Vote Now! Who should win 3 Cards, 3 Continents?


The last two weeks saw a whirlwind of (very different) travels from our 3 Cards, 3 Continents contestants – and with their “dream trips” finally done, it’s time to vote for a winner!

Vote now! Or read some helpful recaps below before you decide.

Ask us Anything: Want to hear from the contestants directly before you vote? Join us LIVE on Youtube Wednesday Sep 28 at 9PM ET. In addition to the Frequent Miler team, Greg’s culinary concierge Maisie Wilhelm will answer questions about the 3 Cards, 3 Continents Challenge. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here, (and click the bell icon next to the “subscribe” button to enable notifications from our channel.)
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a group of people in raincoats jumping off a dock

Maybe you liked the action-packed nature of Nick’s trip as he stretched the limits of how much one person can see (and do) in a short period of time, (even including a trip above the arctic circle to visit Santa Claus!) Or maybe you preferred Stephen’s clever approach with a trip that included both the world’s shortest flight as well as the world’s longest flight, (not to mention other world-records sprinkled in along the way). Or perhaps you were most excited by Greg’s food-inspired itinerary with culinary adventures in food-havens like Vietnam and Turkey and other exclusive experiences curated by his very own culinary concierge, featuring everything from Michelin-star meals to cocktails made with worms.

What is 3 Cards, 3 Continents? Frequent Miler loves creating fun and competitive team challenges. This year Greg, Nick, and Stephen are competing to book the most amazing 3-continent dream-trip using 3 credit card welcome bonuses.

Watch the videos and Instagram stories

As Greg, Nick, and Stephen were busy eating exotic foods and flying all over the world, we were busy documenting their journeys on Instagram. If you missed these live updates, don’t worry, they’re all still visible on our “Highlight Reels” on Instagram. If you’re not familiar with highlight reels, here’s how you can find them within Instagram:

  1. Search for “Frequent Miler” in your Instagram App and click on our name once it appears. (You’ll recognize us by the picture of Greg and Nick in green.)
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  2. This will take you to our profile. Somewhere below our name and description, you’ll see a row of little green circles. These are our “highlight reels”. (Sometimes Instagram puts a “Suggested For You” area before it and sometimes they don’t, but the main thing to remember is that you’re looking for the row of little circles.)
  3. a screenshot of a social media account
    If you look closely, you’ll see cartoon sketches of Greg, Nick, and Stephen on the first three little circles in that row. Or, you can also look for the title “3C3C Team…” Click on each circle to see that person’s collection of videos.a logo of a man with sunglasses and hat

While instagram will give you the most complete picture of each contestant’s trip as it plaid out over the last two weeks, you can also catch the videos we’ve reposted onto YouTube below:

But now let’s review each contestant’s trip below…

Nick’s Adventure

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Read the full recap of Nick’s journey here.

Nick’s trip started with the pyramids in Cairo and a boat across the Bosphorus in Istanbul to tackle his 3-continent requirement by day 2. This was the first surprise of his trip, but he had plenty more in store. For instance swimming with whale sharks in Oman the very next day. He then proudly left the airport in Bangkok (something he hadn’t achieved in 40K to Far Away Challenge 2 years before), visited a Michelin Bib Gourmand food stall in Singapore, and went off-grid for some canyoneering in Cebu, Philippines. But the biggest surprise of his trip happened next, when he made his way above the Arctic Circle to visit Santa Clause in Rovaniemi Finland, (something Greg had joked about in a pre-trip podcast episode). While there, he caught an incredible view of the Northern Lights – as if his trip hadn’t been epic enough already.

But that didn’t cover everything: make sure to read Nick’s full recap.

Here’s why Nick believes he should win (in Nick’s own words):

At the outset of the 3 Cards, 3 Continents challenge, I knew I wanted to go big. I wanted to take some glamorous flights and cover wide distances and showcase some of the really cool things you can do with miles and points — both in terms of airlines and activities (by virtue of being able to get to far-flung places).

I also wanted to spend 10 or 11 days living the life of a jet-setter, flying to many destinations for short visits (something my wife and kids would never tolerate). While I know it isn’t everyone’s dream to visit Muscat for just long enough to snorkel with whale sharks and sea turtles before jetting off overnight for a day of running around Bangkok just to sprint back to the airport in time to catch a flight to Singapore to sleep, but to me that was a dream. It wasn’t exhausting, it was exhilarating.

