Family of Five to Los Angeles/Disneyland
In our series documenting how the PEYD Team traveled this winter break using airline miles and credit card points to offset the cost of the airfare and hotels, we share our insider tricks, methods and best practices to help minimize any out-of-pocket expenses when planning one’s next vacation.
In this article, we will focus on how Eli and his family took a vacation to sunny Los Angeles, which is always a great winter destination, and with deluxe locations such as Disneyland typically part of the itinerary, it can also get quite pricy as there aren’t many discounts available for the Disneyland entrance fee. So the need to find cheap airfare and hotel options becomes even more important than for other destinations or vacation options.
Eli was able to make this trip happen without breaking the bank by racking up miles on his Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) credit card, opening new airline and hotel credit cards for him and his wife based on his everyday spending, with the intention of using these valuable miles and points towards his flights, hotel and overall travel.
One of the greatest ways to maximize reward potential using SPG points is by utilizing point transfers. Certain SPG transfers of 20,000 points or more give you an extra 5,000 points when converted to airline miles, and luckily, Virgin America is within that bonus tier.
Virgin America has direct flights to LA and, as mentioned above, is an airline partner with SPG. After researching flight options with numerous airlines, it became clear that Virgin America would offer the cheapest possible tickets for California during Eli’s preferred travel dates.
With this in mind, he opened two new Virgin America Credit Cards, in order to receive their 15,000-point bonuses after the minimum spending requirement. The 20,000 SPG points Eli had accrued plus the transfer bonus of 5,000, including the two 15,000 bonus miles he had earned with the Virgin America spending bonuses left Eli with 55,000 Virgin America miles to be used for his flights.
Eli then booked his trip for 56,000 airline miles (he had 1K in his account already). As it grew nearer to his trip, Eli checked the airfare rates for his flights and noticed that the mileage cost had gotten significantly lower than it had when he originally booked. Virgin America allows customers to cancel flights free of charge, so within a matter of minutes, Eli had cancelled and rebooked his tickets for a lesser amount of miles, saving himself 10,000 points in the process!
It was imperative for Eli and his wife that his kids spend time near a water park, and research was done to locate a hotel in the area that would accommodate these needs. There is a particular Howard Johnson in Anaheim, California that has a great water park on the premises and is just minutes from Disneyland. Howard Johnson is connected to the Wyndham hotel chain which happens to offer a credit card with a 30,000-point spending bonus… You can guess the rest! Two credit cards signups and 60,000 bonus points later, Eli had a four-night stay at this convenient hotel for free. Luckily, there were enough points left over for Eli and his family to stay at a local hotel and “crash” by a Chabad program over Shabbat—the perfect ending to a wonderful family vacation!
For more information about how you can take advantage of airline miles and credit card points and vacation in style without breaking the bank, please visit www.getPEYD.com.
Readers should keep in mind that applying for and receiving credit cards is 10 percent of your credit score, and closing them only impacts your credit line with that card.