Months ago I blogged about how I wanted to take the girls to Europe for Spring Break, but wanted to do it for FREE!!! I know, seems too good to be true.
Here is the link to the initial blog.
Soooo…..did it work????
YES!!!! I managed to pull it off! We got all of our 5 flights ($7500) and lodging ($3000) for free. Of course we had to pay for food, our train ticket to Paris, and entertainment, but I am pretty excited about our savings!!!
Lots of people keep asking how I managed to pull it off. I will keep it simple. First, I would like to credit my friend Julie Fry with helping me figure out how to do each and every step. She has been traveling for years for free and she would tell me what I needed to do and why.
Traveling for free is all about getting the RIGHT CREDIT CARDS!!!! There are a select few that are just very good because they offer crazy sign up bonuses and rewards. The catch is that the best ones (mostly Chase ones) limit the number that you can have (5). So don’t even waste your time signing up for store credit cards (Gap, Old Navy). Also, I don’t recommend the cash back cards (we had Capital One Visa for over 10 years and didn’t get anything near what we are getting doing what are are doing now).
Also, this only works for people who pay off their balances every month. You can’t play the credit card points game if you carry a balance.
This is how Dave and I started:
I signed up for a Chase Sapphire (probably one of the best cards out there for all of the benefits…read my previous blog that explains why). DO NOT PUT YOUR SPOUSE ON THIS CARD AT ALL!!!! THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! NOT EVEN AS AN AUTHORIZED USER!!!! I had to spend 4000 in 3 months and then would earn 50,000 miles. The card is free for the first year.
***We pay for all of our groceries, gas, bills, church charitable givings, everything on our cards to get points….
Next, I had Dave apply for his own Chase Sapphire Visa, but I sent him my referral link because I would earn 10,000 miles referring him. He signed up, met his spending, got his 50,000 miles, I got my 10,000 miles…
Now we are up to 110,000 points….plus 8000 points (one point per dollar spent)….plus you get double points for things like travel and dining.
So now we have 120,000 points = 2 plane trips to Europe…..Only 3 more to go!!!
We put these cards in the drawer and pulled out our next cards that followed to do the same…
I signed up for Chase United Visa and did not put Dave on it. This one is good because Houston is a hub and we fly it a lot. They had a 40,000 miles after spending 3000 in the first 3 months. This card is free the first year, gives you free bags on United flights, and $100 towards global entry.
Dave signed up for his Chase United Visa and used my referral link that scored me 10,000 miles. He met his spending and got his 40,000 miles.
Now we have 90,000 miles plus the 6,000 spending miles, plus the extra because you also get double points for things…so about 100,000 miles..
We have roughly 4 Europe plane tickets and have one more to go.
The last ticket we got was by opening a Chase Sapphire Business Card for our 12 Armadillos. The business cards offer higher incentives and obviously not everyone is eligible to open one. But if you are, it is a good way to rack up free points.
So the point of my blog is that in order to score 5 tickets to Europe, we had to spend about $20,000 on credit cards over the course of a year (less than 2,000 a month on bills, groceries, etc). When we had our Capital One 2% cash back visa, we would have had to spend about $380,000 to get the same 5 tickets.
So that is where I am going to end this blog. Julie taught our friends Amy and Anna the same trick and the 9 of them flew to Hawaii for free. I didn’t even get into how to start getting free Hyatt, Marriott, and Southwest points. I will keep that for another blog.
If you are thinking you don’t have a card that is giving you the best rewards, I highly recommend the Chase Sapphire and the Chase United. I’m going to shamelessly link my Sapphire referral link and Julie’s United referral link in case any of you decide you want to open up one of these cards (we get free miles if people sign up using our links!!!) They are both free for the first year. I will probably close our Sapphire cards after the first year and keep our United ones open because the free bags alone pays for themselves.
If you have any questions, please ask away!!! I promise she nor I are selling anything!!! Just trying to share how we are taking these trips for free! We want everyone to travel for free like us!!! Also, go back and read my other blog that explains the benefits of the Chase Sapphire and the Chase United Cards. Lastly, there is someone called The Points Guy who is famous for teaching people how to travel for free. Check him out!