Brand loyalty with the help of credit card perks! That is how I did it!
We have all started to fly Delta, so when it came time to book our Florida trip, I picked an off time and was able to get us three tickets for 20,000 miles each, round trip! OK, I lie, they were not free, they cost $6 each! My husband and I have each gotten the Delta credit cards at some point so that we could also get a mileage boost from the sign on bonuses! And when I say sign on bonuses, he got 70,000 miles, and I got 10,000 for signing him up!
Credit card sign on bonuses are a great way to start earning points for your free trip. I only suggest this if you plan to pay off the cards in full so that you never pay interest. I charge everything, and pay our bills in full every month. When I know I have a big expense approaching, I get either one or the both of us a new credit card. You usually need to spend a certain amount to get the signing bonus, so I always get a new card when I pay for my son’s sleep away camp. Every year! And yes, that is what we did when his Bar Mitzvah party was approaching: Peter signed up for the Starwood American Express card and received a 25,000 point bonus. We also then left the down payment on the card, which we paid off right away, and were on our way to 10 free nights at Walt Disney World!
Free nights at Walt Disney World? How is that possible? It is possible because there are two Marriott/Starwood Hotels on property, the Swan and the Dolphin hotels! You do lose two perks that might upset you, you cannot book the meal plan if you are staying at those hotels, and you do not get the Magical Express, so you will have to pay for car service to and from the airport. We were offered an Uber credit, so Peter becamse a new Uber member and we were set! We do not find the meal plan to be worth it, so that is no loss for our family. And the additional bonus is, the location of these hotels is around Bay Lake, our favorite area to stay on all of Walt Disney property! We can walk to EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios!
Here’s the view from our balcony:
10 days at the Swan hotel, with two queen sized beds (our son is way to big for a cot anymore!) cost me 96,000 Starwood points. We use this card for all our living expenses so that we build up more and more points. We had also had Marriott cards in the past and transferred those points over. The new marriage of Marriott and Starwood benefitted my family!
Here’s the view looking up towards our balcony!
And I lied again! We did not stay for free! I could not get out of the $25 a day resort fee. Although, I did bring power bars and pop-tarts for breakfast, and enjoyed all the free Starbucks coffee we could drink in the room (we had to make it ourselves). Also, one of the amenities of these hotels, is all the bottled water you can drink! They give you two bottles, but you are free to ask for more, all the time! We never left our room without a bottle for each of us, so that the hotel did not make a lot of money off of our $25 resort fee! Daily we took three bottles of water into the park, this was a savings of $75 during our trip. I should add, we got an upgraded room, because I am a gold member through all of these credit card deals! NOTE: I join every hotel loyalty program before I go to any hotel so as to get any additional points, you never know when they are going to come in handy. Same for all airlines!
This was the tough one. I saved gift cards from the last three years and bought $1700 worth of park tickets for three people for 10 days. This included park hopper so we could go to more than one park per day, and also the water park add-on, which was $15 a person. That water park was a diversion for our teenager and also saved our vacation. Twice!
I used my gift cards, collected over three years, from various stores, to buy Disney gift cards and that is how I paid for the tickets. One of the tricks here, is that the longer you stay, the lower the cost of each day. A one day ticket is over $100, and that is without the park hopper. With everything included, we paid less than $60 a day. When you consider the 12 hours of rides, entertainment, parades, light shows, and fireworks that you can enjoy, this is a good value.
And perhaps my accountant will let me write off part of the trip, since we had to pay for our food for these 10 days, I was not able to get that for free! I review Disney movies all the time and love including celebrity pictures in my articles, so this trip was really a business expense! Won’t these pictures fit perfectly for the next few years of Disney movies?
Who do you see? I see celebrities everywhere! Posing with me is Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Chris Pratt, Emily Blunt, Will Smith, and Cristela Alonzo! You can’t see Vin Diesel, he was behind the scenes voicing Baby Groot! Now to get this one past my accountant next year!
And I lied again! We did get one meal for free, they made my son sing for our lunch in Hollywood Studios:
This is not a sponsored post!