Speaking of exhilaration, I got several tastes of it throughout this trip: there was the feeling of seeing the pyramids, a sight that as a kid I never expected I would actually see; the moment I noticed a whale shark coming from behind me and passing within an arm’s reach; the waterfall I slid down backwards and head-first or the many cliffs of ~10′ or more from which I jumped after zip lining across a huge valley in Cebu, Philippines; there was the moment I walked into Santa’s workshop in the Santa Claus Holiday Village in Rovaniemi, Finland and felt like a kid meeting Santa, and the night I spent north of the Arctic Circle and under the Northern Lights, a phenomenon I’ve wanted to see since I knew it existed. To anyone who felt bad for me because of the pace of my trip, don’t. Most people I know would feel incredibly fortunate to cross one of those things off a bucket list. I did all of them in 12 days. If that’s not living the dream, I don’t know what is.

To think that I did all of the above with just the rewards from 3 credit card bonuses and $1,000 is a feat that I find truly notable. I hope that others find it inspirational. For me, the point wasn’t about showing you a trip you would like to replicate, but rather showing you a trip that would inspire you to know that whatever it is that exists on your bucket list is within reach with 3 new credit cards (or less).  There’s no reason not to make your dream trip happen. With a little time and effort and focus, anything is possible. I did it — now it’s your turn. Right after you vote for me.

Stephen’s Adventure

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Read the full recap of Stephen’s journey here.

Stephen’s trip was bookended by the world’s shortest flight at the start and the world’s longest flight at the finish. The shortest flight (under 2 minutes!) required him to make his way to Aberdeen and then onward to Scotland’s rugged Orkney Islands. His next stop, Cairo, is one he and his wife had visited fairly recently, so instead of the typical pyramid activities, he took advantage of this visit by checking out the Hyatt Regency Cairo West, catching up on rest, and seeing another world record site – the Tahya Misr Bridge (the world’s widest cable stayed bridge). From there, he headed to Singapore where he did some sight-seeing in the city as well as within the impressive Changi Airport (including a rooftop pool!) At last, he boarded the world’s longest flight homeward to JFK.

Make sure to read Stephen’s full recap here for even more details.

Here’s why Stephen believes he should win (in Stephen’s own words):

For me, part of planning a dream trip means not having nightmares resulting from it. Due to the complexity and elaborateness of both Greg and Nick’s trips, they had some problems during the booking phase and even when their trip was underway. Within a few days of the Card Draft back in June I had nearly all my travel booked and so was able to sit back and enjoy the last 2.5 months while Greg and Nick had to fret about award availability and their budget. The extent of my issues related to a hotel costing 2,000 points more than I thought and not booking tickets for the Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids of Giza in time.

Despite going for the more stress-free route, I still had a fantastic trip. I flew both the world’s shortest and longest flights which I doubt many other people have done during the same trip. I got to explore Singapore which I’ve been interested in visiting for some time, checked out the new Hyatt Regency Cairo West which I’d missed out on last year, got to see the Orkney Islands which my wife and I now want to return to, used an American Airlines sweet spot for great value in Etihad business class, experienced the brand new Norse Atlantic Airways which we’ll likely fly again when heading home to the UK, saw Neolithic homes older than the Pyramids and more.

All this was done while staying $75 under my travel budget and spending less than $550 on food and activities over the course of 10 days, showing that you can create a dream trip that doesn’t break the bank.

Greg’s Adventure

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Read the full recap of Greg’s journey here.

Greg decided to bring a secret weapon with him – a culinary concierge: Maisie Wilhelm. Together, he and Maisie had a delicious food-centric trip with a secondary theme featuring water activities. They started out with an especially shocking treat: worm-cocktails from Chef Peter Cuong Franklin then a tour of the Mekong Delta in Saigon. This was followed by a crazy, middle-of-the-night adventure in Doha, dancing with locals on a pleasure cruise. Sofia, Bulgaria had more food than water-activities, but in Istanbul they checked both boxes again with a local food tour and a rowing lesson on the Golden Horn. The climax of the trip came next with a gorgeous Norwegian fjord tour – a personal dream for Greg. To satisfy their third continent requirement, Greg and Maisie finished their trip at Niagara Falls. And of course, this incredible journey was sprinkled throughout with fabulous restaurants like Lysverket and Pearl Morissette all along the way.

This doesn’t cover all the fascinating culinary adventures, so be sure to read Greg’s full recap here.

