The following is the true story of how RewardStock users Hud and Vicki traveled First Class across the globe for a trip of a lifetime, paid for primarily with points!
My wife Vicki and I have a goal to visit 60 countries and all 7 continents by 60 years old. Taking a luxury trip across Asia seemed like a great way to work towards that goal!
We began planning 1 year prior to our trip, beginning with very low points balances. Our full breakdown is below, but to summarize, we were able to fund our trip by each applying for two new credit cards, earning big sign-on bonuses, combining those points with our existing points and making some smart transfers and partner redemptions. After doing the research, I knew that I wanted to book with American Airlines miles and that these flights would cost 110,000 miles per person, round trip in Business Class. In fact, booking the trip in business class was really our goal. So then it was down to planning our applications and transfers strategy, also outlined below. In the process of executing that strategy, I found that we had some extra spending and additional travel on American Airlines which allowed us to earn enough points to upgrade from Business Class to First Class, for a total of 50,000 more AA miles. Let’s dig in and see how it all went down.
Here’s what we started with:
We were still a long way from the points we would need for this trip, so we developed a points acquisition strategy as follows:
We met the required spending (about $4,000) in two months and got the bonus points credited to our accounts. You may be thinking, “but you’ve ruined your credit, right?” Not at all. My Credit Score before applying for these cards was about 770. My Credit Score after all this is about 790. That’s one area people really misunderstand! Applying for 2 credit cards will not ruin your score. It’s what you do once you have them matters most!
So then it was just a matter of allocating those points strategically. After making those transfers, we now had enough points for the redemptions and hit the road:
We took advantage of partner redemptions to get there:
Done and done! First Class round trip flights to Hong Kong for two. $198.20 of taxes and fees was all the cash required for those flights that retailed for nearly $40,000.00!
Because we’d basically paid for that entire flight with points, we were able to add on a few other destinations while we were in Asia. We booked another flight with points to go to Singapore, and bought a few cheap flights to add Phuket and Bangkok to the itinerary! All told, we spent less than $245 per person for those additional paid flights, and with all the money we saved, we had cash for activities and fine dining.
We had a lot of fun with Lucy the elephant!
Now we’re on to planning our next trip. 60 countries here we come!