The world is an oyster for those in the points game and it contains a pearl of great price in the end.
It’s the smell of chestnuts roasting, spices of ginger and cinnamon permeating throughout the market as you head (if your me) straight for the spiced wine. Everything is lite up and the Christmas spirit is in full swing. People are mulling around sipping, tasting, and perusing the Christmas wares. Where? At the German Christmas Markets of course.
I can now hear the background noise of all the clamoring about travel is expensive and I don’t have the money. I am here to share with you, yeah sometimes it is expensive, but it is so worth it. I love the quote “Travel is the only thing that you buy, that makes you richer.”
Yet, for those who need to go as expensively as possible I have something else. I want to share that you can do it for very little of your own money if you are will to play a game. It’s all about the points. If you have not heard about the points game definitely keep reading. Because you are missing out on some of the best deals for travel with very little of your own money. it’s time to read some blogs and learn how to take advantage of those big bad companies people are always talking about. There are free flights out there for those willing to put in a little work. How much depends on you.
My travel style is varied and I use a lot of methods to do it. A lot of the time it’s plain hard cash. Sometimes, I use those wonderful little methods of accumulating points for travel like sign on bonuses for credit cards. You need to be responsible and you need to have good credit to do this.
There are many out there who live and breath points, and travel for pennies. People like the Points Guy have made a career out of traveling using points. There are great blogs out there that will show you exactly how to do it. People like Ben who blog at One Mile at a Time and travel the world using this method all the while making it look so easy.
I use a variety of different methods and I try and make the most of what I do. My goal is to come out getting more for less. I usually don’t have the time to travel full time as I am still working and my husband is finishing up a masters. I just do what I can, when I can.
So, it was here at this juncture I found myself. I knew I had been sitting on lots of points and I was dying to use them. While traversing the blog world is one of my favorite past times it is often dangerous for me. I was doing this and was also perusing the amazing world of Avalon Cruises when I discovered Germany and it’s Christmas Markets. I was amazed and delighted at the beauty and culture and I wanted to immerse myself into it immediately. That is once I got past the aspect of being cold. It took only a few seconds and I was off to dreaming of sleigh rides, roaring fires, and warm spiced wine. I started to warm up quickly, I grabbed a glass of wine myself and began.
After the dreaming process for me, starts what my husband refers to as the scheming process. I like to refer to it as strategically planning which then leads to the execution of said plan. I figured I had more than enough points for a flight in and out of Europe with points left for another jaunt at a later time if I should decide.
I have been sitting on close to 200K Barclay world arrival points. Barclay also just came out with new rules for utilization and now they are redeemable in 10k increments. This aspect is perfect for someone like me sitting on lot of them. Not so good if you are only trying to redeem a few.
I try to only maintain a few cards at a time. That way I don’t lose track and then waste points I have accumulated by not using them. I try and keep enough just for the near future. When I have utilized them I start on the next series. This keeps me current and I never have to worry I will lose them or heaven forbid they become devalued at some point. I am a earn them and burn them strategist.
When using points for flights if it’s somewhere you really want to go start early. This gives you the best options. I started in June knowing I wanted to book over Thanksgiving weekend. After a hour maybe longer of checking and rechecking I decided on a flight out of Salt Lake City into Paris on Delta for both my husband and I coming in at a whopping 5.00 dollars. I was on a roll. I decided to upgrade us to premium economy which includes drinks for a little over 200.00 This is how I use my points in a way that works for me. I don’t mind throwing in some cash for an upgrade. I am sure the professional point travelers can do better but for myself I just want to gain some benefits without a lot of effort.
For hotels the options are varied for me. I have 100K plus Marriott points which can get me either a couple of nights at a higher end Marriott or a week or more of nights at a lower tier property. I think I am going for the higher end this time. I have to admit I am a little bit of a hotel snob. So I do enjoy a little better hotel. Since I will be flying into Paris and spending two days, I will use them there.
From Paris we will be taking a train into Germany stopping a few places like Nuremberg and Heidelberg before we continue on to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We have reserved a place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen using our military benefits so we will be staying at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort . You will need to be prior military to do this and being my husband is a retired Marine we qualify. Listed as one of the most desirable destinations in the Bavarian Alps, the Edelweiss Lodge is in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen area and is an idyllic location nestled at the foot of sweeping alpine vistas.
All my details are not completely worked out yet and of course I will be blogging about the journey itself. I do know we will be leaving out of Austria and with taxes this cost me a little more than the flight in. I believed it rounded out at a little over 200.00 per person. Still not bad for air out of Europe. and yes you can get it cheaper if you put in more work. If you have not stepped into the world of points you are missing out. The whole world awaits you.
Maybe I will see you in Germany at the Christmas markets. We can share a mug of warm spiced wine. Because the world is definitely waiting to be discovered.