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 July 2023.
July Monthly Update tl:dr
July was a fun but very different month for Zuzu and me. Our travel highlight was actually turning a profit on a big family beach trip.
On a recently opened Amex credit card, we earned 90k points on a welcome bonus worth $1440 of free travel. I applied for a new Chase credit card, got denied, and quickly got the decision reversed. Chase then sent the new card overnight for free.
The welcome bonuses on those 2 cards will earn us enough points to cover a free vacation at an All Inclusive Resort.
Zuzu flew solo for the 1st time in years and we booked several hotels for future trips. A $1400 car repair (ugh) netted us $280 of free travel and we finally hit the 1 Million Milestone on our points and miles balance. That’s right, including all our accounts, we’re sitting on just over 1 million points & miles!
On a final note, my credit score went up again. Some people think that opening multiple credit cards hurts your credit score. For me, it’s been the opposite. My credit score has never been higher.
Points Earned & Redeemed in July
Family Vacation to Myrtle Beach
Since the 1960’s, Zuzu’s family has regularly vacationed in Myrtle Beach. Here’s how we actually made a profit on this trip!
My mother in law (who just bragged about her $6 weekly grocery bill), treated 4 generations of us to a week in a huge 8 bedroom condo on the beach.
This large beach rental condo was $7631 for 7 nights. Instead of Grandmomma paying directly, I paid on my Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card and she reimbursed me. I earned over 22k Chase points which is worth $915 to me.
Our charges for gas, food and a Floyd’s Motel t-shirt (where the family stayed in the 60’s & 70’s) was around $1105 and we earned ~3000 points (worth $120). But since we always offer to put group charges on Zuzu’s Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, we got reimbursed around $400 of that.
Thanks to Grandmomma’s generosity, this vacation was only $700 out of pocket and we earned points worth $1315. That’s a nice profit of $615 for a week at the beach!
Football Rooms Booked
It’s almost Football Time in Tennessee! We booked free rooms at the Holston House in Nashville and we didn’t use any points!
One of my favorite Hyatt Globalist benefits is Hyatt Points Advance booking aka insufficient points bookings. Globalists can book a room on points and not be charged the points until right before the stay.
Since we’re unsure of whether we’ll stay 1 night or 2 nights for this game, this was a perfect way to lock in the rooms without tying up any of our points!
Zuzu’s Solo Flight
Our daughter just moved from Nashville to Washington DC. Zuzu drove up & flew back on Southwest from Reagan National. Even though we’ve flown dozens of times together, this was one of the few times that she’s flown by herself.
Instead of paying $170 for a one way ticket, we used 10k Southwest points and only paid $5.60 for tax & fees.
Punta Cana All Inclusive Booked
While we were already excited about our upcoming trip to a pair of All Inclusive resorts, it just went to another level. Our friends Ron & Rebecca are going to meet us in Punta Cana!
For the 1st time since we started traveling so much, our schedules finally lined up to vacation together. And they’re staying for free on points, too!
To get the 190k Hyatt points they need, the 2 of them will sign up for these 3 cards:
With those cards, they’ll earn more than enough Chase points (which transfer to Hyatt points) for 6 free nights: 2 at Secrets Cap Cana and 4 at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. That’s $4,000 of All Inclusive luxury for free!
Earned 90k Amex Bonus
There are 2 main way to earn points and miles:
- Spending on credit cards
- Earning a Welcome Bonus on new credit cards
In July, we reached the required spend to earn a 90,000 point Welcome Bonus on a new Amex credit card. Those points are worth about $1440 in free travel to us.
New Chase Credit Card Denied & then Approved
Since we finished the minimum spend on that Amex card and earned the welcome bonus, I decided to apply for a new Chase card with a 100k point welcome bonus!
100,000 Chase points are worth about $3,900 in free travel to us.
For the 1st time since 2021, I got denied!
