A young woman of color making an OH MY GOD face in redwood forest in Rotorua while thinking about her money and debt problems.
Felicia's Wallet,  Money,  Travel

Scammin’ Free Flights with Credit Card Points

Y’all: When I tell you I’m about that budget travel life, I mean it. Yes, we paid off our debt and saved enough to travel for a year, but does that mean we start being bougie and drop being budgety? FEH. Smart spending is a lifestyle, friends — so you won’t be surprised when I tell you that we’re also getting free flights using credit card points and basically flying everywhere for nothing. 

Pero like, wheeeet?


Learning how credit card points work

I was always very, very confused when people put words like “credit cards” and “points” in the same sentence. Like, what? I thought us Adults were out here dealing in dollars, not Monopoly money. Stop playing, I’m broke.

But then that incredible Chase Reserve deal of a Millennial lifetime came around, and suddenly, everyone around me was talking about pOiNtS like it really meant something. It finally felt like there was an opening for me to actually understand this whole credit card rewards thing. I half expected to bust down an Internet door and find that it was all a high-level Joanne the Scammer scam.

Oh, wrong I was.


Hacks on hacks for free flights

This was one of my first experiences with what I think is the #1 most important money lesson to learn: Money is a game. Most of us are bad at it because no one taught us the rules. But once you learn the rules to the game, you can play the shit out of it.

And play that shit I did. Eventually, I learned a few workarounds to the basic credit card rewards system. At first, I was like, “Hold up. You’re telling me that in order to get points and flights and cool shit, I have to apply for this credit card and spend money? I have to go into debt?! I KNEW THIS WAS A GODDAMN TRAP.”

But here’s the fun part: I dug around the Interwebs and learned a few more ways to hack the original hack. (Hacks on hacks on hacks, some might say.) Not only did I teach myself how to get those free flights — I also figured out three ways to do it without going into debt.

Y’know what? Lemme stop talking. I made a whole, obnoxious video to walk you through it.



Now, your turn: What are your favorite travel hacks?




  • Kelsey Stout

    Until now, I didn’t really know why I went into finance or cared at all about managing money in the first place. BUT THIS POST JUST HELPED ME FIGURE IT OUT. IT’S A FREAKING GAME. I love games. Everything is coming together for me now. I’m having a real break through moment–all while sipping a beer in a capsule hotel in Kyoto … what is life?

    PS. For steep sign up bonuses that I can’t afford, I will use my new credit card to buy visa gift cards (only the ones that have pin numbers) from the grocery store, then use those gift cards to buy a money order from WalMart, then deposit the new money order into my checking account to pay off the credit card. It costs like $6 per $500 gift card so it’s normally only worth it with sign up bonuses as a last resort. But still a good option when necessary!

    • bernadetteanat

      BLAAAAGHHH, this is so wonderful! I am honored and flabbergasted to be a part of your epiphanical moment re: why you <3 money. This makes me unreasonably happy, Kelsey. Cheers to you in Kyoto, from Ho Chi Minh! (And I'll learn how to say "cheers" in Vietnamese soon I swear!)

      Also, oh SNAP re: sign up bonuses and going Visa Gift Card --> money order –> checking account! That is so sneaky and creative af. Reminds me of a friend who has his own Square credit card swipe thingy connected to his own checking account, and just swipes and swipes and swipes, and pays his card off with the cash “payments” he gives himself. WHAAAAAT! The things we do. …That end up totally worth it, lol.

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