Capital One Venture Rewards and Hotels.com
Thank you to Capital One for sponsoring this post and Hotels.com for providing my accommodations.
When Capital One® contacted me about a sponsored trip to promote its new partnership with Hotels.com®, I agreed immediately. I’m passionate about mileage-earning credit cards! When people email me to ask about affordable ways to travel anywhere, I always respond by asking if they have miles to use. It’s a lot easier to travel far and wide when some of the travel is free!
Years ago, you could earn significant miles from flying. I used to do routine mileage runs to Sydney and Dubai, buying cheap tickets and getting enough miles to maintain status and get free tickets. But most airlines now tie mileage accrual to ticket price – basically, if you buy a discounted ticket, you receive fewer miles. So in my opinion, it’s far easier now to accumulate miles through credit card spending. And we’ve done it. I’ve lost track of everywhere we’ve traveled with free tickets, but I would guess we’ve gotten to at least 15 countries without paying for flights. My favorite destination to travel for free: Florence, Italy. I travel there at least once a year, and more often than not I use miles to eliminate flight expenses.
The beauty of the Capital One Venture card (my card) is its simplicity. Apply for the card, get 50,000 one-time bonus miles if you spend $3,000 within 3 months of account opening (offer current as of January 2018), and then I recommend using it on every purchase, since you earn double miles on everything you buy. In our case we charge home and auto insurance, health insurance, groceries, gas, online shopping and, of course, travel. Every dollar we spend gets us two miles.
And now Capital One’s partnership with Hotels.com makes it even easier to earn miles. When you book through Hotels.com/Venture, you get 10 miles for every dollar spent. How awesome is that? And it’s unlimited. We stay in a lot of hotels every year. We’re going to get a lot of miles! Plus in addition to the Capital One offer, you still get benefits from the Hotels.com Rewards™ loyalty program. For every 10 nights you book and stay, you get a free Reward night – equal to the average cost of your room nights.
Here’s how much you could earn in the first year:
Initial card bonus = 50,000 miles (after required spending and in first year only)
Monthly credit card spending ($2,000/month) times 12 months = 48,000 miles
Hotels.com/venture hotel booking ($1,000) = 10,000 miles (available after the hotel stay is completed)
Total = 108,000 miles
And that 108,000 miles is worth $1,080 towards travel. Easy, right? Use your Venture card for your purchases, and then go online and apply your miles to those travel expenses. $1,080 in travel, erased. No blackout dates or flight restrictions.
And there are two additional reasons I love the Venture card. First, it doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. I travel to 20+ countries a year and would hate to pay an extra fee on purchases overseas. Second, I still get normal airline mileage credit for flights that I book with the card, even if I use my Venture miles to cover the flight expense. If I book a free ticket using miles directly with an airline, that flight doesn’t earn me miles or get me any closer to status qualification.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
For this trip, we could go anywhere, and we had so much fun on hotels.com/venture checking out hotels, B&Bs, vacation rentals and more all over the world! So how did we pick Jackson Hole? Well, I’ve always felt like my California kids were missing out by living somewhere without snow. I grew up in Colorado Springs. We had snow days – real snow days where if school was cancelled, it was because there was more than a foot of snow expected, and we spent those days outside playing! And all of my early travel memories involve heading to the mountains to ski.
This year there’s been less than average snow in Colorado, but Wyoming’s done better. So it seemed like a perfect destination for a quick trip with my 7-year-old daughter – my child who has seen far less snow than even her siblings. Plus I’ve been to 80+ countries but I’ve never made it Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks. I want to see bison in the winter!
I’m picturing snow falling as we sit in a hot spring. I’m picturing an idyllic sleigh ride. My daughter will want to see wildlife. And I’m hoping for absolutely no negative reactions to the snow or not being able to wear flip-flops for a few days! But really, I’m looking forward to spending some one-on-one time with my daughter. We do our best bonding when it’s just the two of us.
Where We’re Staying
As with a lot of ski towns, there are multiple areas to stay. We had the choice of Jackson, the historic town, or Teton Village, at the base of the slopes. We chose both! On Hotels.com/Venture, with our Venture card, we booked two nights at Hotel Jackson and one night at the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole. We’ll be able to walk everywhere in town from the Hotel Jackson. And from the Four Seasons we can experience the mountain. And once we complete the trip we’ll earn three credits toward our Hotels.com Reward night.
My general philosophy with travel planning is to book a couple things in advance, but stay open to see what comes up and what the hotels recommend. Right now we’re looking at doing a half-day wildlife safari, going snow tubing and ice skating, going on a sleigh ride, heading to the top of the mountain for waffles, and enjoying the outdoor (heated!) pool at the Four Seasons. But I’d love suggestions too! Please let me know what activities you’ve found to be kid-friendly (even for a California kid), where to eat, and what we shouldn’t miss!