How My Family of 4 Flies Free 6 Times Every Year

Hey! Immediately, I’ve an awesome visitor put up to share from Lyn Mettler. Lyn is sharing how her household of 4 flies without spending a dime. Take pleasure in.

My household simply obtained again from Kauai.

That is our second spring break in a row flying free to Hawaii. Final 12 months, we scored an incredible deal to fly all 4 of us to Maui, and this 12 months, we determined to return to take a look at the “Backyard Isle” of to fly for free

However that’s solely considered one of 4 journeys we’ve taken by airplane within the final 7 months. Add to the record Miami, Common Studios Orlando and Disney World.

That is how my household rolls nowadays. We’ve been flying all 4 of us free 6 instances a 12 months since I discovered about journey rewards again in 2015.

Again then, air journey was not even one thing I thought of. Pay to fly 4 of us wherever? Not within the price range, as a result of there was no cash to spare on something in addition to payments.

If we obtained fortunate, my in-laws would pay for us to satisfy them at Disney World each few years, and a pair instances, my husband and I dipped into our bank cards to take a {couples}’ journey to a condominium my household owned in Colorado (so no lodge expense!). In any other case, no journey for my household.

However every part modified in 2015.

As a longtime journey author for shops like US Information & World Report, the TODAY Present and USA Immediately’s 10Best, I regularly interviewed journey consultants, and in the future I used to be pitched a narrative a couple of couple who was flying all over the world FREE utilizing frequent flyer miles, however they weren’t incomes their miles by flying. This blew my thoughts, as a result of I believed to earn “frequent” flyer miles, you needed to regularly fly, proper? That is how my dad, a longtime enterprise traveler, earned his miles, not less than.

However no. They have been incomes journey rewards in different methods, by no means paying for a flight AT ALL.

I used to be intrigued and decided to be taught every part I may about how to do that. It woke up the couponer in me who cherished nothing higher than to attain 10 packing containers of toothpaste for pennies, however this… this was gathering miles as an alternative of coupons and buying and selling them for FREE journeys. I used to be in!

As soon as I dove in, I spent a number of years studying the ins and outs of how this labored. Accumulating miles with journey playing cards, purchasing in airline portals, incomes factors after we ate at eating places and even by buying low cost subscriptions to issues just like the Wall Avenue Journal and the New York Instances — all within the curiosity of piling up sufficient miles and factors to fly my household free.

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I made errors, like signing up for an American Airways card whose miles I couldn’t successfully use, discovered about AMAZING offers just like the Southwest Companion Cross, which lets one particular person fly with you as many instances as they need for the lifetime of the go, and ended up growing my very own course of that allowed my household to fly 6 instances yearly all through the US, Caribbean and Europe for minimal effort. 

We’ve finished issues like attend ComicCon in San Diego, hike the Nationwide Parks in Utah, bike by way of California wine nation, attend a Pearl Jam live performance in Telluride, Colorado, swim with sea turtles in Maui and stingrays in Grand Cayman, see the Mona Lisa in Paris and the Pieta in Rome, gaze up on the magnificent Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, spend Thanksgiving at Disney World, attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and a lot extra.



How Did I Study How To Fly For Free?

I’ve give you a quite simple course of that works not only for my household of 4. I’ve helped households as massive as 9 efficiently fly the entire crew free.

And the excellent news is that it doesn’t take a lot time when you be taught it.

When you Google journey rewards, you’ll discover a wealth of knowledge on-line, however nobody tells you a selected course of to comply with, solely all of the thousands and thousands of playing cards and airways and lodge chains and loyalty packages you should utilize. Nobody tells you WHICH ones or what to do in what order.

On-line, you’ll additionally discover a plethora of single of us flying in firstclass with in-plane showers and lay-back seats, staying in penthouses on the prime of the Ritz and holding 40 bank cards to make all of it work. That’s not how we roll.

I present folks how one can gather and use journey rewards in probably the most environment friendly manner doable that works to take complete households alongside for the journey. However you’ll should forgo firstclass and the penthouse if you wish to fly free with a household…

Flying Southwest Airways

My system focuses on Southwest Airways within the US and the Caribbean, which is palms down the very best airline if you wish to fly a whole lot of locations and produce lots of people with you free. Step primary for most individuals is to safe the Southwest Companion Cross, so one member of your loved ones by no means pays any miles or factors EVER. Solely the $5.60 obligatory safety charge per manner.

