About Me

Who are you?

I am a married mom of a smart and beautiful 6 year old son.  In his 6 short years, he has traveled all over the world and wants to see more.  It’s my job to show it to him.  And since being his mommy is my only “job”, I need to find CHEAP ways to do it!

You realize there are already thousands of travel, parenting and miles&points blogs out there, right?

Yes. But I think there is a niche for me.  I will combine all 3 in a “real-world” way.

A lot of travel blogs are geared to certain types of travelers.  Backpackers.  Luxury.  Business.  Family.  And most of the bloggers who write those blogs are PAYING for their trips.  (the horror!)  Most of the Miles & Points blogs you see are written by single travelers or married travelers with no kids.  And that’s easy.  When it’s just you (or you and a partner), it’s very easy to earn enough miles to fly Business/First class on every trip and stay in 5 star hotels on points.  When you have to add a kid (and 3rd ticket) into that equation, it becomes considerably more difficult.  Not impossible, but difficult! My blog is going to focus on getting your family the miles you need to travel to awesome destinations.  And then you have to ask yourself,  “I have 350,000 miles.  I could fly my family in business class to Europe once OR we could go this year and next year in coach.  Which is more important?”  In travel, which is more important? The journey or the destination?

Don’t get me wrong, (international) first and/or business class is incredible.  I’ve done it and I will do it again if I have the chance! But it’s just not that easy to do with kids.  My point is, you will see very few pictures of me kickin’ it with champagne on a lie-flat seat in first class.

Oh and as for the parenting blog – no.  People who know me know that I am not Mrs. Sally Homemaker.  I rarely cook. I am not an expert on raising children. (I have no idea what’s going on most of the time!) I won’t be writing about how to stop a temper tantrum (unless it occurs at 32,000 ft) or how to teach a 5 year old how to tie his shoes (anybody know?).

Will you tell us everything or are there secrets for Travel Hackers only?

I plan to disclose everything I do, everything I save, everything I spend and every place I look when it comes to planning travel.  Many bloggers accumulate and use millions of miles and yet hold Elite status with several airlines and hotels.  What? How is that possible? They reap the benefits of Elite status which is earned by paid travel, and yet they are telling us how they travel to the Maldives in first class on award tickets.  There is a lot of ticket buying going on somewhere, but they never seem to tell you about that.  If I pay (money) for a ticket, I will tell you.  It’s not always worth it to blow miles on domestic flights.  Why waste miles on a $300 ticket to Florida when those miles could be better spent on a $2,000 ticket to Thailand (even in coach)?

I will tell you now that neither my husband, nor I, hold Elite status on any airline.  He does travel for work, but not enough to earn status.  We have Elite status at a few hotels that was given with their credit card.  But that’s it. You will not see posts on my blog about how to earn Elite status or changes made to programs in regard to Elite status. That is not a concern of most people who are interested in FREE travel.  The destination, not the journey – remember? But, if you are interested in that subject, just ask me and I will point you in the direction of a good blog.

 

6 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Sally,
    Really wonderful blog! I have a two year old and he is also my only “job.” We usually travel to overseas every year to visit our family and have always paid ourselves. With three of us now, I started to explore other options. It is only recently that I started to learn about award travels. Our FICO was 800+, so I got easily approved for Sapphire preferred w/3.5k bonus offer. I think I got myself a little overboard by applying for the Citi Executive 100k bonus offer! The application is pending. My worry is if its approved how am I going to unload 13500 in three months 🙁 Well, your blog helped me organize. I have opened BB, ebate, amazon payment, and evolve accounts. My question is when I will send amazon payment to my hubby’s amazon payment account, will it not raise suspicion if it to and from addresses are the same address? I know vanilla option is no longer available for BB. Have you tried using GCs from Simon Malls? I have one near me and could be a viable option. Again, thank you for sharing your insights for average folks like us.

    • Sally? My name is Laura 😉

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you have decided to jump in to the game! I am working on my 3rd Citi Executive card right now. It’s not easy to spend 10K in 3 months, but it certainly can be done! I have been “lucky” (??) to have some big expenditures during each of those spend requirements.

      On the 3rd card, we got the “pending” status and just let it sit. Didn’t call. The card arrived within a week. (maybe less, I was in Germany at the time so I’m not sure exactly what day it arrived)

      What kind of address on the amazon payments? The IP address? I have heard of people worrying about that before. I use the same computer…..maybe I shouldn’t. But if you are talking about e-mail address yes…definitely make sure those are different! I may start having my husband log in from his work computer to transfer the money to our bank account. (though he will probably complain that I am making him do too much work by doing that)

      We do not have Simon Malls in my area. But if we did, I would certainly try those.

      I do not have Evolve but I just got a Serve card so I am going to try to load it directly with a credit card and see how it goes. I don’t want to get charged cash advance fees. Once I use it for a while, I will write a post about it. I hope it works though because I HATE going to Walmart (not sure if I mention that enough!)

  2. Thanks Laura- Did you close your BB account in order to get Serve card? I would love to read about your experience with using Serve. I also do not like to go to Walmart. I do my bulk shopping from Sams, but I have to quit that now since they do not accept Visa/MC, only discover or Debit/Cash. For certain online items, they do accept Visa, so probably I am going to load up on diapers :-). I do most of my shopping in bulk.

    I was talking about the same home addresses listed on both of our accounts, if that would be an issue. But, the ip address workaround is also a good idea.

    I liked the CC spending spreadsheet that you posted. I also got the US air dividend miles card with 40k bonus and $89 fee without any minimum spend. I want to build up AA/US miles for my next year trip. There are not many options to transfer UR points to AA/US.

    • True…that’s why I halfway regret getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Although….I’m sure I’ll use the points! I’m just trying to concentrate on AA/US miles for business class to Australia in a couple years.

      I did not close my BB. I opened Serve in my husband’s name.

      Oh yeah…the home address. It’s probably not a great idea but I’ve been doing it for almost a year with no problems. I could probably change the address on my husband’s account to his parent’s address.

      I loaded $200 to the Serve last night. I will check the credit card statement today and see how it posted.

  3. So, I received my Citi Executive card today. Great 100k bonus offer! I went to CVS and bought Serve tmp card and registered online. Since I could not load it using my new CC (CVS only allow cash), I loaded it with $10 that waived $2.95 fee. I also bought $200 vanilla gift card (the one with birthday candles) using the CC. When I tried to use the GC to load Serve via phone, it did not work! I called the CS and they told me that I can use Vanilla card to load serve! what am I missing here? I am experimenting, so even if it doesn’t work out, I can still use for other things. But I want to figure out how to do this right. Any suggestions? shall I wait to receive the permanent card and then try? My BB card has not yet arrived either. I did call Citi and lowered my cash advance to $100, just in case.

    • You can load Serve online directly with the Citi Executive credit card. You may have to wait for your permanent card to do this though. It was kind of a pain to register the card as well. No need for gift cards with Serve…which is the great thing about it. In fact, I don’t think you can load Serve with GCs online. But you can load them on to Serve (or BB) at WM. But again, the beauty of the Serve is it saves you from having to go to WM at all!

      I have never bought a GC from CVS. I buy “birthday candle” GCs at Walmart.

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