Do you have what it takes to pursue the Points and Miles challenge? I’m not so sure…

Three years ago, I decided to take the “Hobby” of earning Travel Points and Miles seriously. I immersed myself in learning the “in’s & out’s” and after formulating a mediocre plan, I leapt from the proverbial edge and went all in. Three years, 14+ credit cards and 3,500,000 various points/miles later, I’m exhausted.

There is NO rest in this pursuit. Deals, opportunities, angles and tactics changes hourly. You must read, research and learn the nuances of every credit card, hotel chain, airline and car rental perk, challenge, coupon, offer and status opportunity available for the program that meets your goals. You must also learn about programs outside your sphere as they are often a “back door” to a program that is within your focus ie. booking with Alaska Air for an American Airlines flight when Alaska, who will take American Airlines Miles, requires less to do the same thing, yet you still board an American Airlines plane. It is literally like drinking from a fire hose.

The resources are easily available, but if you want to be at the “top of your game,” you must put in the time and effort. This, plus maintaining websites, blogs and writing books about what you’ve learned and experienced, make for a full day.

The reward? I have the ability to travel anywhere, in any way, for free; like I need more demands on my time. Ironically, the pursuit can become more interesting that the actual reason you started; to see the world in ways that most are unable; the most exotic cities, the best hotels and flights etc.

Having said all that, I do love it so. There is no greater thrill than to obtain top-tier hotel status, fly first class and see the world “simply” by accumulating points and miles. It becomes a type of currency that you earn through hard work, effort and being a step ahead. It can be glorious, but be warned, it is all-consuming and definitely not for the faint of heart. You’ll go to bed thinking about it and you’ll get up thinking about it. If your fortunate though, the bed you’re in will be in a place that is absolutely incredible.

 

Advertisements

Traveling Zen:::The Paperback Version is now Available!

Take me to AMAZON! 541E949B-10DF-4C91-810B-E2CFD159074D.jpeg

Trying Something New; A Video

Some thoughts just have to be spoken. Let me know what you think. I know it’s too long, but if you survive, an opinion would be appreciated. I’m reading and at few points the language gets kinda “salty”. 🤭🤓

Orlando, Florida! No Snow Here

I highly recommend getting away to Orlando if it’s cold where you are.  It’s a wonderful feeling to wear a t-shirt in January. Points and Miles work Great here!

  1. Fairfield by Marriott 3 nights $853.00 or 30,000 Points ($270.00 in value). Used 30k Points!
  2. Silvercar, Audi for 3 days $126.00 or free with Sapphire Reserve $300.00 Credit. Used Sapphire!
  3. Uber from Airport. Free with AMEX Platinum $15.00 each month Uber Credit.
  4. 2 Allegiant Air r/t tickets. $210.00. Used Ritz-Carlton $300 Credit to pay for carry-on, seats and priority boarding (2018) Bought Tickets In 2017 using Ritz-Carlton 2017 Credit. Total cost $0
  5. Ate on the plane $16.00 or free with Ritz-Carlton Credit. Free

Total out of pocket for 4 days 3 nights in Orlando. $0.00. Even the 30k for Marriott were from a sign up bonus. Probably will cancel Ritz-Carlton next month when renewal comes. Anyway, enjoy the view!

 

Going From A to B. The Second Half of 2017; By the Numbers.

 

Our return from St. Louis marked the end of our 2017 Travels.  It’s been an amazing year and I am looking forward to 2018.  Our next trip is to Florida in January. In an article dated July 31st, 2017, I broke the numbers down for the first half of our year.  I’ll list the numbers for the second half of the year and then I’ll do a grand total for 2017. We started the second half with a trip to Santa Fe, NM and ended the year in St. Louis, MO.

  1. 12 trips, ranging from 1-7 days
  2. Stayed in 12 different hotel Brands
  3. Stayed in 1 VRBO
  4. Stayed in 1 AirBnB
  5. Flew ~11,000 Air Miles
  6. Drove ~8,740 Miles
  7. Rented 6 Vehicles
  8. Used 3 Ubers
  9. Endured 9 different Airports
  10. Held Lilly’s hand for 24 airplane take-offs and landings
  11. Visited 12 US States

Clearly the second half of the year was a bit more sedate than the first half.

