How to Book $9,000 in Flights for $300

If you’d like to travel but don’t think you can afford it, think again. Last year, my wife and I managed to leverage three credit cards to book the trip of a lifetime (plus an extra side-trip or two).

Don’t believe me? See the tickets yourself:

You’ll notice a few great things about this itinerary that initially may seem confusing:

1. It only took 4 months to earn the 120,000 United miles we used for this itinerary, and cost us $0 in additional spending.

2. That DC to LAX flight in the beginning is a free add-on to my international round-trip flight. It’s completely unrelated, but cost me nothing, so why not? Here's the travel report for part of that side trip!

3. My wife and I would have loved to spend some time in some of Western Europe’s iconic cities, but don’t have the budget for it yet. The 23-hour layover in Rome gave us a taste of the city without breaking the budget or altering the cost of our award travel itinerary.

4. If you were to search United.com for availability from LAX to Split a few months ahead of our travel dates, you would have found a barren award calendar with absolutely know availability. However, by using advanced award travel booking techniques, I was able to get around that little dilemma. Can you spot my solution?

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