How to Save $4,000 on your European Vacation

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It is true. With almost everything booked I’m salivating at the thought that I’m going to be paying probably $2000 of a $6000 vacation to Europe.

I’ve put together a little table that shows where my savings came from and how you can save tons of money too. Although the offers that I have received here aren’t all available to you, there are other options too that you can use to get the frequent flier mile credit cards and fly for virtually nothing.

Retail Value Paid Cap 1 Redemp My Cost
Airline Tickets (2) $2,000 $240 ($240) $0.00
Hotel in Dallas $189 3000 SPG Points N/A $0.00
Car Rental $500 $500 ($500) $0.00
Hotel in Dornbirn $125 4000 SPG Points N/A $0.00
Hotel in Innsbruck $130 $130 ($130) $0.00
Hotel in Bolzano $140 4000 SPG Points N/A $0.00
Hotel in Padua $100 4000 SPG Points N/A $0.00
Hotel in Venice $200 200 ($200) $0.00
Hotel in Milan $135 7000 SPG Points N/A $0.00
Hotel in Milan $135 7000 SPG Points N/A $0.00
Hotel in Zurich $240 38K CC Points N/A $0.00
Totals $3,894 $1,070 ($1,070) $0
SPG Points Used 33,000
CC Points Used 38,000

The three credit cards that I used were the following:

  • American Airlines 75,000 helped us to get the 80,000 miles that were required for the round trip airfare for two to Europe.  This offer has expired but you can get 50,000 AA miles from the current offer and a few other perks too.  Make sure you double down on this offer and use the “Two Browser Trick” as explained by our friend Daraius at
  • Capital One “Match My Miles” promotion last March.  This was a very short term offer that gave me 110,000 Capital One Miles that can be used for car rental, airfare, or hotels.  The nice thing about this offer was they gave me $1,100 to spend however I wanted.  You can see how I’ve used these points below.  I wouldn’t normally get the Capital One card, but in this case it was worth it.  Only get this one if they offer this same promotion again.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card by American Express.  This looks like it is worth the least based on the low amount of points rewarded, but you have to remember that points are relative to the way that you can use them.  This card offered me 30,000 as a sign on bonus as long as I could spend $5000 on the card within 6 months.  I’ve already stayed two nights in a Starwood property in South Carolina and I loved it.
  • Club Carlson offered a big night giveaway at the end of 2011.  BAR NONE this was the best hotel promotion I’ve ever seen.  I stayed one night in the Salt Lake Airport Radisson for $66.  They gave me 50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points to use however I wanted.  I now am booking a room in Zurich saving $220 and I still have one more night for free in Salt Lake City.  That means that I stayed in almost $400 worth of hotels for $66.  I really like their redemption options and the Club Carlson team is great.

Overall you might feel skeptical at first when you read about accumulating frequent flier miles and hotel points for virtually nothing sounds too good to be true. I was skeptical until I took a free flight to Costa Rica, and a free trip to Tennessee last fall. Now I’m booking a $4000 vacation and paying almost nothing to do it.

You can do this. Anyone who has good credit can take advantage of these deals. Follow our blog and read about Doesn’t it hurt my credit. This post was designed to help you to understand how your credit works and how doing this will not affect your credit hardly at all if you are cautious. Then read our tab called How to Wanderlust. This will give you basic instruction on how to make sure you hit the right deals and set yourself up to travel for virtually nothing.

I’ve just proven to you that you can take that vacation of a lifetime without breaking the piggy bank. Save up so you can do fun things on your trip, but don’t pay for the trip. Keep following our blog to learn how to save thousands on your next trip.

Collecting frequent flier miles and traveling is possible for almost everyone.  Be smart about your decisions.  Please use our links that we provide as they help us earn a few dollars and motivation to keep sharing the secrets with you.  Wanderlust with us!

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