Thinking of going to the Bahamas, or skiing in the Swiss Alps? Think of leveraging your frequent flier miles as a means to get there without ever having to step foot on a plane! Find a credit card that offers bonus miles for every dollar you spend. You’re going to spend the money anyway, so why not leverage your dollar for the maximum benefit. Word of caution: you must exercise responsible credit practices. Meaning paying off your debt in full every month. If you can’t do that then you may want to stick to alternative means.
I’m such a good wife. I am. I hate to toot my own horn, but…toot toot! My husband wanted to take an all boys travel trip to Prague for the BRNO Moto GP race this weekend and like the good wife that I am, I planned his first class travel and coordinated with his buds. While he’s sitting in first class and sipping his expressochino in some fancy lounge, I am here spilling the beans on how you too can accomplish this.
Disclosure: It’s for the trip, not how to be the best wife ever FYI.
Delta One Flight DTW – PRG
I have to break this down into parts since this makes it much easier for me to explain my thought process. First and foremost, just to get this out of the way, we paid with frequent flyer miles. So unless you find some hardcore mistake fare that gives you business class under $200, then this is the only way to do it (for now).
A few months ago, Ryan and I were looking for a new credit card that was on the market. I’ve always wanted to get a card that offered benefits, since all the cards I had were helping us build our credit for the purchase of our second home. We looked at what the best deals were and at the time and Delta was offering Ryan 60,000 Skymiles if we spent like $3,000 in 3 months (or something like that) on their American Express Delta Gold Card.
After planning and budgeting for 3 months we were able to obtain those 60,000 Skymiles on Delta, to which we used (along with some miles he earned awhile ago from work) to purchase his Delta One Business Class flight from DTW (Detroit Wayne Airport) – PRG (Prague, Czech Republic). All we needed to pay, were the taxes, which came out to roughly ~$90 and 62,500 Skymiles. Keep in mind this is ONE WAY, so going to Prague will get you there for less than $100.
So how is he getting back home?
Lufthansa Business Class VIE – DTW
Don’t worry! I still want my husband back and it’s actually relatively cheaper to get him back home. I still have yet to experience Lufthansa’s Business Class or any International Senators Lounges, but my husband won’t have to fret because that’s where he will be tomorrow! He’s flying out of Vienna (since that’s where he’s ended up) on Lufthansa using United Miles, to get home to Detroit. Last year Ryan applied for the American Express SPG Credit Card, which gave him 35,000 points. He then transferred the points to his United Milage Plus account and married that with the miles earned from his work travels. Alternatively, if you don’t have mileage accrued from work travels, you can apply for the United Mileage Plus Explorer Credit card with the 30,000 mile bonus and still achieve this for your routing home. This trip to go back? ~$80 in taxes one way and 57,500 United Miles. BUT if you don’t feel like screwing with your credit with a million credit cards and paying a ton in annual fees just for one trip, you can do it the old fashioned way and earn miles for all your everyday purchases.
Are there other credit cards to apply for?
If you’re looking for a travel card, I’m going to link a friend’s site that specializes in this kinda thing. It’s no use for me to try to explain thoroughly the ins and outs of every credit card that’s out there when someone else has already done it. So check out Cards For Travel, because they do a pretty good analysis of each card out there that’s worth using for travel redemptions.
Things to keep in mind.
So one thing to notice that I probably hear in your heads after you read the first segment is…do I have to fly out of Detroit?! The short answer is, no. Typically award travel deals are priced by region, so the deal that I got when booking Ryan’s flight was from North America to Europe. So you can fly out of LA and get the same deal as if you were flying out of New York.
Ryan and I try really hard to fly business class. Why? Because we’re terribly spoiled. lol. No not really, but once you pop your business class cherry, you never want go back. If you don’t mind going in economy, more power to you! You probably will be able to go more places that way to be honest. But we made a rule, if it’s domestic, we always take what’s cheaper. If it’s international, we go for business class.
We chose the carriers Delta and United for a reason. Ryan is going to Europe, and we have a ton of American Airlines miles, so why make it difficult and fly 2 separate carriers? Because we are undoubtedly cheap. Taxes going to Europe on American Airlines One World partners are incredibly steep. There are very few routes into Europe on an American Airlines Aircraft to get to Prague without routing through London Heathrow (LHR). Flying Delta and United is one way to dodge that headache.
He’s flying out of Vienna, Austria, and that doesn’t affect the taxes tremendously. Generally the cost in taxes are relatively the same based out of the region. We also avoided flying out/ through LHR for said reason above. Also, looking at the website now compared to the time we booked the ticket, taxes have doubled. Don’t ask me why, they just have. So timing also plays a role in booking your flights because the taxes will fluctuate in price.
Overall if you’re thinking about airfare, and if you use this method to plan ahead for next year, you’re looking at a relatively cheap ticket. Which gives you some extra spending cash for stuff to do out there, like VIP tickets to the Moto GP race in BRNO that my husband attended. Or some fancy dinners and extra sight seeing tours.
If you have any questions please feel free to comment below, or if you have any suggestions on other routings that you’d like to share please feel free to do so!