Reader Success Story to Barcelona

Pam

Kayla sends us a reader success story to Barcelona—one of my favorite cities. Here’s her story:

My husband and I recently took a trip away from our four boys (thanks, grandma!) all the way to Barcelona, Spain, to visit my younger brother studying at the University there. We also visited France and Andorra on a tour we booked on our quick five-day trip.

I have always been passionate about travel, but with four kids, I have champagne taste on a beer budget. I’ve always found good deals, but that can only go so far. One day my husband sent me an Instagram reel from the moms talking about all the trips they took…. for free! I couldn’t believe it.

Being the person I am, I quickly devoted every free moment to researching using credit card points and miles. I joined all the Facebook groups, watched all the reels, and read all the threads. I signed up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred offer. Ever since then, and many cards later, I’ve been hooked. We have redeemed thousands of dollars worth of vacations for nearly free, and I feel like I’m just getting started.

Ornate spiraled building

La Sagrada Familia is one of my favorite cathedrals in the world.

 

Our Stay

Our trip to Barcelona started with getting my husband (P2) to apply for the five free nights offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless last summer. We used four free night certificates to book the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel, which is right in the center of Barcelona. It was a beautiful hotel that was so close to all the tourist spots and really allowed us to see so much of the city in such a short time.
Each night cost about 48,000 points, so it was perfect to use the certificates as they had to be under 50,000 to apply. We only paid $56 in taxes when the cash price would have been $1,500 for the four nights.

 

Meat on cheese on plate in outdoor cafe

Kayla and her husband enjoyed dining outdoors in Spain.

Flights

Next were the flights. I have limited PTO at work, so I was on a tight schedule as I could only be gone for a short amount of time. I found relatively good cash prices on a TAP Portugal flight, and it was a red eye going out of IAD that allowed me to work that day and not burn another day just on travel time.

My husband had a Wells Fargo Propel card from years ago that he had 85,000 points on that we used as a travel eraser for $850 off the airplane tickets. Those points were just sitting there and wouldn’t be used another way. This allowed us to be very flexible with the flight we wanted.

The cash price for both of us in Premium Economy was $1,672 round trip. After using the points, we paid $822. Since we were only staying four nights, we only carried backpacks and didn’t check any luggage.

The total for the flights and the hotel was $878 for Premium Economy and four nights in a luxury hotel right in the city center. Our cash price would have been $3,172.

By saving so much money on the bigger parts of travel, it allowed us to splurge and book a $300 tour to visit three countries in one day. We were also able to treat my brother to tourist activities he hadn’t done yet, and eat amazing meals.

 

City set on mountain

Montserrat near Barcelona.

This hobby has changed my life from being a budget traveler to being able to treat my family to luxury. I’m never going back!

 

Bottom Line

Kayla’s reader success story to Barcelona proves that you don’t have to use points and miles for everything! Sometimes, just saving money is what we need to do. We also love how saving so much money allowed her to splurge and also treat her brother—wonderful family memories!

Colorful tiles on wall and view of city.

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  1. Lauren says:

    Congrats to you and thanks for sharing your story!!

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