Our Triumphant Adventures

Our Triumphant Adventures


Credit card points have allowed us to take some most triumphant adventures. So far, this hobby has enabled me to take three dream vacations.  This is where I’ll document the details about each location, and offer advice for any of you that plan to visit some of the same places.  I’ll show you exactly which rewards programs we used, and the credit cards that allowed us to rack up points and free nights so fast. Please feel free to share any experiences you’ve had, or ask any questions in the comments section.


We took our first vacation to Hawaii in November, 2014. Our first destination was Honolulu. We split our time between Waikiki and the North Shore.  We flew United to Honolulu, used Hyatt points for hotels, and purchased our accommodations on the North Shore through airbnb.


Continuing our vacation we continued on to Maui for our second destination.  I didn’t book our intra-island airfare with rewards, but I’ll show you how I used the Barclay Arrival card to cover the cost.  We used free nights at Hyatt to stay in the beautiful Hyatt Andaz resort.


We took our second free vacation to Europe in September, 2015. I never had dreams of going to Europe. My wife did a study abroad program in college and spent several weeks traveling through Europe back in 2005. She always told me how cool it is and that I would love it. Although I’ve never been a huge fan of Europe, I always thought Switzerland looked cool, plus my ancestors are from there. When we arrived, I fell in love with not only Switzerland, but every other country we visited on the trip.  I guess you could say Switzerland turned out to be my gateway country.  Switzerland is expensive, but we were still able to find ways to use rewards to make it more doable.


We haven’t taken any trips to Italy as our primary destination.  We were able to visit Venice in transit from Switzerland to Croatia on our 2015 vacation. We visited again on our 2016 vacation as we traveled from southern France up the the Alps region of France. Both experiences were amazing, and I fully intend to visit one day as a primary destination.


Kendra’s ancestry comes from Croatia. So our first European visit was inspired by both our ancestries (mine from Switzerland, and Kendra’s from Croatia). As we googled pictures of Croatia, it became pretty easy to settle on Croatia for the second destination of our first European trip in 2015. We decided to fly from Switzerland to Venice for a day, and then take a ferry across the Adriatic Sea to Pula.  Once there, we continued down the coast using Club Carlson points to stay for free.

San Francisco

We spent our 2016 anniversary weekend in San Fran. We got there for free on Southwest points, and used Hyatt renewal nights to stay for free.


I loved Europe so much my first time around, that I just had to go back. We were able to use what was left of our American points for another trip there and back. Though Hilton isn’t my favorite rewards program, we were able to use our points for 3 nights at the most triumphant Hilton Conrad in the Algarve.


Hilton and IHG covered the majority of our nights in France, though we did spend a couple hundred on an airbnb in the smaller town of Annecy, which is nestled in the French Alps.  Might I say it was worth every penny.  The activities were amazing, and the views were stunning.


This technically isn’t one of our free trips. Even though it was free for us, as it was paid for by my employer.  We visited in April of 2017. I’d still like to post for those that are interested regardless of the points aspect.

New York and New England

This trip is in the planning stage. Since Kendra got the Southwest Companion Pass for 2017, we plan to only take domestic trips this year.  Stay tuned here for the latest updates on our plans.