27 Apr HOW I ONLY PAID $100 FOR A TICKET TO AUCKLAND
Posted at 18:00h in Blog, New Zealand, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel, Travel Tips 25 Comments
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.
OKAY SO WHAT’S THE SECRET?!
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.
DO I NEED TO TRAVEL TO EARN POINTS? (hint: NO)
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.
HERE’S EXACTLY WHAT I DID
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.
MAXIMIZE YOUR POINTS
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!
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.
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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