TRAVEL, with a purpose…

How I flew roundtrip to Europe for $82 and some flyer miles

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Coast of Italy, en route from Rome to Istanbul.

Do you like to travel? Do you want to know how to cut down those expensive plane tickets to amazing places without going broke? Then keep on reading and I’ll give you a little insight on how to save some bookoo bucks.

This article won’t help you if:

you have bad credit and very low income (no exceptions)

you spend less than $1,333.33 a month (some exceptions)

So we all know that there are a million options for reward mile credit cards. But some work better than others, and hey and if you’re like me you don’t want to limit your travel plans to only those places where your favorite airline travels to. Luckily there are a number of banks offering reward mile cards that allow you to transfer points to multiple airline carriers of your choice. This is important because you can compare across carriers going to the same destination and get the best point conversion per hard earned dollar spent. This is efficiency at its finest. I won’t waste your time by going over every credit card reward program under the sun, instead I am going to tell you what worked for me and let you decide which card is the best for you.

What I did:

Applied for two credit cards, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Freedom card.

Received two credit cards in the mail and used the cards for all of my purchases besides rent.

I managed to charge $4,000 of purchases within 3 months of receiving my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and was awarded 40,000 miles. I typically do not spend $4,000 in 3 months but I used a trick to prepay my car loan using a credit card that got me up to the bulk point reward spending limit. This is the key, the value in these reward miles is about the lump sum incentive point credit for hitting the initial spending requirement. Otherwise it could take a year or more to earn you the miles you need for your next trip. I know you don’t have time for that, so we’ll speed this up!

Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

Here’s the skinny. Spend 4k in 3 months and now you get 50,000 points! All purchases are 1:1 dollar to miles earnings to your points account except for travel and dining earning you 2:1 rewards. So this is the no brainer, you hit this spending limit and you might already have a round trip ticket somewhere amazing! What makes the Chase system unique is that you are able to transfer points 1:1 directly into any of their flight carrier partner rewards programs without any hassle!

Travel partners include:

British Airways,

Korean Air,

Singapore (Krisflyer) Airlines,

Southwest Airlines,

United Airlines

Virgin Atlantic

The best thing about this is because it is a transfer of points directly to the airline rewards account, you can automatically redeem these points for any of their alliance partners. For example, I transferred my points to my United Mileage plus account. United Mileage Plus is part of Star Alliance which includes a total of 28 international carriers to choose from covering all continents excluding Antarctica 😉 Carriers like Air India, Air China, Copa, Swiss, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. Yes people with this card, we are going places dammit!

You can also directly transfer to these hotel partners for a 1:1 point transfer.

These include Hyatt, Marriot, IHG and Ritz-Carlton. Woohoo!!!!!

What’s the catch with the Chase Sapphire Card?

Not much really. The first year annual fee is waived and after that you pay $95 a year. Not the cheapest annual fee but my flights were worth well over $1,000, so you do the math……

It’s a little heavier than most credit cards, at least 1/60th of an ounce, so train up!

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American Slider. Europeans like to stick it in.

If you prefer sliding it in (strip cards) versus sticking it in (chip cards) you might get sad when making purchases ;( The good news is in most parts of the world people have been sticking it in for a long time and the US is late to the game!

Why sign up for Chase Freedom Card?

The Chase Freedom card is a 5% cash back $0 annual fee card. The 5% cash back is only on certain spending categories and they change every quarter. For example, the current quarter spending category is gasoline. So for every $100 I spend on gas I could receive $5 cash back or the equivalent point reward. I can then transfer the points I earn on my Chase Freedom card directly to my Chase Sapphire Card to redeem for flier miles.

 I’m no TRUMP here, how do I spend 4k in 3 months?

Ok. A good question. I typically do not spend 4k in 3 months using credit cards. One reason is my largest bills are rent, my student loan and car loans. Now I don’t know about you but I have not had any luck trying to pay my rent with a credit card. But check it, I found a way for you pay your car loan and even your mortgage using a credit card for a small fee. Remember we are not going on a spending spree spending way more than we normally would each month just to get a free flight. Don’t be freakin silly just cause you got a shiny new card!!

