommend to open for a trip like yours?
Earning miles from the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express helped me book a round-trip award flight.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has also been useful because of a number of the card’s benefits, like an anniversary free night, and reimbursement for Global Entry.
The American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are also great because they earn flexible AMEX Membership Rewards points, which you can use to transfer to a number of transfer partners to book flights and hotels!
6. How did you search and find the award flights?
I really just started searching for flights on the various websites of the airlines I could have redeemed miles for. So this included looking at websites like American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, and Korean Air. I was quickly able to find a round-trip Business Class award flight on Garuda Indonesia for 80,000 Delta miles, which I thought was a fantastic deal!
7. How did you find your hotel accommodations?
I was able to earn a lot of IHG points because I had traveled a lot for business in the past year, so I just used the IHG app to find their hotel availability in Bali. I ended up staying at the Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach which seemed to be located in the middle of everything from bars, upscale restaurants, and a busy nightlife. Later, I moved to the Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali which had a more relaxed setting, and where I seemingly spent days lounging by the pool with drinks.
For these hotels, I ended up redeeming 60,000 IHG points for 2 nights at the Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach, and 75,000 IHG points for 3 nights at the Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali.
8. What was the most challenging part about planning your trip? How did you solve it?
No one was able to accompany me on the trip, so the most difficult part was making the decision to travel by myself. I ended up booking everything just 2 days before my departure! The trip ended up being well worth it though and turned out being one of the best trips I’ve ever taken!
9. Give us a few recommendations or tips for what to do at your destination. Parks, restaurants, hidden gems, etc.
Stop thinking about going to Bali and just go ahead and do it, you won’t be sorry! It’s a magical place that will touch your soul and restore your inner balance. Just be sure to do some research on which beaches to avoid, learn to haggle to save as much money as you can, and be prepared for mosquitos at night.
There are lots of activities so definitely take the time to explore the entire island. I enjoyed a trip to the Uluwatu temple, and marveling at various art galleries I came across. You can also hire a tour guide with a comfortable SUV or minivan for an entire day.
When it came to food, I had fantastic dining experiences in restaurants like Ku De Ta and Potato Head as I found they had great mixology with a number of friendly locals.
Finally, it can really help to learn some common phrases because the locals seem to love it when you speak in their local language!
10. What did you learn about yourself on the trip?
I’ve learned that I can enjoy myself while traveling solo. For a long time, I thought that having good company was half of the fun of traveling, but I found this wasn’t really the case! For anyone else hesitant on traveling solo, I encourage them to just start traveling and not let the lack of a travel companion hold you back from seeing the world.
11. What would you say to folks looking to plan a similar trip? Or to those who haven’t taken a miles & points trip yet!
You can absolutely do it! In fact, you can make similar trips like mine using a combination of miles and points from plenty of different airlines and hotel loyalty programs.
I was skeptical at first when it came to miles and points, but after booking my first award flight on Lufthansa First Class, I quickly jumped aboard the miles and points train. Just be responsible with credit cards, pay them in full every month, and continue reading great travel sites like Million Miles Secrets for the insider scoop on how to best redeem your miles and points!
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