The travel costs below are from actual clients. To protect their privacy, we’ll call one of them Emily and the other Sarah. Emily planned her trip in advance and signed up for the right credit cards to get her there. Sarah did not plan, but last minute decided to go. Emily spent $171.15 to go to Cabo, while Sarah still earned some points and free nights, she spent $1768.51 for the same trip!
Emily & Sarah came to me for advice in the fall of 2018. They wanted to learn to travel hack and earn free vacations in 2019, but also wanted to be very conservative and only open 1 or 2 credit cards. Both live in Detroit, both have boyfriends and both desired to travel in 2019.
Emily chose Cabo San Lucas as her destination. She wanted to travel in September 2019 with her boyfriend.
She researched which airlines flew to Cabo San Lucas from Detroit. She signed up for her first travel credit card in October 2018, the Delta American Express Platinum. After meeting her minimum spend of $3K over 3 mos., she earned 50,000 sign-on points.
Once her Delta American Express minimum spend was met, she researched which resort she’d like to stay at while in Cabo. She settled on the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa. In January 2019, Emily joined the Marriott Rewards program and signed up for the Marriott Bonvoy credit card, which offered her 100,000 sign-on bonus points after spending $3K over 3 mos. She used her Marriott Bonvoy card on her everyday spending, every bill, Starbucks, etc.
She booked her hotel stay at the JW Marriott (Oceanview King) using 140,000 points for 5 nights and before she had the reward points available in her Marriott account. Keep in mind, Marriott allows you to book your reservation before you have the total points needed. Marriott also rewards you a 5th night free when redeeming points. She then booked her Delta flight from Detroit to Cabo San Lucas for 40,000 points + $6.
Trip total for Emily:
photo courtesy of the JW Marriott Cabo
Sarah wasn’t sure she could commit to the same trip as Emily at the time and chose to open 1 card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve which allows flexible reward redemptions. After spending $4K over 3 mos., she was rewarded 50,000 Chase ultimate rewards. She continued to spend consistently on her Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and over the year, she collected 100,000 points. In August 2019, Sarah decided that she and her boyfriend would book the same trip to Cabo and join their friends.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t transfer her chase points to Delta, and their partner Air France point value didn’t make sense, so she researched United and other airlines. Flights ranged from $450-900 round trip.
Sarah decided to transfer her Chase Ultimate points to Marriott points at a 1:1 ratio. She also quickly signed up for Marriott Rewards. She needed 140,000 points to redeem the 5 nights, but only had 100,000 points and not enough time to award herself more points. 100,000 points could not pay for the full 5 nights and because she didn’t have the 140,000 total points, she would lose the 5th night free bonus. The room point value was 28,000/night. She booked 3 nights on points and paid out of pocket for the remaining 2 nights at $342/night + taxes $140.36 + $177.15 resort fee/taxes =$1000.51
Total trip for Sarah:
Sarah definitely learned the “planning” part of travel hacking is key to saving money!
Note: the point values and actual costs were based on Emily & Sarah’s time of travel and may not reflect today’s values.
Contact Tiffany here for a 1:1 consultation. She’ll make sure you maximize your travel hacking. Not all clients want a conservative plan. Tiffany can help you sign up for many more credit cards, earning you maximum points and avoiding the Chase 5/24 rule! During Tiffany’s 1:1 consultation, you’ll learn her many secrets she’ll never put into writing!
Tiffany is truly a credit card point guru. She was very patient and helped my husband and I navigate our credit card point game.
WE’VE SAT ON THOUSANDS OF POINTS FOR YEARS WITH NO CLUE HOW TO REALLY USE THEM. TIFFANY COACHED US HOW TO COMBINE OUR POINTS, TRANSFER POINTS AND ADD MORE POINTS THROUGH CREDIT CARD SIGN-ON BONUSES. AWESOME SERVICE.
WE OWN A SMALL BUSINESS AND HAVE ALWAYS WRITTEN CHECKS OR USED OUR DEBIT CARD EARNING ZERO TRAVEL REWARDS. WE’VE CHANGED OUR WHOLE WAY OF MANAGING MONEY AND ARE ON OUR WAY TO A FREE LUXURY VACATION THANKS TO TIFFANY.
TIFFANY HELPED MY HUSBAND AND I EARN A VACATION TO CROATIA BY USING SPECIFIC TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS ON OUR DAUGHTER’S WEDDING. WE HAD PLANNED TO WRITE CHECKS TO ALL OF THE VENDORS, SO GLAD WE MADE A 1:1 COACHING CALL.
WITH TIFFANY’S GUIDANCE, we EARNED 400,000 CREDIT CARD POINTS BUT WE DIDN’T KNOW HOW BEST TO USE THEM. WE HIRED HER TO PLAN OUR TRIP USING A COMBINATION OF POINTS, MILES AND CASH (CREDIT CARD). HIRING HER WAS THE BEST MONEY I’VE EVER SPENT. SHE WENT WAY ABOVE AND BEYOND. PARIS HERE WE COME.