However, I called the Chase Reconsideration Line and, after a 28 minute phone call, they reversed the decision to APPROVED!
Wonder why my application was denied and then approved? Read the full story about my Chase Reconsideration Line experience.
Highest Credit score Ever!
My credit score went up a few points in July. It’s never been higher.
btw, when I called the Chase Reconsideration Line, the agent told me I had the 2nd highest credit score that she’d ever seen.
“How does getting multiple credit cards impact my credit score?” is one of the most common questions I get from friends who are interested in how we earn points and miles. After 2.5 years of earning a crazy amount of credit card rewards, my credit score is higher than ever.
First rule of credit cards: Pay off every card on-time, in-full, every month! If you don’t, the banks win & you lose.
World of Hyatt Status
No change in our Hyatt status in July. Zuzu & I love our Globalist perks and are currently at 47 of 60 nights on our way to extending status thru 2025.
In June, I used $600 in Dell credits (from an Amex card) to get a pair of Bose surround sound speakers.
Since I get that same $600 credit every half year, I finished my home theater with an almost free Bose subwoofer in July. These Dell credits help offset the annual fees I pay for the credit cards.
On this travel hacking blog, SEO traffic was up from 5010 in June to 6150 in July. Also hit a new all-time high with 287 visits (from Google) on July 31!
I published two new blog posts and updated several existing posts:
Hooray! For the 1st time, we’ve got over 1 MILLION POINTS and Miles in our accounts!
- Chase Points: 456,180 (worth about 3.9 cents each)
- Amex Points: 541,458 (worth about 1.6 cents each)
- Hyatt Points: 270 (worth about 3.9 cents each)
- Southwest Points: 4665 (worth about 1.5 cents each)
- AA Points: 31,847 (worth about 1.7 cents each)
Based on how much value we’ve gotten from these points in the past, those points should be worth about $27,075 of free travel to us. That’s up $2712 since last month.
Like I said, the 90,000 point bonus for meeting minimum spend on our new AMEX card was a huge chunk of the points we earned in July. Here are the major ways we earned points in July:
- 90k points, reached AMEX Welcome Bonus
- 3k points, group spend during the family vacation
- 7k points, $1400 auto repair earned 5 points per $1
- ~5k points, other regular household spend
- ~20k points, reimbursed business expenses
As I mentioned earlier, we opened a new Chase card in July that will earn 100k points once we hit the minimum spend. I’ve got a few business expenses coming up so I know that we’ll earn those points pretty quickly.
Kroger Fuel Points
We also earned about 1500 Kroger Fuel Points in July. These points save us about 1.5 cents each on gas so that’s a total of $22 in gas savings.
Everyone Gets To Travel
Last month, my brother reached out for my advice and got a new Chase Sapphire Preferred® card through our referral links.
He just signed a contract for a major renovation on his house. The contractor accepts credit cards and will gladly take multiple payments. His 1st payment will earn him a welcome bonus worth several hundred dollars of free travel.
Pro Tip: Any time you have a major expense upcoming, it’s a great time to open a new credit card and earn a lot of points. Most travel rewards cards offer HUGE welcome bonuses after hitting a minimum spend.
The 2nd rule of credit cards is: Make sure you hit your Welcome Bonus!
Since we applied for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card in July, meeting the minimum spend in 90 days and getting the 100k point welcome bonus is our top priority.
And because we transfer most of our Chase points to Hyatt, 100k Hyatt points are worth close to $4,000 in free travel to us.
If you’ve got a business or even a side hustle, this limited time offer on the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a big opportunity. To earn the 100,000 point welcome bonus, the minimum spend is greatly reduced to only $8,000 vs the normal $15k minimum.
Like I said, if you’ve got a small business, this is a great offer. And if you’re interested, I’d appreciate you applying through my referral link: Chase Ink Business Card.
And if you’re one of my SEO & digital marketing friends, this is the best credit card for Google Ads and Facebook ads.
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!