Here’s why Greg believes he should win (in Greg’s own words):

Maisie and I had an absolutely fantastic round the world trip!  We visited 7 countries in 3 continents.  At every stop we ate amazing food and enjoyed amazing experiences, including all kinds of boat rides from paddling in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, to rowing the Golden Horn at sunrise in Istanbul, to a fjord cruise of a lifetime in Norway, to riding into Niagara Falls’ mist.  And, we traveled in luxury the whole way.  We stayed 8 nights in terrific hotels.  Our long flights were all in lie-flat business class seats and most of our short flights too were incredibly comfortable.  Our business class tickets gave us access to swank airport lounges and had the added benefit that we could travel with real luggage: we didn’t have to worry about baggage fees (unlike my competitors who flew parts of their journeys on low cost carriers and carried all of their stuff on their backs to avoid paying extra). While Stephen and Nick did a great job in putting together truly amazing trips, I think you’ll agree that Team Greg’s trip is the only one that most travelers would be eager to replicate.

Finally, the technical achievement of booking an ANA Round the World award for only 90,000 points shouldn’t be overlooked (especially since I had to find two seats on each flight!).  I managed to use up almost every single mile of the 14,000 flown miles allowed with that award.  Sure, a last minute SNAFU caused me to go slightly over budget but that hardly diminishes the overall accomplishment.  If anyone were to book a similar trip they could (and should!) allocate more time to each stop.  And if they did so, the SNAFU I ran into wouldn’t be possible since it was caused by the artificially short stop we had in Toronto.

Vote Now

Polls close Friday Sep 30 at 8pm ET.  Before voting, please read the full trip recaps posted separately by each contestant:

Who do you think won the 3 Cards 3 Continents challenge?

  • Nick (66%, 633 Votes)
  • Greg (22%, 208 Votes)
  • Stephen (12%, 117 Votes)

Total Voters: 958

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Captain Greg

Good god, everyone wins. Everyone wins! 3 trips of a lifetime. 99.999% of people will never do anything like this, but all 3 of you put together incredible trips with just 3 sign up bonuses. Yes, I will vote for one trip I think was the best, but I’m not even going to say who that is because each trip was so impressive. Kudos to all. As always, Frequent Miler is the BEST!


Of course, the real winners are us, the readers!

Great content and this is why I value FM over the other blogs.


Coolest trip — Nick.
Best redemption — Greg

My vote? Stephen. He had me at world’s shortest flight. I love stuff like that.


I just voted and I agree 100% with u for the same reasons. But Yoder kept people Looking unlike last Trip..
V. Bernie


If I had 3 votes, one would be for Stephen for ease of planning (planning the trip is part of the trip whether enjoyable or a headache) and for the remote, shortest flight on a tiny plane that made me think it must have felt like a bird above the islands. One would be for Nick for the stopover festival, getting in as much as possible, and sheer adrenaline. And the last vote (my real vote) for Greg because to have a travel companion and make new friends is everything.

John Ryan

I think I’d vote for Nick, although they’re all excellent trips, and Greg definitely is a very close 2nd.




I immensely enjoyed all of these trips as demonstrations of what you CAN do with points and miles, but there was only really one trip that I WANTED to do, and that was Greg’s! (the food concierge really sealed the deal on that one)

Would love to see a ladies challenge … Nick walking to the airport alone in the dark was a fantastic example of how men and women have to plan trips very differently for safety reasons.

Shae Pepper

As one of the ladies… I agree wholeheartedly


Stephen makes a good point that “planning a dream trip means not having nightmares resulting from it.” It would be helpful if an ‘estimated redemption time’ was included for the trips. If you have to spend 10 hours/week for 2 months to plan a trip, it becomes unrealistic for an average person. Time is money.


Unless ur an average person who’s retired or like a Great Hobby..
V Bernie


If a comment sits for more than 55 minutes and you don’t comment, does the bus explode?


Of course not but if ur trading and theirs a slack in the action u look at over places.
I work 5am to 7pm 5 days a week what do u do watch TV ?
V Bernie

