Aside from your designated number of vacation days, the only thing that sets most of us back from travel to the world’s most luxurious destinations is, of course, the cost.
Flights, hotels, upgrades, and restaurant dinners can really add up.
But there are a few tricks that can get you the luxury vacation without going broke in the process.
That’s exactly how travel hackers Daraius Dubash and Emily Jablon recently paid about $4,300 for a $27,000 trip to the Maldives with their families. They flew first-class and stayed at 5-star beachfront resorts for peanuts compared to the actual cost. And they’re giving us some serious travel inspiration.
As Business Insider reports, the couple shared their tips on scoring luxury vacations minus the luxury price tag on Million Mile Secrets.
It all comes down to accumulating enough airline miles, hotel points, and rewards.
The pair booked two one-way business class tickets from Austin to India on Lufthansa, using 60,000 United Airlines miles. What would have cost $9,756 for the two of them only cost $137 out of pocket in taxes and fees. You can rarely get from Toronto to Montreal for that price.
Jablon’s mother and stepfather came along, as did Dubash’s father, but they paid for their own flights.
Opting to save their air miles for longer flights, they spent an additional $194 per person to fly one way from Bombay to Male, Maldives. They then dished out $540 per person for seaplane tickets to the Conrad Rangali Island (flights that weren’t eligible for miles or rewards).
As for their accommodations, they definitely weren’t too shabby.
Normally, five nights at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in a King Beach Villa would set you back $6,500. But with 195,000 of their Hilton Points, the group stayed for free. As Business Insider reports, they accumulated all of those Hilton points by transferring their Hawaiian miles from the Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines card.
Aside from swimming or relaxing with a book in the sun, there was no shortage of free activities to keep them occupied.
Snorkelling, kayaking, and paddle boating are all offered for free.
For meals, the group mowed down at the Rangali Bar, where meals start at around $30 (and are actually some of the cheapest on the island). The couple says the key is to fuel up on an exceptionally large breakfast to spend less on pricier lunches and dinners.
To cover their flights home, the couple cashed in on 15,000 British Airways Avios Points and took advantage of a fare sale, only spending $10 in taxes and fees.
At full price, their vacation would have cost around $27,014 for two people. They spent $4,298 – $22,716 worth of savings.
If you’re suddenly inspired to cash in your points and hit the skies yourself, you may want to check one of these places off your travel bucket list.