This Buffoon’s Family Vacation

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1972FordLTD2smWhen I was a kid, we went on family vacations every summer.  We’d load up the Ford LTD Country Squire and hit the road!  This car was the inspiration for The Griswold’s Family Truckster station wagon in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

In that movie, they strapped Aunt Edna to the roof rack.  In real life, my mom put my infant sister at her feet in the front passenger seat.

My dad was able to trick the seal belt alert light, by pulling out the belt and then tucking it under some carpet to simulate it being used.  Why?  The prevailing response of the day was, “In case of an accident, I want to be thrown clear.”  What can I say?  It was a different time.

$3,500 Saved
This summer, my sister is flying her family out from Ohio to visit me in Los Angeles for their family vacation.  She and her husband are dropping the kids with me and shooting up to San Francisco for 5 days to celebrate their anniversary.  Then they will return to LA for a couple days before heading back to Ohio with my niece and nephew.

The really cool thing is that all their plane tickets and hotel stays are completely free thanks to points and miles earned from credit card sign-up bonuses.  They also converted some Chase Ultimate Rewards points into hundreds of dollars in tax-free cash to fund meals and entertainment.  She estimated that this saved them $3,500.

How
For the flights, they are using Delta SkyMiles and Southwest Rewards (converted from Chase Ultimate Rewards points).  They used some Starwood points for the hotel.

For a few more days, Starwood has bumped up their usual offer another 5,000 points.  Read my more in depth review of Starwood in “Put a li’l Vasco in your da Gama”, which is the post below this one.

As always, click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on these cards and more.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

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