The tools you need to automatically earn 2% or 2X points on nearly every dollar you spend, creating a perpetual flow of frequent flyer points.
Most airline frequent flyer programs have become a joke. When I started travel hacking years ago, you could get a decent domestic ticket for 25,000 points and get tickets to the Caribbean and Mexico for around 35,000 points. No more. Sure you might be able to find one of those 25,000 point tickets they promote between two Rust Belt cities with a 5 AM departure and a three hour layover. Forget about flying anywhere near the holidays and get ready to hear them laugh if you’re looking to cash in points for a family of four directly with the airline, to let’s say the Caribbean, Europe, or even Florida. The airlines seem proud of the fact that they’ve become so superefficient through mergers and online ticketing algorithms that they only need to cough up a few regular seats per plane for frequent flyers, unless you’re willing to pay the premium, double sometimes triple points (then the seats will appear). I plan over six months out and I still can’t track decent ones down.
Unless you are flying alone, dealing with airlines to use your points is a waste of time. If you do get lucky and find a seat you can use points for, some airlines like British Airways will hit you with a $500+ “fuel surcharge” on top of the points you’re coughing up. On more than one occasion that surcharge to the UK or EU was more than the entire cost of the ticket from another discount airline like Norwegian Air or WOW airlines. Check out their $199 fares to Europe.
There is a solution.
I’ve been able to travel with our family of four once, sometimes, twice per year using high 2% reward credit cards. And yes, we were all on the same flight departing from and arriving to the airport we wanted. To do this we created a frequent flyer points machine using two cards from Chase, one business, one personal and an American Express card from Fidelity. [Read more…] about How to create a Frequent Flyer Points Machine.