My Free Travels
I’ve never traveled so much in my life before this past year and this year. Last night I just booked my ticket to Barcelona for as little as 75 bucks. Well, first I wanted to go to Germany, landing in Frankfurt, but I then discovered the use of “Fuel Surcharge Fees” aka additional charge for the sake of extra cost at a huge 400 bucks. Also, a few minutes ago, I discovered the use of miles from separate airlines for about the same price as round trip from a single airport. Instead, Barcelona España, the land of….. I have no clue, it just sounds pretty in both visuals, historical, and cultural, and artistic, and, and, and, I’M EXCITED. I’M GOING TO EUROPE!!! Is it supposed to be the dream of all westernized Americans right? That desire to go to a land where the ground has stood there for thousand years of their ancestral heritage. What about China? Isn’t that my historical legacy, well yeah, but I shall go to China in a few years when I attain my US citizenship. Currently, I have little desire to go, due to political reasons.
How? Privilege? Why? What do you mean 75 bucks?? WHAT?
So yeah… I used credit card miles. A lot of it, but the miles are a lot cheaper than actually buying the tickets via standard ticketing fee. If you’re curious about traveling like this, (this sounds like an Ad… I know… I’m not making money from it.) here are the following criteria, if you’re at it, then I can recommend this method. If you’re not within the criteria, then I would NOT RECOMMEND THIS. Credit scores are critical in today’s era to buy new large object items like houses and cars, so be careful.
Criteria (Summarized from this wiki):
- At least 720 credit score
- Never have credit card debt
- No credit card balance
- No significant purchase in the six months, such as cars and housing
- Don’t mind investing 1 hour in the first day to look into what you’re getting yourself into.
- Let me reiterate what I just said “….ALWAYS pay the full monthly balance every month, NEVER carry a balance. If you do, this is NOT for you. The joke is on YOU!”
- No loans, (student loans I am highly hesitant towards, I would advise paying off the debt first, but if the student loan has very little interest then it might be alright.)
- You are meticulous with personal finance; you can’t deal with ten credit cards without an excel sheet.
- No idea how to meet the minimum spending. Ask how to spend 3K in the first three months? I have family restaurants that I can meet the minimum spending on.
- Goals in traveling, if you just get miles, and spend them at the worst possible time, then you’ll be wasting miles.
- Detroit to San Francisco: March 2015, paid using Barclay Arrive Card, ( the first trip using this method)
- Detroit to Houston: June 2015, 200 dollars, paid using Chase Sapphire Preferred cashback.
- Detroit to Dallas: Christmas 2015, round trip using Chase Sapphire Preferred cash back, 200 bucks
- Detroit to Tokyo: March 2016, 70K United Airline miles (5K of Sapphire transfer with 65K United Airline Miles
- Detroit to Atlanta: March 2016, 300 dollars Chase Sapphire Preferred Points
- Detroit to Baltimore: May 2016, 7k Chase Sapphire Preferred Points.
- Detroit to New Orleans: June, 12K Chase Sapphire Preferred points, with 50 dollars cash.
- Detroit to Barcelona: August 2016, 60k American Airline Miles
- Detroit to Austin: Late August 2016, 25k United Airline Miles
- Detroit to China: Christmas 2016, 80k Amex Points
Methods and Resources
Go here to learn about how to do this. If you’re within the criteria and are sharp with your finances, I believe you can benefit from this usage. You may also follow my friend/mentor’s blog on this too here on TravelBloggerBuzz, he traveled over millions of miles over 30 years and introduced me to the idea of credit card miles.
- Reddit Guide to Churning (read this getting started guide)
- MileNerds Guide
- TravelBloggerBuzz, my friend who introduced me this idea, and always yells at me when I signed up for the wrong bonus).
- Travel is Free, for a lot of resources on what is the best for each location.
It shocks me when I see people going to places for more than 300 bucks now, and I know that I don’t have to worry about having a family and currently I have a job that allows me to work on a site. Thus, it’s a privilege a lot of people cannot do, and also harder for a lot of individuals too. For that, I am truly thankful.