The most satisfying part of writing a travel blog and the hobby of earning Travel Rewards is helping friends and family travel the world creating memories without breaking pocket. One of our best friends Steve and Joi along with their two boys (Bradley < 2 yrs and Lucas < 1 yrs) returned after spending two weeks in Italy. They visited Rome and Sorrento (Amalfi coast). Steve and Joi are well traveled around the world but recently got on board with the travel rewards program earning miles and points utilizing credit card sign-up bonuses and implementing other strategies that I now offer via my Travel Coaching program.
Steve is my office mate and also partner in crime (taking trips to Simon mall for manufactured spending). If you want to learn on ways to stay organized in this hobby Steve is your go to man !! We’ve also taken few family trips together including a recent road trip to Washington DC where we actually got paid to stay at the Hilton right next to the White house. Steve and Joi signed up for the following cards for their vacation to Italy
|Credit Card, Account||Miles or Points||Type||Benefits|
|Chase British Airways Avios||
|Avios||Companion ticket after spending 30K in calendar year|
|Barclay Arrival World Mastercard
40,000 X 2
|Travel Miles||2X points on all spending and easy travel redemption, $800 + in Travel credits from two cards one each for Steve and Joi|
|Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Card||
2 Free Nights
|Free Nights||2 Free Nights at Hilton Hotels Worldwide|
|Chase INK Business Card||
|UR Points||Points can be transferred to several airline and hotel partners or redeemed for travel discount via UR portal|
They flew Business Class on British Airways from Washington DC to Rome. Steve used 100,000 Avios and the Free companion ticket he earned by signing up for the Chase British Airways Avios Card to book these seats. British airways does charge almost $1000 fuel surcharge on award tickets which is a potential drawback.
They utilized combination of the two nights earned from the Citi Hilton cards along with cash and points to stay 4 nights at this magnificent Waldorf Astoria Rome Cavalieri (probably one of the best hotel in Rome) costing less them $300 out-of-pocket for the entire stay including access to the spa and executive lounge serving awesome gelato, wine and snacks round-the-clock. A one-night stay at this hotel can easily cost $500 a night with all the upgrades they had so its a saving of more than $1700 for a four night stay!!! And guess who was sharing the pool with them at the Hotel – Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Steve was able to keep the cost of their stay at Waldorf Astoria this low by using combination of sign-up bonus from the two Barclay Arrival cards, two nights free from the Citi Hilton Reserve card and few trips to Simon Mall for manufacture spending Barclay Arrival miles.
They used Ultimate Rewards (UR) points for the Hop-on Hop-off tour in Rome. You can use UR points to book airline, hotels, car rental and trust me even Hot air balloon ride!!! You earn UR points by signing up for Chase INK business card, Sapphire Preferred and Freedom card. I love UR points as they can be transferred to several airline and hotel partners and if you have the Chase INK card you can ramp up your UR account balance very quickly as the card offers 5X points at office stores and also telecommunication bills (phone, internet, cable etc) and 2X on gas. I love my Chase INK card and I have paid the annual fees of $95 on this card for the last two years (of-course after earning a retention bonus of 10,000 UR points when annual fees is due).
They stayed at the Hotel Capodimonte in Sorrento. This hotel is not part of any major hotel chains such as Hyatt, Hilton etc so they charged entire stay on to the Barclay Arrival Card. Steve has up to 120 days to redeem this charge (~$2000) and he has been able to secure red card/serve from family members that will help him to rack up serious manufactured spending and after redeeming the miles this stay will cost him only $800!!!
They were not ready to come back after spending quality time in Italy. The above picture of Bradley and Lucas sums up the whole trip.
Steve and his family had an amazing vacation in Italy. This vacation could have easily costed $20,000 ++ (including business class in BA, Waldorf Astoria Hotel stays, car rental, etc etc) but by smartly using bonuses from credit card sign-ups and maximizing mileage redemption this vacation will roughly cost them $3000 (or less). As part of my Travel Rewards service I can help you and your family to get to you next dream destination for pennies. Send me a note to get started with the Travel Rewards program where we will communicate over phone/skype for a few minutes to better understand your needs and then customize a game plan. Let’s make your dreams come true!!!