Did I catch you at a good time?
This Fall I'll be taking FIVE FLIGHTS across America and I will be paying $0 for all my flights. Yea, count em.. FIVE SEPARATE PLANE TICKETS.
Your money, like your goals, should be thought about long term as well as the present. For every dollar spent, try and think about where it can take you in the future. If you spend $60USD cash on a pair of shoes, it lasts until the shoe is worn out and thrown away, right? Now, if you spend that same $60USD on a pair of shoes using your credit card, you can get 60 points PLUS 2x the points for shopping through an affiliate partner (depending on your reward system). Now you've got 120 points for the $60USD you just spent. Add up all your points from your day to day spendings and you'll eventually accumulate enough for a plane ticket. Now you've made a return on every dollar you've spent.
10/ 16 NY-FLORIDA
10/19 FLORIDA - NY
10/29 NY - SAN FRANCISCO
11/4 - SAN FRANCISCO - DENVER
11/9 DENVER - NY
I AM ABLE TO GO ON THESE FLIGHTS FOR TWO REASONS
A- I have accumulated enough points on my credit card. For every purchase I made, I used my credit card, specifically utilizing the benefits where I was able to get 2x the points for travel, dining and shopping at specific stores affiliated with the rewards system. This took me a little over a YEAR to save up for.
B- Traveling NOW during the off season results allows for much cheaper tickets, maximizing the worth of my points. My multi city trip from NY- SF -Denver - NY only costs $368.70USD / 29,496 points. That's about $120USD per flight, or a little more than the cost of a monthly metrocard.
Had I not used points, the total cost of all FIVE of my flights would cost only $634.88USD. In total, I used 50,790 points. That's basically the amount of points you can get for FREE by signing up for a new credit card.
I've had the Chase Sapphire Preferred for over a year already, so these points weren't from a sign up bonus. They were from my average everyday spending, from MetroCards to food to plane tickets. (Well, this year I did travel a lot) The point system for each card is different, but you should do some research into what credit card you are using to see how the benefits can help you.
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A CREDIT CARD
A- REWARD SYSTEM - How many additional points can I get for specific purchases? Netting 1 point per dollar is pretty fruitless, so how many categories can I get 2x, 3x or even 4x the points per $1? Some cards offer 2x points on travel or dining for instance. Can I convert points to miles?
B-INTEREST RATE / ANNUAL FEE / FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE - Payments you'll have to make to the credit card company. Is the first year's annual fee waived? Is it too high? Fees can range from Chase Freedom $0 to Chase Sapphire Preferred$95 to Amex Gold$195 to Amex Platinum $450. Is the interest rate (APR) crazy high? For travelers - will I get charged everytime I use the card abroad?
C- BENEFITS - Check out my PLAN section, but people never read the fine print that comes with their credit cards. I read the brochure for my credit card and was SHOCKED. My credit card comes with FREE travel insurance, FREE car rental insurance and even FREE warranty extensions on new purchases made on the card.
D- WILL I USE THIS CARD? - Don't get a card just because I benefitted from it. Seriously ask yourself if you are capable of using a credit card responsibly. If you are a trigger happy person - don't do it. Don't spend frivolously to hit a sign up bonus.
Think smart, if you want to travel and don't have the sufficient funds now, doesn't mean you won't have the points later. An accumulation of saving money and utilizing points can get you on your dream vacation. It might take you some time to get as many points, but you'll get there.
I'm also against using debit cards for purchases because if someone steals your card, or information, they take your actual money and it can take banks a few days to reimburse you. If your credit card info gets stolen, well, it's the banks money.
Instead of using your debit card for purchases, use a credit card. Pay off your credit card in full each month, and slowly start accumulating your points. Aim for tickets that are off season and you might be able to join me on a trip soon enough!
RECEIPT FOR NY - FLORIDA R/T
RECEIPT FOR FLIGHTS FROM NY-SF-DENVER-NY
What do you think? How do you guys normally go about saving up for flights? Comment below! Have a friend who's always too broke to travel? Then share this article link with them!