Photo: Megan Lundy
Welcome back to Good Points, a Q&A about credit card points, the people who collect them, and where they take us. This week’s guest is Megan Lundy, the co-owner and lead trip curator at Legit Trips, which designs and hosts guided trips around the world for adults. You can follow all of her travels on Instagram, or learn more about Legit Trips here.
If you know anyone who just won’t shut up about their points strategy, have them send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Good Points” for a chance to be featured. We want to talk to everyone from professional travelers who spend their lives on the road, to people who save all their points on one trip per year, so don’t be shy!
What first got you hooked on collecting points?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve. Once I realized how many points I can accumulate in one month, I realized I could fly for free almost exclusively with points!
Photo: Megan Lundy
What are you trying to accomplish by collecting points? Pay for all of your small trips? Splurge on vacations that you wouldn’t otherwise take? Somewhere in between?
Somewhere in between. I use the points for my personal flights because I travel for my company regularly. We also use points from our business cards to scout future destinations for trips and other business trips where we can get a better deal by using points.
What credit cards do you currently hold, and why’d you get them?
Chase Sapphire Reserve – 100k points signing bonus (sadly, no longer available) plus the priority pass is AMAZING.
Chase Ink – We own an international travel company so we use this for the travel points as well as the cell phone protection plan and other business services we need because it maximizes our point accrual!
What point redemption are you most proud of?
I booked an entire trip to South Africa – flights and hotels all with points. There’s nothing more fun than a “free” trip.
What point redemption are you least proud of?
I cashed in points in the beginning for amazon purchases, but quickly realized that you don’t get the value of your points unless you use them for travel.
Photo: Megan Lundy
How does your work as a travel professional inform your personal travel decisions?
I always check for where I can get the best deal on flights. Sometimes the points portal has better flights at better prices, and sometimes it’s the total opposite. The knowledge of where to check for pricing is key. Same goes for hotels! Also, pro tip, they have airport transfers on the Chase points portal that are typically cheaper than regular ones you’d find online!
Do you chase status at a specific airline or hotel chain, or do you just shop around for the best deals, locations, and flights?
I have Premium Platinum status with United and am obsessed with it. Last year was my first year committing to one airline and chasing status, and I have to say it was totally worth it. This year, I’m booking all of my flights with them, and will probably get the United Explorer card. Once you have status and get upgraded on shorter international flights very regularly, you realize you can’t turn back.
What’s the first card you recommend to people who are interested in getting into points, and why?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve, IF they travel. I’ve learned that not everyone travels like I do so, so it might not be the right card for everybody. I love the card for all of the additional perks – specifically the Priority Pass which I’m using in the Cancun airport right now to enjoy this super fast Wi-Fi and a mimosa before my flight.
In addition, I find Chase has incredible customer service, at least for me.
What’s one piece of advice you wish you’d known before you got into points collecting?
Diversify your cards, and make sure to use the one that will give you the most amount of points for any given purchase.
How do you keep track of things like points, bonus categories, free nights, and annual fee dates?
I don’t really. I just sort of enjoy them as they come!
Photo: Megan Lundy
Let’s finish off with a few rapid fire questions. I give you enough points to take three flights anywhere in the world in economy, or one flight anywhere in the world in first class. What do you choose?
One flight in first class. I’ve actually never flown TRUE first class internationally. I’ve had premium economy and other similar levels, but never a sleeping pod or anything. I’m planning to use my points for that this year to New Zealand! Also, I’ve traveled a LOT the past 4 years so I don’t necessarily need more flights. If you’d asked me 4 years ago, I would’ve taken the three economy flights.
Top three items on your travel bucket list?
Sri Lanka, Raja Ampat, Egypt.
Favorite city you’ve ever visited?
Hardest question ever. I really love Caye Caulker, Belize if an island counts. It’s an amazingly laid back island with incredible people and turquoise water.
If you’re talking the US and I can’t pick Austin, where I live, I’d say Portland, Maine. It’s a beautiful place with the freshest lobster on Earth!
Nadi, Fiji. The priority lounge is the nicest I’ve ever been to, and all of the Fijian people are so nice. They literally told me I could wait until the last minute to leave the lounge because Fijian airlines would NEVER leave me behind.
Atlanta. I’ve been stuck in it so many times. Always weather, always crowded. I won’t ever fly through there again.
Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in?
Tierra Patagonia – in Chile. It’s a National Geographic eco hotel and it’s absolutely stunning
Airplane drink of choice?
Mimosas in first class or vodka with sparkling water if not.
Three items you can’t travel without?
Suitcase of choice?
I use an REI brand backpack because I never check a bag. The style is discontinued but it is 65 liters and fits in any overhead compartment because you can remove the backplate. They don’t make backpacks like it anymore so I’ve had my fixed by an alterations store twice! I’m committed!
Can you sleep on a plane?
Yes, depending on length. I usually sit in premium economy because of my status, so there’s plenty of leg room. Usually a glass of wine helps though.
Window seat or aisle seat?
Window for any flight longer than an hour. Aisle for short flights.