There is a secret that exists amongst us globetrotters. It’s a method many of us use to obtain free flights to destinations all over the world. A lot of people assume traveling means you have a lot of money, and that is definitely not the case. If you want to see the world bad enough, you find ways to make it happen and get pretty savvy at cutting costs down. This secret I’m about to share with you is one that many of us travel junkies have learned, used, and passed onto others as a nifty way to reduce or eliminate the cost of your flight so you can make your travel dreams a reality!
A lot of people know about and take advantage of rewards programs with their favorite airlines. By simply setting up an account, you can earn points or miles for every flight. Then when they add up, you can redeem them for free flights or other perks like upgrades, discounted rental cars and hotels, etc. However, unless you travel constantly, it can take a long time for these points to accumulate enough for a free flight.
There is a hack for all of this. Those credit cards that airlines constantly offer really do come in handy. If you sign up, get approved, and use your card, they’ll typically give you a big chunk of points that are enough for at least one free flight. In addition, you can earn at least one point for every dollar spent on your card, which goes towards free flights. Sometimes they will have special promotions for cardholders where you get double, triple, or even quadruple points for shopping at certain places or on certain days. For instance, they may have triple points for shopping at Nordstrom.com and all you have to do is click their link to get credit. Also, they may offer that if you file your taxes via Turbo Tax, you get 1000 free points. If you were already going to use Turbo Tax to file anyway, all you have to do is click their link and then you’ll get credited. They may even have offers for certain restaurants you probably like and already dine at. So earning points is pretty straight forward and simple.
I know a lot of people are hesitant about this since no one wants to rack up more debt. But the thing is – you don’t necessarily have to! Here is the real secret: You use it as your debit card for all purchases you’d normally make anyway, especially including paying bills, and then pay off the card balance every month. Think about it. If you’re spending maybe a $1000 a month on paying your electric bill, phone bill, car note, etc. plus more for groceries, gas, restaurants, and purchases, why not get points for it that go towards your travel? Remember: when you use cash or a debit card, you receive absolutely no benefit for spending your hard earned money. Nothing! However, when you use an airline credit card, you’ll rack up hundreds if not thousands of points a month, which will soon be enough to redeem for free flights. If you’re disciplined enough to really pay off your balance and keep using your card like it’s cash, you can actually avoid paying interest on your charges as well.
Personally, I got the Chase card for the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. I was flying Southwest all the time, as they are my favorite domestic airline. So why not? I have redeemed SEVEN roundtrip flights for free in just a few years. All by using this card as much as I can and then paying off the balance. United has a great offer also through Chase, which is even better because you can use it towards their international flights. Plus, they’re a Star Alliance member so you can transfer points to use for many other international airlines, such as Air China, Air Canada, Turkish Airways, and Asiana Airlines. In hindsight, had known I would be moving to Hawaii, I would have chosen United rather than Southwest, since Southwest does not yet offer flights to the Hawaiian islands. But even still, it’s nice because I can book free flights to most cities on the mainland using all the points I continue to earn. Also, Southwest now flies to come destinations in the Caribbean and Central America, so with all the points I have, I could go there free pretty much anytime I want! Just make sure when selecting a card to sign up for, choose an airline that you love, that offers destinations you want to go to, that has good partner programs, and whose points never expire.
Also, each card may offer additional ways to earn points that go towards travel. For Southwest’s Rapid Rewards card, you can sign up for a program called “e-Miles” where you get earning opportunities by taking surveys to help companies market their products and services. The longer the survey takes you, the more points you get and then you just transfer them over to your airline rewards program. I used to do a ton of these and got thousands of points this very easy way. No gimmicks or BS. I have been doing this for years!
Another perk of these airline cards is they typically have no international fees, so they’re PERFECT for us frequent travelers when we’re in other countries. Otherwise, if I were to use my regular bank card, I would spend a ton in fees on every transaction I make. And don’t even get me started on cash – exchanging foreign currencies, exchange rate losses, plus it’s just not safe to travel with hundreds of dollars in cash. I really prefer using a card with no international fees as much as possible.
The only catch is these cards usually charge an annual fee. But if you’re willing to fork up about $50-99 a year, you can legitimately earn and redeem flights to your favorite destinations. This gives you more money to spend on hotels, activities, and food. To me, it’s a small price to pay and a great deal for those who have long lists of places to visit!
So if you’re like many of us and want to travel by any means, this little secret is a must. I have talked to several wanderlusts like myself who live by this and continue to earn free flights using this clever little trick. I hope many of you will take advantage of this as well and book your free flight soon!
What do you think? Would you be willing to try this method out? Any questions? Let me know in the comments section and let’s discuss! I hate hearing that the cost of traveling is what prevents people from getting out there and seeing the world, so I will always try my very best to provide tips like this and answer questions or concerns you may have. Traveling the world has been the best thing for me, so I want to help as many of you as I can to do the same!