Welcome to Travel Freedom’s “Traveling With Points” interview series. We regularly feature travelers who take advantage of points and miles to enjoy adventures all around the world. You will get a glimpse into the lives of people who are already traveling by using points and miles. Let’s get it started and jump into our newest interview!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi, I go by WkndMom online, and I’m a Biomedical Engineer by trade, financial and travel blogger by personality, and hopefully, in the next few years, a mother by biology. I’m getting married in January 2019 and we’re taking a lot of pre-honeymoon trips before we take our extra extravagant honeymoon. We love to travel and scuba dive so we try to do
that as much as possible. I’ve been based out of Texas for the last year but am moving back to New Jersey in the fall– all those trips home really helped with racking up the miles. Aside from traveling, my fiancé and I both have the goal of having children and becoming FIRE (financially independent, retired early), so saving money while traveling is really important to us.
How long have you been traveling with points and miles?
It’s been just over 3 years since I started collecting miles and points to travel for less. And, as of August 2018, its been exactly 3 years since I first redeemed my points for free flights.
How did you first find out about this somewhat secret world?
I found out about miles and points through a friend of mine who loves Reddit. After we took a trip together and realized it was much too expensive to sustain. She saw something on Reddit and was telling me about how signing up for credit cards to earn the bonuses, then cancelling later was a way to get free or really discounted travel. Skeptical, I did some of my own research and decided to give it a try. From then on, she and I’ve been hooked on finding the right cards to take all the trips we want!
What was the first trip you took using miles and points?
My first trip was to Germany with my soon to be husband 3 years ago. I did a post on it a while ago and the story was also featured on Million Mile Secrets.
What’s the best credit card introductory bonus you’ve ever received?
My most prized introductory bonus was when I heard the 100k bonus that was originally offered with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It wasn’t all that much spending to earn it, but I’m still spending that bonus!
What do your friends and family think of your points and miles traveling?
Ha. They think I’m ruining my credit score or spending a ton of money I don’t have, to travel. Others don’t understand. They think I waste a lot of my time trying to keep up with the programs and earning bonuses. The funny thing is, I’m on my way to retiring early while traveling multiple times a year and after setting reminders, I don’t spend too much extra time keeping up with it all!
What is the best trip you’ve taken? Tell us a little bit about it.
The best trip I’ve taken was to see Macchu Picchu in Peru. I use Scott’s Cheap Flights to keep an eye out for good deal airfare and saw some great prices to Lima, Peru. When I checked out the Chase Travel Portal, the deal translated to points too! So, we booked our flights with Chase points from my CSR introductory bonus and worried about the rest later. We ended up using more Chase Points to stay in a hotel in Lima, but did AirBnb in Cusco before and after the trek to Macchu Picchu. The trek was beautiful. Plus, since it was the off season, it was a private tour for just the two of us! The landscape and wild life was spectacular, and I won’t soon forget it.
How often do you travel now, compared to before you knew about traveling with points and miles?
I’m certainly limited to my vacation days, but I definitely travel a lot more than I thought I would. Because I got into this hobby right after I got my first full time job, I never had a chance to not take vacations. My fiancé, though, went from never traveling and losing his vacation days every year, to taking multiple vacations per year and seeing everything with me.
What are your upcoming travel plans?
We have three trips coming up: La Jolla, CA, Cancun, MX, and island hopping through Hawaii. Even though La Jolla is a work trip for me, so I’m not paying for any of it, we were able to get Mr. WkndMom there for free because I have the Southwest Companion Pass. We’re also going to Cancun on 2 for 1 flights thanks to the SWCP where we’re planning to stay in an all-inclusive resort for a scuba adventure. Hawaii will be our super extravagant diving liveaboard honeymoon and we found discounted flights that we booked through CSR points for free too!
What is your best tip for people just getting into traveling with points and miles?
Set a single goal and get there with Chase points. They are the easiest to earn and use, and they are very versatile. You can’t go wrong starting with them because they also transfer to many travel partners. At first it may seem weird that you’re getting all of this for free. Remember, you’re being rewarded for borrowing money and paying it back!
How can people follow you?
People can sign up for my email list on my website at http://gofiremamago.comand follow me on my Instagram: @GoFIREMama
Thank you Wkndmom
Thank you for letting us dig deep into your travel experiences. Your vacations all sound amazing! Macchu Picchu is definitely on my Bucket List. Also, I’d love to join you in becoming FIRE!!!
Would YOU like to share your points & miles journey on Travel Freedom?
We would all love to find out how YOU travel using points and miles! If you’d like to be considered for a future “Traveling With Points” interview, please EMAIL US. We’re always happy to hear more success stories in the points and miles community.
Photos courtesy of Wkndmom