When booking award travel, it’s not always about luxury. You will see THM (Travel Hacking Mom) book a lot of luxury travel. We like luxury hotels and business class seats of course and spend a fair share of our time with luxury travel. We have been doing this for about 5 years and continually are opening new credit cards for SUBs (signup bonuses) so our points totals are high. That means we can go “bougie on a budget” quite often.
When you start travel hacking or if you are travel hacking with a family, you may not be flying business class for a while or staying in luxury hotels. You may want to travel economy class forever to have more travel points. Remember, we advise not comparing your journey with others.
It’s not always about luxury for us either (although it does get addicting). Here are some ways we have traveled and saved on points and miles by picking the less expensive path.
Almost every year, one of us goes to Disneyland and when we go we stay at a family hotel that offers breakfast like a Hyatt. We even use annual night certificates to stay at a Hyatt Place or less expensive hotel. Children don’t care about a luxurious stay and Disney is all about being at the “happiest place on earth”, not a fancy hotel or flight.
This year we took Alex’s oldest to Washington D.C for his birthday. We had a blast and it wasn’t about luxury at all! Again, we used annual night certificates to book the hotel and flew Southwest to get there. It was an easy, normal redemption and we had the best time creating memories together!
We also took grandchildren to Maui and stayed in a timeshare. We all flew in the main cabin of an Alaskan flight and the boys are still talking about how much fun we had together! No luxury, so much fun!
My sister, my stepmother, and I all went to Oceanside, California this summer. No luxury but tons of sand, sun, and relaxation!
One of the best family trips I had this summer was going to Maui with my sister for 15K points roundtrip on a direct flight from Denver. We transferred points to Turkish Airlines from Citi Premier. I was able to get upgraded to an Economy Plus seat due to airline status. While it wasn’t business class it was so comfortable. Gotta admit that our stay was a pure luxury as we stayed at the Wailea Beach Resort with Marriott points (booked before they got rid of their award chart).
Moab was another family trip that Alex took with her family. Using points and miles to stay at a hotel near a national park is a great way to spend fewer points and still have a great time.
Celebrating a birthday with a staycation or being able to use points when a child has an away sports tournament is another way that we use points and miles to save money but are not about luxury. Alex is always amazed at the prices that other families pay for sports traveling with their children. Even family hotels are expensive but points and miles make it easy – free stay and free breakfast and swimming in a hotel pool – what’s not to love?
One of our favorite things about travel hacking is definitely luxury travel for next to nothing. It is a thrill to travel in a way you may not normally have done it. However, it is not always about luxury. We also do a lot of less luxurious travel and that can work for you too. What is the favorite non-luxury way that you have used points and miles?
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