To earn this go, you must accumulate 125,000 factors with Southwest in a single calendar 12 months, and if you are able to do that, you’re rewarded with a go that’s good by way of the top of the next 12 months, in addition to 125,000 factors you should utilize to e-book everybody ELSE in your loved ones on flights.

So if I earn a go proper now, will probably be good by way of December of NEXT 12 months. And, seems, you may maintain incomes this sucker over and over, so one particular person ALWAYS flies free. That may be a deal you simply can not beat on this planet of journey. It’s actually a purchase one, get one!

The simplest method to earn this go, and the 125,000 factors wanted, is to join two of Southwest’s playing cards which can be providing a giant bonus of Southwest factors after you meet a minimal spend of $1000 to $5000 within the first three months of holding every card. Then, you may meet that minimal spend by way of your on a regular basis bills and set these playing cards apart. You’ll should spend not more than $6000 of your on a regular basis bills to safe a Companion Cross and 125,000 factors price nearly $2000.

Be aware: You may apply for the Southwest bank card right here.

Whereas the Southwest Companion Cross is likely one of the greatest causes to fly Southwest Airways, there are many different causes too. When booked in factors, you may change or cancel a Southwest flight as much as 10 minutes previous to departure with no penalty, which provides households final peace of thoughts that they will cancel a flight or change issues round if one thing comes up like a kiddo getting sick or some other vary of points.

Lastly, Southwest permits you to convey two checked luggage free, additionally helpful for households, and they’re at all times a pleasing bunch to take care of (not like another low cost airways).


On a regular basis Spending

After Companion Cross, the actual lynchpin in my system is selecting the right card to make use of to your on a regular basis spending.

First, you wish to say goodbye to your financial institution debit card. You’re not incomes something in your spending by placing it on a debit card.

As an alternative, select a journey card to your on a regular basis spend that permits you to earn journey rewards that you should utilize to e-book free flights or lodging. I wish to pay the steadiness day by day so it’s no completely different than utilizing my debit card. The quantity nonetheless comes out of my checking account day by day so I’m not shocked with a giant invoice on the finish of the month and never sufficient cash in my checking account to cowl it.

I’ve been in debt earlier than, and by no means wish to be once more, so that is a simple method to keep away from that pitfall should you discover you’re liable to it. We by no means advise shopping for something you weren’t already planning to buy and at all times guarantee you might have cash within the financial institution to cowl what you’re charging.

Lastly, you don’t even should spend that a lot on the cardboard to earn sufficient journey rewards. We discover that your on a regular basis spend is enough whether or not you’re a retired couple on a restricted price range or a household of 9 paying for groceries, fuel, garments, sports activities, and many others.

The secret is to select the right card to your journey objectives and spending habits that can web you probably the most journey rewards to your purchases after which use that card for every part. We don’t advocate spending on an airline or hotel-branded card, corresponding to Southwest, Delta or Marriott. As an alternative, we want versatile journey playing cards like Chase Sapphire Most well-liked, Capital One Enterprise X or American Categorical Platinum that earn versatile factors that can be utilized in many alternative methods and sometimes provide extra factors per greenback to your spending than an airline or lodge card.

When you select the correct card, you’ll maintain your factors steadiness regularly replenished at the same time as you spend it down reserving free flights. This technique has labored for my household since 2015: Southwest Companion Cross + the correct card for on a regular basis spending.


Paying Fewer Factors Per Flight

One final element of efficiently flying a household free is to know how one can pay fewer factors for each flight you e-book.

On most US airways, you’ll pay a flat factors quantity on the order of 26,000 factors roundtrip per particular person to e-book any flight past driving distance. The factors worth doesn’t change with the money worth. For a household of 4 to build up 100,000 factors each time they wish to make a journey is daunting.

Southwest, nevertheless, provides variable factors pricing tied to the money worth of the fare. When the money worth goes up, the factors worth goes up; when the money worth goes down, corresponding to throughout a sale or a fare ware, the factors worth goes down too.

