Reader Success Story to Denver


Our latest reader success story comes from Jennifer who is a pretty new travel hacker. She prefaced her trip report by apologizing for it not being a “glamorous” redemption. We love that travel hacking is for everyone in different stages of their life. We repeatedly tell people not to compare their journeys to anyone else! Our favorite saying is, “Free is free”! Here’s Jennifer’s reader success story to Denver:

Jennifer’s Story

I would like to share my most recent travel hacking story.  Admittedly, it’s not a glamourous redemption but I think it’s a great story about how valuable travel hacking really is!

My name is Jennifer and I started travel hacking in November 2021.  I’m pretty sure I saw a reel by @travelhackingmom and it got me interested.  I wish I could remember which reel it was! After I saw the reel, I started reading everything I could on their blog and even bought their course.  The first card I applied for was the Chase Saphire Preferred and I got 60,000 points after meeting the minimum spend.

Booking Denver

I want to share with you a recent trip my 13-year-old daughter Avery and I took to Denver, CO.  My daughter is a competitive gymnast and she made it to the Regional Gymnastic meet in Denver. This was a last-minute trip (we had 2 weeks to book travel and hotel so we decided to fly Southwest since I had just earned my Southwest Companion Pass.  To get the companion pass I signed up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card. My flight from Oklahoma City to Denver was 18,975 points.  Avery got to fly free with the companion pass. We did pay $22.40 in taxes for both flights.

I booked the Hyatt Place Denver Airport for 2 nights for a total of 14,500 points to be close to the airport for a VERY early departure.  I already had about 4900 points with Hyatt from other stays so I was able to transfer 10,000 Ultimate Reward points to Hyatt to complete the reservation with points.

Avery was scheduled to compete on Saturday and we flew in on Friday.  We had a fun day exploring Denver including having breakfast at Denver Biscuit Company and getting a free tour of the Hammond’s Candy Factory.  The tour ended up costing me about $50 with all the candy we bought! Definitely check it out if you are ever in Denver though!


Woman and child standing in front of Hammond's Candy sign


Problems Arise

This is the part of the story where I start to appreciate how little cash I paid for the trip.  Friday evening Avery started to feel just a little off.  I blamed it on traveling and getting up super early.  But when she woke up Saturday morning with no appetite and a slight fever we knew something was wrong.  I found an Urgent Care and sure enough, Avery was diagnosed with Flu A!  Avery wasn’t able to complete and she was devastated! And so was I!

This was the first trip that I had ever used points and miles.  Although the outcome was a bummer, I was so happy that I hadn’t spent hundreds of dollars on a trip that ended up with a sick kiddo.  It made me truly appreciate using points and miles to pay for the two biggest expenses of our trip. I didn’t have to stress over the loss of actual cash money! Even if you aren’t planning a major trip, points and miles are for you!

Next Plans

I started getting into travel hacking because we are planning a trip to Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise in December.  My husband has been able to earn his Southwest Companion Pass by opening a Southwest Rewards Plus card when they had a 100,000 sign-up bonus.  We were able to get the additional 25,000 points through spending.  I have referred him to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  We have his points from the signup bonus and my signup bonus points and referral points.  I am planning to open the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card to earn up to 3 nights’ stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. My husband and I will each be able to use our companion pass to fly our girls to Orlando for free!

While my travel hacking story isn’t glamorous or exciting yet, I hope it conveys how travel hacking can benefit even the smallest of trips.

Our Thoughts

We LOVED this story. Thanks for this reader success story to Denver! Success stories come in all sizes and shapes! Although we were sad that Avery got sick, it totally represents how much easier it is to accept when things go wrong, when you don’t have cash on the line. Thanks, Jennifer and enjoy your next trip!

Aerial view of big city with skyscrapers

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