I just wrote up this travel savings plan for a friend to help her get started traveling for free or really close to it. She is very anxious to get into the hobby of collecting miles and points in a serious way. She sees the power of the credit card bonuses and the free travel it can afford her and her family but doesn’t know where to begin. I asked her to give me her travel goals and I would take some time and formulate a plan for her to achieve those goals. First, she would like to go visit her sister in Italy. Next, she would like to take her family of 5 to Hawaii for a nice family vacation. So here is the plan I developed for her. I thought I’d post it because it might be a help to some you in the same situation. Hope it helps you as well!
FAMILY TRIP TO HAWAII ( Family of 5) + Bonus: (1) International Ticket or (2) Domestic tickets
British Airways Visa – 50,000 Avios
*Husband & Wife both apply
- No min. spend for 50,000
- Annual fee $95 x 2 = $190
NOTE: This card advertises a 100k bonus but the min. spend is very high to achieve that. If you can then go for it but most average people can not.
- 50,000 x 2 = 100,000 Avios
- 4 domestic tickets (25,000 each to Hawaii)
- NOTE: British Airways award chart is distance based now so it’s only 25,000 + $20 in taxes for a ticket from US to Hawaii. You fly on American Airlines their partner.
*Husband & Wife both apply
- 3,000 min. spend per card = 6,000 total min. spend over 3 months.
- No annual fee first year
- 40,000 x 2 = 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points
- Transfer 25,000 Ultimate Reward points to British Aiways via your Chase Ultimate Rewards account
No fee to make transfers – points transfer instantly to most loyalty programs.
- Transfer 60,000 Ultimate Reward points to United for 1 international ticket or 2 domestic tickets. Your choice. Or many other options of where you could transfer these points. You can also take them as cash back of $600 for spending money on your family vacation. 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points is worth $100 cash back. The possibilities are endless with Ultimate Rewards points. Check out their demo site here and see
- NOTE: No guarantees but I feel pretty confident you a “bump” on this offer. The Chase Sapphire offer was just recently dropped from 50,000 to 40,000 points. So after you receive your cards I would write and request a offer match using secure messaging through your online account. The chances that you will receive the match are very high. Chase is very good about matching offers as long as the better offer was available to the public within the last 90 days from the time you applied. So that would give you another free 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points which are not accounted for in this projection. Almost another free domestic ticket. (If you need help with the wording of your message or any other questions, email me)
Marriott Rewards Premier Card – 50,000 bonus points + 1 free night certificate upon approval
*No min. spend – bonus miles & 1 free night on first purchase
*Annual fee waived first year
50,000 x 2 = 100,000 Marriott points + 2 free nights (category 1 – 4 )
This plan will give you the following:
5 Domestic/Hawaii tickets
- 4 tickets (100,000 British Airways Avios from British Airways Visa)
- 1 ticket ( 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points transferred to British Airways – no cost)
Additional ticket(s) – on United
- (1) 60,000 International (US to Europe) ticket or
- (2) 25,000 Domestic tickets – 10,000 points/miles left over
*Note: With British Airways you can fly to Hawaii for only 25,000 Avios (35,000 with all other airlines). British Airways award chart is distance based and not zone based. This is a huge asset with regard to Hawaii. The taxes for an award ticket are $10.90 one-way ($21.80) per ticket. So the award fees would run you $109 for the family of 5.
100,000 Marriott points + 2 free night certificates (Category 1 – 4)
Where could you stay? Well, here are your choices:
So let’s say you stayed in Maui, that would be 5 nights x 20,000 night (Category 4) plust 2 free certificate nights = 7 nights in Maui. There are many ways you could put together your accommodations but just don’t forget your 2 free night certificates can only be used up to a Category 4. You could also use more of your Ultimate Rewards points for your hotel accommodations if you don’t need the extra tickets. You can transfer Ultimate Reward points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio. So many options and beautiful properties in Hawaii! Obviously, you can go anywhere in the U.S. or Canada with this plan as well. I just picked Hawaii because so many families enjoy to go there.
YOUR TOTAL COST:
$190 – British Airways Visa annual fees
$109 – Award taxes
6 –9 points on your credit score
NOTE: All bonuses point on credit cards post at the end of the closing statement in which all required min. spend or first purchase have occurred. So you’ll have your points in the first month with the British Airways & Marriott cards. The Chase Sapphire you’ll need to meet the $3,000 min spend on both cards in 3 months. All bills, groceries, gas etc. If you need help with this read this page. Lots of creative ideas. If you really need extra help you can pay your mortgage through www.chargesmart.com or rent through http://www.williampaid.com/. They charge a fee but it’s worth it if you are having trouble meeting a min spend.
This plan definitely gives you a real nice family vacation for ALMOST free! A price the average family can afford and make happen. As always, if you need any help with your planning or have any questions don’t hesitate to email me or hit me up on live chat when you see me online.