Racking up frequent flyer miles helped Daryn Kagan and her husband Trent plan the vacation of a lifetime without spending a fortune on their plane ride to get there. Their luxurious first-class flight from New York to Abu Dhabi would have cost $14,500 per ticket had they been paying full price, but thanks to frequent flyer miles and rewards credit cards, they only paid $15 a piece. And no, it's not because they travel for work so often, or because traveling is an everyday thing at all for them.
As Daryn dished on Next Avenue, she and her husband simply figured out some genius ways to use their rewards cards and the money they were already spending to make the value come back around to their wallets — and those ways actually had nothing to do with flying! Read on to find out her exact tips for racking up the points... and to steal them.
Daryn says using your rewards cards wisely is the quickest way to earn lots of frequent flyer miles, but she also stresses that this method only works if you carry no credit card balance and pay all your bills on time. If that sounds like you, you'll be happy to know that some rewards cards carry extra perks, with many offering extra points for doing mundane, everyday tasks like grocery shopping and visiting gas stations. She has great recommendations on some rewards cards that offer a lot of value per point or mile and can be transferred to many airlines and hotel programs.
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa: When you spend $1,000 with this card anywhere and on anything, you receive a whopping 40,000 points on Southwest.
Barclay Arrival+ Mastercard: When you spend a measly $1 on any purchase, you get two points earned in return, which can be transferred to any airline.
Citi Thank You Premier: When you spend just $1 on travel costs, you earn three points — and good news, this includes spending at gas stations. And for just $1 spent on entertainment or dining, you earn two points.
It may sound too good to be true, but according to Daryn, this is all real. You can get paid in miles by airlines when you make purchases that you were going to make anyway. Major airlines like American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and JetBlue all have shopping portal sites. And after you sign up for an account that you link to your frequent flyer number, all you have to do is look for the retailer where you want to shop at, such as Macy's or Amazon, and click. As if getting an online order delivered weren't exciting enough, now we get frequent flyer miles for it? This is a true game-changer.
Planning trips well in advance
Of course, frequent flyer miles are no good if it turns out you can't use them for a dream vacation after all. That's why Daryn recommends doing your research well in advance to make sure you can go where you want to go — and when you want to go, too. Luckily for us all, she has a page on her website dedicated to figuring out what airline will give you the best deal for traveling to a certain location. And she also has a helpful reminder that as a general rule, airlines release frequent flyer award space in two groups: 330 days before any given date and about two weeks before the same date. So your best bet is to mark your calendars for not only when you want to go on a trip but also the perfect time to do the booking for it as well!
Wow! Will you put Daryn's genius tips to use? We know we will!