All of our Sunday Success Stories serve as a living example that all of us average Americans can, indeed, see the world at prices we all can afford. We can do this by working together and sharing our stories. Send your story to me at email@example.com. Include your first name and last initial, along with your occupation and a photo, if you wish. -Rick
I just wanted to briefly relate brief success story with a few tips on free travel not only for those in the US but who may be residing in other countries.
I worked a tour guide in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East for 5 years. As a result had always taken it for granted that travelling was free and often a profitable venture. So I was not so good in storing up frequent flyer miles. In fact I was horrible, and though I flew around 70,000 to 100,000 miles a year I didn’t bother to register perhaps 90% of those miles.
To my dismay upon leaving my guiding job, I found that travelling was not only not profitable (financially of course), but was even expensive. To compound the agony, I am now living in Mexico so when I want to travel just about anywhere it is a lot more expensive than if I were in the states.
So when a friend introduced me to ‘The Frugal Travel Guy,’ instead of sulking about all those many thousands of missed miles, I decided to make up for lost time by taking advantage of the many credit card offers.
I applied for personal and business cards with 4 major carriers. I used my status as an acupuncturist on the business applications. From those applications I was able to accumulate the following:
90,000 American Airlines (turned over one of the cards)
60,000 US Airlines
(I might add that I got a Citi card which gave me 500$ in gift cards which I applied to amazon … I buy a lot of books.)
Not soooo many miles. So I wanted to make optimal use of them.
I was invited to go mountain climbing with a friend in Ecuador last December but tickets were quite expensive (approximately. $700 US). I figured it was time to use some of my ammunition. Since United/Continental had a South American code share I was able to fly down to Ecuador from Mexico City for a mere 20,000 miles (other airlines without a SA code share were charging around double those miles). Then used 60,000 Delta miles for a tickets to Europe this summer to see some friends and hike through the Alps from Chamonix to Zermatt. Was able to get a non-stop flight from Mexico to Paris with Delta. Also was able to buy a ticket home for the Summer and for Christmas with non-stop to Charlotte, NC (the two tickets were just 30,000 miles each with the 5,000 miles discount that premier members get). The total value of these tickets is around 3400$ and still have 90,00 AA miles to use. Not bad for one year of ‘frugling.’ So now I have found that it is not so expensive to travel from my base in Mexico after all. In fact it is free! Hoping that I can do the same thing next year. As a frugal travel gal recently said ‘Buying flights is soooooo passé.’ Thanks Frugal Travel Guy!