First-Year Reader Success Story


We met Beth a couple of years ago before she knew anything about points and miles. Here is her first-year reader success story, and it is a doozy—congrats, Beth, on all your success!


For the past 27 years, I have focused on raising my three boys and working full-time for a nonprofit. I never would have imagined that I would one day be able to travel like I have since discovering the world of points and miles. My first introduction was when I met Pam, Alex, and Jess at the Denver Travel Show.

They encouraged me to follow them on social media, and for the next year, I read their posts and lived vicariously through them. Then, at the end of 2022, I decided I needed to learn how it was done. I went down the rabbit hole of points and miles and learned as much as possible for the next few months.

At first, my husband wasn’t on board. He didn’t think getting lots of credit cards was a good idea. So, I worked on earning points on my credit cards, and then one day, when he came home from work, I said, “Guess what? I booked us a week at an all-inclusive in Jamaica in August.”  He asked how much that would cost us to which I replied, “It was free!” After that, I had a fully committed P2!


Opening Up Credit Cards

Since starting this journey in January 2023, both my husband and I have gotten the Chase Sapphire Preferred, two Chase Ink Cash, one Chase Ink Unlimited, and one Chase Ink Preferred. I also got the Chase United Explorer card. We haven’t increased our spending habits. We pay every living expense we can with our credit cards and then pay them off frequently so we never carry a balance.

With the sign-up bonuses and referral bonuses from these cards, we earned enough points and miles to take three amazing trips in 2023, which had a cash value of over $37,000!


Jamaica on Points & Miles

In August, we went to Jamaica for a week, stayed at the Secrets Wild Orchid in a Preferred Club Ocean View room (235,000 Hyatt points), and flew round-trip on Southwest Airlines (55,000 points plus $206).

The pools and beach at this luxury all-inclusive hotel were great, and the view of the ocean from our balcony was breathtaking. We spent our time relaxing, scuba diving, and learning about the culture. It was our first trip to Jamaica, and we will definitely go back.


Man and women with beach in background

Beth and her Player 2 enjoying Jamaica.


Points at Rawah Ranch in Colorado

In September, we went to Rawah Ranch in Colorado for a three-night stay (105,000 Hyatt points). We live in Colorado, so we didn’t need airfare to get there. This all-inclusive guest ranch is in a beautiful part of northern Colorado and offers activities including horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, line dancing lessons, and so much more. We channeled our inner cowboy/cowgirl and had a wonderful long weekend getaway.


Woman riding horse

Horseback riding at Rawah Ranch.


Interior of Cabin

The cabin at Rawah Ranch.


Calala Island

The most amazing trip of the year was in December when we went to Calala Island for six nights (240,000 Hyatt points). We flew round-trip in economy on United Airlines (124,200 miles plus $168). We also had one night at the Hyatt Place Managua (5,000 Hyatt points) the night before we traveled to the island by boat.

If you haven’t heard of Calala Island, you must look into it. It’s an incredibly beautiful island, and the level of service and food was exceptional. Half the fun was the journey getting to and from this remote island. The entire week was an adventure we will never forget. (This is an SLH property and is no longer bookable with Hyatt points, but may be bookable with Hilton points at some point.)


White canopy bed

Calala Island Villa that Beth booked with points.


Sunset view on island

View from the Calala villa.


Future Plans with Credit Card Points & Miles

And for 2024, we have a true bucket list trip already booked fully on points and miles! We are going to Greece in June. We are flying economy on Air France on the way there (51,000 points plus $166) and premium economy on Air France on the way home (138,000 points plus $469).

Our hotels are the Ava Hotel and Suites in Athens for three nights (75,000 Ultimate Rewards points), Domes White Coast Milos on Milos for four nights (116,000 Hyatt points), and Canaves Oia Suites in Santorini for three nights (135,000 Hyatt points). (After listening to Jess talk about the Canaves Oia Suites on the TMS podcast, I just had to book this hotel!)

I also used points to rent a car on Milos for the four days we will be there (14,409 Ultimate Rewards points). It’s going to be a great trip, and I can’t wait! Thanks to points and miles, I’m looking forward to lots more travel adventures!


Wow, Beth—your first-year success story is impressive! Congratulations on all these great trips! We have no doubt that there will be many more.


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Colorful van parked on beach between two palm trees

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