“Do you even have a job?”
On one of my most recent trips to the southwest I was asked this very question. It was not asked with malicious intent, but genuine curiosity. The couple was only the second one we’d seen on the trail after hours of being there and we’d struck up a fun conversation. She was surprised to see how far we were from New York and even more surprised to learn I had just been to the Pacific Northwest the previous month. She followed the question with, “I mean, I assume you work.” Followed by a look in her eyes that just wanted to understand how.
Truthfully I get a chuckle out of it. I’M not even sure how I do it either. When I stop and analyze the how, it’s actually very simple. I have always been very frugal, especially with travel. I didn’t have the greatest jobs in college and I yearned to see more of the world. So my first couple of trips were promoted flight specials sent via email. And I always travelled in groups to save on the shared expenses like car rentals and hotels. I even ate fast food where I could, dollar menu please! Back then my stomach could handle anything lol.
From the moment I researched my very first trip, to the next one I have coming up in a week, I have always tried to spend less than the average person. This isn’t the method in which I book every trip, but for Las Vegas it was perfect. I learned I could fly there for $11.50 and I was all over it!
Did you just say $11.50?!
Yes I did! I’d like to begin by saying this is not an ad. I repeat, this is NOT AN AD. I DO NOT get paid for writing/posting this on my blog. BUT! If you’d like to contribute to my adventures and don’t have an American Express yet, I would really appreciate you using my link below…
MARIANA’S AMEX LINK
Do your due diligence as I did and read the fine print. If this seems like something you’re interested in then please, use my link and tell a friend 🙂
Anyways… a very good friend of mine referred me to this card three years ago and I received a total of 60,000 bonus miles with Delta Airlines for spending $3000 in the first 3 months. I love to shop, so that wasn’t hard for me to do. Not to mention I threw as many bills as I could on there to help.
I also got married last year and that was a great boost in miles as well. Unfortunately, some vendors only accepted bank transfers or Visa/MasterCard. But we paid as many vendors as we could with the Amex and was happy to see the miles accumulating at the close of each monthly statement.
So after having my Gold Amex for a few years I had accumulated more than enough points for my husband and I to travel to Las Vegas. Here’s the thing though, Vegas is now our third destination we’ve purchased with miles. I have really worked out a system to pretty much pay for everything with my Amex, and then pay off the Amex to not carry a balance (or get charged interest). But seriously though, I mean everything.
So how did you actually pay $11.50?
My friend and I have mulled over the idea of having a road trip through Utah and Arizona for a while. We have even watched documentaries and done a ton of research. So when her 30th birthday was approaching she decided she wanted to pull the trigger. She came over and we started looking up flights. Not happy with the costs associated with flying to Las Vegas in April, I recalled a post by The points guy.
I’m going to let you in on one of my secrets. I religiously follow a twitter page @thepointsguy I even have text notifications set up for new posts because this page is amazing! He’s consistently posting about mile deals and all sorts of travel gold. Gold I tell you! And he is in large part the reason why I thought about looking into using our miles the first two times. My friend also has the Amex Gold card and had miles available to use.
So I went into my Delta app (apple or android), clicked on “book” and selected “Show Price In: Miles.” I put in the dates I wanted to travel and after messing around with dates for a while was pleasantly surprised. I found round trip flights from La Guardia to Las Vegas (returning to Newark) with a price tag of $11.50 and 25,500 miles. These flights had a 1.5 hour outbound layover and a 1 hour inbound layover in Minneapolis and Detroit respectively.
Would I have preferred to fly direct? Duh -_-
But honestly, for that price! I did not care about the layovers. Nor did I care about finding my way home from Newark as I have done many times before.
So like I said, it really is that simple. I would say it’s a matter of consistently using your card to accumulate miles. You get 1 mile for every dollar you spend. That way when you least expect it, you can pay with points and not with cold hard cash. Also the responsible adult in me is screaming to add this as well: please be responsible if you do get the card. It’s very easy to spiral into debt and that’s the last thing I would want to come out of this. Swipe responsibly ; )
If you found this at all helpful and are considering getting the card, please don’t forget to use MARIANA’S AMEX LINK. I get some bonus miles thrown my way for referring you and every mile helps.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Jennifer Lee