Earning frequent flyer miles without ever leaving the ground? Now that's what we're interested in! Essentially flying where ever you want for free? That's why we're here!

Travel hacking made easy! Whether you are new or a veteran looking for more ways to earn points, we have something for everyone!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New York Trip Report

It's not a secret that the government is hurting for money right now. One of the ways that they decided to cut some corners this year was to cancel fleet week in New York. Although Carolyn and I were bummed out about that, we decided to make the trip anyways. She had never been to the city and I hadn't done some of the traditional stuff like the Empire State Building.

How We Got There

Because we are stationed near Washington DC, we decided that flying wasn't necessary. The cost of a cab from the airport alone might not make it worth it. We decided it would be best for us to take the bus up there. It was $40 a person round trip which was pretty nice. 

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Staybridge Suites in Times Square all 4 nights we were there. I made the reservation before Priority Club decided to increase their point rates, so I ended up spending 80,000 points and $160 using their "Points and Cash" option. The room would have cost us a little over $1,800 after taxes to stay their if we had booked using only cash, making this a pretty good redemption.

The room was very small, which is very common in New York City. Space is a huge commodity there. Other than the size, I was extremely happy with the room. It featured a full fridge, dishwasher, microwave, stove top and sink. Basically a mini condo. The bed was very comfortable and we couldn't beat the location. 

What We Did

We made the most of our 4 days there. We went to the very top of the Empire State Building, saw two broadway plays, went to a comedy club, visited the World Trade Center memorial, made a trip to Koreatown and saw the Statue of Liberty. Not bad for one trip. We didn't end up making it to Central Park, but we're going back for New Years and plan to see it then.

The two broadway plays that we saw were The Book of Mormon and Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. Now, I'm not usually one that would be into broadway, but I was in New York and felt like I should do it. Spiderman, in my opinion, was not very good. Carolyn seemed to get bored with it as well. On the other hand, the next night we saw Book of Mormon and laughed the entire play. It was no wonder the tickets were so expensive.  

We ended up paying a little extra and going to the very top of the Empire State Building. The observatory is completely enclosed and gives you a full 365 degree view of the city.

Times Square is always extremely busy, filled with shoppers, street performers and of course, tourists like us. It's definitely something worth checking out because of how historic it is. Be ready to be approached by salesmen trying to get you to buy things such as comedy show tickets and other things.

World Trade Center Memorial

We saw both the World Trade Center Memorial (top) and the new World Trade Center being built. The memorial features the names of all of those who died in the 9/11 attacks. It also shows where both towers once stood. The new World Trade Center (bottom) is coming along very nicely and, as you can imagine, security around them is pretty tight.

The new World Trade Center looks amazing

Travel Tips
  • I would never drive to New York City. Traffic is horrible and parking is super expensive. Instead, opt to use public transportation like the subway. It's quick, easy and is inexpensive
  • If you want to see a broadway play, try and buy tickets the day of. The closer it is to show time, the cheaper the tickets become.
  • Pack everything you will need! The city is VERY expensive and you may find yourself paying prices you never thought you would pay. A good example is if you are a smoker... You'll pay around $14 for a pack of cigarettes.
  • Expect to be surrounded by a ton of people. The city of New York can be a little overwhelming for some. Make sure you are prepared to constantly be around a lot of people.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Disney World Trip Report

Back in April Carolyn and I took a trip down to Disney World. She had only ever been to Disney Land in California, so I wanted to show her what a real theme park is like hehe. Anyways, we had a great time and I wanted to share some of what we saw. To be completely honest, when I am traveling I do not like stopping to take pictures often. I like to enjoy the time that I have, and constantly taking pictures can get in the way of that.

How We Got There
Because I obtained the Companion Pass for Southwest in early February, I have been using them for all of my travel. I booked using points and of course, Carolyn came for free. We flew from BWI to MCO. It's a pretty short trip, only lasting 2 hours.

Where We Stayed
Shades of Green Resort

Shades of Green is a resort for active duty and retired military members. It is located on Disney property, so all of the buses to the parks stop there. Our room had a balcony for us to sit on which was nice. The room wasn't anything special, but we were too busy in the parks to spend a lot of time there.

