There’s no doubt that our expenses while traveling are quite different in 2020/2021 than they were before the coronavirus pandemic. While our previous trips would be filled with Uber/Lyft charges to get around town, restaurant expenses and hotel fees, we’re now either staying at Airbnbs or Disney timeshares and spending much of our money buying groceries to cook meals in the room, now that most restaurants have closed their outside seating options.
We recently spent several days away from home at the Disney Vacation Club in Hilton Head Island, SC. We picked the location because we could drive there, we had timeshare points to burn, and depending on how we felt, we could easily isolate in our room if needed. We spent much of our time there relaxing in our room and watching TV. We did take a day trip to Savannah, GA, a trip to the local Kroger for supplies and a few trips to the hotel hot tub (when it was empty).
Here are the cards I put in our wallets before the trip:
When checking in to Disney Timeshare, I put a card on file to pay for any expenses during our stay. I gave them the Citi Prestige because it earns 3X on hotel stays. However I wasn’t planning on charging anything to the room during our stay because we can get our fill of Disney merchandise at home.
For the one dinner, in Savannah, where we ate out, and the deli lunch we had on Hilton Head, I paid with the Citi Prestige. The 5X points the card earns for dining is better than any other card we have in our wallet. That is, except for the ice cream we had at Leopold’s where I mistakenly used the Citi Premier and only earned 3x points on our purchase.
Since we’ve exclusively been taking road trips since mid-2020, I’ve tried to maximize our points earning on gas station charges. The card that pays the most for filling our tanks is the Citi Premier, where we earn 3x ThankYou points for fuel expenses.
When buying groceries before the trip and for our mid-trip jaunt to the local Kroger I used our Chase Freedom Unlimited card. When we signed up for the card, it offered 5%/5X points back for supermarket spending (up to $12,000 for 12 months.) That’s currently the best bonus I get on these expenses.
We parked at a garage in Savannah and I used the Citi Premier card and earned 3x ThankYou points.
On a pre-COVID trip, I’d usually be worried about which card to use for the rental car, hotel and dining expenses. Now that we’re taking road trips and staying in cabins or time-shares, I’m most concerned about gas station and supermarket charges for our trips. Just because our spending patterns have changed, that’s no reason not to maximize point earning for our travels.
Lastly, can we get back to where I only have to worry about what co-brand hotel and airline cards I need to bring with me when we go on a trip???? Pretty please!!!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary