When my husband and I moved to Denver, I think a lot of our friends and family assumed our visits back would be infrequent. Traveling is expensive, especially around the holidays. But there are ways you can get cheap holiday flights. We only paid $22 total to fly home for Thanksgiving. Want to know how? Read below.
How We Did It
A few months ago, I applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card. It had a 50,000 mile bonus, which you can reach if you spend $3,000 in three months. With moving expenses adding up, we were able to reach that number easily.
Our flights home only cost us 17,745 points and $22. Considering that Thanksgiving is one of the most expensive times to fly, this means our 50,000 bonus could potentially yield six flights. Not bad for a few minutes work.
Plus, we don’t have to fly in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Many people assume that airlines only give you rewards for the crappiest flights, but that’s not true.
Another misconception is that you have get multiple layovers if you want to fly using your points. Again, not true. We’re flying nonstop both ways. Last month, I used my Southwest points to fly to Detroit. I flew nonstop and got in at a reasonable time.
Southwest also has an incredible deal – the companion pass. Basically, if you earn 100,000 miles you’ll be able to have a designated companion fly with you for free. The companion can change any time. On one flight, it could be your husband, on the next it could be your mom. I know of some families who claim one child each as their companion, so they only have to buy two flights for four people.
I’m not saying everyone should go out and get the Southwest card. It might not be a great card depending what airline you use. Do some research and figure out if getting a Delta card is better for your travels. It also helps that Denver has a huge airport and is a great place to travel out of. It’s a hub for Southwest, Frontier and United, so finding a good deal is fairly easy.
As much as I support using credit cards for travel, they aren’t for everyone. If you’re used to carrying a balance, opening up another credit card won’t help you. Analyze yourself and see if you should hold off getting a credit card. You can also ask the company to lower the limit on your card, which can help you spend less.
Be sure not to spend more than normal just to reach the target bonus. Having 50,000 miles is pointless if you wasted $2,000 to get them. I’ve seen friends get excited about their credit cards’ cash back rewards or special bonus, only to carry a balance on the card. There’s no point spending money on interest if you’re trying to get a free flight.
Make sure to book your flights early. The faster you can buy your tickets, the more likely it is you’ll get the time you want and use fewer miles.