Travel coaching

Friends return from an Amazing Family trip to Italy

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.

Rome Coliseum

Outside the Coliseum in Rome

Introduction

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

100,000

 Avios Companion ticket after spending 30K in calendar year
Barclay Arrival World Mastercard

x 2

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

50,000

UR Points Points can be transferred to several airline and hotel partners or redeemed for travel discount via UR portal
Bradley Business Class

Bradley had his own seat in the Business Class of British Airways. Getting pampered at a young age

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.

Waldorf Astoria Rome

Bradley treated like Royalty at Waldorf Astoria in Rome

imperialClub

The executive lounge at Waldorf Astoria – Complimentary Breakfast, Booze and hors d’oeuvres is what they enjoyed every day!!

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.

Lunch Italy

Enjoying a relaxing lunch in Amalfi, Italy

BA Business Class

How do they look so fresh and happy after a long International flight? Oh let me guess – they traveled Business class on British Airways

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).

P1010786

Pompeii, Italy

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!!!

P1010802

Beautiful Amalfi Coast

Positano

Day Trip to Positano

P1010790

PS – Lucas is holding a lemon and not a Watermelon!!

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.

Bottomline

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!!!

Categories: Barclaycard, Chase Ink, Citi Credit Cards, Friends Travel, Italy, Travel coaching | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Have you started your mileage run for 2015?

[Disclosure: I do  earn referral for some of the credit cards in this post. Thanks for the support if you ever apply through the site.  To find other top deals check out the top credit card offers or you can also check offer at creditcards.com.]

January is coming to a close and I hope you have started your mileage run for 2015 or your first App-O-Rama. If you have not there are still some limited time offer you can capitalize on such as the US Airways Premier World Mastercard. I am not sure how long this card will be around but it is a quick and easy 50,000 miles for a $89 annual fees (not waived) and no minimum spending (which is great!!) and there have been reports via flyertalk of getting this card more than once (I got denied after applying for my second card and received a letter stating I already have enough open credit with them so the trick could be calling Barclays before applying for the second US Airways card and reducing your line of credit). I applied for the below three cards for myself and one for my wife. Below are the results –

Credit Card, Account or Spend Miles or Points Type Cost / Minimum Spend
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

85,000

Club Carlson Points 50,000 points after first purchase and 35,000 after spending $2500 in first 90 days, $75 annual fees
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

50,000 X 2

Amex Reward Points $1000 spend in 3 months, annual fee waived 1st year. This was a limited time offer. Current offer is for 25,000 points
US Airways Premier World Mastercard

50,000

US Air/AA Miles I got denied as this was my second card and did not get lucky as some others have reported

I will pay $75 in annual fees for first year and earn 100,000 Amex membership points (can be transferred to other partners) and 85,000 Club Carlson points which can be used up to nine night stay at some properties and utilizing several promotions such as second night free for stay of two nights or more for holders of Club Carlson Premier Rewards Credit Card

Strategy for a couple  to stay  5 days in a Top Hotel and fly for almost free to any destination ?

Here is a simple strategy using credit card sign-up and some limited time offers that a couple can utilize and travel for almost free to most destinations in US, Caribbean, Mexico.

Credit Card, Account or Spend Miles or Points Type Cost / Minimum Spend
US Airways Premier World Mastercard X 2 (one each for hubby and wifey)

100,000

US Air/AA Miles $89 X 2 Annual Fees Not waived, but its like getting 4 domestic roundtrip -US tickets for less than $200 and no minimum spending
Chase INK  Business Plus

50,000

Ultimate Rewards Points $5000 spending in three months, Points can be transferred to Hyatt and other hotels to get some real good value
Capital One Ventures Rewards Credit Card

44,000 points

Travel Credit of $440 $3000 spend in 3 months, annual fee waived 1st year. Can be used towards any expenses such as rental cars, check-in bags and hotel taxes and tariff
Citi Hilton Reserve Card

2 Free weekend Nights at some classy Hiltons worldwide and free Gold status

Hilton Hhonors $95 Annual fees not waived. Gold status at Hilton is great value as it gets you free breakfast, upgrades and lot more!! $2500 in purchases within first 4 months
Total – 5 Credit cards between 2 people 150,000 Miles and Points , $440 Travel credit and 2 nights at Hilton  $295 Annual fees out of pocket for first year for some fabulous travel

I think its a great value you are getting (4 domestic tickets, 5-7 night stays and $440 travel credit) in the first year even after paying $295 in annual fees. Just a word of caution that Capital one does a credit check on all three bureaus unlike other credit card issuers who typically just check one. You may also consider the Barclay Arrival World Elite Master Card which also gives you $440 in travel credits and is one of my favorite cards out there and that is the reason I am keeping it  for the second year.

I am offering FREE Travel coaching to help you plan your next trip. This will typically be done via skype/phone call for a 30 minute consultation. Feel free to drop me a line I’d love to hear from you.

Categories: Capital one, Chase, Hilton, Travel coaching, US Airways | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.