Travel Guides

Where To Travel in 2017 & Earn Rewards

March 02, 2017

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This post is sponsored by Chase Ultimate Rewards® . The content and opinions expressed below are that of A Taste of Koko.


Bar swing in Turks and Caicos

I’ve officially caught the wanderlust bug and want to see more of the world. Last year I traveled to 17 cities – New Orleans, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, Colorado (6 cities), Miami, Half Moon Cay in Bahamas, St Thomas, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos Islands, and saw the Northern Lights in Alaska.

On a budget you say? Your credit card rewards might be the solution.  Chase Ultimate Rewards makes it easy to make the most of your rewards earned from your Chase Freedom, Sapphire or Ink credit card to stay on top of a travel budget and make the most of your trip. With the upcoming spring and summer travel season, Chase cardholders can use their points to book the trips they’ve been planning through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

I’ve been using my Chase Freedom card for my trips and redeeming my cash back rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Right now through the end of March, you can earn a total of 10% cash back on up to $2,500 in combined hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

* Applies to hotels and car rentals booked through ChaseUltimateRewards.com

* Choose from over 180,000 hotels worldwide and shop competitive rates from popular car rental companies.

SEE ALSO: Top 7 Weekend Getaways To Close Out The Summer

There’s something about exploring a new environment, eating different foods, and meeting new people that kind of wakes you up and makes you want more out of life. This year I’m committed to spending less on material items and more on travel experiences. Here’s a curated list of where to travel to in 2017 – along with my personal picks!


Cross-country Skiing in Mammoth Lakes


I kicked off the year with a weekend getaway to Mammoth Lakes for the ultimate outdoor adventure. Mammoth happened to get the snow blizzard of the century the weekend I was there with a record high snowfall of 212″. Not only did we get to experience that historic day but cross-country skiing and skiing on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain was incredible. It was also my first time skiing!

Thanks to all the snow, you can ski from now until July at Mammoth Lakes!




It’s not often when you get paid to take a vacation. To celebrate 100 years of being a US territory, the Virgin Islands is giving you 300 bucks to spend exploring the island like eco-tours, museum admissions, food tours and outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, etc). Yeah, seriously.

You have to book a three-night stay in either St. Croix, St. John, or St. Thomas through the islands’ department of tourism, and then they’ll send you vouchers to use like cash at participating locations. Plus, if you happen to travel in March, you’ll receive a free commemorative surprise gift!

I went to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands last year and the island is stunning. Make sure to visit Magen’s Bay if you travel to the Virgin Islands – it’s known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

SEE ALSO: Magen’s Bay Beach Getaway In St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands


Taitung, Taiwan


I just got back from spending two weeks in Taiwan – this was my first time visiting during the winter season and I have to say it’s so much better than the summer. If you think Texas has miserable summers, try Taiwan. The humidity is 95% with 90 to 100-degree temperatures. I recommend spending a couple of days in Taipei eating at all the night markets and then escaping to southern Taiwan for views like Taitung (photo above).


Lake Tahoe

Photo Credit: Tahoe Jacks


I’m sure you’ve heard of the popular ski destination, Lake Tahoe, but did you know that you can go golfing, horseback riding, and paddleboarding? I’m planning a visit to Lake Tahoe this April and May.

If you have a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card you could book your trip to Lake Tahoe through Chase Ultimate Rewards and earn a total of 10% cash back on hotel and car rental purchases now through Mar. 31, 2017


Chautauqua Trailhead


I fell in love with Colorado last summer – the cooler temperatures and fields of green were a refreshing escape from Austin’s 90% humidity and 100+ degree weather. Photo above was taken last summer at the Chautauqua Trailhead in Boulder – home to fields of lush grasses, giant dandelions, and Boulder’s iconic Flatirons. I want to spend my summers in Colorado, or least a month!

SEE ALSO: Colorado Travel Guide

If you have a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card you could book your trip to Colorado through Chase Ultimate Rewards and earn a total of 10% cash back on hotel and car rental purchases now through Mar. 31, 2017  


Photo Credit: iceland.nordicvisitor


After seeing Iceland all over the blogosphere, I’ve added it to my travel list. I went to Alaska this past December and experiencing nothing but snow in -10 degree weather was the ultimate winter wonderland. The ice-capped mountains, black sand beaches, ponies, hot springs, and that bright blue water has me smitten for Iceland.


Saint Lucia

Photo Credit: stlucia.org


The Simple Sol and I went to LA when the year started and we’ve already started planning our next trip, Saint Lucia. I can’t wait to explore the beaches, rainforest, Piton Mountains, natural waterfalls, and cuisine.

Chase Ultimate Rewards always gives eligible cardholders more. Points earned on Chase cards, such as Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire Preferred, are worth more when redeemed for things such as flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises on Chase Ultimate Rewards.

What are your travel plans for 2017?


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.