It would have cost $8131!
- How did I do it? The long and winding road of big fat frequent flyer miles, obtained by opening credit cards and spending money quickly. I had no idea! Thanks to my travel guru, Pam, I learned that people fly all around the world for almost free by opening and closing credit cards that offer big miles bonuses. It’s her 10/hr per week hobby, and she even attends conventions on how to do this.
- how does this work? Credit cards offer big chunks of free miles if you open a card and spend a certain amount on the card within several months, without charging an annual fee. People open these cards, pay enough on them to meet the minimum, and then close the card before a fee is charged. It’s not illegal. It’s not unethical. And it works!
- How do you spend a bunch of money quickly on a credit card? Can you charge your mortgage payment, for example? Unfortunately, most mortgage companies do not allow credit card payments. And of course you don’t want to just spend money to get miles! Pam had me purchase gift cards, load them on a American Express SERVE card, and then pay back the credit card company using the SERVE card. Basically, you just move money around!
- How was it moving the money around in order to charge the minimum amount? I didn’t enjoy it. Although it’s perfectly legal, I had to go to Safeway and Walmart to conduct these transactions several times, and I had to remember to say or not say certain things so that managers didn’t suspect me of identity theft and put a glitch in the process. Pam does this all the time and it works smoothly- I felt like a criminal and it was weird.
- How did I acquire 122,000 miles in 3 months for this trip? I opened two credit cards, one offering 60,000 miles and one offering $40,000 miles, and managed to spend the required amounts in 3 months. I also used the cards for all my regular expenses such as food, gas, etc. I did end up 2,000 miles short for my ticket, and bought those miles for $70. (Also had a few other fees, so my total output was around $200.)
- Why am I flying business class to India, and economy on the way back? Because I wanted to experience luxury travel for the first time- a chair that folds into a bed, good food, leg space, etc. And I had enough miles to cover business one way. Why not? A trip to India is a long, painful one of many many hours in the sky, cramped and bloated and crabby!