Free Flights and Hotels – How We Got a $1,391.80 Trip to Seattle for $296

Have you ever wondered how people can afford traveling so frequently?  Well by leveraging points and miles, Taylor and I were able to take a vacation worth $1,391.80 for the price of $296.   Here’s the breakdown of our travel costs (not including miscellaneous expenses, meals, gas, etc).

Check out a previous post on how we accumulated over half a million points in 11 months!

5 Days 4 Nights Seattle Vacation – Travel Costs

Travel Item Dollar Value
 Hilton Garden Inn  $155
 Homewood Suites (Hilton)  $312
 Double Tree Seattle Airport  $206
 Alaska Airline LAX to SEA (2 Round-Trip Tickets)  $422.80
 Airbnb Sequim  $97
 Avis Rental Car  $199
Total Travel Costs  $1,391.80

As you can see from the table above, the total travel costs for our 4-night / 5-day vacation cost $1,391.80.  This price does not include meals, drinks, gas, and other miscellaneous items.  Luckily we travel hack so we can cut down our vacation costs significantly allowing us to travel more!

In May of this year, I knew Taylor and I wanted to go on a trip in August so I started looking for credit card sign-up bonuses tailored towards our interests.  Our focus was on hotel points since we already accumulated a lot of miles.  With the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card,  I accumulated 100,000 chase ultimate reward points back in December 2016.  I still have plenty of those points remaining and used roughly 28,000 points for our airfare.  The real challenge for this trip was coming up with enough hotel points to cover our hotel nights.

Finding the Right Card For Your Upcoming Trip

Always look for a card with a high sign-up bonus!  When you monitor sign-up bonuses you will start to notice when offers are higher than usual.  My goal in late spring was to find a hotel credit card with a significant sign-up bonus.  Luckily my timing was perfect and a great hotel card sign-up bonus promotion had just launched.

Hilton’s Promotional 100K Point Sign Up Offer

Hilton recently had a 100,000 point sign-up bonus offer if you spend $3,000 in 3 months.  I realized with the 25,000 Hilton points I already accumulated, an additional 100,000 points would get me at least 3 hotel nights!  So I applied for the Hilton American Express Surpass credit card, met the spending minimum and next thing you know my points accumulated to 125,000!  After that, I headed over to www.hilton.com and started searching for redeemable nights with the best redemption value!

How I Used Our Points and Miles to Save Over $1,000

Below is a breakdown of how many points were redeemed for each travel item.

Hotels and Airfare Paid Using Points
Hotel / Airline Dollar Value Points Redeemed Redemption Used
 Hilton Garden Inn  $155  30,000  Hilton Points
 Homewood Suites (Hilton)  $312  60,000  Hilton Points
 Double Tree Seattle Airport  $206  30,000  Hilton Points
 Alaska Airline LAX to SEA  $422.80  28,126  Chase Ultimate Rewards
Total Saved Using Points $1,095.80 148,126

Unfortunately, there are some items on the list that we decided not to use points for and paid out of pocket.

Hotels and Rental Car Paid Out of Pocket
Hotel / Airline Dollar Value Redemption Used
Airbnb Sequim $97 None Paid Cash
Avis Rental Car $199 None Paid Cash
Total Paid Out of Pocket $296
Travel Hack Award – Cut My Vacation By $1,095!

 

This article shows you a real use case of a planned vacation leveraging points and miles.  The goal is to obtain free flights and hotels and when done properly it is easily achieved!  You can use these strategies asap and get on with your way of traveling for next to nothing.

If you have a big purchase coming up, check out some tips here and save big!  If you have any questions about credit cards check out credit cards best practices or post a question in the comments below!

 

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