Quick How-To on Rewards Travel

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A friend of mine had mentioned how her dream was to go to Hawaii but it just wasn't going to happen. I told her it could for almost nothing! I typed this up and sent to her and I wanted to share with everyone. It really isn't that hard to travel for free, you just have to be willing to play the game. See The Points Guy for a more in-depth points education! 


Airline (Houston to Hawaii on a United saver ticket is 90,000 for 2 people round-trip)
Chase Sapphire (1:1 transfer to United)
50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on the card in the first three months
+ 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
110,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Chase United (this bonus can bump up to 50,000 and you get 10,000 for every $25k you spend annually)
30,000 bonus miles after they spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
+ 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user (usually)
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
70,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Hotel
SPG (Sheraton/Westin brands) American Express (this bonus bumps up to 30,000 once a year)
25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
50,000 - 60,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Chase IHG Rewards Club (Holiday Inn brands)
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49
120,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Hyatt
Offers 2 free nights upon sign up. You plus a spouse could have 4 nights at any Hyatt, even their all inclusive resorts in Mexico! Hyatt has locations on Mail, Oahu and Kauai. 

Hawaii Hotels
Hawaii Island (The Big Island)
Sheraton Kona & Spa at Keauhou Bay = 10,000/night (5-6 nights)
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites: Kailua-Kona = 20,000/night (6 nights)

Maui
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa = 12,000 - 16,000/night (4-5 nights)
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa = 12,000 - 16,000/night (4-5 nights)

* A good alternative to a hotel is airbnb.com. We used this when we stayed in Maui and spent less than $100 per night. Now you probably won't be on a beach or in walking distance of a beach but you can't beat the price for Hawaii.
  1. So what you do is open award/mileage accounts with all of these brands first.
  2. Then apply for the credit card you want - First under your name, meet the spending limit and then use the referral link you'll get to sign up the other spouse. Usually these links offer 5,000 - 10,000 bonus points. Then your spouse reaches their spending limit.
  3. Then apply for the hotel card you want and do the same.
  4. After your trip, cancel your card.


A couple "disclaimers" for this type of travel
  • You need to have decent credit scores to get the credit cards
  • You need to have responsible spending habits. Use the credit card more like a charge card and pay off the balance at the end of each month
  • This may take you a year to do but you're getting a vacation for virtually free!
  • You'll want to do your best to take your trip within 12 months of getting the card or you'll get charged the annual fee at your 1 yr. anniversary. This may happen but you're still getting a trip for next to nothing.
  • Some costs: Annual credit card fees, taxes on airlines, resort fees at hotels



Happy Travels! 


No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!