Our family loves deals. We should have a secret signal to each other for when we see our friends’ eyes start glazing over as we talk about the latest deal we got at the thrift store/garage sale/side of the road.
The deal we can’t stop talking about is traveling with miles and points, most of which we accrued through credit card bonuses. It is a hobby (obsession?) that has allowed us to travel around the world without having to budget for it.
In the past few years, we’ve been to California, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Cancun, the Philippines, Florida, New Orleans — and more — without ever paying for a flight. I’ve begun to see it like a game, and if you win, you get to travel for (almost) free and the big banks pay for it!
I got my first credit card for earning miles when I was 21 and planning a 6 week trip to Europe after graduating college. That sign up bonus allowed me to fly to Germany, Croatia, and back home (with a bunch of paid train travel in between). I dabbled in credit cards and points for the next 10 years, focusing on earning enough for flights here and there.
When our family decided to adopt internationally, I kicked it into high gear. Between a benefit from my husband’s work and the US government’s generous adoption tax credit, we knew we had most of our adoption costs covered except for travel. So I decided to step up our miles & points game so that we could cover the bulk of our adoption travel with points.
And we did! I developed some systems to streamline the process and kicked our earning into high gear. Miles and points helped us reduce our travel costs by at least $4000 when we traveled to the Philippines to adopt our son in May 2017. We were able to bring 3 adults (thanks for coming, Mom!) and 2 kids. Our total costs for that trip were around $1000 (including lodging and food–they actually could have been less if we had used hotel points for the whole time but we had a certain guesthouse we wanted to stay at).
By the time we had those systems in place, I just stayed in high gear and we haven’t stopped since.
There are lots of great blogs and forums which can give you all the information you need to do this well. My favorite is Doctor of Credit, which I read almost every day. As I’ve begun advising family and friends on which credit card to get to meet their travel goals, I’ve realized most people don’t want to read all the info that’s available out there, they just want to get a good deal and they want someone to give them some solid advice.
That’s what this website is here for! This is my hobby and I have too much info floating around it my head for my own good. I want to share it with people that can benefit. I’m hoping this site serves as a guide for you to get started with miles and points in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming.