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My proof that booking early is paramount for holiday travels

We’ve now reached the beginning of the BER months, that means the holidays will be here before we know it.

A few weeks ago, I shared that 10 members of my family are flying to the Philippines over the holidays. To be perfectly honest, I felt like we booked that a bit too late. Yeah, we booked it in July. Tickets around the holidays were available around 330 days before the travel date. We could’ve or should’ve booked that back in January when the flights first became available. Here’s what I wrote.

How we booked 7 FREE round trip tickets to the Philippines for the holidays

My booking recap

In a nutshell – the tickets were roughly $1000 per per person if we paid in cash. Remember, we are going during the highest season of traveling to the Philippines. However, instead of paying cash out of pocket, we used our points earned with our Chase credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase FreedomChase Ink Business Preferred, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. On average, we used 64,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards per person from our Chase Sapphire Reserve and booked via the Chase Portal.

I had doubts

I asked myself, “could I have done better?” I think I could’ve had I booked the tickets earlier in the year. There were flights in the 50,000 points range back in March/April, but I wasn’t sure about booking the trip to Manila back then.

My lesson-learned here is decide early if you can, commit to it, and book it.

The airfare nearly doubled since

Just a few weeks after I booked our trip to the Philippines, I decided to check the same flights and see how much they cost now (as of Sept 2, 2019).

Airfare pricing as of Sept 2, 2019. Image courtesy of Chase

How does that compare when I first booked this trip back in mid-July?

I am not so sure we would book this same trip if the required amount of points were that high at 118K per person or per ticket. No way!

So what’s the takeaway

In addition to what I mentioned above, when it comes to booking around the major holidays, the sooner you learn about your trip, the better for you in booking at a better rate.

Is it too late to book for the holidays?

Whether you’re traveling to the Philippines, or within the US, or anywhere else in the world, IT’S NOT TOO LATE. But, just know that the pricing won’t be that favorable at this time. However, the longer you wait, the more you will find it difficult to get a better airfare.

Time to get planning

In a matter of 4-6 weeks since the end of June. I had booked us 3 other new trips. 


How We Booked A Trip To Bali For Free (Using Points)


How We Booked 2 ANA 1st Class Tickets To Japan ($35K Value) Using Points!

Costa Rica

How we booked 5 FREE tickets to Costa Rica

Of course, all of these trips were courtesy of the points we earned with our credit cards. Thanks to these points, we are traveling for free or nearly free.

Which credit cards made it possible to book trips like these?

There are many credit cards out there. The points earned with Chase have been my favorite for many years. These Ultimate Rewards points could be used for airfare, hotel, car rentals. Here are the Chase Cards that I, myself, use on a regular basis which can earn you these Ultimate Rewards.

a. Chase Sapphire Preferred (click here)– earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards.  

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a perfect starter card. With its current 60,000 bonus points, those points alone have gotten us two tickets to Hawaii, have gotten us to many countries and cities in Europe and Asia, just as an example. The sign up bonus alone can be worth as much as $1,000 or more in travel.

– 60,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus after $4,000 in spend in the first three months
– Points are transferable to:

  • Hotel Partners
    • Hyatt
    • Marriott
    • IHG
    • Ritz-Carlton
  • Airline travel partners
    • JetBlue
    • United Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Flying Blue
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • Aer Lingus
    • Iberia

– Points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal
– Primary rental car collision damage waiver
– Earn 2X points on all travel and dining
– $95 annual fee

If I were just starting out in earning miles and points, I suggest starting out with this card,  the Chase Sapphire Preferred

b. Chase Sapphire Reserve – earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (I don’t have an active link at the time this was published, feel free to search on the net for a recent link, or check with me). Here’s a write up that I wrote on both Sapphire cards.

c. Chase Ink Business Preferred– earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards, perfect for those with small business.

I value my points earned with Chase. Here’s a write-up I wrote last year as to how we travel for nearly free (click here) with points earned with these credit cards.

For other cards that have helped us travel for nearly free, I recently I updated my favorite travel credit cards. I’ve also written this recently:

Feel free to follow me on social media:

Lastly, here Reader Success Tales that I featured on my site.


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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.