Want to learn to travel for (almost) free? Take inspiration from how we earn and redeem points! Here’s how we got $5,215 of free travel in September 2023.
September Monthly Update tl:dr
September kicked off our busiest stretch of leisure travel ever. Starting Sept 1, we’ve got a ridiculous 30 days of vacation over the next 5 months!
Points Earned & Redeemed in September
Over the course of 2 trips, we used points to pay for 7 nights at 4 different hotels in September. Zuzu & I also flew round trip on Southwest with no out of pocket cost.
Thanks to points and miles, we got $5,215 of free travel in September.
Nashville Football Weekend
Our Tennessee Vols started the season at a “Neutral Site” location in Nashville but it was about 95% Vol fans in the stadium.
Even though we live just outside Nashville, we used Hyatt points to get two free nights in downtown Nashville so that we could really enjoy this football weekend.
Part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, the Holston House is an historic building that was completely redone a few years ago as a luxury art deco hotel in downtown Nashville.
Our son joined us so we got a room with a pair of queen beds and still had plenty of space. With 3 of us getting my Globalist benefit of Free breakfast ($162 for 2 days), plus 2 nights of free valet parking ($55×2), this stay would have cost us $1383.
But we paid $0 because we used our credit card points and miles!
New England Road Trip
In the middle of the month, we flew nonstop into Boston and headed into Maine for our 5 night New England fall road trip. By using points for 2 free round-trip flights on Southwest and five free hotel rooms (with free breakfast and parking) we saved $3289!
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!
Our other major savings was free airport lounge access thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. In total, we saved $3,832 on this 5 night trip thanks to credit card points.
World Of Hyatt Status Update
Heading into September, we had 48 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.
With our 2 night staycation at the Holston House and 4 more nights in Hyatt hotels in New England, we’re up to 54 nights.
We also passed the 50 night level which triggered a Hyatt Milestone Award. At 50 nights, we earned 2 Hyatt Suite Upgrade Awards!
With so much upcoming travel, we’ll easily keep Globalist through February 2025 as well as earn more Suite Upgrade Awards.
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!
Future Travel Already Booked
We’ve already booked 3 more trips with points and miles.
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 from September through January.
That’s 10 free roundtrip flights, 9 free hotels/resorts and 1 shared condo (not free) 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 (the condo is the largest chunk), we’ve used points and miles to cover around $18,000 in hotels and about $7,000 in flights.
Want to learn how to travel for free when you can get away? Download our free eBook “Luxury Travel for Free” and get a free one-on-one consultation!
As of Oct 1, we had 1,106,995 points and miles in our accounts.
Our points and miles balances really are like money in the bank to us. Our current stash is worth about $29,263 in free travel to us.
That’s down a little since last month’s balance of $32,183.
- Chase Points: 499,400 (worth about 3.9 cents each)
- Amex Points: 556,650 (worth about 1.6 cents each)
- Hyatt Points: 2191 (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)
On this travel blog, SEO traffic was down from 7270 in August to 5610 in September. Over the summer, my website had a temporary traffic boost when the Maui fires increased Google searches for the Andaz Maui and the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.
My traffic increase and decline correlated to interest in the fires.
In October, we’ll only be home for 2 weeks! We’re out in Utah with friends for 8 nights and then we’re spending 6 nights at All Inclusive resorts in Punta Cana.
Not planning to get any new credit cards in October but there are several good offers so we’ll probably apply for another card or 2 before the end of the year.
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’ve helped our other friends. I don’t charge to help you.
For example, we helped our Punta Cana travel buddies open 2 new credit cards when they decided to travel with us. It took them about 4 months to earn the 155,000 Hyatt points that they needed to get their All Inclusive vacation for free!
If you decide to apply for a card, I’d appreciate it if you use our referral links which are on our Best Credit Cards page.
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!