Nick Reyes

We covered this a few times in questions either through Ask Us Anything (not the one last night, but the previous one) or through other channels. Yeah, Greg and I put a lot of time into planning, but that’s something we actively enjoy doing. I recently likened it to a puzzle game — if you’re the type of person who enjoys crosswords and Soduku, you probably also enjoy hunting for the pieces of the puzzle to put together great trips, so you (or at least I) don’t really measure how long you spent doing it because it wasn’t a laborious thing but rather what you have fun doing. And at least in my case, the point was also to be competitive, not to be done quickly. I do spend my free time looking up flights and hotels — that’s just what I enjoy. I can’t remember the last time I watched a full sporting event or TV show and while I did watch one movie during my travels on this trip, I can’t otherwise remember the last one I watched. It’s not that I don’t enjoy some of those things, but I generally just enjoy using my free time to plan trips. It didn’t require me to agonize over it for 10 hours a week for 2 months, but that certainly is something I’m into. In terms of actual booking, I booked the AA awards and cash tickets all online myself, so that took minutes to actually book, though yes I did spend hours looking at different routes to get a sense for where I could originate. The Air Canada award took longer in terms of looking up flights and writing down information because I wanted to connect stuff that gave me long layovers specifically because I wanted to visit a bunch of interesting places. But when it came time to book, it wasn’t very hard to do. Sure, I also spent time researching activities and how I’d get to my hotels from the airport and all of that stuff — but, again, that’s all like puzzle pieces that I enjoy doing. And as I’ve said, I don’t expect anyone will try to replicate my exact trip, so the amount of time I spent putting it together isn’t necessarily indicative of how long it would take you to book an awesome Aeroplan award that stops over somewhere and has a long layover somewhere else en route to one main destination or whatever it is that you actually have in mind to do.

Of course, if you don’t enjoy doing that stuff but rather look at it as a necessary evil to get the end result you want, then I imagine you wouldn’t plan a trip like this. And that’s totally valid — different strokes for different folks. If that’s you, I’d expect that a subscription to something like or AwardLogic would pay dividends for you and I could see the appeal of Stephen’s trip.

And to be clear, I’m not arguing against Stephen’s point — like I said, it’s a totally valid perspective. It’s just not one I share.


Yes maybe it takes Time the first time to get a deal and do it right but the second time ? I can do a Waikiki or Paris trip in an hour which is a Perfect trip for me.
It’s called Fun !
V Bernie


I guess time is too variable because it really depends on your past experience and expertise. A useful measure would not be the time it took but the difficulty of finding an particular award… or “Ease of booking”. For example, finding an LH F award would be “very difficult” and require a lot of searching and knowledge. Finding a United economy award would be “easy”. I enjoy a puzzle but recent award availability has made it a really frustrating puzzle.

Shae Pepper

To be fair, Stephen is always planning our 8 yr 50 state road trip. So his quota of planning is quickly eaten up since we move every 7-10 days.

Additionally, during this planning time he was in the middle of supporting me as I rode my bicycle across Iowa with RAGBRAI.

He does the planning work… It just wasn’t for this trip, this time.

Last edited 1 year ago by Shae Pepper

Yeah that goes along with what I’m saying. If you have to play Mission Impossible for every trip you take, you won’t have time to get everything else done in life. It’s obviously different if miles and points is your profession though.


Lol, that’s the amount of time I usually spend to plan larger (10-14 days) trips for my family! I am with Nick here, I do not watch TV shows or do Crosswords. I would totally do that (award booking) for living and that would be my dream job if only that brought enough money 🙂

Mona comstock

I vote for Nick’s itinerary. It was very inspiring


In retrospect, I think Stephen had a disadvantage going into the competition. While we probably shouldn’t traffic in cultural stereotypes in this case it’s true that Stephen is the epitome of the self-effacing Englishman. It’s not that he couldn’t complete with Nick’s “hey, I got your North Pole right here, buddy” and Greg’s “how’re you enjoying the back of that plane?” attitude, is that he didn’t want to.

Nick won on presentation. For the first half of the trip it was “guess where Nick is going next” and “just how far can he go on one ticket”? Then, the back half was “what’s this big finish he keeps advertising”? And Santa Claus at the end? That was almost theatrical, like the big karate match in the final act if the movie where the underdog wins. With team Greg it was more the standard “we just had a nice day in city X” travelog. And I think Greg underused his ace in the hole and should have written and IGed more about the food experiences. For instance, that food tour in Istanbul could have been complete fascinating (or not), but we really didn’t hear anything about it .

Stephen also had the idea of getting people to play along at home to guess the next world record he was interested in but, unfortunately, once he did the Westray flights most of us guessed what the other big item was. And, because the Singapore flight was so expensive in points it limited his other redemptions.

In terms of fulfilling the goals of the competition, I think Stephen is in the lead. Sure, Toronto counts according to rules but: really? I don’t think people envisioned that someplace you could drive to, round-trip, in one day from your home would be included as a separate continent.  Especially since it seems that Greg threw it in the not because it was part of any dream itinerary but just because it was all he had the miles for. Plus, Greg went over budget. 

