Money-saving tips and tricks for family travel

SPG Bonus with Beach

A card to get you going – Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

Note: The limited time offer on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express ended on 6/30.  The standard offer is still available, and to be honest, it’s a good deal–you’ll just end up with the 25K bonus offer instead of  30K.  Let me know if you’d like a personalized referral link (looks like I may still get a benefit from doing so–plus good karma for you!).

You’re probably starting to see what you can do with responsible credit card usage.  You realize that you actually CAN afford a trip for your family if you play your cards well (yep, pun intended).  It really is true–we’ve taken our kids to Hawaii, Portugal, and France with the points and miles we’ve earned with credit cards and frequent flyer miles.  And we’ve helped friends and extended family plan similar trips abroad.  We want to help you do the same!

Great!  But which card? Read more

credit cards

Risks of points and miles mentality

Generally, living the life of a points- or miles-earner is easy.  You apply for a card.  You meet the minimum spend requirements, and then you carry on your life as a consumer using a credit card for purchases wherever practical.

There are a few things that happen if you get into it very far, though, so you’d might as well be aware:

  1. You might justify a purchase based on how many miles you’re going to earn from it.  ALERT!  ALERT!  ALERT!  You’ll quickly eat up the money saved on free travel if you buy that 65-inch LED TV that you don’t really need if you’re doing so “because it will earn you enough points to get you halfway to Europe.”  Um…just put the cash towards four tickets to Europe.  Done. Read more
Credit Card Issuers

Earn trips with everyday spending

We’ve traveled three times as a family overseas, each time for free or a significantly lower price thanks to points and miles. Plus, I’ve helped much of my wife’s family do the same. We had a little extra motivation to help my them plan overseas travel for less, since her parents have been living in Portugal on a three-year assignment. Rather than Grandma and Grandpa miss out entirely on their growing grandchild brood for these three years, I jumped in with guidance on how to earn the free travel. And sure enough, three other families have either taken their Portugal trip on points/miles or will have done so by the fall.

How does one get started in this? It’s not too tricky–and I’ll try to keep it that way–but first and foremost Read more

Sintra Family Picture

Can we really afford a family trip to Europe?

Sometimes when we tell people about one of our family trips, like last Christmas’ trip to Portugal, we get funny looks.  The funny looks stem from a variety of sentiments.  Sometimes it’s the “Why would I want to take my children with me on a big trip?” response.  Sometimes it’s more along the lines of “Why go so far away?”  But often it’s as simple as “There is no way I could afford that.”

Just how much does a family trip to Europe cost? Read more