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There are many of us out there that use our miles and points to travel for free / cheap. The whole reason that I got serious about collecting miles and points was that back in 2012, it was decided that our next bi-annual family reunion was going to be at Lake Tahoe.  I knew that coming up with 8 cross-country plane tickets was going to put a real strain on our budget, and knew there had to be a better way.  I was familiar with the pudding guy and with App-o-Ramas from the Fat Wallet forums, and with the help of Rick from Frugal Travel Guy, managed to pull off my first credit card churn, and have not looked back since!

The aforementioned reunion was actually a few months ago, and with the help of several credit card churns since then, as well as earning the Southwest Companion pass, we were able to use 170,000 Rapid Rewards points to fly roundtrip MDW-RNO.

Although I like to say that the reason that I started blogging is that most of the blogs that I read were focused on single guys or folks with no kids, and with a few exceptions, there weren’t a ton of travel blogs that focused on families, and the different ways in which most families travel.  Since I have a very LARGE family, the way I travel is even MORE different.

I really liked Mommy Points’s post last month where she said

As I have shared many times over, the reason I got seriously into miles and points was to keep my daughter connected to her family, and if my balances plummeted, that would be the use that remained after the others were gone.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Helping family out with knowledge

I love to help families travel for free or cheap and will gladly share what knowledge I have with others.  And what better people to help out than your own family!  For our latest family reunion, I was able to help my parents to get out there.  They got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and after meeting the minimum spend and transferring their Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Airlines, that was enough to get them 2 roundtrip flights out there.

I was glad that I had learned about this fun game because without that knowledge, it’s likely that none of us would have been able to attend the family reunion at all!  Yet another reason why those of us who have learned the “secrets” to traveling like this are so very fortunate.

Helping family out with miles

Sometimes knowledge is not enough.  As much as the miles and points game is a great way to travel, I think I’ve been doing it long enough to realize that it may not be for everybody.  There may be people that aren’t organized enough to handle having multiple cards, or who don’t have the time to manage all that.  Others may not have the credit score to get many (or any) cards, or may be saving up for a big purchase like a home mortgage.

So in those cases, I am glad to be able to play a part in helping make family vacations and memories happen.  Recently my sister got married and my other sister was not going to be able to make it there.  It was a great redemption of 25,000 AAdvantage miles to fly her cross-country so we could see her.  It definitely made our trip more fun, and it was the first time in almost 10 years that all 4 of my dad’s kids were in the same place at the same time.  The only thing I regretted was not knowing about the Citi AAdvantage Reduced Mileage awards, which would have let me do it for only 17,500 miles :-D.

Have you ever used miles or points to help an extended family member?

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