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If you guys have been following along, you’ll see that last month I announced our short-term move abroad to Barcelona! It has been something that both Travis and I have been looking forward to, and it will give us the opportunity to easily explore other parts of Europe that we haven’t been to yet. Making the most of our time in Europe is a top priority for us and there are many places we want to take weekend trips to, such as Croatia, France, and the Netherlands. It’s been a process to get organized for these multiple trips, from booking flights and hotels to arranging our finances for abroad. I want to share some of my tips for how to utilize the many benefits of Membership Rewards® points from our American Express Card in order to help keep costs low and get points on ground.

Making the Most of Our Time in Europe

I’ve always been the trip planner in our household and a huge advocate of doing so in advance. One big reason to plan ahead is that we want to make the most of Membership Rewards points. Using points is one of the best ways to travel frequently and affordably, so through strategic decisions, we optimize our finances to reflect our goals. We are new American Express Platinum Card Members and have already started to earn points that we can use in many ways — we plan on choosing travel (surprise, surprise!).

How we are using our American Express Membership Rewards points

Booking flights by point transferring.
One of my favorite aspects of the Membership Rewards Program is that you can transfer points to any of 16 airline rewards programs. This is incredibly helpful for international travel and is a vital way to keep our overall expenses low on each trip. With the ability to transfer to so many different airlines, we have access to more destinations than we could have imagined.

Extra splurges for vacation.
Can I get a first class ticket? Please and thank you. After transferring Membership Rewards points to a participating frequent flyer program, I can use my frequent flyer points or miles toward a first-class ticket for an elevated experience. I’m a huge fan of elevating the trip in whatever way possible, and flying first class is always a great way to do so.

Using Membership Rewards points to cover expenses.
Additionally, we have the option to use points for different parts of our trips in Europe with the Membership Rewards Program. There are many options for what we can book, from flights to hotels and even private car transfers to the airport. (One of my biggest tips for international travel has always been to pre-book those transfers).

Note: Terms and Conditions for the Membership Rewards® program apply. Visit for more information. Participating partners and available rewards are subject to change without notice. The value of Membership Rewards points varies according to how you choose to use them. To learn more, go to

With these trips on the books, we are so excited to share these new adventures with you guys! Head here to learn more about American Express Membership Rewards points and how you can travel in luxury with points.

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Making the Most of Our Time in Europe


PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


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