When we decided to move to California, we prioritized spending time with family & friends in Washington. We knew this would represent a significant portion of our travel budget, but it's important for us to maintain our connections & ensure the boys get to spend a lot of time with our relatives. (The majority of my family lives close to each other, making it easy to see multiple people in one trip.)
Our travel budget for the 2018 is $7000. This represents a variety of trips, but just one potential hotel stay. The biggest category of this budget is for airfare, car rentals, etc. (Note: a few trips haven't been fully planned, so these are placeholder numbers, although the full sum needs to come in at or under $7000.)
Our full flight budget for the year is $3,900, and would take around 390,000 miles to cover in total. (Note that this is an estimate. Some flights require more miles, so I'd like to be flexible on which parts of our travel we can book via points so we can get the best value). Given that airfare is such a big component of our traveling, I'd love to find a way to get at least half of our flights covered via miles. My stretch goal would be all of the flights covered via miles, but I think that will be challenging! I haven't been very efficient at maximizing these opportunities in the past, and want to focus on this. Here are the ways I'm thinking about accruing these miles:
- 36,000 - We have a credit card through the airline, & I'm guessing this is how much we'll accrue
- 30,000 - companion fare via our credit card
- 90,000 - existing miles balance
- 50,000 - points transfer from a hotel loyalty program (primarily accrued via work travel)
- 90,000 - miles from my other three travelers. These are harder to use, as I have to book the reservation under one child, for example, which is a hassle if we're traveling in groups. But, let's optimistically go with this.
- 30,000 - points accrued from other hotel transfers. This is optimistic, although I do have quite a bit of travel planned for Q4.
If we were able to utilize miles to offset the majority of our 2018 travel, it would allow us to either a) take additional trips or b) reduce our costs! We're leaning towards b, with the understanding that some trips naturally go over, and we may want to increase our budget around a major milestone (15th anniversary, etc).
What about you? Do you use miles or points to offset your travel budget? Any tips to share?