In order to save you, and (mostly) myself time, I am going to do a few super fast overviews of the last two years-ish of traveling me and my partner, GC, have done using a combination of credit card reward points and cash (credit card spending – of course). Brazil First!
December 2015 – Brazil
Brazil was what I considered to be my first “real” international trip. I have been to Mexico countless times, but that was long before US citizens needed a passport to travel across the border. I will start by saying, Brazil is NOT the place to go if you’re looking for a “touristy” destination. It felt like some of the rougher parts of Mexico most of the time. This isn’t to say it’s not a friendly place, because it is, it’s just not geared towards a non-portugese speaking crowd. Even with my partner being of Puerto Rican decent and with fluent Spanish, we had some trouble figuring things out. Disclaimer: Portuguese is NOTHING like Spanish. I’m not sure why we just assumed it would transfer even sort of okay, because it didn’t. Spanish served almost no purpose throughout our entire 2-week stay and may have actually hurt since many words sounded similar but had absolutely no correlation to each other.
Being our first trip, we paid for almost all of our flights with credit cards, namely the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in order to meet the minimum spend requirements to achieve the 50,000 point bonus offered at the time (and still is available as of 8/22/17). We paid for flights about 4 months prior to the trip in order to accumulate enough points to make all of our hotels “free”.
After regular spending + the flight purchase, we accumulated about 65,000 Chase points. We utilized these points to book the majority of our 1 night says throughout the country of Brazil. For anything that wasn’t covered by Chase points, we also used hotels.com to book our rooms until we were able to reach the “10-nights Stayed” reward of 1 night free. (based on the average price of the previous 10 nights booked).
During the trip, I mostly used my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, but I did switch spending to a new Marriott credit card, co-branded with Chase, in order to help reach a minimum $3,000 in spending for another bonus reward of 80,000 Marriott Points. This technique can work wonders when trying to earn points for future travel.
The whole trip was a blast and very hard to put into words. So, enjoy two of our videos from our travels to get an idea for the place. The first one encompasses the entire trip ( 21:05 minutes) The second is a quick 4:00 minute video of a spontaneous sky dive we decided to splurge ~$250 each on. My partner, GC, is the editor for all of our travel videos and does a fantastic job. Enjoy!