How To Travel For Free:
Use points & miles to make an Award Booking.
@BenTheTravelCoach shows us how to get a $2,000 round-trip flight for 2 on United Airlines from Denver, CO – Maui, HI for a net $22:
Transfer American Express points –> Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles –> Fly on United Airlines
This is one of the best examples of How To Travel For Free that I have. Next up is trips with stop-overs and open-jaw segments. E-mail me to learn more about these.
Starting point: 2 round-trip flights from DEN (Denver), CO to OGG (Maui), HI for 50,000 American Express membership points + $297.
Deduction 1: We used $297/$300 of annual reimbursable dollars from Ali’s Chase Ritz Carlton to cover the $297 of additional costs. Net = $0.
Flight details: Flying United. Flight days and times are ideal. Den – Maui is nonstop. It’s rare to find a nonstop flight to Maui from Denver. Maui – Den has 1 connection at LAX. Layover is about 90-minutes. We had our choice of economy seats.
Deduction 2: Upgraded seats. We used $148/$300 of reimbursable dollars from Ben’s Chase Ritz Carlton credit card to upgrade to row 1 of economy plus on our return flight from Maui. This will be beneficial as we are flying overnight and can stretch out and lean back. Row 1, Economy Plus = $22.
Accumulating 75,000 American Express points: Applied and approved for this American Express credit card. The whopping $475 annual fee is easily offset by all the perks. Ask me about it if you don’t believe me. We used 50,000/75,000 points for this trip.
Deduction 3: Free bags. The first checked bag for each of us is $25 each way per bag. We are checking one bag total so that’s $50. One of the perks of this American Express credit card is a $200 annual credit for travel charges such as checked bag fees. Ask me for more details. In effect, this perk alone can reduce the $475 annual fee to $275. We will use $50/$200 for the checked bag. Checked baggage = $0.
Conclusion: If you agree that the annual fee is offset by the perks for the American Express Platinum credit card, then the above demonstrates how we set up this itinerary for a net $22.
How To Travel For Free – Award Booking at its best
6 step process – How To Travel For Free: How I booked this $2,000 retail airfare for 2 people for a net $22 in about an hour.
step 1: I used AwardHacker to search for potential award bookings and to get an idea of how many points it would take and what rewards programs I could transfer points from to make it happen. Time = about 20 minutes.
Step 2: After a thorough analysis, I found the best option was to use 25,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles to book a United Airlines award flight (x2).
step 3: I set up a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account. Time = about 3 minutes.
step 4: I transferred 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles in order to travel on their Star Alliance partner airline – United Airlines. Time = 3 minutes. NOTE – the actual transfer took 2 business days.
step 5: I called Singapore Airlines and a very nice representative booked the award flights for me. Note – this can’t be done online. Total time = about 20 minutes.
step 6: After the representative confirmed our tickets and sent me PDF copies of our itineraries, I went to the United website to choose our seats, insert our known traveler numbers (for TSA precheck), our frequent flyer numbers for United, and (if applicable) pay for baggage fees. Time = about 10 minutes.
How To Travel For Free – A few screen shots of the process
United Award flight booked through United = 90,000 United miles (22.5k/person each way). We used 50,000 miles.
Seat upgrade to Economy Plus Row 1: $170 – $170 reimbursed using Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card travel credit = $0
Bag fees: $25/bag each way = $50 for 1 bag for us. $50 – $50 reimbursed using American Express Mercedes Benz Platinum credit card airline credit = $0.
Travel itinerary through Singapore Airlines:
Confirmed flight traveling on United Airlines:
Check out our full trip report from this trip HERE
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