How I flew to Amsterdam for almost nothing

Recently, I took a trip to Amsterdam and the Netherlands to explore a new town and visit my good friend Megan and her husband Taylor. This is a trip I have been planning for a while, ever since they moved over there for Taylor’s expat job with his company.

My dad is a frequent traveler – and he recommended that I sign up for the Chase Sapphire credit card to get points to buy my flight to Amsterdam. I followed his advice – and was able to fly to Amsterdam for almost nothing (all I paid was $56 in taxes).

Flight Prices

Important note: I am only a fan of credit cards for use to earn rewards and points. I pay off my balance at the end of every month. You must evaluate if this is a good financial decision for you.

If you are in a place to sign-up for a new credit card and you are looking to travel, the Chase Sapphire Card is a great option. Read more from The Points Guy on 5 reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card should be your first card in 2016.

Here are the steps I took to get this great deal on my flight to Amsterdam:

1 – I signed up for the Chase Sapphire credit card and earned 50,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months (this might be hard depending on your spending, so try to put EVERYTHING on your card – Can you put rent? Will friends or family put charges on your card? You really want to only sign up for this card if you can get the signing bonus. There are other cards to consider but this is the one I chose and know best.) Read more on this card from Million Mile Secrets.

2 – After earning 60,000 points…I shopped around flights and points with various Chase Ultimate Rewards partners – I ended up going with United. There’s an option to book through the Chase website or transfer points to another site. If you want to maximize the bang for your buck, it is usually best to transfer your points to another site. Transferring 60,000 Chase points to be 60,000 United Miles ended up being the right deal for my trip itinerary. My options were limited because I had to choose flights that were worth 30,000 points each way, but I was able to find a great option with one-stop in my August trip timeframe.

picture of Amsterdam canal

If you already have 60,000+ ultimate rewards points or you are interested in flying for free, read this beginner guide on transferring miles & points. You might be tempted to turn your Chase Ultimate Rewards points into cash or gift cards. While this is a lucrative offer (and still a great benefit of the card) saving these points for travel and airline miles will help you make the most of the Sapphire credit card rewards (if travel is your goal!).

At the end of the day, I was able to book a $1400 flight for $56. Getting the Chase Sapphire Card was completely worth it. You should be aware the Sapphire card does have an annual fee; it is free the first year and then $95 annually after that. I might cancel next year if I decide it is not worth $95 annually, but after getting this great flight deal I am starting to believe it is worth it.

If you are not ready to take a jump and sign-up for a card with an annual fee, I still recommend you use a credit card for every purchase, pay off the balance regularly, and then use your credit card points to have extra cash. The Chase Freedom card was my starter credit card and earns great rewards. Read more on The Points Guy because he reviews a lot of different credit card options on his blog (and is much more knowledgeable than me).

If you decide you want to sign up for either of the Chase cards let me know so I can send you an invite, referrals earn points too!

Happy (almost) free traveling!

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Greensboro, NC Bucket List

Thought I would share a little about my bucket list for my NODA Internship and summer in Greensboro. I accomplished 9/10 on this list of personal and professional summer goals (not bad!).

  1. Spend time with my family
    Family pics

    Family Pictures

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    Panera Grand Opening in Salisbury, NC

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    Happy Father’s Day!

  2. Make plans with friends!

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    The best surprise dinner ever

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    Yum Yum ice cream

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    Reunited with Ashley

    Reunited with Brittnee and Megan

    Brittnee and Megan

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    Love the new rooftop patio at Raleigh Times

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    Happy birthday Taylor

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    Greensboro MUSEP Summer Concert Series

  3. Attend a Greensboro Grasshoppers game
    Greensboro Grasshoppers with the GAs

    Greensboro Grasshoppers with the office GAs

    Greensboro Grasshoppers on the 4th of July!

    Greensboro Grasshoppers on the 4th of July!

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  4. Find new and unique places to run
    Salem Lake, Winston Salem

    Salem Lake, Winston Salem

    Salem Lake, Winston Salem

    Lake Daniel Trail, Greensboro

    Lake Daniel Trail, Greensboro

    Lake Daniel Trail, Greensboro

    Lake Daniel Trail, Greensboro

    Downtown Greensboro

    Downtown Greensboro

    Greensboro Trails

    Greensboro Trails

  5. Find a favorite coffee shop in Greensboro
    The Green Bean Coffeehouse
  6. The Green Bean

    The Green Bean

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  7. Spend time with the UNCG student leaders
    First meeting with the SOS right after move-in

    First meeting with the SOS right after move-in

    SOS staff pictures!

    SOS staff pictures!

    Volleyball with the SOS

    Volleyball with the SOS

    Running with Tom and Matt

    Running with Tom and Matt

    Group run for SOS on National Running Day

    Group run for SOS on National Running Day

    Love that these SOS came to the National Running Day event!

    Love that these SOS came to the National Running Day event!

    Captains!

    Captains!

    SOCs!

    SOCs!

    Breakfast Day 1

    Breakfast Day 1

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    Group Dinner at Chillis!

    Group Dinner at Chili’s!

    SOS goodbyes in a cinnamon roll hug

    SOS goodbyes in a cinnamon roll hug

    A group eating at Yum Yum on my last day!

    A group eating at Yum Yum on my last day!

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  8. Eat at 5 new restaurants
    I don’t have pictures, but I had the chance to eat at: Thai Garden, Lindley Park Filling Station, Grey’s Tavern, Sticks and Stones, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, Yum Yum, and Sixth and Vine (Winston Salem). I also ate at my favorite restaurant Southern Roots and found a new place called Potent Potables to go with friends
  9. Run a race in Greensboro
    Race the Bar 8K

    Race the Bar 8K

    Fun Fourth Freedom 10K

    Fun Fourth Freedom 10K

  10. Learn about UNCG – I had the opportunity to meet with various campus officials and learned a lot, especially to be able to help with orientation. I enjoyed learning about the traditions and history of the institution as well as the dining options for students. I
  11. Go to Charming Charlie at Friendly Center (recommended by office staff)  – Didn’t make it over there, maybe next time I’m in town?

NODA Intern at UNCG

This summer I have the privilege of joining the New Student & Spartan Family Programs team at UNCG. I went through the NODA internship process during my search for a summer internship, which is an academic requirement of the CSAA program at UGA. Students interested in a summer internship in student affairs can also apply through ACUHO-I, ACUI, or reach out to offices and seek out opportunities on their own.

March 2013: I first met the SOS at SROW (Southern Regional Orientation Workshop) in Memphis, Tennessee

March 2013: I first met the SOS at SROW (Southern Regional Orientation Workshop) in Memphis, Tennessee.

I will be helping the office in various ways while living on UNCG’s campus with the Spartan Orientation Staff (SOS). Through my position as the NODA Intern, I will gain experience developing training programs, assisting with the supervision of the SOS, providing on-site support during SOAR (Spartan Orientation, Advising, and Registration), evaluating SOS training, SOAR, etc. and of course, other duties as assigned!

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UNCG

My goals for the summer include:

  • Increase my knowledge in the area of assessment, evaluation, and research.
  • Build meaningful and appropriate relationships with students.
  • Learn as much as I can about UNCG!
  • Research and gain experience in the functional area of Orientation Programs.
  • Explore Greensboro.
  • Find time for myself and keep running! (I think this will be my biggest challenge during SOAR/the month of June)
Heart Walk

The SOCs (Spartan Orientation Coordinators) I work with until the end of June.

SOS picture day 2013

The SOS during picture day.

Do you currently have a summer internship in student affairs? What are your goals this summer? Or if you had a summer internship in the past, do you have any tips to share with current interns?