Taking Advantage of Credit Card Travel Rewards

london-eye-sunset

Have we been missing out all this time?

For years, we’ve been racking up credit cards rewards, usually exchanging points for gift cards or cash, but it wasn’t until recently that we started redeeming these benefits for travel.

On a whim, we decided to go to London this past weekend.  We’ve been in England for six months now and, sadly, it was only our second time going into the city.

We made the short drive and train ride on Saturday morning and stayed overnight just south of the River Thames near Battersea Park.  We spent the weekend touring the Tower of London and the surrounding sights.

london-map

I wouldn’t consider myself a big city person by any means, but I love London.  What an amazing city!  Plus, with all the sightseeing, we got in some good exercise – 39,000 steps over the two days.

Previously, on the last day of our trip to the Netherlands in December, we spent the night in The Hague before taking a ferry back to England.

These two nights were completely paid for using Chase rewards points (which were extremely easy to redeem).

Okay, so what’s the big deal?  Lots of people use credit card rewards all the time.

For us, the big deal is that we treated ourselves to nicer accommodations than we most likely would have if we were footing the bill.

With a family of five, costs can add up quickly so our natural tendency is to look for ways to save money wherever we can.  This often means staying at modest hotels when visiting a city for only a night or so.

In London, we booked a spacious two bedroom apartment that was only a short tube ride and walk from the city center. Mrs. DTG and the kids may argue about the short walk part, but you can’t please everyone all the time.

chelsea-bridge-apartments

Chelsea Bridge Apartments, London

 

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands we enjoyed a suite at The Hague Marriott.  I should mention this suite included executive lounge access, an amenity we made great use of.  The value of a complimentary breakfast and evening snack adds up quickly with five mouths to feed.

road-leading-to-the-hague-marriott

Road leading to The Hague Marriott

And let’s not forget the free drinks.

You know how there’s always that one guy who’s intent on getting his money’s worth at an open bar?  Yeah, that was me.  I probably downed 10 Heinekens.  To my credit, they were a bit smaller than the typical 12 oz bottle, or maybe they just seemed that way 😉

Although we didn’t do anything crazy extravagant, just the thought of a free night’s stay allowed us to let loose a little bit and enjoy ourselves that much more.

The value of each night was roughly $200, so a fairly decent cost savings.

By no means are we credit card hacking experts, nor do we have tons of points or airline miles from work travel.  We did, however, get the bulk of our points from the Chase sign on bonus and plan to do the same with other credit cards offers as well.

Still, we currently have enough points for a couple more free nights.  I wonder where we should go next?

4 thoughts on “Taking Advantage of Credit Card Travel Rewards

  1. mrspickypincher says:

    Great job stacking those points without a crazy job giving you tons of them. I’m jelly of the people who get to reap crazy points rewards from work. We plan on taking a trip to Europe once we pay off our student loans, so I’m trying to figure out the best way to score travel rewards before that point.

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    • Ditching the Grind says:

      There some people who are great at travel hacking. It seems the biggest way to score lots of points is through sign on bonuses and constantly churning credit cards to get these bonuses. I’m sure by doing some variation of this, you can get free flights and/or lodging without too much effort. It’s definitely something we need to get better at as well.

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  2. Graham @ Reverse The Crush says:

    That’s awesome that you were able to take advantage of your credit card points. I’ve spent mine of gift cards and paying back my Visa before, but I should really try to save up for something more meaningful. Also, I would love to visit London someday. Thanks for sharing the great photos! Looking forward to your next journey.

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    • Ditching the Grind says:

      The crazy thing about London is that there are so many iconic landmarks within walking distance of one another. It’s so easy to get around using the Tube as well. I have tons of great pictures from this weekend and the Netherlands I need to post soon.

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