I use credit card reward miles to plan a solo summer vacation

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The pandemic has turned all my wedding plans upside down. I went from sending save dates for a bachelorette party in June 2020, an August 2020 bridal shower, and an October 2020 wedding, to contacting everyone to let them know everything would be. paused. In the end, my partner and I decided to cancel everything and run away last month instead.

After emailing my group of friends to let them know that I thought it would be best to postpone, once again, a summer 2021 bachelorette party (mainly because it’s a headache of planning a group trip now), I decided not to let my calendar go blank. Instead of going to Las Vegas or New Orleans with my friends, I was planning a solo summer vacation for myself.

Thought it was a good time to cash in some of the credit card rewards I have accumulated over the past year on my Miles Capital One Spark for businesses card to help pay for those vacations. So I decided to take a solo summer vacation in Miami.

Here’s how I pay most of it with my own credit card rewards.

Annual fees

$ 95, canceled the first year

Regular APR

20.99% variable APR

Featured Reward

50,000 miles after you’ve spent $ 4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months

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  • Advantages and disadvantages

  • Details

  • Benefits
    • No bonus category to follow
    • Annual fees are waived for the first year
    • You can redeem miles to clear travel purchases from your statement, or you can transfer to various airline and hotel programs
    The inconvenients
    • 2X unlimited miles on every purchase with your business credit card with no interruptions or seat restrictions and no minimum to redeem
    • One-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $ 500 on travel – after you have spent $ 4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account
    • $ 0 introductory for the first year, $ 95 thereafter
    • 5X miles on hotel and rental car reservations through Capital One Travelâ„ 
    • Receive up to $ 100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre® when you use your Spark Miles card
    • Quickly and securely download your purchase records in multiple formats including Quicken®, QuickBooks® and Excel®
    • No foreign transaction fees

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    Upgrade my travel and accommodation

    Since this is a solo trip and technically a replacement for what would have been my bachelorette party, I wanted to indulge myself as much as I could, depending on what I could. to permit. I decided the two main things I wanted were to stay in a nice hotel and fly in an upgraded seat (more legroom and a seat in front of the plane).

    I decided to spend most of my Capital One miles to make this happen, so I went to the Capital One credit card rewards portal and searched for hotels. I wanted to stay in a four or five star hotel for my two night vacation and was budgeting for 50,000 miles.

    I picked a mid-priced hotel that had great reviews and offered a $ 100 discount through the Capital One portal. It cost 30,576 miles (and included taxes and hotel charges, so there would be nothing out of pocket). If I had paid in cash it would have been around $ 337. I decided to use the miles for the stay and pay all the expenses I had accumulated at the hotel in cash (food, drinks, etc.).

    I also used miles to cover my plane ticket. I searched the portal for flights and found a ticket for 15,678 miles (for a flight of $ 157). I figured I could use miles to pay for the flight and pay the $ 60 for an upgraded seat in cash.

    Spend quality time on your credit card’s travel portal to see what specials are currently available. You might find even better hotels or flights than you would have found looking elsewhere and can cover those purchases with your credit card rewards.

    Pay for my equipment

    I chose a summer destination known for its hot days and constant sunshine, which meant I had to stock up on gear before arriving.

    I knew I would need sunscreen, a hat, a new swimsuit and more. Because you can use miles Miles Capital One Spark for businesses To pay for my purchases on Amazon, I filled my cart with about $ 75 of equipment and used my miles to pay for these items. In total, I used 9,375 Capital One miles (worth 0.8 cents each when you redeem them at checkout with Amazon).

    Check which retailers allow you to directly redeem your credit card rewards. Knowing this can come in handy when shopping for vacation or upcoming trip essentials and want to cover those expenses with points.

    Give me gift cards

    A fun way to really make myself happy and have even more fun while traveling is to have a selection of gift cards to use. That way, I won’t wonder if a dinner party or a purchase will impact my budget.

    I had 15,000 miles left that I wanted to spend on this trip and I used them to purchase gift cards for local Miami restaurants and stores. I did this by purchasing these gift cards directly through the Capital One rewards portal.

    Think outside the box when planning a vacation using your credit card travel rewards. You can probably use your points for more than a flight and a hotel. Always check what your card offers and how you can use your points in different ways.

    Jen Glantz is a personal finance writer, small business owner, and best-selling Amazon author “All my friends are engaged“and”Always a bridesmaid to hire.

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