A few days ago I saw a post on another blog I follow that talked about how using miles and points for free flights and hotels is a lot like using coupons for travel
. I really like the idea but I’m not exactly sure how all of that works, so I contacted the blogging brothers atwww.worldwanderlusting.com and just turned my predicament over to them: I’d like to go to Disneyworld next year and spend the least amount of money possible. Here’s what they came up with:
Brett- We appreciate the challenge and we’re up to it. A Disneyworld trip is something every young family has to do, and it’s almost never cheap. We’re about to show you how it can be.
We’ll start with this: You can stay at this Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort for 3,000-4,000 Starwood points per night. What that means is that you can only stay 8-10 nights for free with the 30k SPG points you’ll have after applying for and receiving (10k) the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card, meeting the spending requirement (5k) and getting the bonus (15k). The “catch” is that you do have to spend at least $5,000 on the card within the first six months of having it. If that’s a problem, you could look at applying for the Chase Marriott Card, which gives you a free night plus 50k Marriott points after your first purchase. Then you could base your Orlando Vacation at the Courtyard International Boulevard Hotel, but at 15k points per night, you’d burn through those a little faster. Either way, with some responsible use of your credit, you’re able to secure $600-$1200 in travel benefits.
Maybe you’re warming up to the idea…after booking 18 free nights in various hotels over the past couple of years, I can tell you that we’re more than warmed up to it… we’re burning with the wanderlust.
Now, how will you get there? The best rates on flights we’re finding from Newark to Orlando are Southwest’s “Wanna Get Away” fares for $114 each way. Paying cash you’d be up to $1150 for the five of you. But we don’t like to pay cash.. it’s not enough to fly cheaply… we like to fly for free. Southwest lets you redeem their points on “Wanna Get Away” fares at a rate of 60:$1, so you’d need about 69,000 of them. We’d suggest that you get 53,000 of them from transferring the Chase Ultimate Reward Points you get as a bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
(with a $3,000 minimum spend). You’re on your own for the other 16k unless you want to pick up the same card for your spouse. (Something we’ve made a habit out of). In that case, you could use the remaining points to book yourself a rental car, transfer them to Amtrak to complete your commute, or start planning your next free vacation.
If you’re not Disney-drooling yet, then we’re not doing our job. We don’t want to stop there, so we’d also recommend that you check in on the Orlando Craigslist to pick up some park-hopper passes at a nice discount (as always beware of scammers). We could also start to get into buy-one-get-one free dinner coupons, but then we’re entering into your territory.
If you like these ideas, stop in on us from time to time to see what we’re dreaming up. There’s always something we’re working on. Sheldon will be taking a tour of Alpine Europe
in April, and I (Brad) will be Caribbean Cruising
by this time next week.