Flying Free: Never Pay For Another Plane Ticket

What if we told you that Wanderlust Duo rarely if ever pays for airfare? Here is our secret to flying free.

You might assume that we simply fly so much that our accumulated airline miles cover the fares. Or, does our status as “celebrity” international travelers earn free flights wherever our wanderlusting hearts desire? Well, although both of these scenarios would be utterly fantastic, the truth is, the secret to flying free is not really much of a secret at all, and is truly accessible to most..
We’re conditioned to disregard all things deemed “too good to be true..”
flying free

For years, we turned down invitations to join Krissy’s annual family vacations in Maui, Hawaii… Although we did make the trip a couple times, we generally passed, based on a lack of time or an unwillingness to buy the expensive tickets… Each year my father-in-law would recommend this credit card or that, promising fantastical things about bonus miles and free flights..

Then one year, the decision was taken out my hands..

flying free

His five-year wedding anniversary in Maui was an event not be missed. We started researching fares, which were running about $1000 each for round trip tickets during prime season… We’d really never been “credit card people,” but firmly influenced by sticker shock, started scouring the web for the fabled free airline miles, hoping to find a way to Hawaii, gratis..

And really that’s when it all started for us…

flying free

We just happened to stumble upon Million Mile Secrets, a website devoted to sharing the very best, up-to-date airline mile bonus deals, complete with step-by-step instructions. At the time, Million Mile Secrets had discovered a way to qualify for the same great American Airlines deal three times, worth 50,000 miles each.. They called it the “Browser Trick:” Apply for the Citibank Visa in one browser and the Citibank MasterCard in another, submit at the exact same time, then sign up for the Citibank Visa Business Card… BINGO! 150,000 miles was enough to cover our flights to and from Maui. We even added a flight to Oahu, and still had 20,000 miles left over!

Since then, we’ve been flying free all over the world!

flying free

Copenhagen -> Istanbul
Istanbul -> Budapest
Lisbon -> St. Louis
London -> St. LouisX2
Paris -> London
Tokyo -> St. Louis
St. Louis -> Barcelona
St. Louis -> Boston
St. Louis -> Los Angeles
St. Louis -> New Orleans

St. Louis -> Orlando
St. Louis -> Philadelphia
St. Louis -> Playa del Carmen
St. Louis -> Portland
St. Louis -> San Juan
St. Louis -> Savannah
St. Louis -> Tokyo
St. Louis -> Vancouver
St. Louis -> Washington DC

Awesome, so what’s the catch?

flying free

There’s gotta be a reason why credit card companies would offer these awesome deals, right?Absolutely. These bonus cards require a minimum amount spent, generally ranging between $1 and $5000 before you get your miles. This in mind, here’s some tips to take advantage of the deals, instead of credit card companies taking advantage of you…

1. Pay off the full balance – Credit card companies make their money by charging high interest rates on remaining balances each month…
2. Meet spending requirements – Use your card to pay as many bills as possible (insurance, cable, cell phone, internet, etc.) and use your card instead of cash.
3. To keep or not to keep? – Once you’ve received and use your miles, call to cancel the credit card. You’ll likely be offered more miles for leaving it open.
4. Yearly Fees – Some great credit cards charge a yearly fee, but most waive the fee for the first year. Consider canceling cards before a fee is charged in the second year.
5. Foreign Transaction Fees – If traveling abroad, make sure the card you choose has no foreign transaction fees and you’ll save a ton.

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12 Responses to “Flying Free: Never Pay For Another Plane Ticket”

  1. akanksha

    hey ya i am planning trip from delhi to port blair. can it be helpful for me too?

    • Josh Sedivy

      Hello Akanksha, It looks like the main airline running from Delhi to Port Blair is Jet Airways. The do have bonus mile program, but it doesn’t look like they are offering any significant bonuses that would pay for your trip right now. When we do have to purchase airline tickets, we really like using Skyscanner to find the best rates and travel dates

  2. Sachin


    Planning for a Europe trip with flights via Mumbai-London-Mumbai. Kindly suggest if I can avail benefits through any of the cards

    • Josh Sedivy

      Hello Sachin, you can use airline bonus miles to may for just about any international flight, but the credit card companies have different approval requirements, including country of residence. Where are you from?

  3. Riddhi Parekh

    Kindly advice we are goin to Spain in June next year, I am from Mumbai.. is there any possibility of getting my flight tkts through miles?

  4. Kurt Jacobson

    Overall I’d say your information is good. I’ve played the credit card for miles game for over 10 years now. Over that time I’ve cancelled credit cards about ten times and have never been offered additional miles to keep the account open. I like the suggestion that applying for 3 credit cards at the same time might be a great way to amass a large sum of miles quickly.
    One of the best ways to get the most miles is to wait for the special deals like the one I got from British Airways. They had a special signup of 75,000 miles that came in handy. Both my wife and I signed up. We never sin up for anything less than 50,000 miles/points.
    Anyway I applaud your success in flying at a very low cost and think your methods will work for many travelers. For even more helpful information read Decoding Airline Travel: Beating the Airlines at Their Own Game by Nicolas Kralev.

  5. dottie huene

    Hi Josh, My family is planning a trip at new years to florida. we will be purchasing windows for our home for $10.000. Is there a way to apply for one of the cards and use the window purchase to accumulate enough points to pay for a flight for 4 on southwest. Would I have enough time? Thanks for your help!

    • Josh Sedivy

      Hi there, Dottie. That sounds like a great idea! Right now it looks like Southwest is offering a 60k mile bonus on their Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, which would give you 70k for plane tickets after buying the windows. It kind of depends on the time frame (apply for card, receive card, purchase windows), but depending on Southwest’s promotions at the time of ticket purchase, 70k could be enough all four tickets!

  6. Jenny

    Hey! I’ve heard of this but it seems like there could be pitfalls. How do you prevent your credit score from dropping by opening/ cancelling credit cards frequently?

    • Josh Sedivy

      Hi Jenny, Your credit score is based primarily on balances carried from month to month, as well as you promptness of payment. Basically, if you pay off your balance each month and on time, there should be no worry of your credit score dipping.


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