Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

Head South for the Winter: Traveling with Points

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It’s cold here in Nashville, and the short, gray days have me a bit glum, and I’m not going to lie: I’m ready to get away from the sun setting at 3pm and plan my next tropical escape.

Using points to travel: What you should consider for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

It’s been a long time since we returned from the Bahamas, and if I had to pack up and go tomorrow, I’d be inclined to go straight back down there for a long weekend (or OK, maybe a month).

After all, I’m a total beach girl at heart, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be in the world than beside a pool in the tropics soaking up some Vitamin D. And, sure, far-flung getaways can take a toll on your wallet—but they don’t necessarily have to.
Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

I often get asked the key to our ability to travel so much and, job aside, there’s really one major driving force behind all of our for-fun jetsetting: credit card points. Lots and lots of glorious credit card points. For both personal and work expenses, we put everything on our card so as to build up rewards we can cash in to use on flights, rental cars and even hotels. (A note to my CPA and CFP, don’t worry: We’re also really good at paying them off!)

Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

It’s true, ever since I’ve been old enough to be approved for a card, I’ve researched the heck out of the best one with great benefits for travelers, and the flexibility of Venture Card currently puts it at the top of the heap for a globetrotter like me. I used to have airline-specific cards, but is it just me, or do those seem to get stricter by the year? After never being able to actually cash in the points I’d accrued with the airlines specifically, I finally ditched those limiting programs and set my sights on credit cards with more flexibility, cards like Venture.

Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

And yes, I always match my wardrobe to our rental house porch—don’t you? 😉

2015 was a year filled with more travel than ever, which means even for us, it was a lot. While some of it was for work, the majority seemed to be for weddings—both the ceremonies and receptions themselves, as well as showers like my sister’s Charleston bridal luncheon. The thing about weddings it that people often plan them at peak travel times, be it Memorial Day weekend, New Year’s Eve or the height of vacation time in the middle of summer. This can make traveling for cheap a challenge—unless you know what you’re doing.

Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

Our recent jaunt to the Bahamas was also for a wedding in Abaco. Since we were already paying to get down there, we figured we might as well make a vacation of it and extended our trip to a full week. I did not hate this development, not one bit.

Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

Instead of paying $516 apiece on round-trip flights from Nashville, we used points to book our flights. Ditto for the tickets we booked to Washington state next week—instead of spending our hard-earned cash on plane tickets (and double the usual rate at that, as we’re traveling during Christmas week), we’re flying for free and will be able to save our luxury fund to use on dining and drinking around one of our favorite West Coast cities.

Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

If you watch a lot of good, old-fashioned TV like I do—the kind with plenty of good, old-fashioned commercials—I’m sure you’ve seen Capital One’s ads with Jennifer Garner spouting off the benefits of her Venture Card. Well, first of all, I’d buy anything Jen—we’re on a nickname basis—is selling and, second, the rumors are true: There are no blackout dates, not even for holiday travel. I can’t tell you how many programs I’ve been a part of in the past that never seemed to actually have reward seats open—it can be frustrating, and like I said before, flexibility with the airlines is only going to continue to get worse, too.

