Today's post is brought to all by my friend Elaine who blogs over at Upscale Cheapskate. She is a pro when it comes to personal finance. She bought her first house at 23, is staying out of debt, and has already saved a ton for retirement! If you need help figuring out how to save money without sacrificing too much, check her out here.
Where would you go if you could get a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world? London? Rome? The Caribbean? How does Hawaii sound?
I know it sounds too good to be true, but getting a free round-trip ticket for your next vacation is completely possible – if you play your cards right. Credit cards, that is!
I was able to get a free round-trip flight from Washington, D.C to Honolulu, Hawaii by taking advantage of travel credit card points. You might think it takes forever to save up enough points for a plane ticket, but I purchased my ticket within 3 months of opening the card. This was possible through the sign-up bonus.
Since opening our travel credit card, my husband and I have been able to get free round-trip flights to Hawaii, St. Lucia, Paris, and even Thailand! Travel has become so much more affordable without having to pay for airfare. We have been able to travel more often and for much cheaper – all because of credit card reward points.
I used the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. It is one of the best (if not THE best) travel reward credit cards on the market. It offers a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months after account opening. I had my sights set on those 50,000 points.
My plan was to open the card and immediately start working towards the sign-up bonus. It can take a long time to rack up 50,000 points – but as a sign-up bonus, it is pretty easy! As soon as I got the card in the mail, I started charging everything on it!
The key to making this work is that you do not overspend trying to reach the sign-up bonus. I only made charges that I would have normally bought anyway. I started paying all my bills with the card and did all my grocery shopping with it. Every little purchase that I made got charged to the card!
I also made sure to pay it off in full every month.
Within 3 months, I had spent (and paid off) the $4,000 required.
I immediately saw the 50,000 points deposited in my Chase Ultimate Rewards account. Chase Ultimate Rewards is the term that Chase uses for its reward system.
They allow you to transfer points to their partners or book through their travel portal. The travel portal is just like any other travel search site, except instead of paying with cash, you pay with your available points. If you don’t have enough points, you can also pay with a combination of points and cash.
I have booked travel both ways – by transferring points to a partner and through the portal. It just depends on which has the best points price at the time.
With these two options, I shopped around for the best deal. I ended up transferring my points to one of their travel partners, United Airlines.
Not long after receiving the sign-up bonus, I had booked a round-trip flight from DC to Honolulu for 45,000 points!
I did it! I had easily just achieved getting a free round-trip flight to my dream vacation. It was as simple as paying my bills!
Since I would be staying with friends who live in Hawaii, I pretty much got a free vacation to paradise! Even if you don’t have a free place to stay, getting free airfare is still a huge deal! The points can be used for hotels too – keep that in mind if you have extra points!
You Can Do It Too!
When I first told some friends and family about my plan to get the free flight, I was faced with a lot of doubt. Many people told me “nothing comes for free” or that it wouldn’t be possible.
Really, it was so easy that I can’t believe more people are not taking advantage of these amazing opportunities.
Using travel points has opened up the world to me and pretty much changed my life. It has made travel so much more affordable because my flight is almost always free. It’s so crazy to think that a little credit card could have such a profound impact, but it truly does!
Not sure how far in advance you should book your flight? Learn when you should here.
Now that you know you can do it – where will you go with your free flight? The possibilities are endless!
Elaine @ Upscale Cheapskate
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