Credit Card Points and Benefits = Free Travel

The nine month adventure has come to an end. I am both sad and excited to be home. My guess is the excitement will wear off quickly and I will want to be back on the road again.

Since I am an accounting nerd her is a little recap of how we saved money on this trip. Prior to the trip Tim and I tried to accumulate as many credit card, airline, and hotel as we could. If you read one of my first blog posts you would know we accumulated more than one million points (read that blog post here).  Of those million points we spent a little more than 800,000. Now don't laugh but I totally tracked all of our free travel in a spreadsheet. I also tracked all of our spending by day and category. 

Here is how we used our points on plus other credit card benefits to get almost $16,000 in free goodies:

Here is the Data for the pie chart for those that need to see it in a different form. 

Credit Card Benefit- This accounts for a waiver for TSA precheck for Anne using the Jet Blue credit card (I don't think this is a credit card benefit any longer) and Global Entry (with TSA Precheck) for Tim using the Citi Bank Prestige Card. Both have come in handy and will come in handy once we get back into the States. 

4th Night Free Hotel Stays- This was one of the best perks we had without even using a single point. With the Citi Bank Prestige Credit card every hotel you book for three nights you get the 4th night free. We used this perk 19 times. We used it for all three islands in Hawaii and for an awesome stay at the Hilton Spa in the Seychelles. 

Airline Tickets- This accounts for airline tickers we purchased with points from Chase Sapphire, Citi Bank Prestige, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, Jetblue, and Southwest Credit Cards.  These points were mostly accumulated with credit card signon bonuses or spending points. Delta and American Airlines points were also accumulated from flights. 

We booked 42 flights for both Tim and I. Yep, 42 flights!!! These flights were for economy, business, and first class. We even had lay down flat seats for our flight from India to the Seychelles. These free flights saved us many hours that would of been spent on a bus or train. 

ATM Refunds- This accounts for an amazing perk with the Charles Schwab Debit Card. If you are traveling over seas for an extended period time this is the ATM card you need! When we enter a new country the first thing we must do is use the airport ATM for the local currency. NEVER change money at the exchange places in the airport. They are the worst rates! 

With this debit card Charles Schwab refunds your ATM fees. Each month they issue you a credit for the ATM fees you are charged. What an easy way to save money. 

Other Hotel Stays- This accounts for us turning in 270,000 Marriott points in for a 7 night hotel stay at the Courtyard Hong Kong ($1,400 value)  plus we were given 120,000 Southwest airline points which in turn gave us the Southwest Companion Pass (This option has been discontinued by Southwest). With the Companion Pass every time I fly, Tim will fly for free. This was by far one of the best ways we used our points. 

Overall we saved almost $16,000 in free travel over the last 10 months. We are also still walking away with more than 750,000 credit card, hotel, and airline points. Who wants to use some points up with me?