I try and avoid paying for anything as much as possible. Am I paying for airline tickets? Sometimes. Airline tickets being one of the top of my list due to vacation, I have crafted a process to fly for free. By no means this is an innovative, next best thing since sliced bread process, but I have found that it has worked for me, and continues to do so. Last Friday, my wife and I were at one of our favorite restaurants, La Cabana, eating good old Peruvian Rotisserie chicken. Aside from food, let me continue regarding flights.
The waitress that took our order asked me about the credit card I used to pay for the meal. She was specifically interested in the miles for travel. This isn’t the first time someone has asked me about the credit card I use, so I thought I may as well get this post out there to help. I explained to her a couple of things you should do to stop paying for airline flights. The last 2 vacations that I have taken with my family have all been paid by my frequent flyer miles. As a matter of fact, the last trip my wife took overseas, I used my miles to get her on a flight. There’s a lot of questions to be had, which I will address this in this post.
- Decide if you are loyal to your spouse or significant other. If you are, then you can be loyal to one airline. In order for you to really take advantage you have to stick to one airline. I don’t fly anything but United Airlines, and have been flying United for almost 10 years, even back when they were Continental. If you can’t do this, then this won’t work for you. Loyalty gets you not only free flights, but upgrades to first class. It’s similar to working at the current job you have. You’re loyal to your job, they reward you, compensate you, and try to keep you happy. Find a frequent flyer program for the airline of your choice. I signed up for OnePass, which is now Mileage Plus.
- Whichever airline you choose to go with, find their credit card. My credit card of choice is the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card. Initially when I signed up for the credit card, they gave me 50K bonus miles after spending 2000 on the card. That was easy since I pay for everything with my credit card. Doing a quick search on google, I found this offer they currently have from Chase: Chase United . I know there are other programs that offer 30K bonus miles after spending X amount in X months. Here is another link: Chase 30K bonus miles Offer .
- Now that you have enrolled into the frequent flyer program, and are anxiously awaiting your credit card, we must do a gut a check. What I mean is, if you are an impulsive buyer and can’t control yourself with plastic, then again, this won’t work. This whole process relies on you paying your credit card bill on time. I used my credit card for everything except for my mortgage, only because they won’t accept credit card payments. Although I have found one service that will allow you to pay your mortgage with your credit card, but I am not ready to take the plunge yet. Here is a break down of what you can use your credit card for:
Phone and Cable Bill
Car Insurance – Just about every car insurance company will accept plastic
Utilities – PSE&G Accepts credit cards, but they do charge a “convenience fee”.
Food Shopping – This is a no brainer, BJs, Shoprite, etc will take plastic.
Gas – Another sweet expense. I can double my mileage dollars with this.
Child Care Expenses
The list can get long, but as long as you stick to one credit card, you will build up your miles.
4. This is all contingent on the fact that you pay your bills on time every month. Instead of paying your provider, just pay your credit card. Massive discipline comes into play. You will see that over the next few months, all this will add up and will go towards your miles. The key is to get rid of the other credit cards that you are currently using, and stick with one.
Loyalty gets you priority boarding, upgrades to first class, free checked bags and passes to the president’s club yearly. There are a couple of caveats, which I will address now. The credit card has an annual fee. People in general like everything for free, and if you ask my wife, she will absolutely say I am in that crowd. But I do realize that there is no free lunch. I am willing to shell out the 95 annual fee to travel in comfort, and save time. I don’t like waiting for my bags after I land somewhere, nor do I care to board in group three hundred and five come boarding time. Some bill providers charge a convenience fee for every payment you make. Again, I don’t mind paying the extra 2 – 3 dollars, just as long as that payment is going towards my miles. I look at my expenses as liabilities, so if I paid cash, that money would go somewhere and never benefit me in any way. Using my credit card, at least I am paying towards a goal. Even if I can’t get free airline tickets for my whole family, I have comfort in the fact that I will have at least 1 or 2 family members covered.
There are many deviations to this, just as there are many ways to skin a cat. Meowouchh! But I like being loyal due to the perks. You can absolutely get a rewards card, and just spread your miles across the cheapest airline, but you won’t get the perks.
If you end up going to La Cabana, aside from the chicken, try the ceviche.