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Hey Y’all! Today Melanie Brown is sharing her awesome family trip to New York with you. She shares how she did it, some awesome perks she got from some credit cards, and how Travel Freely helped make it happen. Take it away Melanie!

From the Rockies to 30 Rock

by Melanie Brown (Travel Freely member)

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you’ve got to get your city fix, and there’s no place better to do that than the Big Apple. But it ain’t cheap. The good news is we’re now in the know about how to utilize and maximize the credit card point system thanks to Travel Freely. It has been an eye opening and game changing experience, and after the success of our NYC trip, we plan to ride this wave as long as possible.

First: Our flights. My husband was on a partial work trip, so his flights were covered. To tag along, I just needed flights for me and our 5-year-old son. We used 52,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points through the Chase Travel Portal to book our nonstop United flights. These points have come from our Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Thanks to the Airline Fee benefit from the American Express Platinum Card, we were able to cover our baggage fees for our flights.

Upon arriving at Denver International Airport, we used our Priority Pass earned from our American Express Platinum Card to enjoy a full sit-down breakfast at the Timberline Restaurant. Our priority pass covered $75 worth of food, which is a terrific benefit! Boñ Appétite!

Next up: Finding a hotel. We once again cued up our Chase Ultimate Rewards points to score us the perfect pad for our city adventure. We used the Chase portal again to book 2 nights at the Club Quarters World Trade. The hotel includes a lounge area where the hotel guests can enjoy complimentary snacks, soft drinks and lattés until 9 p.m. This hotel also has water stations on every floor where you can refill your water bottles for free.


Lower Manhattan as seen from Club Quarters Hotel, World Trade Center. (Courtesy of


Flying home we took full advantage of the AMEX Centurion lounge in LaGuardia thanks to our American Express Platinum card which gets us access for free. We enjoyed free WiFi, a buffet fit for a king and a full bar—a nice glass of Malbec is a great way to unwind and reflect on our perfect city getaway…for practically free.


Some Q&A between Travel Freely and Melanie:

How long have you been involved in the miles & points hobby?

I used to get a lot miles through my work travel several years ago. But just over a year ago, Travel Freely helped me to regain my focus on miles and points again, especially with the best cards and bonuses that maximize our travel goals. I don’t have the time to do the research.


What advice would you give to someone wanting to use points and miles to book a trip like yours?

Honestly, sign up for Travel Freely. Having a software system that allows you to easily see the best cards and benefits that work for you and your goals is invaluable. Then – and this may not be obvious – actually use it and follow through! It’s super easy to use the Chase Travel portal. I’m not a tech savvy person, so the ease of using these points along with the Travel Freely guides made booking free travel really simple.


What have been your favorite cards, or what would you recommend to others who are getting started?

I would say the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Platinum. We’ve loved the benefits of both cards, and they are worth the annual fees.


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