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Strategy This couple flew around the world in first class using airline points — and paid less than $2,000 for $55,000 of airfare

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Cheap flight experts Alex and Erin Miller of UpgradedPoints.com paid just $300 each for a transatlantic flight in Singapore Airlines' plush first class suites.

Erin and Alex Miller are experts on finding cheap flights that would otherwise cost a fortune. play

Erin and Alex Miller are experts on finding cheap flights that would otherwise cost a fortune.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)
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  • Cheap-flight experts Alex and Erin Miller of UpgradedPoints.com flew around the world in first-class and luxury airlines.
  • Their eight-leg trip was valued at $55,000, but they managed to pay just $1,087 each.
  • Their secret is leveraging thousands of credit card points into frequent flyer miles.


Alex and Erin Miller are travel hackers extraordinaire.

In 2016, the couple launched UpgradedPoints.com to share their tricks for converting credit card points into cheap flights.

The Millers recently cashed in hundreds of thousands of points to book a month-long trip around the world aboard luxury airlines. Their eight flights, valued at more than $55,000, cost the couple just $1,087 each.

Read on to find out how they did it — and what it was like to ride with Singapore Airlines, one of the world's best international airlines.

Alex and Erin's trip took them from New York to Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. For their long-haul flight from New York to Singapore, they booked a Singapore Airlines first-class suite.

Alex and Erin's trip took them from New York to Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. For their long-haul flight from New York to Singapore, they booked a Singapore Airlines first-class suite. play

Alex and Erin's trip took them from New York to Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. For their long-haul flight from New York to Singapore, they booked a Singapore Airlines first-class suite.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


Alex began planning the trip more than a year in advance. He said the best strategy is to start by choosing your destination, then researching which airlines fly there, and then seeing whether your credit card allows you to convert points into miles with those airlines.

Alex began planning the trip more than a year in advance. He said the best strategy is to start by choosing your destination, then researching which airlines fly there, and then seeing whether your credit card allows you to convert points into miles with those airlines. play

Alex began planning the trip more than a year in advance. He said the best strategy is to start by choosing your destination, then researching which airlines fly there, and then seeing whether your credit card allows you to convert points into miles with those airlines.

(Courtesy of Alex and Erin Miller)


Singapore Airlines, for example, is a transfer partner of Chase, Amex, SPG, and Citi. To book their eight-leg trip, the Millers used 182,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points, about 280,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and 160,000 SPG Points.

Singapore Airlines, for example, is a transfer partner of Chase, Amex, SPG, and Citi. To book their eight-leg trip, the Millers used 182,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points, about 280,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and 160,000 SPG Points. play

Singapore Airlines, for example, is a transfer partner of Chase, Amex, SPG, and Citi. To book their eight-leg trip, the Millers used 182,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points, about 280,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and 160,000 SPG Points.

(Flickr Creative Commons/Andrew Holden)


Alex has earned millions of miles since 2011 by strategically using his cards and by maximizing sign-up bonuses, which for some companies run as high as 100,000 points.

Alex has earned millions of miles since 2011 by strategically using his cards and by maximizing sign-up bonuses, which for some companies run as high as 100,000 points. play

Alex has earned millions of miles since 2011 by strategically using his cards and by maximizing sign-up bonuses, which for some companies run as high as 100,000 points.

(Flickr/GotCredit)


Before the Millers' flight to Singapore, their tickets gave them access to the swanky Virgin Atlantic clubhouse in JFK Airport, where they could lounge and enjoy cocktails.

Before the Millers' flight to Singapore, their tickets gave them access to the swanky Virgin Atlantic clubhouse in JFK Airport, where they could lounge and enjoy cocktails. play

Before the Millers' flight to Singapore, their tickets gave them access to the swanky Virgin Atlantic clubhouse in JFK Airport, where they could lounge and enjoy cocktails.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


The clubhouse even had a spa and hair salon.

The clubhouse even had a spa and hair salon. play

The clubhouse even had a spa and hair salon.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


The couple cashed in 187,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to afford the first-class suite. Each seat had an $8,400 value, but the Millers paid just $300 each in taxes and fees.

The couple cashed in 187,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to afford the first-class suite. Each seat had an $8,400 value, but the Millers paid just $300 each in taxes and fees. play

The couple cashed in 187,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to afford the first-class suite. Each seat had an $8,400 value, but the Millers paid just $300 each in taxes and fees.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


For other flights on their itinerary, the Millers used points from their American Express Membership Rewards program and their Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.

