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Replenishing Our Miles for a Mexican Escape!

To kick things off, we're sharing our journey of replenishing our frequent flyer miles and using them for another dream trip to Mexico in 2022.


Step 1: Pick a credit card with a signup bonus!

As soon as we touch down in the US from a previous trip, we're looking for another credit card that showers us with frequent flyer bonus miles. The earlier we start this search and apply for the new credit card, the more time we have to hit those minimum spending requirements. That means more miles and an early ticket purchase for more savings.


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Travel Hacking for Two:

Our Journey to 80,000 United Miles

Today's travel hacking tip is about unlocking the world using United Airlines' MileagePlus program. United is a member of the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, which allows us to earn and redeem miles on flights operated by any of the 26 member airlines. Think exploring Europe with Lufthansa, jetting to Asia with Singapore Airlines, or even island hopping with Air New Zealand – all with United Miles!

Step 2: Double Down on Miles with Bonus Offers

We opted for two United credit cards, each with a juicy sign-up bonus:

  • United Explorer MileagePlus: This card packs a punch with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in three months. Plus, one complimentary 50lb checked bag each and 2 United Club passes annually. Perfect for escaping airport chaos!

  • Annual Fee: The annual fee is $95 after the first year, but we figured the miles and perks outweigh the cost.

  • United Gateway Card MileagePlus: This card gives 30,000 airline miles PLUS gives 2 miles for every $1 spent on gas. No annual fee? Sign us up!

Step 3: Strategic Spending for Maximum Miles

To maximize those bonuses, we put all bills, groceries, and online shopping - on the United Explorer card. At the same time, all our gas fill-ups went on the United Gateway Card. We reached the combined $4000 minimum spending requirement in three months and received 80,000 miles in our United MileagePlus account. Great news! We now have enough airline miles to book two round-trip tickets to Mexico.

Step 4: Be a savvy traveler 

We pay off our credit card bills every two weeks to avoid sneaky interest charges. Let's be honest: annual fees can make your wallet lighter than your carry-on. So, we found a travel hack that keeps our wallets happy and our miles soaring. Once we use the card enough to get those bonus miles, we tuck it away and then cancel in two years.

Here's a friendly tip: Banks might raise an eyebrow if you frequently close accounts within a year. To avoid losing future sign-up bonuses, keep your accounts active for at least two years.

Best article on canceling credit cards

Never close your credit cards before the 1-year mark.

Planning Our Getaway 

A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Book A Flight Using Airline Miles

After receiving our sign-up miles, we redeemed our airline miles and booked a three-month trip to Mexico in December 2022. For two round-trip tickets from ORD to PVR, we used 70,000 airline miles, received one complimentary 50lb checked bag per person, self-checked our seats while reserving the tickets online, received a complimentary one-day lounge pass, and automatically tagged for TSA precheck. Total cost $216.14. Here's how it's done...

Step 1: Check Your Mileage Balance

  • Sign in to your United MileagePlus account.

  • Locate your total miles balance.

Step 2: Initiate the Booking Process

  • Tap "Book Award Travel" on the United's homepage.

  • Select "Flights only" from the options.

  • Choose "Roundtrip" as your travel type.

  • Enter the departure airport code (ORD for Chicago O'Hare International Airport) and arrival airport code (PVR for Puerto Vallarta's International Airport).

  • Specify the number of travelers (2 adults in this case).

  • Set the departure date and return date for your trip.

Step 3: Refine Your Search

  • Select "Economy" as your preferred cabin class.

  • Choose "All Star Alliance Airlines" to include all airlines that accept United's airline miles.

  • Sort the available flights by the number of stops.

Step 4: Select Your Flight

  • Choose the desired flight option.

  • Tap "details for flight No." to view flight details.

  • Tap "seats" to select your preferred seats.

Step 5: Complete the Booking

  • Select the flight number again and click "Add To Cart."

  • Review the flight details and confirm your selection.

  • Proceed to checkout and finalize your booking.

Additional Notes

  • Remember: This is our travel hacking story, and the best card for you depends on your travel habits and priorities. We hope it inspires you to explore your mileage-boosting options and take flight on amazing adventures!

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Join Us for Tips & Trips

Do you have questions about catching amazing deals, racking up those precious airline miles, or navigating the world of airline sign-up bonuses? We're always ready to chat travel, and share our best tips.

P.S. Want to stay in the loop about our latest adventures and discoveries? Join our mailing list (it's free), and we'll deliver travel goodness straight to your inbox.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's explore the world, one adventure at a time!

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