What We Did
Carolyn and I took advantage of the Military Salute that Disney World does, and each paid $159 for a 4 day park hopper pass. This includes admission to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot. When I was younger, I did not like Epcot at all. I thought it was boring. It's definitely a lot better once you turn 21! We spent a lot of time in the countries section of Epcot, specifically Japan. Because we stayed at a Disney property, we were eligible for the "Extra Magic Hours" which allows you to stay in a selected park longer every day. We hopped around from park to park and ended up riding everything we wanted.

Tomorrowland's Speedway... Not very speedy at all haha

Travel Tips
  • Use Starwood Points to stay at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel. These hotels are on Disney property AND you can use points to book them! 
  • Do not rent a car! Unless you want to pay for parking everyday, save yourself the trouble and don't rent a car. Cabs might be a little pricey, but they are worth it. Not to mention, if you stay on a Disney property they have shuttles that run from the airport as well as buses to all of the parks.
  • Use the Disney World app, as well as Undercover Tourist's app. The Disney app will give you a GPS location of where you are in the park as well as let you make any dining reservations you may need. Very handy. The Undercover Tourist app will allow you to see which parks are more crowded as well as wait times for lines. This can save you hours of waiting!
  • If you are going to buy pictures from rides, take advantage of the card they sell. For $50 you can purchase a card that they will digitally put all of your pictures on. BUY THIS ON YOUR FIRST DAY! If you do not, you may miss out on some photo opportunities. I foolishly bought this on day 3 and missed out on a TON of photo ops. 
  • BE FLEXIBLE! If you have a hopper pass, use it. It is great to have a plan on when to visit each park, but if one becomes crowded, check your Undercover Tourist app and see if another has less people. Waiting in lines in always unavoidable, but wait times vary greatly.
  • Understand that it will be expensive in the park. Food and drinks were our biggest expense. There are dining plans available to you if you stay on Disney Property. 
  • When the park first opens, walk to the back of the park and work your way forward. Using the Fast Pass is also a great way of saving time. 
  • Have fun! This place is a lot of fun and there isn't anywhere else that is truly like it.

Shades of Green photos taken from TripAdvisor. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm Back

Over the past few months I have taken a break from blogging. I have been experimenting with some new ways to redeem points. Some for travel, some for other things. Over the next few weeks I will be highlighting these methods as well as sharing my trip experiences. I have been traveling domestically this last year, taking in everything the United States has to offer. Some of the trips I have taken include:

  • Disney World
  • New York City
  • Charleston, SC
  • Boston
  • Key West, FL
  • Chicago
  • Las Vegas
  • Washington DC (I'm stationed here, but I've been collecting things to do here as well)
  • Baltimore (Same as DC)

I'll detail these trips as well as explain some other things I've been doing. For instance, I'll tell you how I got a Playstation 4 for under $200 using airline points! More to come soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Time To Get Back Into It

As I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been posting on here the last few months. I've had a lot going on, and instead of putting out posts that contained little effort, I decided to stop blogging for a bit. I now have a new schedule and a bit more time. Things should clear up once I'm done with my order negotiation. At any rate, I'm going to keep this up to date now. I DO NOT want this to, like so many other blogs, spit out meaningless information just to get a post out there. Basically, if you read Million Mile Secrets, I want this blog to be similar to Daraius's "News You Can Use" posts. None of this extra garbage added in. Anyways, keep an eye open for new posts and I'm looking forward to getting back into blogging!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Southwest 50k Sign-Up Bonuses Are Back!

As of this morning, Southwest has increased their sign-up bonuses for all of their Chase cards. They are now back up towards 50k. Now would be the perfect time to apply for them in order to qualify for the Companion Pass early!

Southwest Premier Personal Card - Link

Southwest Plus Personal Card - Link

Southwest Premier Business Card - Link

Southwest Plus Business Card -Link

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The US Airways Chairman's Preferred Offer... Aaaand It’s Gone

Well that was fast. American Airlines and US Airways announced their plan to merge this morning and the best US Airways credit card offer is already off the table. I'm not sure if they had anything to do with one another, but now you must ACTUALLY be a Chairman's status holder in order to qualify for the offer. Personally, I'm glad I got in on the offer while it was still working. Hopefully all of you did as well. If you were planning on getting the Barclay's US Airways card, I would still strongly recommend it. Once AA and US Airways complete their fusion, there will be one rewards program for both of them. This also means that you will not be able to accumulate points from two banks (Citi AND Barclays) like you are able to now.

Try to stockpile as many AA and US Air points you can before the merge of rewards programs and you will see your points combined.