Using Points and Miles for Families

Pam

Using points and miles for families, especially large ones, is a little harder than using them for a couple’s trip or solo travel. You obviously need more points and will use more points. However, it certainly isn’t impossible, as shown by Alex’s Maui trip one year, when she had to find flights and accommodations for six people! She even invited my husband and I, which meant she needed an even bigger place for us all to stay. It is totally worth it for those unforgettable memories!

Here are some things to take into consideration if you are planning to use points and miles a trip for a large family:

 

Set Realistic Goals

Be reasonable about how many trips you can earn points for as a family. I can travel with points several times a year because I usually go with a friend or my husband. Planning a trip or two each year with points is going to be more reasonable if you have a family.

Alex usually plans a family trip with points, a trip with her hubby, and then a girl’s trip with points. That is actually a reasonable plan if you consistently apply for bonus signups. This isn’t going to happen at first for a beginner, but with careful planning, you can do it!

 

Family at Legoland

A family trip to Southern California is easy with points/miles.

 

Plan to Reduce Expenses vs. Free Travel

Using credit card points and miles for families, especially in the beginning, may not be free as you try to earn more points. You may still have to choose what to pay for. However, you can certainly reduce your travel expenses. Maybe you choose to use points for your hotels and drive to your destination. Maybe you choose to use miles for flights and pay for an Airbnb. This is a good choice for a large family because getting more than one room can use many points!

When my daughters and I travel, we often book an Airbnb so we can all stay in the same unit and then use our miles for our flights. Reducing travel expenses when traveling for a family is a win, too. You might want to be content with reducing expenses for family travel and saving your almost-free travel with points and miles for a couple’s trip or girl’s trip.

You could even rent your house out while you vacation and use that money to pay for things you can’t use points/miles on. One of my daughters does this every summer with Airbnb.

 

Find Family Friendly Hotels

There are some great hotels for families, like the IHG Staybridge Suites, the Hyatt Place, and the Marriott Residence Inn. Not only are these hotels less expensive when you use points, but they usually provide breakfast, which really helps a family save money while traveling.

Looking for hotels that offer two queen beds and a pull-out sofa makes it easy to accommodate a family of 4-6. So many nice, clean family hotels are available to book with points!

Look at all this room for a family at Staybridge Suites by IHG!

 

Consider the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest is a great, family-friendly airline. Not only are your bags free, saving tons of money, but flight redemptions are also very reasonable. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting the Southwest Companion Pass is another way to save on family travel. Alex and her husband alternate who gets it, so they always have it, saving their family a lot of money on family travel.

 

mother with kids on southwest flight

The Southwest Companion Pass really helps with traveling for families!

 

 

Saving On Food Costs

Food is a major purchase when traveling with a family. Having a fridge and a small kitchen saves so much money! Look for places with at least a fridge to purchase breakfast and lunch items. If you can limit eating out to just dinner, you will save a lot of money.

When my kids were small, we often stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn because we had a small kitchen. They also serve a great breakfast and usually, on weeknights, a small snack. This was often pizza or appetizers that were so substantial that they could pass for dinner sometimes. This really cut down on our travel costs.

When we were in Maui, where food is super expensive, Alex brought some nonperishable food and snacks for her kids into a suitcase. When we saw the cost of food in the grocery store, she was really happy she had done this!

 

2-Player Mode

We often talk about the 2-player mode. This means one adult in the family gets a credit card for themselves. Do not add the other person as an authorized user. Later, you can refer them to the card, get a referral bonus, and they can get the bonus points again. Family trips take more points, so you want as many points as possible. This is always an important rule in this game, but it is even more important to remember when it comes to traveling with families.

Having an involved partner is important for family travel with points and miles. If they are worried about their credit card score dropping, encourage them to read our post on credit card myths. Encourage them to read our trip destination posts and see where we’ve gone. You really need that partner onboard! If you need more help convincing your Player 2, check out our podcast episode about getting your Player 2 onboard.

Additionally, if you can handle spending more on your minimum spending, get credit card signup bonuses more often. An easy way to get approved more often is to alternate who applies. I am working on meeting the minimum spend on a credit card now. As soon as I get close to meeting it, in about 2 months, I’ll have my husband apply for a new card. It is through welcome offers and taking advantage of limited-time offers that you get more and more points – all needed for family travel!

 

Saving Points

Just as it takes a little more time to save up money for a family trip, it will take a little more time to save up your points for a family trip. Alex does it year after year, and you can do it, too! And those memories you will make together will be priceless.

 

Bottom Line

Using points and miles for families will take more points, but it’s totally doable. Plan on finding family-friendly hotels with free breakfasts and more beds. Dedicate your family to putting all your expenses on a credit card and getting signup bonuses more often. Having a great family vacation you pay for with points every year is a great goal.

 

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Family holding hands on beach

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