My credit card adventures

Ever since a friend brought up the topic of manufactured spending in late 2013, I got curious and started reading up on various blogs trying to understand how that works and why people do that. This led to my discovery of an uncharted territory – earning miles and points via credit card sign on bonuses. This has been a known method for years however I was always skeptical. Mainly I was under the assumption that applying for too many credit cards negatively impact one’s credit score. This might be true if you don’t pay off your balance in full every month and don’t have the discipline to resist the plastic temptation. However, if you strategically apply for cards and use them wisely, even if it impacts your credit score, the difference is pretty minimal, and more likely it actually helps with your credit score. There are many many points and miles bloggers who blog about what cards to apply, when to apply, and how best to utilize them. I’ll leave those to the experts and focus more on my own experience here.  Continue reading “My credit card adventures”

Argentina 11-2012

Trip duration: 11/12/12 to 11/22/2012

Route: Dallas => Buenos Aires (in’tl) / Buenos Aires (dom) => El Calafate => Trelew => Iguazu => Buenos Aires (dom) / Buenos Aires (int’l) => Dallas

Flying Method: Cash Payment

Throw back trip report on one of my favorite trips of all time – Argentina.

The first step in planning our visit was to determine what time of year would be ideal since the season in South America is the opposite of the U.S. My friends and I decided to go in November since that’s spring time in Argentina and we’d be able to see wild lives and also do the glacier trekking in the Patagonia region.  Continue reading “Argentina 11-2012”

China 3-2014

Read More

Trip duration: 2/28/14 to 3/7/2014
Route: Dallas => Beijing (with a layover in Chicago); Shanghai => Dallas (with a layer over in Chicago)
Flying Method: Miles (award flights booked in January ’14 for March ’14 departure)

  • American Airlines AAdvantage: 70,000 miles (DFW-PEK; SHA-DFW on economy via AA) – don’t remember how I earned the miles. It’s probably a combination of purchases/flying/CC sign-on bonus from an old Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa.

This is one of those spur of the moment trips. One of my coworkers was in Hong Kong for work in early 2014. She mentioned that after her project’s finished, she was planning to visit China with her sister whose husband is a diplomat stationed in Mongolia. Knowing that I’m a travel nerd, she invited me to come along (or i half invited myself…LOL). After poking around AA’s award chart, luckily I was able to use the MileSavers award for a roundtrip airfare to China. Since it’s off-peak in Asia, it only cost 70K miles based on my intended schedule.  My itinerary in China was as follows: Beijing => Xi’an (via air) => Beijing => Shanghai (via high speed rail).  Continue reading “China 3-2014”

Italy 9-2014

Read More

Trip duration: 9/5/14 to 9/13/2014
Route: Dallas => Rome (with a layover in Heathrow); Milan => Dallas (with a layover in Miami)
Flying Method: Cash payment with AA

What better way to explore Italy than with a group of fun, smarty, bubbly girls! The idea was formed in early 2014. As soon as we rallied the troops and confirmed participation, the wheels were set in motion. There were six of us total spreading across Dallas, Austin, Houston and Tulsa. We all took part in planning and voiced ideas on what cities to visit, activities to do, and things to see. After some thoughtful considerations, we decided on Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice and Milan. Some of us split up after Florence to spend more time in Cinque Terre, while others headed to Venice/Milan towards the end of the trip. My itinerary was: Rome => Florence (with a day trip to Cinque Terre) => Milan.  Continue reading “Italy 9-2014”

My very 1st trip report: Peru 1-2015

Read More

Woohoo cheers to my first blog post ever!!! (patting myself on the back). For the inaugural post, I’m going to share my recent adventure to the great country of Peru.

Trip duration: 1/22/15 to 2/1/2015
Route: Dallas => Lima => Cusco; Cusco => Lima => Dallas
Flying Method: Miles (award flights booked in early October ’14 for January ’15 departure)

  • American Airlines AAdvantage: 50,000 miles (DFW-LIM roundtrip on economy via AA) – miles earned via Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select (sign-on bonus of 50K miles upon meeting minimum spending requirement)
  • British Airways Avios: 9,000 points (LIM-CUZ roundtrip on economy via LAN) – points transferred from Chase Sapphire Preferred (sign-on bonus of 40K points upon meeting minimum spending requirement)

At a bookclub back in October, when a friend nonchalantly asked if anyone was interested in hiking the Inca Trail, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Going to Machu Picchu had been on my bucket list for quite some time, and I wasn’t about to let this chance slip by. The following week, we booked our flights and reserved our spots with Peru Treks for a 4 day / 3 night hiking excursion to the Inca Trail. January could not come fast enough!!!  Continue reading “My very 1st trip report: Peru 1-2015”