Stephanie is currently travel hacking successfully using just one player — herself. Here is her reader success story in one-player mode all the way to Maui!
I discovered Travel Hacking Mom completely by accident on Instagram from the algorithm. Before, I had never even heard of travel hacking and was using my points for cash back. Within a month, I made the jump to open the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card for five 50k award night certificates [this offer is not currently available]. From there, I quickly realized how easy it would be to earn points for flights, and we’d have a free vacation. I set my first goal for Hawaii.
We booked six months in advance at the Sheraton Maui using our five 50k award night certificates (we chose this resort based on a great review from Travel Hacking Mom). I did have to top off each night by about 7-13K Marriott points. Marriott doesn’t waive resort fees so those were $260, but the cash cost of our stay would have been almost $5,000!
We saw sea turtles at Ho’okipa Beach and made the short hike with our toddler to Twin Falls. The Sheraton Maui is a perfect location—a short walk to Whalers Village with lots of shopping and eating options. We also rented a car through National using my American Express Platinum for only $300 for the 6 days (and were able to choose any car in the executive aisle).
We booked flights on American Airlines by transferring points to British Airways (approximately 120k roundtrip for the 3 of us). We are based in the Midwest and flew with a two-year-old, so we prioritized the timing of the flights rather than trying to save points. Otherwise, there are some really great ways to fly on points to Hawaii.
My husband doesn’t travel hack yet, so I’m still only in One-Player Mode, but it can be done with strategic sign up bonuses! I’m already working on our next trip (hopefully to the Maldives). In the last year, I’ve consistently opened a card every 60-90 days while maintaining my credit score.
It’s so important to pay off the cards each month and only open cards that you can meet the minimum spend without stretching yourself. But I’ve also realized over the past year that shopping through Rakuten (transfers to AmEx MR) or American Airlines shopping portal and taking advantage of cards that give me 4x back of groceries etc., can also help me earn more points/miles.
Great job, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your reader success story in One-Player Mode and showing how you can travel hack without having a partner involved!
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