However if we can hit the 4k spending limit by paying our normal bills then the math makes sense and we are doing this whole travel thing smart. I used to prepay my car loan for 3 months. This took care of more than $1000 worth of charges that I needed towards my 4k goal. I also paid my cell phone bill and like I said you can literally pay your mortgage with this website using your Chase credit card. For $1000 charge it cost me $28 which is less than 3%. Another way to spend the same and reach your spending limits is to go out for dinner with friends. Then when the bill comes offer to use your card and have people give you cash money. Remember the key is to be smart and use the card as often as possible to reach your spending target, by not just blowing money. The whole reason you wanted miles was to get the most bang for your buck, not to waste money that you could be using on your vacation!

Why it’s awesome.

I used my Chase credit cards for everything for almost 9 months and by the end had racked up almost 70k in reward points. I wanted to fly into Spain from the US and fly out of Turkey back to the US. I searched all the major carriers that went to these destinations. I found that United had the best point conversion and allowed me the flexibility to not have to back track to a city I had already seen just to fly home. So I booked my one way coach ticket to Madrid, Spain using 30,000 points and another one way coach ticket from Istanbul, Turkey back to Los Angeles with another 30,000 points. For 60k in points and 82.30 in fees I was transported through the air at 500mph around 30,000 ft. in altitude for thousands of miles with people bringing me food, drinks and pillows for hours on end. This could be YOU, with an extra $800 to $1000 in your pocket for the things that matter on your trip like food, museum tickets and buying Spanish women drinks and flowers and stuff like that.

So if you like what you have heard and are ready to sign up, please click through the link below to help me take my next trip and continue to write great articles to help great people like you. Click here. Better yet, sign up for my email list and I will send you a link direct!!!!!

Lastly, I was able to move my flight day and time upon returning to Los Angeles for a $2 fee without any issues even though I had booked using points, you get treated just the same, no matter how you purchase the ticket through United, if the flight cost the same, there is no fee for the flight change. Happy Travels! And for everything value on travel, check out

Snow Fishing in the Eastern Sierras

Top 5 Reasons Women Should Travel to Cancun

In honor of International Women’s Appreciation Day, I am dedicating this first official travel blog post to the ladies! All women deserve to be spoiled by gorgeous, diverse Caribbean landscapes. Perhaps few of these Caribbean destinations are as attractive as Cancun. Cancun, Mexico located on eastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula, has been a popular worldwide tourist destination for decades. My beautiful mother and father first ventured there in the late 80’s when tourist development was minimal. They loved it so much, they decided to buy a timeshare! The rest was history and I just know that you are going to love it too. It holds a special place in my heart because it was the first place I went SCUBA Diving and where I first became Open Water SCUBA Certified. Here’s why YOU should go!

My mothers first selfie on the beach on her birthday.

My mothers first selfie on the beach on her birthday.

1. White Sand Beaches, Warm Turquoise Waters

The hotel district of Cancun, Mexico has 14 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches and crystal clear tropical turquoise water. There are literally dozens of hotels touching these beautiful beaches, which makes hitting the sand easier than ever. The water temperature is warm (high 70’s to 80’s) 24 hours a day and beaches are often times very swimmable. There are life guards on duty all day and flags posting beach wading conditions for safety. When I was in Cancun in January I just floated in the water for hours and asked myself, is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? Did I mention the all-inclusive bar is just steps away????

Cancun Beach at Park Royal Hotel.

Cancun Beach at Park Royal Hotel. Photo by M.Kerby.

