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The Many Lessons Learned On My “Summer Vacation”!

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Travel and Points

Summer Travel and Points Highlights

So, the summer really blew by.  I enjoyed the break.  But I say each of those things annually.  By design, I’m not as active in the hobby during the summer as other times of the year.  Indeed, I enjoyed the time being somewhat physically and mentally away from the hobby.  But I still have plenty of summer travel and points highlights, and I’m sharing what I learned along the way.

Disney World in the Summer Doesn’t Have to Suck

Until this past June, we’ve avoided traveling to Disney World in the summer.  But we no longer want to pull our young ones out of school for a trip, and we’re not exactly fans of traveling over hectic holidays during the school year.  So we came around to the summer option.  With our advance planning, June timing, plenty of sit down dining (read: breaks), and even Uber, our trip was a net win.  But I’m not lining up for another summer family trip any time soon.

Look Past Interstate Hotels

Unfortunately, some of our road trips involve I-95.  I challenge any reader to convince me there’s a worse interstate.  In our experience, most 95-adjacent hotels are dumps.  But in exchange for a bit more travel time, we found a one-night property we actually enjoyed.  I look forward to my eyes wandering around the map more as we plan future road trips.

Absolute Gold – The Trips I Don’t Have To Take

Over my life, it’s turned out that I’ve been the one to travel more to visit extended family.  Them coming my way happens much less often.  But the latter happened twice this summer, and it was sweet.  Full disclosure, we didn’t exactly have trips to see them planned, anyway.  But I loved the opportunity to see them on our turf and be the tour guide.  And while we like road tripping, we tend to minimize those over the summer.

I’m Lazy

I got most of my summer points and travel to-do list accomplished, but not everything.  I could make plenty of excuses, but in the end, I was a bit lazy.  The goal I didn’t quite finish was future travel planning.  Bigger picture, I’ll own that mental laziness.  When I’m planning, I take myself out of the moment.  I’m happy I didn’t spend too much time on future nonsense, instead opting to enjoy more quality time with my immediate family.  Multitasking is a myth – for me, at least.

I Loved the Air France Card’s Elevated Offer

Certainly not a new thing, the Bank of America Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard’s welcome offer was elevated over the summer again.  The offer gave new cardholders a 70k mile bonus with just $2k spend.  This card is essentially my back door into more domestic Delta award flights.  The offer hung around for about four and a half months but is unfortunately no longer available.  If the past gives us any clues, I’m confident we’ll see an offer similar to this later next spring or early summer.

Chuck E. Cheese Has Changed

Back in 2019, as the father of very little ones, I jumped on a Chuck E. Cheese discounted gift card offer from a discount club (I forgot which one).  I bought about $50 worth of cards at 30% off, feeling confident I’d use them soon.

I did not incorporate a subsequent global pandemic into my planning.  About four years later, AKA last week, I took our two kids there.  First, the good news: our $50.16 tab fully used up the gift cards.  We had a grand time for almost three hours, and the pizza was better than I expected.

Now, the bad/concerning news.  The last time I set foot in a Chuck E. Cheese was decades ago; at the time, my local outlet may have still been called ShowBiz Pizza.  Based on our recent visit, Chuck E. Cheese has changed for the worse.  First off, there’s no more Rock-afire Explosion.  Second, a disturbing majority of games in the Chuck E. Cheese we visited basically promoted gambling.  One Monopoly game literally involved rolling dice to win more tickets for prizes.  Our nation’s children are getting hooked before they even know what’s going on.


Summer was fruitful, and we’re fast-approaching my favorite time of year – fall.  I’m charged up and ready to go, metaphorically and physically.  My layoffs from many things, including credit card applications (mostly), put me in a prime position to punctually pounce.  Alliteration aside, I’m excited to see where the hobby goes this fall.  What were your points and travel accomplishments over the summer?  What do you look forward to coming up?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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.


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