$26,000 Trip to Australia for $208

We fell in love with Australia when we first visited in 1994. This was our second trip and it was even better. Because this time instead of paying cash, we used miles and points. So we got a fantastic $26,000 trip to Australia for $208. | Our $26,000 trip to Australia only cost $208 | travel hacking | miles and points | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

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Australia is one of my favorites countries to visit. Especially when you can use miles and points for an almost free trip! Here’s how to take a $26,000 trip to Australia for $208.

We flew roundtrip First Class from the United States to Australia and stayed in five star hotels for 8 days for a tiny fraction of what our vacation would normally cost. All thanks to travel hacking.

We had a fantastic time in Australia! Who would have thought a $26,000 trip to Australia for $208 was possible? It is, and you can do it too. Click through the post to find out how to use miles and points to travel to Australia. | travel hacking | travel the world for free | miles and points | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

$26,000 Trip to Australia for $208

We fell in love with Australia when we first visited in 1994. This was our second trip and it was even better. Because this time instead of paying cash, we used miles and points. So we got a fantastic $26,000 trip to Australia for $208. | Our $26,000 trip to Australia only cost $208 | travel hacking | miles and points | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

We fell in love with Australia when we first visited in 1994.

This was our second trip and it was even better. Because this time instead of paying cash, we used miles and points.

So we got a fantastic $26,000 trip to Australia for $208.

Here’s how we did it.

Airfare

Hawaiian Airlines First Class Honolulu Sydney seats are more like domestic First Class seats. Traveling Well For Less
First Class from Honolulu to Sydney

 

Jeff and I flew First Class from Honolulu to Sydney on Hawaiian Airlines.

You can read my review of our First Class Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Sydney Flight for $63.

American Airlines used to allow a free stopover in Hawaii when you flew to Australia. So our flights were free. Technically the Hawaii portion was free but I already calculated those into our Hawaii trip.

Read my post on how to get a trip to Hawaii for practically free.

On the way back, we couldn’t get two First Class seats on the same flight so I flew First Class on Qantas from Sydney to Los Angeles with a stop and plane change in Melbourne. I picked this flight because the Melbourne Los Angeles flight was on an Airbus A380.

My flight cost 72,500 American Airlines miles and $102.20 in airline taxes and fees.

Jeff flew First Class from Sydney to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. Then he flew First Class on American Airlines from Honolulu to Dallas and then from Dallas to San Diego.

His flight was 72,500 American Airlines miles with airline taxes and fees of $106.10.

Hotels

We stayed at four different hotels in Sydney. This gave us a chance to see more of the city, save time and money on transportation, and save money on food because of hotel elite status.

Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar

Our first night, we stayed at the Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar in a King Deluxe Room for 20,000 Best Western points. | Our $26,000 trip to Australia only cost $208 | travel hacking | miles and points | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

Our first night, we stayed at the Best Western Plus Hotel Stellar in a King Deluxe Room for 20,000 Best Western points.

The hotel is walking distance to several sites including the Australian Museum.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

Then we moved to the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. Who doesn't love a gorgeous flat iron building! We used 50,000 Radisson points to stay 2 nights in a 1 Bedroom Spa Suite. | Our $26,000 trip to Australia only cost $208 | travel hacking | miles and points | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

Then we moved to the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. Who doesn’t love a gorgeous flat iron building!

We used 50,000 Radisson points to stay 2 nights in a 1 Bedroom Spa Suite. We saved 50,000 points because the Club Carlson Premier card offered the second night free on award stays of two nights or more. This benefit is no longer offered on the card.

Hilton Sydney Hotel

To be close to the heart of the city we stayed 2 nights at the Hilton Sydney Hotel in a King Executive room. This made it easier to take the morning train to visit the Blue Mountains. | Our $26,000 trip to Australia only cost $208 | travel hacking | miles and points | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

To be close to the heart of the city we stayed 2 nights at the Hilton Sydney Hotel in a King Executive room. This made it easier to take the morning train to visit the Blue Mountains.

Our stay was free thanks to the 2 free nights from the Citi Hilton Reserve card. (This card is no longer available.) The card came with free Gold status which meant access to the Executive Lounge for free breakfast, tea, drinks, and evening canapes.

Park Hyatt Sydney

For our last 2 nights, we used the Hyatt card's 2 free nights to stay in a King with Opera View Deluxe room at the Park Hyatt Sydney.
view from our room

 

For our last 2 nights, we used the Hyatt card’s 2 free nights to stay in a King with Opera View Deluxe room at the Park Hyatt Sydney. The signup bonus on the Hyatt card is now up to 50,000 points.

