I love to travel, but I don’t love the expenses that go with it. When I was in college and mostly on my own, I always thought I would never have enough money as an adult to travel to all the places I wanted to go.
It wasn’t until I met a friend in college, who traveled a lot and never seemed to be strapped for cash, that I was enlightened. She mentioned how she used her credit cards to get points for flights. Some cards gave double points for tickets purchased or another card gave her free checked bags. She would collect points all year, then cash them in for her next adventure.
I personally collect points in various ways, but mostly from flights themselves and a credit card.
When flying, I really try only to fly Delta or American, not because they are the best, but they typically take me to places that I want to go. I’m also limited to what my regional airport offers (soon to be international). I’ve tried to build points will all airlines, but that’s too hard for me. I don’t fly a lot, but I fly enough to build points on some airlines.
When traveling, airline flights are the biggest cost in my travel budget. So, to help build up my points; I identified the airlines I used the most, and stuck with building them.
Next, I thought about all the other places I can build points and how they can help me to achieve my goal of getting flights.
Example: Delta and the SkyMiles Program
Obviously, signing up for the frequent flyer miles program is the first step. You always want to be getting points for the flights you are taking.
If you open an American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card and spend $1,000 in the first three months you receive 30,000 point, plus point for point on all purchases, free checked bags, and double points on airline ticket purchases. If you spent $1000 dollars on airline tickets (probably multiple tickets) you would get 2,000 points, plus the 30,000 bonus points.
Delta also does SkyMiles Dinning. You can link a credit or debit card to this program and you get points for all purchases made at restaurants. The website lists all the participating restaurants, so you can earn points at home or while traveling. When I was in Austin, TX the website provided some great local finds!
I have also found that E-rewards will allow you to earn points for taking their surveys, then redeem them for flyer miles.
Lastly, I turn my hotel points into flyer miles. Instead of getting a free night stay at a hotel, those point post to my frequent flyer account. Hilton Honors allows me to do this for Delta, and Wyndham Hotels for American.
Side Note: I can fly from Tallahassee, FL to Indianapolis, IN from 25,000-40,000 points. That’s a round trip ticket to visit my family. The points needed for flights always varies depending on the airport, time of year, date tickets are purchased, etc…
I like that I am able to spend in various ways, all while collecting flyer miles. I am really working on spending less, so what I do spend, I want it to be worth it.
I would love to know some travel tips from you!