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Layover in Amsterdam

Two Free Roundtrip tickets to Europe. Check.

Ever since Maddie and I came back from our trip to Europe (from LA to NYC to Portugal to Italy to the United Kingdom), from a family travel perspective, I reached a bit of a slump. It had nothing to do with  the decreasing desire to travel. The issue was conflicting schedule with the rest of the family.

London’s Tower Bridge

This was the first summer that we skipped Hawaii. We usually go to Hawaii in the summer. We did get our Hawaii fix last Spring when we went to the Big Island. Nancy and I tried to plan a little vacation here and there, but it just wouldn’t work with our schedule. So summer 2018 was unusually quiet for us, and we all just stayed locally.

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Hapuna Beach – Big Island of Hawaii – April 2018

Too many other trips lined up

We also went to Peru back in April/May and had an amazing visit. But after my European summer vacation with Madison, we had nothing lined up in October, and I had all of these vacation days that I need to use.

Two Free Roundtrip tickets to Europe

If there was something that kept me excited, it was our trips to Asia in November and April. I did book us a trip to Japan in April. At first, it was just six of us scheduled to go to Japan. But lo and behold, that number had grown. There are now 13 of us altogether who will be flying to Japan from California. How much? Well, thanks to the points we’ve all been earning, all we used were points and zero out of pocket. Here’s the link to how we booked this trip to Japan.

Just a few months before that, Nancy and I also booked a trip to Hong Kong, and we also included a visit to Taiwan. And yes, of course. All we used were points, and you guessed it, we paid it zero out of pocket in fees. This trip is in November. I’ve yet to write the details about this trip and I will share that once available.

So during this lull, I found myself busy planning for a trip before our November trip? Why? I have all of these vacation days that I need to take before the end of the year. I’m not one of take a week off and just stay at home. Now that I found a way to supplement my desire to travel, it had all the more encouraged me to travel more and more. So every opportunity I get, you could bet that we’ll try to mix a little travel with that vacation.

Check the globe

I booked 1.5 weeks off from work in October. Why? I just did for the heck of it. No plans other than “I needed to make plans!” Nancy gave me some dates to work with and if I could find a deal around those dates, then she’s onboard. Again, this is what I had to do

  • Scheduled time off from work (blindly), move dates around if needed
  • Find a trip that will allow me to use points and now have to pay anything extra
  • Go on vacation, but don’t go for too long
  • Find destinations to go to. I checked various places
    • Costa Rica
    • Puerto Rico
    • Cancun
    • Kauai and Maui
    • New York City
    • Manila
    • Bali
    • Thailand
    • Zurich
    • Amsterdam
    • Brussels
    • and more

We were open to go just about anywhere. It could be a place we’ve visited before. The fact that I was searching for something within the next 3 weeks made it even more difficult. But I was determined. I searched high and low, and finally found something that I think would work with our schedule.

Ring, ring. Spain called.

Not exactly sure what’s going on with Europe, but there’s been quite a bit of airfare sales. I found a great cash price for Barcelona for around $400 per ticket, and whenever  I see a deal like that, I check the Chase Portal using my Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Ultimate Rewards, and with using our points, we’d only be using 27,134 points per person = 54,268 for both me and Nancy. Was that a good deal? Typical points used for a roundtrip ticket to Barcelona would cost 55,000 per ticket. Well, I got ours 27,134 per ticket. That’s half off what would’ve been required to begin with. This is the reason why I like using the Chase Travel Portal lately because our points are worth 50% more.

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We used points instead of paying cash.

What’s the best way to convince Nancy?

I haven’t counted, but most of the trips I’ve booked, I must’ve booked them while Nancy was at work. I tend to find the deal, and then bug her to death. She knew that I’ve been meaning to get away, and trusted my judgment. While we’ve both been to Barcelona, we made plans to explore outside of Barcelona in order to find new ways to explore Spain. So there, booked. That’s what happened.

Just us, no kids

The kids are back to school, and we decided not to take them away from school. The last time Nancy and I went on a trip together was in April/May when we went to Peru. That was an amazing trip. She tried to join me and Maddie in Europe last summer, but decided on just staying with the rest of the kids at home.

Ok this is all for now. Next entry, we’ll cover what we did on travel day.

To learn more about the credit cards that we use in our family that has allowed us to travel around the world for nearly free, click here.

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Two Free Roundtrip tickets to Europ

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