You can’t beat the views! And it made for a short walk to the ferry to visit Manly Beach.

 

We also saved on activities, tours, transportation, and food. Read the How to Luxury Guide to Sydney for $85 a Day for a complete breakdown.

How to Earn the Miles and Points

The fastest way to earn miles and points is through credit card signup bonuses.

Flights

I’ve been earning airline miles and points since 1994 so I already had the American Airlines miles.

But if I didn’t have the miles, these cards earn American Airlines miles:

  • Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard 
  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World World Elite Mastercard 
  • Citi AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard 
  • CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
  • Citi American Airlines Gold MasterCard 

Hotels

Knowing that we wanted to go back to Australia, I applied for the Citi Hilton Reserve, the Hyatt card, and the Club Carlson card. But now the signup bonuses are different and the Citi Reserve is no longer offered.

Cards That Earn Hilton Points

Here are the cards that earn Hilton points:

Cards That Earn Hyatt Points

You can earn Hyatt points by getting the World of Hyatt card or one of the many cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Hyatt on a 1:1 ratio. Points transfer instantly so you can quickly book hotels without waiting.

These cards earn Hyatt points:

Easy Ways to Earn Miles and Points 

Credit card signup bonuses are the fastest way to earn thousands of miles and points. But there are a few tricks and easy ways to earn miles and points without welcome offers.

I use a combination of extreme mile and point collecting and an easy & quick way to earn unlimited miles and points.

Look for the latest travel rewards cards.

Conclusion

Who would have thought a $26,000 trip to Australia for $208 was possible? It is, and you can do it too.

By getting new credit cards, using cards that give you bonuses, and creatively spending, you can travel the world with miles and points.

Where was your favorite trip using miles and points?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months).
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 

Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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11 Comments

  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Angie April 10, 2018 at 11:34 am

    That is amazing that you paid so little for AU. So many great tips, thanks! We would love to go to Australia and New Zealand at some point. Beautiful pics.

  • steph dorworth April 14, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Wow you guys are so savvy! What incredible ways to save money. Can’t believe you flew there with a free stopover. And got the hotels free as well because they sound so nice! Loved the spreadsheet at the bottom breaking everything down too. I’ll have to check out more of your posts because I’ve learned so much!

  • Anda April 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    When I first read your title I was thinking to myself “yea, sure!”, but then I realized you are involving miles and points into this equation. That makes sense. We used to fly to Hawaii for free (using miles) and stay in our timeshare. We fished and eat what we caught, so overall you could say that a two weeks in Hawaii didn’t cost us but a few hundred dollars for food. I agree with you that flying on miles and using hotel reward points is a great way of making the trip affordable. Unfortunately you can do this only once in a while, as these points and miles need to be accumulated.

  • Indrani April 15, 2018 at 12:08 am

    That is an immense amount of saving you did.
    I am curious about how much did you spend to accumulate that kind of points.

  • Anuradha Goyal April 15, 2018 at 10:14 am

    A great example of how to use your miles and points smartly. You even managed to fly first class – wow. That reminds me I have a lot of Marriot points and air miles that I should plan and use soon.

  • Linda April 16, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Your title certainly caught my attention! I was excited to read that the low cost was because you used points and miles. We have made concerted effort this year to build both points and loyalty. It was great to see how that can help you to travel well. Sydney is a great destination to splurge and use your points and miles.

  • Ash April 17, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    That massive savings was clever – a bit of planning and using your miles and points did the trick. This is an eye-opener and I think I need to know more about earning miles and points so I can do the same.

  • nicki April 17, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Hey Debra! I am blown away by this – I had no idea you were a points maven!! I am clearly needing to work better at this based on my travel style. That is a fabulous trip for basically the cost of groceries. Well done!

  • Himanshu April 17, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Australia is high on my list of countries to visit and your tips have given me another ray of hope. I am sure to save a lot of money following them. Right hotel so much important in a foreign country and by choosing it correctly a lot of money can be saved. Would try to get hold of these hotel membership to save more. I am yet to master the art of saving through air miles.

  • sherianne April 17, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    OMG. $208? I’m ashamed to say what I spent going to Australia! But… I have finally earned my free hotels.com night AND I earned my bonus points on a credit card so I’m pretty stoked. Guess I need to read the extreme post and try to figure this all out

  • Tami April 17, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    You found yourself a pretty amazing deal! But of course, that was a trip you had to plan for quite awhile in advance. We also save miles and hotel points, but we don’t collect them at a very fast rate. Still, every little bit helps make travel more affordable. I’m also super impressed with the quality of hotels you were able to stay in. Way to work the system!

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