How I Paid $100 on a Ticket to Auckland | Here & Air


People have recently been asking me how I manage to travel so much. I wish I could respond with something really cool like, “Oh you know, I’m a part of some royal bloodline and my family owns 5 airlines, no big deal.”


But nah, I’m not rich. Sometimes I question how I’ve been able to travel with the little money I have myself. I think I’m just so obsessed with traveling that I make it a priority — constantly researching cheap airfare and finding different ways to make it happen, but more on that later. For now I will go over one method on how I only paid $100 for a ticket to Auckland.




Well besides not being in debt from college, the secret is….travel points!


I racked up travel points with a couple travel credit cards, the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card and my favorite, the Chase Sapphire Card.




I use these cards on things I usually spend money on…like gas, food, shopping, hotels, rental cars, and of course travel. I get points on every dollar spent — even more when used to purchase airfare! Sometimes you can gain travel points by simply taking a quick survey! I once earned 500 points on a 15-minute survey, easy peasy. I’ve also heard that you can also earn points by paying your utility bills or by even signing up for satellite television, the possibilities are endless!


The cool part is, there is usually a sign-up bonus for the first three months of using the card. I was able to get about 30,000 – 50,000 points after spending a certain amount for the first three months. That’s usually enough points for a domestic (sometimes international) roundtrip ticket.


How I Paid $100 on a Ticket to Auckland | Here & Air




This will vary on the credit card you wish to apply for. This is just the credit card I used to purchase my ticket to Auckland. It also helps to rack up points for a particular airline, I chose United because they pretty much fly everywhere.


1. Applied for a United MileagePlus Explorer Card


2. Spent a minimum of $1,000 the first 3 months the account is open


3. Earned 30,000 bonus mileage points


4. Purchased a one-way ticket by redeeming mileage points on United


5. Since I was about 10,000 points shy, I paid a difference of $105.05





The ticket was really about $700-800 one-way (expensive!). I had about 30,000 points on my United Mileage Explorer Card, but the ticket to Auckland (with United) cost about 40,000  one-way. I used up all my points to pay for the ticket and only paid the difference of $105.05. I also added travel insurance which is totally optional, but with insurance it ended up costing $132.05 after taxes, otherwise it would’ve just been $105.05.




To maximize the benefits of travel points, you should only use the credit card on things you would normally purchase anyway. What I mean by that is, don’t just use your credit card just to earn points, you’ll lose out that way. You might as well purchase a travel ticket upfront at that point. Instead, use it on things you are going to purchase anyway, as if you aren’t gaining any mileage points.


Better yet, ask people in your circle if they’re willing to charge their expenses on your card. Or go ahead and put that group dinner on your card. Paying friends back is so easy nowadays, thanks to apps like Venmo!


How I Paid $100 on a Ticket to Auckland | Here & Air




There are different ways to pay for travel, travel points being a big one. Do some research on what travel credit cards work for you. Keep in mind that some credit cards require an annual fee and interest rates/charges vary.


Here are some of the sites I use to keep me up to date on the latest ways to gain points with United.


United Airlines:


For all other airlines:


If you know any other cheap and cool ways to travel, help us poor people out and comment below!




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  • Brendan
    Posted at 08:49h, 10 August

    Great post! I totally agree, the credit card points can add up and get you cheap or even free flights 🙂

  • Katie
    Posted at 08:58h, 03 May

    I’m a huge believer in mileage cards, too, and put every expense I can on them!

  • Ahu @ Ahu Eats
    Posted at 04:04h, 02 May

    Great advice – there are so many ways to take advantage of deals and sign on bonuses to ‘fund’ a travel habit. I need to look into a new card for this very reason!

  • Dionna Chambers
    Posted at 19:59h, 01 May

    THANK YOU! This is excellent! Very easy to read the content is amazing. I will definitely be taking your advice and getting a card ASAP.

  • Vy Tran
    Posted at 23:48h, 28 April

    Love travel hacking! the United mileage plus card is my favorite right now and the sapphire cars will be my next because of the versatility of the points.

  • Cally
    Posted at 16:35h, 28 April

    Very cool! We are Aussies living in Canada so I am always looking for tips on saving for airfares 🙂

  • Suzanne Spiegoski
    Posted at 16:20h, 28 April

    Thanks for this! Will definitely keep this in mind for the future. Any other one besides Chase Sapphire that you’d recommend?


  • Stella
    Posted at 11:30h, 28 April

    Thanks for the article! I’m really new to trying to earn points, but I know I should because I travel so much. I will definitely save these tips.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 15:52h, 28 April

      Hey Stella! That’s awesome. Yeah start racking up points as soon as possible. 🙂

  • Valerie Hansen
    Posted at 09:59h, 28 April

    This is awesome! I am just not so great about paying my credit cards in full… but taking advantage of these mileage programs is def the way to go! Thx for sharing…Australia is on my bucket list!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 15:58h, 28 April

      Hi Valerie, I totally understand. That’s why I only make sure to make purchases I know I have the money for. Then I set it up so that my credit card bills are automatically paid off every month! Australia is also on my bucket list! Thank you!

  • Lauren of Postgrad & Postcards
    Posted at 08:26h, 28 April

    Trying to get my boyfriend on the travel rewards bandwagon! He’s got chase sapphire but doesn’t use it enough. Good for you for reaping all those rewards!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:02h, 28 April

      Ah Chase Sapphire is my favorite credit card. I’m actually saving up the points to go to my dream destination. I know a friend who used his points on a free roundtrip ticket to New Delhi! Hopefully your boyfriend sees the benefits of it soon. Thanks Lauren! 🙂

  • Safari Junkie
    Posted at 08:08h, 28 April

    Great post, but i guess mileage accounts are only for US residents?

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:03h, 28 April

      I’m sure there are other cards out there for different countries. Where are you from?

      • Safari Junkie
        Posted at 01:48h, 29 April

        My resident country is Slovenia, EU.

  • Kachina Dimmock
    Posted at 04:29h, 28 April

    Sounds like a sweet deal 🙂 I’ve been looking at all the different travel point cards lately but haven’t got around to signing up. Definitely need to though!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:03h, 28 April

      The sooner the better! You won’t regret it. 🙂

  • Simona
    Posted at 04:12h, 28 April

    I am very lazy. I find it difficult to remember to use a slecific card, keep track of miles and everything.
    But I am always happy to read stories from people who do that.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:05h, 28 April

      Haha I’m a pretty lazy person as well. I don’t keep track of my points at all, I just make sure to use it whenever I get the chance.

  • luda
    Posted at 22:44h, 27 April

    Niiiice, congrats on your deal! I have some points sitting around on my Delta/AmEx card that I should use soon (darn annual fees!). Love the plane pic over the mountains btw 🙂

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:07h, 28 April

      Thanks Luda! That is awesome, hope you find a good deal! 🙂

  • Rosi C.
    Posted at 19:26h, 27 April

    Cool article. I.actually do that myself. I also join all the airlines club so I.can receive latest news 🙂

  • Anvita
    Posted at 19:19h, 27 April

    Awesome….thanks for sharing. My husband has a travel job so we often enjoy the perks of him collecting points.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 16:07h, 28 April

      Ahh so lucky! He’s a keeper ha! 😉