For other flights on their itinerary, the Millers used points from their American Express Membership Rewards program and their Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards. play

For other flights on their itinerary, the Millers used points from their American Express Membership Rewards program and their Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


Singapore Airlines pulls out all the stops for first-class passengers, including caviar before dinner. Meal options included lobster thermidor and suckling pig.

Singapore Airlines pulls out all the stops for first-class passengers, including caviar before dinner. Meal options included lobster thermidor and suckling pig. play

Singapore Airlines pulls out all the stops for first-class passengers, including caviar before dinner. Meal options included lobster thermidor and suckling pig.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


Here's a look at the menu.

Here's a look at the menu. play

Here's a look at the menu.

(Courtesy of Alex and Erin Miller)


For dessert, the Millers shared a chocolate cake with macarons, chocolate tuiles, strawberries, and raspberries. The cabin crew stored their leftovers in a refrigerator so the couple could finish it later in the flight.

For dessert, the Millers shared a chocolate cake with macarons, chocolate tuiles, strawberries, and raspberries. The cabin crew stored their leftovers in a refrigerator so the couple could finish it later in the flight. play

For dessert, the Millers shared a chocolate cake with macarons, chocolate tuiles, strawberries, and raspberries. The cabin crew stored their leftovers in a refrigerator so the couple could finish it later in the flight.

(Courtesy of Alex and Erin Miller)


First-class patrons on Singapore Airlines get sleek amenity bags containing skincare products and perfume.

First-class patrons on Singapore Airlines get sleek amenity bags containing skincare products and perfume. play

First-class patrons on Singapore Airlines get sleek amenity bags containing skincare products and perfume.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


The airline offered Dom Pérignon and Krug champagne at a moment's notice.

The airline offered Dom Pérignon and Krug champagne at a moment's notice. play

The airline offered Dom Pérignon and Krug champagne at a moment's notice.

(Courtesy of Alex and Erin Miller)


As for entertainment, guests can choose from more than 1,000 movies, TV shows, games, and music options.

As for entertainment, guests can choose from more than 1,000 movies, TV shows, games, and music options. play

As for entertainment, guests can choose from more than 1,000 movies, TV shows, games, and music options.

(Courtesy of Alex and Erin Miller)


"Having the middle suites turned into a double bed was surreal — we couldn't believe we were on an airplane, 35,000 feet in the sky," Erin said.

"Having the middle suites turned into a double bed was surreal — we couldn't believe we were on an airplane, 35,000 feet in the sky," Erin said. play

"Having the middle suites turned into a double bed was surreal — we couldn't believe we were on an airplane, 35,000 feet in the sky," Erin said.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


The Millers have been fare-hacking luxury flights for years by strategically signing up for credit card loyalty programs and accruing points that can be transferred into frequent flyer miles. Their first 'points journey' was their honeymoon in 2014, Alex said.

Cheap flights can be made possible by signing up for the right credit card rewards programs, Alex and Erin Miller of Upgraded Points said. play

Cheap flights can be made possible by signing up for the right credit card rewards programs, Alex and Erin Miller of Upgraded Points said.

(Courtesy of Alex and Erin Miller)


For their entire eight-leg trip, they paid just over $1,000 each in taxes and fees. Typical economy tickets for the same flights would have topped $2,300 each — meaning the Millers' travel hacking saved them more than 50% off even the cheapest available fare.

For their entire eight-leg trip, they paid just over $1,000 each in taxes and fees. Typical economy tickets for the same flights would have topped $2,300 each — meaning the Millers' travel hacking saved them more than 50% off even the cheapest available fare. play

For their entire eight-leg trip, they paid just over $1,000 each in taxes and fees. Typical economy tickets for the same flights would have topped $2,300 each — meaning the Millers' travel hacking saved them more than 50% off even the cheapest available fare.

(Courtesy Alex and Erin Miller)


For the Millers, the experience was more than worth the year it took to arrange. 'There's no doubt this trip took a lot of planning. But I had so much fun doing it, and the memories will truly last a lifetime,' Alex said.

For the Millers, the experience was more than worth the year it took to arrange. 'There's no doubt this trip took a lot of planning. But I had so much fun doing it, and the memories will truly last a lifetime,' Alex said. play

For the Millers, the experience was more than worth the year it took to arrange. 'There's no doubt this trip took a lot of planning. But I had so much fun doing it, and the memories will truly last a lifetime,' Alex said.

(Courtesy of Alex and Erin Miller)

Are you a successful travel hacker or credit card points expert who has tips and photos to share? Email Mark Abadi mabadi@businessinsider.com.