What’s extra, on Southwest if the factors worth goes down AFTER you buy the flight, Southwest gives you the distinction again — should you verify and ask for it. You may’t do that on some other airline! Their factors by no means expire, so you should utilize them at any time sooner or later. We save tens of hundreds of factors, sufficient for our household to take a complete different journey, simply utilizing this one trick alone.

There are additionally many hacks that change regularly that we use contained in the Families Fly Free membership to save lots of much more factors on each flight we e-book.

Listed below are some instance of factors costs per person who my household has paid on Southwest over the previous few years (and remember that considered one of us at all times flies free utilizing the Companion Cross):

  • 3,500 factors roundtrip from Denver to Bozeman, MT
  • 4,200 factors roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Cayman
  • 5,000 factors roundtrip from Chicago to Las Vegas and San Diego
  • 5,000 factors roundtrip from Indianapolis to Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers and Denver
  • 7,500 factors roundtrip from Indianapolis to New York Metropolis
  • 8,000 factors roundtrip from Indianapolis to Los Angeles
  • 10,000 factors roundtrip from Chicago to Maui

And I’ve seen members rating offers as little as 1,800 factors roundtrip. It positive beats 26,000 miles each time you wish to take a flight!

Understanding when to purchase and how one can rating a deal on factors is a key a part of flying free. You don’t simply have to gather the factors; you must perceive probably the most environment friendly method to redeem them as nicely.


Flying Free to Europe

My household doesn’t fly to Europe 6 instances a 12 months, however we do attempt to work in a visit about each different 12 months. Thus far we’ve been to Dublin, Paris, Provence, Rome, Tuscany, Bologna and Barcelona with so many extra locations on our record!

I bear in mind a time the place I believed a visit to Europe would merely by no means be a chance for us due to the associated fee. But, in 2017, I flew all 4 of us to Europe for the primary time fully on miles. It was actually wonderful!

Whereas Southwest doesn’t fly to Europe, different airways do, in fact. Flying free to Europe just isn’t so simple as flying Southwest, however that doesn’t imply you may’t do it in only a few steps.

We’ve got a number of strategies that we’ve employed over time to get all of us to Europe on miles, together with flying Eire’s airline Aer Lingus for 26,000 miles round-trip and utilizing playing cards like Chase Sapphire Most well-liked or Capital One Enterprise X to redeem factors to e-book numerous airways.


How Can You Begin Flying Free?

When you’d wish to fast-track your loved ones to flying free with assist alongside the way in which, I invite you to hitch lots of of different households in my Families Fly Free membership.

As a member, you get private assist implementing my easy Fly Free Components for households with a plan tailor-made to your loved ones’s journey objectives. Contained in the membership, we even have weekly reside webinars on journey saving matters and locations, and you’ve got entry to lots of of hours of video content material on these matters, in addition to instruments, off-the-shelf vacation spot itineraries and extra.

Members obtain private assist by way of Zoom, a devoted member electronic mail manned by my group 24/7 and the chance to attend month-to-month Zoom Q&A classes the place I reply questions reside. You’ll even have entry to our Households Fly Free neighborhood the place you will get suggestions and suggestions from different members.

Our members are saving hundreds of {dollars} inside only a few months of becoming a member of, and you may hear their tales on our YouTube channel. Carlos, a firefighter in LA with a household of seven, stories $4,000+ in financial savings in simply the primary 6 months, whereas Mike took his prolonged household of seven on a giant journey to Hawaii, saving $4,500 on that journey alone. Cheryl, who has a household of 5, has already booked 5 journeys in her first 12 months with a complete financial savings of $5,000 on journeys she wouldn’t have taken in any other case.

We additionally provide a assure that should you don’t save double the price of membership in journey financial savings by following our suggestions and minimal program participation necessities (together with finishing our New Member course and following your customized plan) then you may request a refund. We all know how a lot we’re capable of save our members and so we’re assured in our assure.

Able to make extra journey recollections with your loved ones? Don’t put it off any longer. Come be part of us inside Families Fly Free and make extra journey a actuality for your loved ones this 12 months.

Writer bio: Lyn Mettler is a longtime journey journalist for shops like US Information & World Report, the TODAY Present and USA Immediately’s 10Best who discovered a easy manner for her household of 4 to at all times have the ability to fly free. She now teaches lots of of households her easy course of inside her Households Fly Free membership.

How a lot do you spend on journey every year? Do you utilize journey rewards?

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