Did you know that 30% of American Families spend anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 on family travel per holiday? That’s a huge amount of money, especially when you’re a family of 6 and you’re wanting to go out of the country! But for Kaye and her family, that did not stop them from a dream adventure to Europe for free! (Yes, for free!)
All it took was a resolve to pursue free travel and a combination of Chase Cards for an incredible trip to France to see Paris and Normandy. If you’re not inspired by this Europe adventure for a family of 6, we don’t know what will!
Check out the highlights of Kaye and her family’s trip below!
Travel Freely: Before anything else, can you give us a brief introduction about you and your family?
Kaye: We are a family of 6 (4 school-age sons plus my husband and myself). I first got interested in points and miles in November of 2017. My husband and I wanted to take a trip somewhere in Europe with our kids, but the cost seemed out of reach. I began googling and stumbled across quite a few websites talking about points and miles. I did a ton of research reading everything I could find. Ultimately, we decided to focus on Chase Ultimate Rewards. We opened our first point-earning cards in January of 2018.
Travel Freely: What inspired the trip?
Kaye: My husband and I both love Europe and we wanted to take the entire family on a vacation there. As we explored different options, we thought going to see the D-Day sights in Normandy would be a fabulous way to bring history to life, as well as allow the boys’ space to be active. We joke that this was not the “wine and cheese” tour of France. Our schedule permitted three full days to explore Normandy, one day in Versailles, and three days in Paris.
Travel Freely: What points and miles did you collect?
Kaye: We primarily focused on Chase Ultimate Rewards. We both run side businesses out of our home, so we opened the three Chase business cards and one personal Chase Sapphire card each. My husband’s full-time job also incurs a fair amount of travel, so he had a stash of Delta SkyMiles as well.
60,000 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Our #1 personal card that we recommend most often. Single best "starter card" for beginners and MVP card for free travelers. Now includes a $50 grocery credit as part of the signup bonus.
Travel Freely: How did you book the trip?
Kaye: Our dates were not flexible because of the children’s school schedules. We booked the trip 10 months in advance directly with Delta. We booked 5 tickets as revenue tickets one-way and used Chase UR to offset the cost (at only $0.01 per point). This wasn’t the most valuable use of points, but the flights we wanted were not available through the Chase portal. The sixth ticket we used Delta SkyMiles to cover the ticket.
For hotels, we knew we would need two rooms each night because of our family size. We found a great hotel in Paris (Hotel Mayfair Paris) through the Chase portal and booked it at 1.5 cents per point with our Sapphire Reserve card. The hotel in Bayeux (Hotel La Bayeux) offered a free night on a four-night stay if we booked directly with them instead of through the Chase portal. So it was more advantageous to charge this hotel to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and then offset the cost using Chase Ultimate Rewards.
A nice side bonus was that with our credit cards, we have Priority Pass memberships. Each membership allows the member plus two guests into the lounge. We each brought in two children on our memberships.
Travel Freely: What were some highlights of the trip?
Kaye: We all found Utah and Omaha beaches sobering and beautiful and emotionally draining. Our family had been studying World War II, but seeing the beaches, the bomb craters remaining on Pointe du Hoc, and the German concrete bunkers still dotting the countryside were solemn reminders of the tragedy of war and the men who courageously fought for freedom.
My boys all surprisingly loved seeing the Bayeux Tapestry and a highlight in Paris was going up on the Eiffel Tower. The Fat Tire Bike tour was a great activity that any age can enjoy. It was a fantastic trip all around.
Travel Freely: What advice would you give?
Kaye: It’s important to read and research to figure out which rewards work for your needs. Don’t spend too much time worrying about getting the biggest value out of the points and miles. The best value for the points is getting you and your family to where you want to go for the least amount of money possible.
Are you inspired? Just sign up with Travel Freely and we will help you get started!