Though it's yet to turn cold here in Nashville, the long, gray days have me a bit glum, and I'm not going to lie: I'm ready to plan my next tropical escape. It's been six weeks since we returned from the Bahamas, and if I had to pack up and go tomorrow, I'd be inclined to go straight back down there for a long weekend (or maybe a month). After all, I'm a total beach girl at heart, and there's nowhere I'd rather be in the world than beside a pool in the tropics soaking up some Vitamin D. I often get asked the key to our ability to travel so much and, job aside, there's really one major driving force behind all of our for-fun jetsetting: credit card points. Lots and lots of glorious credit card points. For both personal and work expenses, we put everything on our card so as to build up rewards we can cash in to use on flights, rental cars and even hotels. (A note to my CPA, don't worry: We're also really good at paying them off!) It's true, ever since I've been old enough to be approved for a card, I've researched the heck out of the best one with great benefits for travelers, and the flexibility of Venture card currently puts it at the top of the heap for a globetrotter like me. 2015 was a year filled with more travel than ever, even for us. While some of it was for work, the majority seemed to be for weddings—both the ceremonies and receptions themselves, as well as showers like my sister's Charleston bridal luncheon. The thing about weddings it that people often plan them at peak travel times, be it Memorial Day weekend, New Year's Eve or the height of vacation time in the middle of summer. This can make traveling for cheap a challenge. Our recent jaunt to the Bahamas was also for a wedding in Abaco. Since we were already paying to get down there, we figured we might as well make a vacation of it and extended our trip to a full week. Let's just say, I didn't hate this development, not one bit. Instead of paying $516 apiece on round-trip flights from Nashville, we used points to book our flights. Ditto for our Christmas week flights to Seattle—instead of spending our hard-earned cash on plane tickets, we're flying for free and will be able to use our luxury fund on dining and drinking around one of our favorite West Coast cities. If you watch a lot of good, old-fashioned TV like you do, I'm sure you've seen CapitalOne's ads with Jennifer Garner spouting off the benefits of Venture. Well, first of all, I'd buy anything Jen—we're on a nickname basis—is selling and, second, the rumors are true: There are no blackout dates. I can't tell you how many airline card accounts I've possessed in the past that I wound up closing because it was just near impossible to ever find a reward seat open—and they're only getting worse, too, with flexibility. With this gem of a card, you can book anytime, to anywhere. We've used points for everything this year: a rental car in Charlottesville, tickets to Charleston, hotels in TK. It's simply the only way we're able to travel as far and often as we do. And yet another bonus, with this particular card, you get two miles for every dollar you spend on all purchases, not just travel expenses. Soooo...Bahamas for Christmas? Anyone? Disclosure: This post is brought to you in partnership with CapitalOne.

We’ve used points for everything this year: a rental car in Charlottesville, flights to Orlando and Charleston, rooms in Denver and Seattle. It’s simply the only way we’re able to travel as far and often as we do. And yet another bonus with this particular card: You get two miles for every dollar you spend on all purchases, not just travel expenses. I’m sorry, but who doesn’t want to earn even more points you can cash in for a peaceful, off-the-grid setting like this one?

Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com

Soooo…Bahamas for Christmas? Anyone?

Using points to travel: Why you should consider Venture for your next credit card. | CamelsAndChocolate.com


COMMENTS
  • December 11, 2015

    This really is something to look forward to especially during winter season. I love to gain more credit card rewards everytime I travel.

    • December 12, 2015

      Which card do you use? Any tips to maximizing miles?

  • December 12, 2015

    “And if I had to pack up and go tomorrow, I’d be inclined to go straight back down there for a long weekend.” Jealous due to flights it’ll always have to be a long time trip for me 🙂 The US is usually in the way of direct flights to the Caribbean from Europe!

    • December 12, 2015

      Ha! I hear ya, sister. Being based in Nashville means anywhere international is a pain for us. At least we can fly most places in the US on a direct hop! Even then, though, our flight to Seattle is five hours!

  • December 12, 2015

    I am crushed. This is the first time in years I get to spend Christmas at home. Meaning, I have to celebrate Christmas, which I truly dislike. I wish I could go to Bahamas. I wish I could actually go anywhere in the world where I don’t have to put up with the Christmas frenzy!!

    • December 12, 2015

      See, I’m the opposite: LOVE Christmas and we never actually travel that week, so this will be a first for me! Stoked to fly on Christmas Day without the crowds though 😉

  • December 12, 2015

    Hmm…I may have to look into this for the new year as the commercials always have me curious. (Jen Garner is much more persuasive than the Vikings in the old commercials!) I currently use the SPG Amex for hotel points and United Mileage Visa for airline points – pretty happy with both, but the more I travel, the more I may want to fly other airlines.

    • December 13, 2015

      That’s always been my problem: The places I fly are all so random and not consistent so one day I’ll fly American, another Southwest, another United. For years, I did airline cards but then I’d need to go to, say, a place United didn’t fly and would be screwed!

  • December 15, 2015

    We are *huge* fans of cashing in reward points for travel, but unfortunately we’re seeing less and less return so I definitely want to look into this one. Thanks for the recommendation. Also, yes on the Bahamas. It’s been on my list forever.

  • January 19, 2016
    Mia

    Bahamas is so beautiful to travel and through your blog I can see the beauty of this elegant place.

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