It may take a while, but a free flight every few years is still better than no free flight at all!
Here are some tips for getting your credit card flights faster!
Here is my advice for taking advantage of the freebies:
- Take advantage of automatic billing by your utility companies, mobile provider, and anything else that offers credit card billing. Many times there are instructions on the reverse side of your monthly statement.Use your card to pay all reoccurring expenses (ie…cell phone).
- Cards that offer no annual fee are best, but it may be worth the fee if you know for sure that you can earn a free flight. Some of the cards offer as many as 17,500 bonus miles when you sign up – which puts you half way to a free flight. The fee for such cards is usually around US $50 a year, that is still quite a cheap flight.
- If you already have an existing balance with a non-rewards card, you will have to decide if it is worth the hit to your credit to transfer the balance to another card. On the positive side, you will probably get a lower introductory interest rate for a while on the new card, and a lot of points from the transfer.Just make sure that there is no balance transfer fee on your old card.
- Use the SAME credit card for everything. Don’t accumulate rewards in different places.
- Use a card that is not sponsored by only one airline. With reward points, you should be able to transfer them anywhere (ie..Delta, American Airlines, Continental, and hotel chains)
- Nothing is too trivial to put on your card – those Starbuck’s lattes add up by the end of the year! Even fast food chains are now accepting credit cards.
- If you live with a very trustworthy roommate, volunteer to pay all the joint expenses on your card and have them write checks to reimburse you – that way you get the points.
- Check on bonuses offered by the card issuer – many offer double points for booking airline tickets, buying gas, etc.
- Finally, the most important thing to remember – ALWAYS pay your card balance on time. Using credit is not a negative thing, and is actually good for your credit rating, assuming that you pay off the balance in full each month. Never fail to at least send in the minimum payment due.
One thing to note, it is not always easy to get the exact flight that you want when you are squeezing an airline for a free credit card ticket. I had to wait an additional 2 weeks past the date that I wanted to fly, but was compensated by the airline with an upgrade to first class. Be flexible, research multiple options, and don’t rely only on internet booking. Call and talk to a human that can help you out. If you are charming enough, an operator can usually override what the database is telling you about availability.
So, the moral of the story is – if you are going to spend the money anyway (and you probably are) then you might as well get something for free every year. Even if it takes 2 years, be patient, a free flight is a free flight!