Let’s go to Europe for our honeymoon, after we pay for all those expensive wedding things. It’s not always feasible to drop a few thousand dollars on airline tickets. Even though travel is amazing and totally worth it. We need to afford other things like food and shelter. (Side note: You can get amazingly cheap tickets to Europe right now. Around $500.)
But where there’s a will there’s a way. It’s all about outsmarting the system. Other travel bloggers call this travel hacking. Makes it sound all scientific and fancy. All it really requires is signing up for loyalty programs/credit cards and knowing how to use them properly.
Before I even picked a wedding venue, I was planning the honeymoon. You can see I had my priorities. This trip was going to be epic, but the tickets to Paris were $1400. I had a few points on United, but not enough for free tickets. You need 60,000 points to fly to Europe in economy.
I was reading a lot of travel blogs and they kept talking about travel hacking and signing up for credit cards. There are a few credit cards that give you airline/loyalty points when you sign up. You can use these points to book flights. Since I already had United points and Houston is a major market for them, we signed up for the United MileagePlus card.
There is a catch before you can get the points. You have to spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. If you don’t usually spend that much or don’t have the funds to spend the money, DO NOT sign up for these cards. These cards have very high interests rates. While I love traveling it is not worth going into debt. These cards also have annual fees. We both got credit cards, but staggered the start date and paid for everything on the card.
Pro tip: Wait until United offers 50,000 points sign up bonus. Their usual offer is 30,000, but that’s only one leg to Europe. If you add someone to your card, you get an extra 5,000 points. Now, you are only 5,000 miles away from a basically free trip to Europe.
So why did it cost us $300 if we used points? The airline still charges a small fee when booking with points. This fee varies and depends on your destination. Also, Jon didn’t have enough points in his account to get the free tickets. I switched the extra miles from my account to his account. Of course, there is a fee to send points to others. I called into United’s reservation system to book the tickets. It was my first time booking with award miles and I wanted to make sure we got on the same flight. I think this was a $25 fee per ticket, but it gave me piece of mind. You can book the award mile tickets online, but you have to book them separately.
Finally, we were on our way to Europe for under $300.