Of course, we all have a wide range of travel destinations on our bucket list that we’re hoping one day we’ll be able to get to do — the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, the Acropolis in Greece, a safari in Tanzania, or just to visit our sister in California. But with travel so expensive, it hardly seems like a reality to be able to travel often (or at all) any time soon. But what if we told you that you could get your flights, not just discounted, but for free? No, it’s not a scam, nor is it too good to be true. Here are our tricks for getting flights for free, because your hard-earned money should be spent on the experiences, not on getting there.
Tips for Using Credit Cards with Travel Points
Use one rotating credit card (with travel points) at a time.
This will help ensure that you can handle your spending and will protect your credit score from the hit that opening new cards inevitably causes. Here is a fantastic introductory list into popular travel rewards credit cards and their pros/cons.
Pay off your balance every month — treat the card like a debit card!
This is essential because you want the credit card to work for you, not end up costing you more in the long run.
Plan and open cards based on necessary purchases.
Don’t open a card if you’re going to use it to buy whatever is on your wish list that you couldn’t justify before. Again, you want the card to work for you and help you rack up points, not be a catalyst for unnecessary spending that you can’t afford.
Use your points to book flights via the credit card’s online portal.
The online portals often have point bonuses for booking through them! Do your research, you don’t have to book on the first portal you check. Make sure you’ve investigated all your options to find out what the best deal really is before you click “book.”
Non-Credit Card Options to Save Money on Traveling
If you’re not ready to open a credit card, many sites offer installment plans to help with the expenses that typically come with traveling. While they may not necessarily be helping you save money, they’ll be helping you save up for the flights. Sites like Expedia offer a “Book Now and Pay Later” option that lets you book your travel plans, but pay over time or at a later date.
If you do look into installment plans, keep in mind that you’ll want to go with one that does a “soft” credit check (rather than a “hard” credit check). A soft credit check won’t show up on your credit report and won’t affect your credit score. Whereas a hard check will negatively affect your score. Or, try an option like Airfordable, that doesn’t perform a credit check. Remember when using an installment plan to budget in that extra monthly payment! Be sure you can afford it — and can continue to afford it — when you book.
You can also look into flying budget airlines, like Allegiant Air, JetBlue, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, or EasyJet, or signing up for flight deals and alerts on sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights that will send you email alerts about the cheapest airline tickets.