Companion Pass

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Rapid Rewards

We’re working on one final hurrah for the Companion Pass – I’m going to snag a few vacation days, and we’ll plan 4 or 5 days in Havana, Cuba sometime around the end of the year!  Obviously, I couldn’t just let the Companion Pass sit there and collect dust.  My pass expires at the end of this year, and I knew I needed to get one more international trip.  Southwest’s limited route network left me with a handful of option, and we settled on Cuba.

Only problem?  I’m starting to run low on Southwest Rapid Rewards.

In keeping with the theme from earlier this week…that’s where flexible points come in!

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Costa Rica: The Details

Well, let’s wrap up these Costa Rica posts, shall we?

I love reliving the trip, but all good things must come to an end!  Besides, the faster I get these posts out, the more I can focus on the next trip – a weekend trip to Austin, Texas in June!

Costa Rica was short and sweet.  It was a bit too short for our liking, but definitely worth it.  When I first booked the flights, I knew the trip was going to be to short to do everything we wanted to do, but that definitely wasn’t going to stop us from going!  Between work, family, friends, and all those other things on my list, it can be hard to find the time to travel.  Now that my girlfriend is a full time high school teacher, and the kiddo is getting older and more involved with school too, I’m trying to take advantage of school vacations.

Unfortunately, everyone else is too, so the price difference between flying home on Wednesday rather than even one day later on Thursday was huge.  We opted to save the Rapid Rewards points for a rainy day, and take the earlier flight home on Wednesday.

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The Baltimore Budget

One more post to wrap up last month’s adventure in Baltimore!  You know I always like to give you all the numbers, so I’ve detailed all of the spending (cash and points) below.

If you’d like to see more on Baltimore, scroll down, or check the links here and here.  (And my first overnight train ride here.)

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En Route to Costa Rica

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We got the green light!

Had to make sure a few things lined up, but I’m happy to say we’re planning our first international jaunt of 2017.  We’ll be flying down to Costa Rica for a few days in April, just at the end of the dry season!

Hopefully by then we’ll have more trips planned too, but this is all we have on the calendar so far, so I’m extra stoked for this one.  We’re going to try and squeeze another international trip in towards the end of the year if we have time, and I’ve got a few shorter domestic trips on the list for 2017 too.

Costa Rica, here we come!

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2016 Review

I surprised myself with 2016 – happy to report it was a really successful year!

In my 2015 Review post, I went through some of the highlights of that year, as well as some goals for 2016.  I want to take some time and review 2016 now!  Like I said, it was a great year for me, my travelling, the blog, and I’m really looking forward to 2017!

Let’s take a look!

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Washington DC 2016

We have a roughly annual trip to DC, usually in the fall.  This is actually our third year heading down to visit some close family friends, and the 2nd year doing the trip over the long Columbus Day weekend.  Check out the small report on last year’s trip!

I find October to be a particularly nice time of year in DC – not too hot, and not cold either.  The long weekend itself is a bit busy, but you definitely don’t have the tourist traffic that DC sees during other times of year.

Usually we drive, but that was before travel hacking.

Now, we fly.

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After a Year of Travel Hacking…

First off, this post is a bit late!  I’ve been running around a lot September and October, and haven’t had the time to get this post together until today.

I consider the day I applied for the Barclaycard Arrival+ to be the true beginning of my travel hacking journey.  That means as of September 24th, 2016, I’ve been addicted for exactly one year.  So, this post is a month overdue.

It just so happens that I’m wrapping up my year of travel hacking coming from last weekend at the Chicago Seminars.  I’ll write up a bit more about this event soon, but it’s basically a conference for travel hacking, run by some great FlyerTalk folks.  What better way to commemorate one year in the game?

If you remember, I was spurred into this new hobby by my trip to Peru last year.  It was nothing short of eye-opening.  I knew I wanted to travel more.

I had caught the travel bug.

I also knew I didn’t want to pay big money for travel, like everyone else seems to think you have to.  Travel hacking enabled me to meet both of those goals:  travel and frugality.  Using the miles gained from the sign up bonus on that first card, and a bit more everyday spending, I cashed in those Arrival+ miles for $500 towards flights to Florida to see some of the family, and enjoy a few days at Disney World.

Let’s see where I’m at now, shall we?

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Mexico: The Details

If you’ve been following along thus far, you know we had a great time exploring the Yucatan Peninsula a few weeks ago.  True to form, I couldn’t just have fun…I had to get home and analyze the entire trip.  But let’s be honest, this is part of the fun for me anyway. (more…)