Day 3261 – How I Got $621.96 In Free Flights And Am Going to California For $521.96 And How You Can Too

Y’ll know I love Southwest. I’ve blogged about them a lot but I wanted to share about a recent experience I had with Southwest and a new experience with Allegiant free travel as well.

Now first, my biggest piece of advice when using a rewards credit card is to know your limits. We use our credit cards like cash and pay them off about once a week or every other week, depending on our income. The cool thing about both credit cards is I can pay off the card before the transactions post. Previous cards I used did not let me do this, maybe this is a newer feature and those cards now offer it, but this is a big feature to me. On some of my previous bookings, I purchased the tickets, then hopped over to pay them off right away. If you don’t think you can control yourself with a credit card (i.e. buy more than you normally would without a credit card), then use it to autopay some bills and keep it in a place where you won’t use it. We pay our cell phone and car insurance through our cards. I had a friend who put a large one time purchase on the card to get the bonus miles and paid it off right away. We use both cards for everything except rent.

Where we travel to in California is not a Southwest airport. That has caused us to do a few creative things like renting a car and driving from Vegas or sucking it up and paying for an expensive flight from Vegas to Fresno. Seriously guys, for a 45-minute flight, you’re looking at roughly $300+. A few years back, a new airline started flying into Fresno and it has made travel there SO much more affordable. That airline is Allegiant. It’s a very “you get what you pay for” and you do pay for what you want. If you’re traveling with checked bags and large carry-ons, it might be a little less affordable (you pay for each piece), but we’ve learned that our backpack and duffle bag work at personal items (i.e. they fit under the front seat). So we’re looking at a $40-80 (+taxes and fees) flight. You have to pay for drinks too (but you do get a free drink if you have the credit card).

On our last holiday trip to California, I signed up for the Allegiant credit card. I got a statement bonus of $50 after only six weeks of using the card. We then earned the signup bonus of 15,000 miles not long after. The cool thing about Allegiant’s miles is they translate miles to dollars (whereas Southwest’s miles fluctuate by the time of year and location). So 15,000 miles is $150 of travel. We used that card exclusively until we earned enough miles that I thought it would cover our next flight, then we went back to Southwest.

While both cards have a yearly fee, Southwest at least gives you 6,000 bonus miles on your anniversary. So a $99 fee that ain’t bad.

So that brings us to yesterday, where I booked flights from BWI to LAS to FAT (and back again). Here’s what my costs would have been for two people:
BWI -> LAS (roundtrip) via Southwest – $983.92
LAS -> FAT (roundtrip) via Allegiant – $160.00
Total cost – $1,143.92

I had enough points to cover Allegiant completely and I had enough points to cover one way on Southwest for each of us. That left me with paying for one way.
Total cost after points – $521.96
Total savings after points – $621.96

Over HALF of my flights were covered. What’s cool is that $521.96 will get me 3x the miles, which I’ll be able to use for later flights. If we end up staying in a hotel during our trip, if I book through Rocketmiles, I can get as little as 1,000 bonus miles.

I wrote a whole post on the ways you can earn miles, so make sure to check that out.

Do you have a Southwest card? Do you love it?

p.s. This photo is from a trip I took to Florida to visit a friend and flew for free and the whole trip only cost $139.99.

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget
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Check out our resources page.
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Day 3241 – Love To Travel, But Don’t Have The Money? – or – How We’re Flying To California For Free (Almost) – repost

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. 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 – 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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originally posted 2/27/15

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget.
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Day 2844 – Taking My Own Advice – Traveling To Florida

I spend a lot of time talking about travel here. I encourage others to travel. I’m writing a book on how you can take a cross country road trip on any budget (see below for the link – Jennilyn from the future). If you say ANYTHING about travel, I will encourage you to go, even if it takes a few years to save up or if you take a smaller trip.

Today, I am taking my own advice. A great friend of mine is currently living in Florida. I decided to cash in some miles and go see her for a few days. I will put together a post after the trip to let you know how much I spent. But here’s my current total.

Round trip plane ticket from Baltimore to Tampa – $11.20.
Snacks purchased before trip – ~ $10-15.
Coffee at airport, thanks to my Dunkin app – $1.49
Accommodations – $0.00.
Running total – $27.69

I am still in shock that I haven’t taken a trip yet, just for fun. I can’t wait to visit my friend and explore Florida. I’m so thankful for work that allows me to work anywhere, and is flexible.

So friends, what trips are you putting off? What advice are you giving to other people but not taking yourself?

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget.
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Day 2766 – Making The Most Of Your Southwest Credit Card And Getting More Miles Quickly

I absolutely love Southwest. I’m asked a lot about what we do to earn miles. I was about to write a nice long post about all of those ways and thought, hmmm, I’m going to search the blog to see what I’ve written before. Wouldn’t you know, I wrote this exact post here!

So I guess that’s it for today! Southwest has a great promotion right now where you get 50,000 miles if you spend $2000 in 3 months. If you are interested in signing up, send me an email through my Facebook page. Full disclosure, I would get 5,000 miles if you sign up!

Do you have any Southwest tips?

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

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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