After our son left to the Army, it was very hard for us to do a family trip. After he was enlisted our trips changed and our focus was more to see him during boot camp, graduation, and his new locations.

So we planned as much as we could to see each other and be that family of four. After a few years planning those type of family gets together, this trip would be different, we get to explore Europe together.

You never know why things happen in life, looking back I could see during those times is when we started to learn about points and miles. Those came in handy for the family gets together and now we were ready to go to Europe as a family again.

No matter what is your goal and reason to travel, one thing we have in common is booking the trip for a lot less.  That is when the points and miles come in, you don’t have to be a pro, we all learn as we go, we started mid-2015 and so far we traveled to many places thanks to getting the right credit cards.

Why did we pick these locations? 

We planned a trip with our son for May but a few months before he let us know they had given him a mandatory training and he wouldn’t be able to go on that trip but only in July he would be able to take.

This was heartbreaking to hear since we booked the trip in May for his birthday and had the cruise set up as well, so the May trip was impossible to cancel.  Instead, we did our May trip with other family members and then started to plan a new one with my family for the month of July.

We had used most of our points for the trip in May and only had a few points to use for this new trip we didn’t plan for. The challenge was booking a trip during the month of July (high season) for a family of 4, and in about 2 months before.

In addition, we only had a few points to spare on a few cards.  So after a few weeks checking the available trips and seeing how many points it would be.  We were able to visit places we didn’t even plan to.

The points we used were mostly from SPG, American Airlines, Flying Blue and Chase credit card.  Combining the points we all had in our Chase accounts helped us to transfer them into one account. Looking back it amazes me how we were able to pull this off in such a short time.

What helped us was applying to the top credit cards like the ones I mentioned above, through time we kept using every single one of them and accumulated for a time like this.

How did we used our points to cover flight tickets for 4? 

Our itinerary with the points we used for each flight

One way – Florida to Venice Italy

  • American Airlines 30k x 4 (120k Points) Reg $3735 ea  – Amount Paid $22.40 (taxes) ea

One way – Venice to Amsterdam

  • Flying Blue 11k x 4 (44k Points) Reg $403 ea – Amount Paid $28.19 (taxes) ea

One way – Amsterdam to Ireland

  • Chase Credit Card (40,264 Points) Reg $152 ea – Amount Paid $0

One way – Ireland to Florida

  • SPG (United Airlines) 30k x 4 (120k Points) Reg $1903 ea – Amount Paid $140.84 (taxes all)

 

Total Points used 324,264

Estimated Total Amount of $24,772 

Actual Amount Paid $343.20 (all taxes)

When I first started to learn about miles and points seeing 300k points used for a trip, I would feel overwhelmed.  In most trips, I saw that amount of points were used for 2 people but getting some of the best seats like First or Business Class (which is not bad at all).

Taking your time to do your research and applying to the right credit cards is key. Hopefully, this trip shows you it can be done, we used the points we had to make this last minute trip happened.  But if you want to do a similar trip booking it another month that is not so busy will make it a lot easier with a lot fewer points.

We booked some trips before mostly early May and the points were a lot less, for this trip we had no other choice but to travel during July, that being said we are so happy we had the points available.

We shared some tips or previous post about this trip, here are a few

Just using a few credits cards and taking advantage of those points we were able to pay for only taxes $343.20 and saved a total amount of $24,428.80.  Hope this inspires you to start planning a nice trip while saving a lot too..