As a 35-year-old woman, I know I can't believe I am 35. My mom can't either! But since December of 2021, and the pandemic looked like I would finally be able to travel, I became really interested in traveling, but on points. Since my divorce, I have decided that FUCK IT, I am going to travel whether it is with friends, family or solo. I don't care. I am going to live my life. I am going to see the world before I do have a family. I froze my eggs last year and this year I am doing it up!
But I have to remember, I don't want to pay if I don't have to. So travel hacking is where I am focused. My first foray into travel hacking began with my upcoming trip to Ireland. Unfortunately, I didn't know about this when I booked my flight in 2019 (before the pandemic), but since the trip was postponed for 2 years, I have been able to educate myself quite a bit. I used the airline credit to book my flight but for hotels, I was able to book them with points that I've acquired through credit card sign-ups through the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and the Hilton Honors Credit Card.
The Marriott Boundless has an annual fee of $95 dollars and you get 3 free nights when signing up as well as a free night certificate each year up to 35,000 points. You also get complimentary Silver status with the card which equals 15 elite nights, getting you even closer to Gold status. With Gold you can qualify for upgrades to bigger and more premium rooms. I qualified for Gold after my trip to Hawaii last year because I stayed more than 10 nights so for my upcoming stays, even though I booked a standard night, I will be upgraded. Thanks to the free night certificate I get with this card, I was able to book a stay in Dublin at the end of my trip at no cost.
With the Marriott card, you earn 3 points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on gas stations, grocery stores, and dining. This also does not include Marriott purchases. If you stay at a Marriott property, you can earn up to 17X Total Points for every $1.
In 2018, I signed up for the Hilton Honor credit card with a $0 annual fee. After spending a certain amount, I acquired 80,000 hotel points to be used towards a future stay. You also get complimentary Silver status with the card. Thanks to this card, I was able to book 3 nights in Dublin at the beginning of my trip at no cost, and since the pandemic has been offering ways to upgrade status to card holders and members for less $$, I now have Gold status with Hilton and will be upgraded for this stay while also being provided daily complimentary breakfast.
Hilton cards are in the Amex family, so the benefit to this is you can access Amex rewards to either get deductions off a charge (once added to the card) or you can get more Hilton points. In November, my mom was targeted for an offer of up to 10,000 Hilton honors points based on how much she spent on an in-store purchase at a specific store, so it is very easy to grow your points. You also get points for Hilton stays up to 7x per $1 dollar at Hilton properties and for everyday purchases, 5x point per $1 spent for dining, groceries and gas and 3x on everything else.
You can always apply for the cards with an annual fee, but if you aren't sure just yet about travel hacking, go for the entry level card because it is still a great beginners hotel cobranded card. For me, I intend on upgrading my Hilton to the Surpass and acquiring another sign-up bonus.
There are so many more benefits to signing up for hotel cobranded credit cards besides just the signup bonus. For this trip, I am happy that my hotel stays have been covered by points, but my goal is to never have to pay for flights or hotels again. So join me on this journey. I know it will be a learning experience but I am so excited because there are so many places I want to visit and things I want to experience.
Are you a Marriott Loyalist and interested in a welcome bonus of three free night awards? Apply for a Chase card with this link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
Love Hilton? But maybe not ready to pay an annual fee? With the Hilton Honors you can earn 80,000 points towards your next stay! Apply for an American Express Card with this link. http://refer.amex.us/ERINHOgja?XLINK=MYCP