Travel Hacking our Family Vacations {Part 2}

If you haven’t read Part 1 – check that out now! It is how I detailed how we got into travel hacking with credit card points to subsidize our family vacations. This post is how I plan to subsidize a trip to Universal Studios with credit card points.

I have a car-limit. It’s 6 hours. After 6 hours in a car, I become a very unpleasant person to be around. Unfortunately, Orlando is much further than 6 hours via car – and it happens to be the one place my children want to desperately go to.

But you guys. Airfare is crazy expensive – especially for 4 people!

So enter the credit card points.

Once I started to plan our Disney vacation, I realized that a separate trip to Universal Studios isn’t too much out of my grasp, because I can use credit card points to cover portions of the trip.

So I did some research, and this is what we did to subsidize an upcoming trip (likely around Mardi Gras) for Universal:

Chase Southwest Premier

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 miles

Annual Fee: $69 / year

We actually used some of these miles to fly our family to Colorado this winter – more on that in Part 3. This card is also different since we signed up for it – they now offer a new card we also got.

Chase Southwest Priority

Sign-up Bonus: 40,000 with the potential to receive 65,000 miles

Annual Fee: $149 / year

This card comes with an annual $75 Southwest travel credit, 7,500 bonus points at your card anniversary, 4 upgraded boardings (when available), and more.

And here is the thing…the bonus points from these cards can contribute toward the Southwest Companion Pass. This lets a friend (or spouse) to travel with you for free for a year. Of course, you are only eligible for 1 sign-on bonus – so my husband has one card and I have the other. It is fairly easy to transfer points between our accounts.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

We plan to use these points to subsidize our rental car and our hotel. We could also use these to subsidize the cost of tickets, but I would rather have the rental car and hotel covered.

Sign-on Bonus 55,000 (50,000 points + 5,000 when you add an authorized user)

Annual Fee: $95 / year – waived the first year. We will keep this card and not product change it because Ultimate Reward (UR) points from Chase are very valuable and can be transferred to several travel partners – like Southwest.

In Part 3 of this series, I will detail how we are flying our family from New Orleans to Colorado for $175 per person, receiving 2 free hotel stays and using points for our rental car – all using points.

Laurel Hess
Laurel Hess is a mother to 2 young boys, a rescue pup, an off-balance cat and likely a few foster pups. She spends her days as President of a local marketing agency, helping craft integrated digital strategies and leading a team of creative collaborators. Once at home, however, Laurel is just trying to find peace with being the World's Okayest Mom. A Dallas transplant in a Louisiana world, Laurel graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in Broadcast Production. She met her husband while she was evacuated in Lafayette during Hurricane Katrina. They lived 5 wild, kid-free years in New Orleans while Laurel served as the Sales and Marketing Manager for the Superdome, Arena and Champions Square, before finally returning to Lafayette and into the wildest phase of life yet ... Parenthood.