Nick, on the other hand, is claiming credit for having visited Africa by spending 15 daylight hours in Cairo. He didn’t even sleep there. And he couldn’t have extended his stay (much), since it was a layover. The layover is somewhat redeemed by his having aggressively used it for seeing a real “dream destination” for him (and, I’m guessing, lots of other people as well). But, still, he barely squeaks in Africa.  And I’m not giving him credit for an extra continent above the Arctic circle, not because I don’t buy the argument but because without the stop in Finland he barely visited Europe. One layover in Istanbul during which he. . . went to Asia and an overnight in Budapest to tie together two flights in which he didn’t actually do anything in the city as far as I can tell.

Stephen slept on all three of his continents. He had some bad luck in Cairo which meant that it didn’t feature prominently in his reporting, but he was really there (and could have stayed as long as he wanted). And I wish he had taken the tube into London during his overnight at LHR (or, maybe, used the high fees from the LHR-Cairo flight to get to Paris and fly from there). But he really did hit three continents without caveats.

I put the most emphasis on “where did you go” and here I think Nick really shined.  He hit a bunch of items that I think anyone would agree are lifetime should-sees (the pyramids, that snorkeling trip, the Grand Palace, a Singapore hawker center), he had the most stops, and he just seemed to have the most fun. He also did the best job reporting how great the stops were, with Stephen in second in terms of reporting. Greg? He’s a frood who really knows where his (microfiber) towel is, but I wasn’t so aware of where he was, or what he was doing. I think he had great raw material to report on, he just didn’t make the most of it. And Nick’s trip was very varied — major cities (Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore), history (the pyramids), nature (Oman and the Philippines), foodie (the hawker center), luxury (the Waldorf, the first class Qatar lounge), economy (Wizz Air and the EasyHotel).

Also, it felt like Nick was going where he wanted to without being forced into a particular itinerary by his point budget. With Greg’s trip it felt like “how can I make this 14k ANA allocation work”, although he does get credit. And Stephen was kind of limited by spending so many miles on the Singapore redemption.

In the end, I’ve got to give it to Nick. His is the trip I’ll be thinking about when booking my own future trips.

Ryan del Mundo

diving with whale sharks in Oman wasn’t Africa? Thanks for your opus – that was quite an essay!!! 🙂


You are correct, Oman is not in Africa. It is in Asia.


Have not read the voting status yet, but . . . Stephen had a neat overall theme (world records), but he had the up front advantages (points/miles from the 3 cards) and his trip by comparison should have been more overwhelming . . . Greg had the self-selected added technical challenges of arranging travel for 2 people; he also had a great theme “Travel for foodies while we play with/on the water,” but he did go over budget . . . Finally, Nick overwhelmed with his pure energy/stamina and a bevy of experiences; and, given that he lost the last challenge based largely on going overbudget (which is why I voted for Greg back then), I have to give Nick the nod this time . . .


I had to vote for Greg, after your Noma visit my wife has decided we’re going back to Denmark.

But Rovaniemi… Love me some Suomi!


Whale sharks nearly pushed Nick to the top…


A Bull Shark would do the same thing and cheaper to find too ,


Can I vote for Caroline’s glasses? Reminds me of heavy eyewear from my very nerdy days in the 1980s


They should Delete the vote and put her as the 4th pick and Start Over..
Let’s see how liberal this Blog is .
V Bernie

T. Jones

This was a tough decision for me. All 3 of you booked some amazing trips.
I generally prefer a slower paced trip where I have plenty of time to experience many things, so Stephen’s trip really resonated with me.
I was impressed by Greg’s ability to book a RTW trip for two. Furthermore, his ability to make such efficient use of his Marriott card pick is no small feat. Congratulations on not getting Bonvoyed.
While I was initially put off by Nick seemingly frantic pace, I had to admit he packed a ton of locations and amazing experiences into his budget. Truly his ability to maximize the value of his points cannot be overlooked.
So while I enjoyed reading about each FM team member’s journey, at the end of the day I had to cast my vote for Nick. Great job, Nick! You knocked this one out of the park!


Before the competition my money was on Greg, because I loved his RtW choice and the hotels were going to be extremely good. I thought Stephen had a chance due to his smart planning skills, and Nick would look interesting but end up with a lesser version of Greg’s trip.

However, I am surprised that in the end I voted Nick. His locations were just slightly better than Greg’s, IMHO (even though Greg’s are on my list for future travel) and they gave him a chance at a wide variety of things that appeal to me. Greg and Maisie had a fantastic trip, and the hotels almost made the difference, however. Stephen’s trip was good, and I’ve already recommended his PE flight to friends.

Of course, those of us who got to read about such great trips and learn some new tricks are winners too.