Eric and I went on a Mexican getaway to the Riviera Maya earlier this month, staying at Tulum and Playa del Carmen for a few days each, and happily we were able to use credit card rewards to pay for vacation (or at least a large chunk of it!).
We had a wonderful time and it was so great to celebrate Eric finishing his year of work probation, which means no more studying, test-taking, or being the rookie firefighter anymore, he is officially official!
It was also wonderful to get away from the stress of new home ownership. While it has definitely been a dream of ours, I also have to admit that we can get overwhelmed by the amount of projects we want to take on, and sometimes we don’t quite see eye to eye on what should be done first : ) Good problem to have, I guess?
How We Afforded Vacation One Month after Buying a House
We actually booked this vacation in September—back when we had no intention of buying a house. Of course, a month later we found a house we loved in our price range in the neighborhood we loved, and on a whim decided to buy it.
When I was telling a good friend of ours the story of how we bought our house, she said “The way you decided to buy your house sounds like the same way you decided to get married!”
Very true! I guess we just like to make major life decisions on a whim, and so far it’s worked out really well for us, right?
Maybe we just know to go with our gut.
Since we booked it in September, a large portion was paid up front. But there were still a few things we needed money for—and since we’re trying to keep cash on hand for house projects, we really didn’t want to spend any of our own money.
Enter Credit Card Rewards.
How We Use Credit Card Rewards to Pay for Vacation
Here is the breakdown of we how we saved $1,000 on vacation with credit card rewards:
*these are not affiliate links*
That’s $1237 saved from credit card reward points!
I’ve been wanting to get into credit card churning (the practice of signing up for cards based on points and then cancelling them) for a long time, but didn’t want to risk negatively impacting our credit until after we bought a house.
But now I plan to take full advantage!
Due to a 50,000 point sign up bonus through SouthWest, we actually haven’t paid for pretty much any flights in the past year, except for Cabo. I just cancelled my Southwest card this month before the renewal fee. But I plan on getting Eric signed up for one soon.
The Barclaycard is one of my new favorites! The sign up bonus is big, and you get a 10% bonus when you redeem points specifically for travel. And unlike other cards, the points are instant. So I didn’t have to wait months to redeem my points.
Plus, the annual fee is waived for the first year, there is no international usage fee, and you get 2x points for all purchases. I just signed up Eric for his own card to help save up for our next vacation.
The biggest trick in credit card churning is to pay attention to the rules, the spending requirements, and cancel it before the annual fee renews. I make a note in my online calendar so I remember to call and cancel the following year.
Do you use credit card rewards? Have you tried credit card churning?