Now don’t get all mad.
But it’s true.
I recently spent $11.20 for my ticket in first class to Hawaii.
Last year my ticket was $10.
HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?????
As you know from reading my post on How to be the Boss of Your Money, that I didn’t always know how to save and manage money.
Equally as important as managing your money is knowing how to cash in on deals that are meant to work for you.
There are a few rules to purchasing cheap tickets and I am warning you, DO NOT TRY THIS IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO FOLLOW ALL THE RULES.
Promise me that.
Failure to skip a very important step will land you into financial trouble.
If you follow these steps exactly as they are presented, you could be sitting next to me in first class on our next trip to Hawaii!
Laying the Groundwork
You know when you are shopping at Target and they offer you a credit card so you can save 5% on future purchases? It happened to me this morning.
I politely refused and told “Leena” that I am stocking up airline miles instead.
Saving 5% at Target would be a fantastic deal as much as I shop there.
However, travel is much more important to me. So I made my choice.
Selecting the Right Airline and Credit Card for You
There are several airline credit cards out there so find the one that works with where you live and where you want to go.
We selected a CitiBank card that builds up American Airlines miles.
American Airlines is based in our area so it is a good fit for us.
Southwest Airlines is also here but we chose American.
When we made our selection, Southwest did not fly to as many places as they do now since the Wright Amendment expired.
So choose your airline and then find a card that will let you build up miles.
The Magic Step
This is the part that you must follow or I’m seriously begging you NOT to go any further.
It’s really easy for people to get into the habit of spending using a credit card because to some degree, they don’t even feel like it’s their money. More like free money.
The secret to making this deal work is that you have to be able to pay off your credit card each month.
Otherwise, if you carry a balance and then have to pay extra interest on that balance, you will feel like you are suffocating and no beach anywhere can take that misery away.
Live Below Your Means
Not sexy. Not popular. But very necessary.
You will be surprised how much more relaxing your vacation is when you are not stretched to the max, not only financially but emotionally.
Ok, back to the how-to part…
Know Your Monthly Fixed Expenses
As part of the post I mentioned earlier on How to be the Boss of Your Money, I write about the importance of having a budget.
Be very familiar with how much money goes out due to monthly living expenses. If you don’t like how much you are paying for a particular service, call them to see what can be done to lower your bill.
I know that sounds ballsy, but we did it with our electric company and one month we paid $200 then after the call the next month we paid $50. Big difference right? They would have been happy to keep on receiving the higher rate.
Next, shift the way that you pay for these expenses.
Online banking and bill paying are very common but make sure you are getting the most benefit out of paying your bills.
Go through each one and use your airline credit card to pay for your bills if credit cards are accepted as payment.
When you receive your credit card bill, PAY IT IN FULL.
Know Your Monthly “Other” Income
This is the amount that you have left after you have paid your bills, put money into savings, set aside some for retirement, etc.
Money that you use for grocery shopping, clothing, gift giving, eating out, etc.
Pay for all of these items using the airline credit card.
This could be an adjustment if you are used to using your debit card. It is one extra step.
But the magic from above is true for these purchases as well: When you receive your credit card bill, PAY IT IN FULL.
If You Have a Partner
If you live with someone and share finances, you need to talk about what you want to get out of this new arrangement.
Sam and I each have an American Airlines credit card and earn miles separately. We are both listed as a secondary user on each.
We put all the fixed bills and big-ticket purchases on mine and we put our monthly “other” expenses on his.
We share miles.
When we have built up a lot of miles on Sam’s card, he will book a trip for us both using his miles.
It’s just something to think about and work out beforehand so there are no hard feelings.
Feeling Like You’re Cheating
The first time you go to the site and use miles for your first class trip, I swear you will feel like you are cheating someone!
How can you go on a trip and be pampered like crazy and only pay a small fee?
It’s not cheating.
It’s cashing in on what you have worked so hard to set up and execute.
I guarantee the first vacation that you take with this system will be the sweetest ever.
Don’t let this be just another post where you think, “Oh yeah, I know all this already.” The real question is: Are you doing it?
If not, take the time to set it up. It will be worth it.
In fact, go ahead and get on AA.com and select a place you want to go. Check the box that says, Redeem Miles and see how many your dream trip will take. Then, get those miles!
Pay Your Bills with Purpose
Yes. Have an ulterior motive when paying your bills and shopping.
If travel isn’t your thing, then check out the “cash back” credit cards.
Whatever your goals just know that if you aren’t using an ulterior motive to get something back with all you are spending, then you are missing out.
Start today and get something back just for the fun of it.
Comment below and let me what your ulterior motive is. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go?
Yesssss, I do this already and have gotten several free airline trips in the last couple of years! I too have to sometimes decide between my coveted Target obsession and using the card for %5 off or for using my credit card! LOL
Aren’t cheap fairs the best? I know what you mean about the Target card though. I refuse to get that card so I won’t be tempted!
I’m glad you stopped by. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this idea. All the particulars are SO helpful.
Hi Lisa! I’m trying to get as many people traveling as possible. And Hawaii is the best! I know you agree. I have enjoyed reading your blog posts on Hawaii.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Love this!!! Such great advice – – paying the bill in full each month is a MUST! I have a Delta card and have gotten to use it a few times for miles – feels too good!! This information is great for everyone! Glad you are sharing.
Don’t you think that vacation feels like you are cheating the system? I know that when I use miles to pay for an awesome vacation, it just feels better.
Thanks for sharing your experience.