Here are the combined numbers for Travelinggump.com’s 2017 Travels:

  1. 28 Trips, ranging from 1-17 days.
  2. Stayed a total of 119 nights in various Hotels
  3. Stayed in 2 VRBO’s
  4. Stayed in 1 AirBnB
  5. Flew ~60,000 Air Miles
  6. Drove ~15,440 Miles
  7. Rented 13 vehicles
  8. Endured 31 Airports ( A few more than once).
  9. Held Lilly’s hand for 86 take-offs and landings
  10. Visited 19 US States
  11. Visited 5 different Countries
  12. Took 7 buses
  13. Took 4 Taxi’s
  14. Used Uber 9 times
  15. Used Lyft once
  16. Used one Roller Coaster to get to and from the Great Wall of China
  17. Used 3 Tuk-Tuks
  18. Added well over 1.5 Million Points/Miles to my travel portfolio
  19. Reached Diamond status with Hilton, Platinum with Marriott/Ritz and Starwood, Spire Elite with IHG (Intercontinental and Holiday Inn) and Discoverist with Hyatt (Ho-Hum).
  20. Loved Every Single Minute Of It All! (except maybe the tummy bug I caught in Vietnam, not so much).

Wishing you Happy Travels and a Wonderful 2018!

Michael

That Points WOW Moment! And it’s a Big WOW!

It’s Wednesday and we’re siting on the couch.  Bored.  Lilly says “the Santa Fe (New Mexico) Indian Market is this weekend”.  Now, this is our only open weekend for the next month and maybe we should stay home and do housy stuff, right?…No way! Roadtrip!

The issues: 1.  The Santa Fe Indian Market is a big deal and getting a Hotel room two days before it starts could be an expensive problem.  2.  Santa Fe is a 12 hour drive.  3.  We need a Hotel on the way there, one when we actually get there and one on the way back, (my ass isn’t driving 12 hours in a row if I don’t have too).  I know, a three night trip like this is a bit impulsive but it’s SANTA FE!  Live a little…

The Solution:  The first place to reserve a Hotel is Santa Fe.  I mean, this is all just academic if we can’t find a room there.  I check the usual suspects and Hilton is the only one and they want $783.00 for the night.  Yeah, No, not paying that; let’s check points, 50,000, sounds like a lot right, not really.  Hilton points are worth the least (.006) of any Hotel chain that I watch.   In addition, they are easy to get.  The American Express Hilton Surpass card usually comes with around 80,000 points if you sign up and follow the rules.  50,000 points is worth around $300.00 (50,000 x .006).  I like this, but what about taxes?  Look below, I printed it as if I was going to pay for the room with cash. $901.96 or 50,000 points ($~300 in value and taxes are included).  I used points (Duh) and booked the room.  Also, because I keep an eye out for Hilton promo’s etc, there is no way that I spent $300.00 to acquire those points, most likely a third of that.

For one of the other nights, Marriott was the clear choice.  Marriott points are worth ~ .009 each, making 10,000 Marriott points worth about $90.00.  So, I booked the room using points instead of paying the $149.15.  Again, watch for Marriott Promo’s.  The Chase Marriott credit card also is usually available with 80,000 points if you follow their terms.  I don’t have $90.00 invested in that 10,000, most likely about $25-30.

The third night, I’m paying for the room ($130.00) to complete an IHG (Holiday Inn) promo.

This will be a 1700 mile, 4 day roadtrip.  How about a rental car?  Silvercar isn’t available (ugh) so I’m forced to wade into rental car hell.  After the usual headaches, Hertz emerged from the abyss with a full-size vehicle at $69.00 for 4 days.  I had some old Hertz points lying around and got the price down to $36.00.  Booked with Chase Sapphire Reserve for the Primary Collision Insurance.  So that’s that and we’re on the road again!

Happy Travels