Want to learn to travel for (almost) free? Take inspiration from how we earn and redeem points! Here are the highlights of what Zuzu & I did in August 2023.
August Monthly Update tl:dr
While last month wasn’t a busy travel month for us, we were able to rack up quite a few points for future free travel. It also kicked off our busiest six months stretch of travel ever.
And oh yeah, we had a natural gas emergency at our house. See that video on our Facebook page.
Points Earned & Redeemed in August
Got 1 New Credit Card = $5k in Free Travel
Last month’s big news was that we earned 140,000 Chase points which is worth about $5000 in free travel to us.
For most people, the two main ways to earn a lot of points and miles is either:
- Sign up for a new credit card and get a big welcome bonus, or
- Pay your expenses on credit cards to earn points
While the majority of this huge 140k points haul was my welcome bonus on a new Chase Business credit card, Zuzu earned 40,000 points because I used her Refer-A-Friend link to apply for that card.
Since we help a lot of people figure out the best credit card for them to earn free points and miles, Refer-A-Friend bonuses are a third major source of points for us.
By the way, if you’d like free help to find the best credit card for you, we’re happy to help. It doesn’t cost you anything and we’ll earn between 15k and 40k points just for referring you!
Chase Business Credit Card
In July, I applied for the Chase Ink Business Preferred® credit card and got an automatic denial. After a short phone call with the Chase reconsideration line, they not only reversed their decision, they actually overnighted the card to me for free.
After putting a couple large business expenses on the card, I quickly hit the minimum spend to earn the 100,000 point bonus on that card.
Since I used Zuzu’s referral link, she earned 40,000 points to make our total 140,000 points for this one card.
We’ll probably use those points for free stays at Hyatt properties. On average, 1 Hyatt point is worth about four cents to us. So the math works out to:
140,000 points X $0.04 = $5500 of free travel
Over $5000 of free travel from signing up for this one credit card! Not bad, right?
Most likely, we’ll use these points to stay for free at a fancy Hyatt All Inclusive resort like Zuzu’s favorite resort: Secrets Maroma Beach.
As we noted in our July monthly update, we recently earned a 90,000 point bonus from a new American Express card. 90k AMEX points is worth roughly two free round-trip flights in coach to anywhere in the world to us.
With these 2 credit cards, we earned enough points for:
- 2 Free Round Trip Airline Tickets
- 5 Nights at a fancy All Inclusive Resort in paradise
And we earned this in less than 90 days.
World Of Hyatt Status Update
Heading into August, we had 47 nights of Hyatt stays in 2023. To maintain our top level Globalist status with Hyatt’s loyalty program through 2025, we need to hit 60 nights this year.
While we only spent one night at a Hyatt last month, it was the start of our busiest six month of leisure travel that we’ve ever had.
At the end of August, we used 3500 Hyatt points to stay at the not-so-luxurious Hyatt Place Hendersonville Nashville.
Did you catch those numbers? The 140K points we earned by getting one credit card would have paid for 40 free nights at 3500 points per night!
That night at the Hyatt Place puts us at 48 qualifying nights on our path to maintaining world of Hyatt Globalist status. With our upcoming travel, we will easily keep Globalist through another year.
Starting in September 2023, here’s the travel we’ve already booked. More importantly, we’ve already paid for all the flights and hotels with points.
Nashville Football Weekend
Two free nights in downtown Nashville on a football weekend. Free breakfast and free valet parking are included so it’ll be worth over $1100.
Would we have paid $1100 cash to stay in our hometown for a football weekend? OMG NO! Will we have a great time & enjoy this free stay? OMG YES!
New England Road Trip
We’re flying into Boston, renting a car and heading up into Maine for our 5 night New England fall road trip. Two free round-trip flights on Southwest and five free hotel rooms (with free breakfast and parking) is worth about $2000.
On top of that, we used Chase points to get our 5 day SUV rental for free! That’s another $387 we don’t have to spend thanks to credit card points!
