Credit Cards – Heaven Sent or The Devil’s Handiwork
There’s probably the full spectrum of people that are reading this. From the savviest accountant to the don’t know how to balance a checkbook dad. However, if you are reading this story and this blog you have a real interest in being a good Tiger Dad or Tiger Mom. For that, I am thankful and grateful. Let us begin our journey on how I paid for my trip to Paris with credit cards.
Stupid is sometimes better than nothing
About seven years ago I luckily signed up for a Capital One Venture Card. Before that, I had been using my first credit card that I had from Freshman Year of College in the early 1990’s and my American Express Card. Only if I knew what I was doing back then… Anyway, I stopped using my College Card in the early 2000’s because after spending 10,000’s and more per year, I had nothing to show for it. Then I heard about mileage and got an American Express Card. I ended up using that for years and all I had to show for that was something like 60,000 points. I really couldn’t get anything more than a couple of tickets to Florida. Whoop – de – doo.
Seven years in the making
Like I said I got the Capital One Venture Card and it had a nice 50,000 point bonus and double mileage on anything. I thought to myself, “If it took me eight years to get 60K with American Express I might as well get this new card and get 50K”. There was a $59 Annual Fee but I thought it was worth it. Over the course of the next seven years, it slowly rose little by little. After every camping trip, I would think that one of these days I’ll be able to go somewhere nice.
This is the year
Finally, this was the year. I decided no matter what we would go somewhere awesome. I researched for a couple of weeks on places we could go and narrowed it down to Cancun and Paris. Full buffet or croissant and macaroons? Nachos or crepes? The City of Lights won out! I had been there in 1990 and always thought I’d be back but didn’t think it would take 27 years. This time I was going with my wife and kids!
Working the numbers
After looking through every online trip site from Kayak, Priceline, Trivago, Travelzoo, Expedia, etc… I found a combination of Google Flights and Airbnb was the best for our family. Google Flights is one of the best sites for finding flights to anywhere and the prices are real-time. (I later found Momondo was the seasoned professional’s site of choice.) Hotels were expensive for our family of five so I found some really nice places on Airbnb. We found a great place in the Left Bank within shouting distance of Notre Dame!
What did it cost?
It ended up costing us just the amount for the Airbnb stay. Each night only cost us $171. Airfare of $2850 was paid for by my mileage points. Capital One has a nice feature that it will erase any travel expense that you pick. If you have any travel item that is to be paid off, you use the erase option and it will magically disappear. That woke me up!!! What! Was I able to pay for an ACTUAL credit card bill with made up money? Yes, I was!
My Aha moment
I may be a little dense but I learned quickly after I’m slapped in the face. I’ve done research for months now trying to find the best credit card offers that I can use to do better than what I just did. I don’t want it to take another seven years for my next trip. I signed up for two credit cards in the past few months receiving 100,000 points and a slew of other perks. (Read my article about our Paris Trip here.)
Now I’m on my way to another trip next year if I want. I can go to Hawaii or go to Korea, basically for the cost of paying and using my credit cards. I found sites out there that give great advice on maximizing credit card usage to get the most benefits from each one.
What’s a Tiger Dad to do?
If you are a real Tiger Dad or Tiger Mom you must use this strategy to benefit your family. You can get basically, free things, discounted items and great perks for you and your family. You will be able to give great rewards to your kids who are busting their butts to make it into their dream schools. Take it from me and start sooner than later.
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