2, Night Life, Dance Clubs, Shopping

Surprise! Cancun is a BIG BIG spring break destination. So don’t go that time of the year (unless your 18)! However if you want to go out and dance and be entertained there are plenty of options both in the Hotel District and downtown. Some of the most classic places to get your swerve on include Senor Frogs and Carlos and Charlies, where, if interested, they will literally pour alcohol down your throat. Too intense? Try some night clubs instead. Some popular ones include Dady’Os, The City and Coco Bongo. Coco Bongo has great acrobatic, cover band shows, disco parties and all around fiestas! If you are looking for an even more relaxed upscale lounge, than head down to El Centro, which is downtown Cancun. Ask any taxi driver and they’ll get you there, no problem. I have not been out here personally but I did drive through at 1 am after taking my Dad to the hospital and it was going off! As far as shopping goes there are cute little flea markets in the Punta Cana area where you can find amazing handmade jewelry, clothes, leather, art etc. Get ready to bargain! You can haggle all day and you should, vendors have a lot of competition and will ask for at least 50-100% more than they will take, you have to be willing walk away. Don’t want to haggle, there are plenty of upscale malls both in the hotel district and downtown. Check out Plaza Las Americas downtown for better prices than the Hotel District.

Coco-Bongo Nightclub, great shows.

Coco-Bongo Nightclub, great shows.

3. Beautiful Mayan Ruins

The Yucatan Peninsula and the state of Quintana Roo are home to a rich ancient Mayan history. The most popular ruins are the awe inspiring Chichen Itza (built around 900 AD) and the beautiful coastline ruins of Tulum. Both are easy day trips from your hotel in Cancun. Most travel companies will pick you up at your hotel lobby and escort you in a very comfortable deluxe travel bus. I visited Chichen Itza (aka Chicken Pizza) when I was 16 and had the opportunity to hike up the steps of the tallest ruin, El Castillo (Temple of Kulkulcan), located at the center of this amazing archaeological site. You can no longer climb or walk on the ruins but still, it is truly an amazing site to behold. Tulum is an ancient Mayan coastal city built around 1200 AD. The Tulum area is also home to many underwater caves, known as cenotes, of which many are open to the public to explore.

Temple of Kulkulcan. Focal point of Chichen Itza ruins.

Temple of Kulkulcan. Focal point of Chichen Itza ruins.

4. Snorkeling and Diving

You MUST snorkel or dive here. Cancun is located near the northern most extent of what is known as the Meso-American Reef. The Meso-American Reef is 2nd in size (almost 700 miles long) only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and a heck of a lot easier to get to. The best place to access this amazing coral reef is from the island of Cozumel. Cozumel is one of the top diving destinations in the world and for good reason, no wetsuit needed and the reef is just a few minutes from the island! We took a long day trip from Cancun and it was soooo worth it. We had the most amazing encounters with majestic Green Sea Turtles and the fish and coral diversity are literally jaw dropping. In addition, the diving is all drift diving, so you do not have to work very hard to see several hundred yards of coral. Don’t want to take an all day trip to snorkel, then head over to the Isla Mujeres area and check out the amazing underwater museum, MUSA (Meseo Subacuatico de arte). I took some amazing photos!

Coral growth on statues. Marine Preserves such as this one in Cancun can preserve biological and cultural resources simultaneously in a naturally artistic way.

Coral growth on statues. Marine Preserves such as this one in Cancun can preserve biological and cultural resources simultaneously in a naturally artistic way. Photo by M.Kerby.

Green Sea Turtles are common near the island of Cozumel and Cancun.

Green Sea Turtles are common near the island of Cozumel and Cancun.

5. It’s Safe to Get Around

In Cancun, you really do not have to worry about creepers. The touristy Hotel Zone is completely safe, locals are interested in your economic contribution to their well being and on average treat you very well and make you feel safe. Most would agree that El Centro or downtown Cancun is also very safe as I spent an entire day riding buses around town with my mother on an infamous search for a “heating pad” which FYI- does not exist anywhere likely in the entire state! We found everyone we encountered to be very helpful and kind despite my assaulting them with my horribly rusty Spanish. Traveling public transportation at night alone may be a little less desirable but is still safe especially if you stick to the areas where locals are after your tourist dollars. The most uncomfortable experience you will have is someone trying to sell you a vacation trip or pandering for money (rare). Not exactly the most dangerous encounters to deal with. Still sketched out, take an expensive taxi ride directly to your destination. But for sure if you have a little patience, take the bus, it costs about $1 compared to a minimum $13-$20 taxi ride. The bottom line is its far safer than most large cities in the US, so get out there and enjoy it!

My brother and I were the scariest people on the street, by far.

