Oh. My. Gosh. We are going to Japan! WE ARE GOING TO JAPAN!!!
Excuse me while I try to temper my excitement! Hubby and I just booked our flights to Japan and as you can tell, I am super pumped. While we do a lot of smaller trips throughout the year, we try to incorporate one big vacation a year where we’re gone for at least 2 weeks. I’m here to tell you that not only did we book round-trip tickets to and from Tokyo, but that we purchased them for only $45 each! Ah-MAY-zing!!!
How did we do it?
Simple: Reward miles.
I use the United MileagePlus Explorer credit card for EVERYTHING. Since I love to travel so much, this card fits my lifestyle the most. This credit card typically offers bonus miles after you spend a certain amount after 3 months. You also receive double the miles whenever you purchase through United Airlines. In addition to that, you get even more bonus miles after you spend $10K within the calendar year or if you add an authorized cardholder. Plus, you also save money by receiving one free checked bag per flight.
***I think this is a good time for me to point out that this is not a sponsored post for Chase or United. This is simply me writing about how I personally save up miles for upcoming trips.***
Any time we go out to eat; whenever we go grocery shopping; every time we book a flight or hotel; ALL our purchases go on this card. To me, it’s a no-brainer to use reward credit cards because you don’t get any benefits by paying with cash. No rewards, no cash back, no miles. With all the great perks out there, it doesn’t make sense for people NOT to use a credit card. If I’m going to be paying for something, why not get a little incentive on the back end?
By taking a look at Chase’s website, they seem to have rewards credit cards for anything between different hotel chains (Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott), airlines (Southwest, United, British Airways) and even Disney! And this is only Chase! Whatever company or brand you’re loyal to, my advice is to use their credit cards as much as possible (and by making your monthly payments on time :P) so that you can maximize your rewards.
OK, back to our booking to Japan.
It took us approximately 2 years to accumulate enough miles. Of course, the time it takes you to earn miles will depend on what your spending habits are. And if you pair this up with other reward credit cards, you might earn more cash back as well!
We could’ve cashed in our points sooner to go to South America or Eastern Europe, but we really wanted to go as far as possible. Once we built up enough points, we thought: “Ok…what is the farthest place that our miles will take us?” We desperately wanted to travel to Southeast Asia, but alas…Zika is there. Go scratch, Zika.
And that’s how we landed on Japan!
After a lot of debating, researching and pondering, we decided to pull the plug. We booked 2 tickets to Tokyo, Japan using a total of 140,000 miles and paying $90 total (or 70,000 miles and $45 per person). We are literally flying halfway across the world for less than the cost of us going out to eat! Cha-ching!
That’s how we booked our flight to Japan for only $45 each! Our trip is coming up in September and I’m so excited to do my research on the country. I’m already dreaming of all the delicious foods we’re going to eat and the onsens that we’ll hopefully get to bathe in!
There are other ways to redeem your miles: trading them in for products, gift cards, hotel stays, rental cars, etc. For us, because we value travel so much, we would rather save up our miles for flights anywhere around the world. Our last trip booked solely on miles was to Kauai, Hawaii back in 2015. Then, we spent 135,000 miles and only $22 total for that trip!
What trips have you booked with miles or points? What are you currently saving your miles for? Have you ever been to Japan?
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,