Day 2527 – Repost – Love To Travel, But Don’t Have The Money? – or – How We’re Flying To California For Free (Almost)

This was originally posted February 27, 2015.

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We LOVE to travel!! I don’t think we realized how much until we had more money to do so!

Before this Christmas, we tended to take the super cheap ways in travel. We’d have to get a lower grade room or sleep in our car. We even had to cut our honeymoon short. Being in debt for so long, finally paying it off and Bret landing a teaching job has radically changed our financial situation.

We’ve splurged a little over the past few months with travel and eating out. I told you a few days back that we’re taking a weekend trip to go to a concert. While booking the hotel, I realized, you know, I just learned a LOT of great tips for saving on flights…I should share that!

A few months back, we finally signed up for a Southwest credit card. I think it’s one of the better rewards credit cards out there…especially if you fly even a little.

I lucked out and signed up during a promotion; if you spend $2000 within your first 90 days, you’ll get 50,000 bonus miles.

We hope to hit that number pretty soon. What I love about the Southwest Credit Card so far is how easy it is to earn miles and opportunities for bonus miles.

A particularly awesome way to rack up the points is Rocketmiles (clicking on this link and booking a hotel will give me bonus miles, for full-disclosure). This is a way to earn rapid rewards through booking hotels. I just booked our hotel for the concert and will get a bonus 5,000 miles! I mean, that’s like spending $5000 on my credit card! So, just by booking a hotel through the website (which we needed anyway), I’m getting miles.

Let me give a practical example.

You earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on your purchases. You’ll get 2 miles for every dollar spent through Southwest and their travel partners (hotels and car rentals). I’ve noticed they send a ton of other ways to get bonus miles too. Before Valentine’s Day, they had an offer for bonus miles if you ordered flowers through 1-800 flowers.

Now let’s break down your potential based on your normal cost of living expenses. Since this can range depending on a million factors, I’m going to just use $2000 as a starting point. I’ll also use our typical travel as well.

Yearly expenses amount – $24,000 i.e. 24,000 points
Our bonus for signing up and spending the amount required on the new credit card – 50,000 miles
Our bonus for booking a hotel through Rocketmiles (clicking on this link and booking a hotel will give me bonus miles, for full-disclosure) – 5,000 miles
Rough estimate of cost of tickets to California at Christmas time for two – $1,100
Rough estimate of points for California at Christmas time for two – 76,578 miles
Rough cost of tickets to California at Christmas time after using points – $22.00

Total miles earned – 79,000
Miles left over after booking flight – 2,422
Cost to visit family for Christmas – $22

What about you? Do you have any money saving travel tips??

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