My brother and I were the scariest people on the street, by far.

When should I go?

Mid-December to mid-April is the best time to visit. It is the driest and most comfortable time of year and avoids the dreaded hurricane season. You can get some killer deals in the off-season (mid-April –mid December) but it can be bloody hot and humid! So be prepared.

How much are Flights?

Relatively CHEAP from Los Angeles all year round. I paid less than $500 non-stop round trip with Delta Airlines. If you don’t mind being on the plane for a while (1-2 stops) you can save a $100 and be there this May!

New Blog web address coming soon

I hope you enjoyed this first official post! Feedback is very welcome. Also, after this week, my blog address will change from kerbysantraveler.wordpress to so stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to the new blog address when you get a chance. Like us on Facebook.

Until next time, adios amigos!

My parents and El Jefe.

My parents and El Jefe.

Want to contribute to my page?

If you would like to write about your travel experiences and/or promote your work/message please reach out to me about submissions. Peace and Love to you all. Breakin out of the hum drum.

Who Wants to be a Travel Writer

I am starting this blog with a focus on travel. Travel? You ask. Yes, travel, physically moving from one place to another, exploring, seeing new things……..and of course time travel! Well who gets to do that? Rich people? People without kids? Travelings hippies? Correct! But that’s not all? Anyone can do it you see, it just takes some time, an honest desire and well I guess some money. But hell out of all of these, what does it usually take the most of? guts! gusto! machismo! You may say great, well that doesn’t excite me much, I have a job, a family to raise, bills to pay, dinners, appointments, anniversaries, workouts, the nail salon, acupuncture and my smart phone hobby to maintain. No matter anyway you slice it, no matter how much you ignore it we all have some sort of an innate desire to see new places, get away, unplug if you will……

I want to provide a platform for people to talk about what type of travel they do. Work travel, vacation travel, short term trips, long term trips such as living abroad. How do you make it work? Do you generate income while on the road to support your travels or do you just save up and spend a budgeted amount of money? These may seem like simple questions, but there are plenty of people out there in the world who would love to know their options for having the freedom to work in exotic and interesting places. Me being one of them. For me this is a learning experience, my experience traveling has been limited compared to most. I have been all over Sweden, Norway and some of Denmark. I have been to the Dominican Republic, Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, Mexico. My most recent trip was a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico in January. Now I plan to do a lot more travel but hey I only get so much vacation time a year (more than most). Sure, I have a great job and I am truly blessed to have it but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I would love to find a way to make money on the road.  You know, the ultimate freedom.  One of my biggest inspirations for traveling is SCUBA DIVING.

Clowning around

Clowning around

My family.....aren't they awesome?!

My family…..aren’t they awesome?!

Statues, an amazing underwater art exhibit.

Statues, an amazing underwater art exhibit.

Coral growth on statues. Marine Preserves such as this one in Cancun can preserve biological and cultural resources simultaneously in a naturally artistic way.

Coral growth on statues. Marine Preserves such as this one in Cancun can preserve biological and cultural resources simultaneously in a naturally artistic way.

I want you to tell me your inspiration, your purpose for travel, is there a mission involved or is it just plain old fun? Some people are just out there getting “involved” in the international scene, some conduct mission/charity work, some conduct research and others want to start a business or non-profit to effectively change the world by helping people and their environments. Whatever your scenario, I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT, and others do too…… Lets use this blog as a jumping off point to get your story out there. What do you want people to know about that you love that involves travel? Just think if even half of all of your friend’s friends on Facebook starting reading this blog tomorrow, with your inspiring article, you would have an audience of potentially thousands in a short time 🙂

Well, I don’t want to get on too many tangents here, but hey if your interested in potentially contributing to this blog as a traveler, I want to hear from YOU! YES, YOU! Don’t be shy now, it’s just the internet. And if your real good I might even interview you 😉 I have a lot of ideas of where I might want to take this blog, but for now, lets just get it started. Thanks for reading!  Buy the ticket……..take the ride.

My cousin Arthur is flying to Switzerland tomorrow…..might he be the first contributor?

Okay, Ciao for now, I am heading to Mammoth Mountain for a few runs!