Travel,

How I Flew to My Dream Destination for Free

4/22/2018 Whitney Watt 0 Comments


Wow, it has been a while! I can go on and on about how beautiful Thailand was, the breathtaking beaches, the nice people, the tasty food, the relaxing massages... and I will, so stay tuned for future posts. For now, I must share how I made this a very affordable dream trip and flew for free!

Sorry to leave you all hanging, but life happens and we both took a break. I'm happy to say that things are going great and I had to resume blogging because I just took the trip of a lifetime! The one place at the top of my bucket list has always been Thailand - Phi Phi Islands to be exact. Ever since I saw Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie The Beach, I knew this place was beautiful and I had to visit it one day. Much to my surprise, the opportunity presented itself and I did my best to plan for it and make sure my ultimate dream trip was fulfilled.

Photo by Caio Resende from Pexels


Free Flight Using Travel Rewards


Let's get right into it. I cannot stress how thankful I am for having the Capital One Venture card that got me a free roundtrip flight to Thailand after building up rewards. It took me a little less than a year to have enough saved up to score a $700 flight free!

How I did it


I signed up for the card about a year before I bought my plane ticket. At the time I signed up, they had a promotion where if you spent $3,000 in the first 3 months, you got a bonus 40,000 miles/points. That is equivalent to $400 free to use towards any travel related expenses. You can also redeem for gift cards or credit your account if you want, but you won't get to use the full value of your miles like you would if you apply towards travel. Their current promotion is spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and receive 50,000 bonus miles ($500)! The annual fee is $0 for the first year and $95 after that. Double miles per dollar on EVERY purchase!

It was easy to spend $3,000 in the first 3 months by simply treating my Venture card as a debit, using it to make daily purchases, pay bills and even paying my rent once. After the first 3 months I had my $400 but I kept using my card daily to continue building miles. All major purchases were made on the card and I just paid off the balance every month to avoid any interest fees. So not only was I building up rewards, but my credit score was improving too!

By the end of the year, I had well over 70,000 points built up, meaning I had over $700 available for my plane ticket to Thailand. I knew this would be enough to cover the flight. I started searching late last year for good deals from Chicago to Thailand during March-April (right before their rainy season), and found that most deals were in the $600's - $700's range.

Pro Tip 

I suggest scouting sites like AirfareSpot.com, The Flight Deal, Skyscanner, Google Flights, and the Hopper app to find the best deals! Keep your date options open and you will find better prices. 


After some careful planning and consideration of which events my travel group wanted to be in Thailand for, we decided on a roundtrip flight with China Eastern Airlines during the first half of April. The grand total was $705.56, and I simply used the travel eraser feature to redeem my purchase using my miles, making the flight $0 for me!

Other ways to save in Thailand


I didn't stop at just the flight. I was also able to purchase a hotel room for an overnight stay near the airport after our arrival (we were arriving at 2 in the morning, so we needed a place to crash for a few hours before heading to our first resort).

Affordable lodging, food, and transportation


One of the things I love about Thailand is once you take care of your flight and get there, most things are very affordable. You can find cheap places to stay, eat on a small budget, get around easily and treat yourself with things like daily massages (they are under $15 for full body!). I was in heaven over there!

Even the fun activities we scheduled were affordable. We did things like an elephant trek with an ATV ride up to the Big Buddha statue and a half day boat trip - both activities were under $60 each.

More details on all of this in future posts.

Conclusion


I highly encourage you to get a rewards credit card, specifically the Capital One Venture card, to build miles and fly for free. You too could go on your dream trip this year!

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