Travel Tip Tuesday…
Just like storm clouds aren’t going to roll in and rain free boxes of cereal from the sky… Well… okay maybe this week they did 🙂 A free vacation isn’t going to fall from the sky either…It’s going to take a little bit of work on your part if you want to see the Emerald Isles or anywhere else on your list of 1,000 places to see before you die.
As you’re reading this please keep in mind this is how I was able to score 3 almost free vacations to Europe over the last 5 years… Everyone is different and the way I choose to live might be different from the way you live. The key is to absorb the information and use what might be helpful to you and you’re future travel plans.
Okay… now that we have that out of the way…
Mavis was able to fly to Europe 3 times for almost free (I had to pay the tax on the tickets) because of this Credit Card.
The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
I first heard about this card through my brother in law. He travels/flies a lot for work (weekly actually) and was telling us how he was able to fly his family and friends to Hawaii for (almost) free because of all the points he had accumulated.
I thought… Ya… must be nice… of course you were able to rack up points like crazy… you fly on a weekly basis for work.
But the idea of free tickets kept nagging at me…
I really wanted our family of 4 to go to Europe… but tickets were $1,200 each… Not gonna happen.
Or so I thought….
A few weeks later… I went ahead and signed up for the credit card (the SPG card is free the first year). As soon as I made my first purchase I was awarded 10,000 points… and the deal was… if I could spend $15,000 dollars in 6 months I would receive an additional 15,000 points… which I did.
How did I rack up so much spending? Easy. I simply put everything possible on my credit card. Gas, Food, Car Payment, Clothing, Utilities, Entertainment,Dr. visits, you name it… if I could charge it… I did. I didn’t even care if the bill was .27 cents… I still charged it. We were also lucky to score some extra points because my husband travels a handful of times a year for work and when he does he charges all his purchases… he gets reimbursed of course… but the points are ours to keep. And occasionally… my parents will call and want me to order something off the internet for them… (they don’t like using their credit card online so I simply make the purchase for them and they reimburse me).
But that’s not the best part.
When you accumulate 20,000 points on the SPG card you can transfer them to your frequent flyer program and receive 25,000 frequent flyer points in exchange for your 20,000 SPG points. We have Alaska Airlines set up as our frequent flyer program. Why Alaska Airlines? Well… because on Alaska Airlines it only takes 20,000 points to earn a free domestic ticket… and 40,000 points to earn a ticket to Europe (as long as you are willing to fly to Europe between October 15th and May 15… travel outside of that window and it will cost you more points).
Now… I do realize this type of travel planning does not work for everyone. If you want to try to earn free airfare or hotel stays this way you’ll have to remember 1 very important thing. Pay your credit card balance in full each month … If you cannot pay it off each month… then don’t do it. It makes no sense to be paying interest on a credit card to earn free travel… because in the end… you will have paid for your trip via monthly interest payments.
So… in a nut shell. that’s how were were able to travel to Europe for almost free over the last few years… We used our credit cards for everything possible… and were rewarded with free airfare (except the taxes) and hotel nights.
And really… so what if it takes you 2 or even 4 years to save up enough points to score almost free tickets to your dream vacation hot spot… At least you’d have a plan… a goal… something to look forward too.
And I think that’s my point.
If you plan ahead… it’s much easier to keep your goal within reach.