Zion National Park Trip
This fall, we’re traveling with 11 friends to Zion National Park in Utah.
The 13 of us will spend 5 nights at a huge condo but several of us are flying out early. To keep our out-of-pocket costs down, we’re staying for free on points at a Hyatt Place for those 2 extra nights.
Zuzu and I have booked
- 2 free nights at St George Hyatt Place in Utah for 24k Hyatt points. Saved $402.
- 2 R/T flights on Southwest. Would have been $551 cash but we had some flight credits that nearly covered the full cost.
That’s close to $1000 that we’ll save by travel hacking on this trip.
Punta Cana All Inclusive Trip
After hiking around New England and Utah, we get to relax for six free nights at spectacular all inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic.
Our first class flights down and back are also completely free on points. We’ve already used points to get this $6,000 luxury vacation for free.
Turks and Caicos Vacation
Thanks to points and miles, we’ve been able to visit 6 new countries since 2021. Later this year, we’ll visit new country #7: Turks & Caicos!
Zuzu & I used 175k Hyatt points to book 5 free nights at the luxurious Point Grace Resort. While we’ll have some out of pocket expenses, we’re saving almost $7000 on hotel and airfare.
Cancun all inclusive
For our fourth trip to Mexico since 2021, we used points to get two free round-trip tickets in First Class and five free nights at the wonderful Hyatt Ziva Cancun.
We even used a free Suite Upgrade Award (SUA’s are a free benefit to Hyatt Globalists) to confirm a huge Ocean-Front corner Suite with Club Lounge access.
Future Travel Summary
Whew, that’s alot!
Even though we’ve been traveling for free since 2021, it’s still incredible to think what we’ve got booked over the next 5 months.
That’s 10 roundtrip flights, 9 hotels/resorts and 1 shared condo totaling 30 nights away from home.
BTW, I know most people can’t take 30 vacation days over 5 months. It’s extreme even for us. We have flexibility because I work for myself and Zuzu works PRN in healthcare. Neither of us get any PTO (Paid Time Off).
While we’ll have out-of-pocket costs of maybe $2-3k for these 6 trips (that condo is the largest chunk), we’ve used points and miles to cover around $18,000 in hotels and about $7,000 in flights.
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For these 6 trips, we redeemed about 1 million points. Even after using points to pay for all these upcoming trips, we’ve still got over 1 MILLION POINTS and Miles in our accounts!
- Chase Points: 532,306 (worth about 3.9 cents each)
- Amex Points: 551,503 (worth about 1.6 cents each)
- Hyatt Points: 46,270 (worth about 3.9 cents each)
- Southwest Points: 17,007 (worth about 1.5 cents each)
- AA Points: 31,847 (worth about 1.7 cents each)
Based on how we’ve used points in the past, those points should be worth about $32,183 of free travel to us. Last month, our points and miles balance was worth about $27,075 so our stash for future travel is up about $5,108 month over month.
On this travel hacking blog, SEO traffic was up from 6150 in July to 7270 in August. Also hit a new all-time high with 296 visits (from Google) on August 14!
I published two new blog posts and updated several existing posts:
- Globalist Benefits at Hyatt All Inclusive Resorts
- July 2023 Monthly Travel Hacking Update
- Chase Reconsideration Line Experience
- How We Stay for Free at Resorts
September is all about football and New England for us. While Zuzu’s looking forward to Acadia National Park, this travel geek is pretty excited about getting to review the new Chase Sapphire Lounge in Boston Airport.
We probably won’t get any new credit cards in September so I expect our points balance will either decrease or at least not jump as much as it did the previous months.
How Can We Help You Travel?
If you want to start traveling on points and miles, I’d love to help you just like I helped our other friends. I don’t charge to help you.
If you decide to apply for a card, I’d appreciate it if you use our referral links.
Just drop us a note on the Contact Us page and we’ll come up with a free custom plan for how You Get To Travel!
Or, you can download our free eBook: Ultimate Guide to Free Luxury Travel!