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Hassle-free travel tips for big families

Mediafeed Logo By Kevin Payne of Mediafeed | Slide 2 of 9: Paying for a family vacation using only points and miles is difficult for large families, but not impossible. We’ve been able to pay for most of our travel expenses (except for food) for several years using rewards points earned from credit cards. Keep in mind that points won’t pay for everything, though. Although we’ve put miles toward most of our flights, we still had to pay taxes and fees on each ticket.The main expenses we try to cover with rewards points are flights, accommodations and rental cars. If we can cover those expenses through points and miles, we’re OK with paying cash for everything else.There’s no secret to using points for large family travel — it’s just simple math. The more people travel, the more points and miles you need to save up. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to maximize your rewards. Here’s how we earn and use rewards points to fund travel for our family of six:Take advantage of welcome bonuses. The key to saving enough points to fund large family travel is to focus on cards with generous welcome bonuses.Have each adult sign up. Both my wife and I sign up for new credit cards. Opting for two-player mode helps us maximize our travel rewards.Stick to brands we like. There are certain hotels and airlines we prefer as a family. We stick to credit cards that earn points we can use with those brands, whether directly or through rewards programs that allow you to transfer points.Use versatile rewards programs. Some rewards programs, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, have portals where you can book travel directly. We can stick with our favorite brands or book travel based on current deals elsewhere. Chase Ultimate Rewards also allows you to transfer points to more than a dozen travel partners.

1. Racking up enough credit card points

Paying for a family vacation using only points and miles is difficult for large families, but not impossible. We’ve been able to pay for most of our travel expenses (except for food) for several years using rewards points earned from credit cards. Keep in mind that points won’t pay for everything, though. Although we’ve put miles toward most of our flights, we still had to pay taxes and fees on each ticket.

The main expenses we try to cover with rewards points are flights, accommodations and rental cars. If we can cover those expenses through points and miles, we’re OK with paying cash for everything else.

There’s no secret to using points for large family travel — it’s just simple math. The more people travel, the more points and miles you need to save up. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to maximize your rewards. Here’s how we earn and use rewards points to fund travel for our family of six:

  • Take advantage of welcome bonuses. The key to saving enough points to fund large family travel is to focus on cards with generous welcome bonuses.
  • Have each adult sign up. Both my wife and I sign up for new credit cards. Opting for two-player mode helps us maximize our travel rewards.
  • Stick to brands we like. There are certain hotels and airlines we prefer as a family. We stick to credit cards that earn points we can use with those brands, whether directly or through rewards programs that allow you to transfer points.
  • Use versatile rewards programs. Some rewards programs, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, have portals where you can book travel directly. We can stick with our favorite brands or book travel based on current deals elsewhere. Chase Ultimate Rewards also allows you to transfer points to more than a dozen travel partners.
© Yelizaveta Tomashevska / iStock

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