This is the blog post I promised earlier when I said I can help you find flights for under $100 internationally and under $20 domestically.
I believe that the information I’m about to give you can be easily implemented and is NOT going to put you in any compromisable financial situation either (if anything, will HELP you) if you just follow the rules.
You came to this post for a reason, so hear me out. It’s true. It’s not a gimmick. It doesn’t have to cost you anything, either. It’s not exactly going to be new information, but it’s information that you probably ignored because you didn’t think it was attainable, or it was a trap. Everyone’s situation is different, but these deals are attainable to anyone, either now or in the future.
Disclosure: I am not a financial professional. I am an entrepreneur that travels the world and wants to help you see it too. I am not giving you a foolproof solution, and ask that you read further only knowing that I will not be held responsible for any abuse of the tactics presented and this is solely for informational, not instructional, purposes.
I’m possibly going to turn some of you on your heads with the information (or realization) I’m about to give you.
So, I’m a millennial. Say what you want about us being ‘lazy’ and ‘expect things given to us’, but if something is being offered to me and I don’t have to do a damn thing, you can bet your ass I’m gonna take it!
So, you know those credit card offers you see with 10,000, 15,000, 40,000 or even 60,000 miles upon signup after a certain “minimum spend” is met? They’re BEGGING for you to take advantage of them!
But, ‘there’s always a catch’, and ‘nothing in the world is free’ right? Well, technically, yes.
But basically, these credit cards are PAYING to have you as a customer, on the expectation, NOT commitment, that you’ll end up owing interest and they will make money off of you.
Does that make sense? You are NOT obligated to pay them anything. And if they don’t end up making money off of you? Too bad for them, but it doesn’t affect you at all!
The first thing I hear when I tell my friends who want to travel with me to look into these deals is “I really shouldn’t be spending more money” or “I don’t really know about credit.”
So, I want to share with you what I’ve learned from 6 years of playing the ‘game’ of credit building, and how I just booked a $71 round trip, nonstop flight from Denver to Puerto Vallarta and have IMPROVED my credit score to the highest it’s been ever (which has a myriad of benefits)!
So, here’s the main trick. For these promotions, you DO NOT put anything on your credit card that you WOULDN’T NORMALLY SPEND. This is where it is up to you to take advantage of these offers, and NOT have these offers take advantage of YOU.
I will use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card as my first example. This is the second travel card I’ve gotten, and I just booked a round-trip flight from Denver to LA for $11.40 (around 9,000 points) and round-trip from Denver to Puerto Vallarta for $72 (around 14,300 points). (The fees you are paying are just for taxes, which unfortunately points can’t be used for. I’ve seen $50-100 for international, and usually only $12 for domestic.)
That’s not even half of the points I received, either! They have promotions of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in THREE MONTHS, or 60,000 points if you spend $2,000 in the same time frame.
This is where I need you to pay attention. You are NOT putting anything extraneous on your cards. You need to take a look at all the things you use cash or debit for and use the card. Then, IMMEDIATELY pay back the card. That way, it is literally just a VEHICLE for you to use, and not a crutch.
Now I’m sure $1,000 or $2,000 sounds like a lot. But that’s over THREE MONTHS. At the very minimum, you would need to put $334 per month on the card. I spend $100-150 just on groceries. Another $50-100 on pet food. $100 on gas. $100 or so on restaurants. WHATEVER. But I’m willing to bet you spend more than $334 per month on normal expenses that you swipe your card for without thinking twice about.
If you don’t really know how much you spend on what, I would highly suggest signing up for Mint.com. You can sign into all your bank and bill accounts (like CenturyLink or any other account where you pay bills or have some sort of balance) and start tracking what you are spending money on each month. I’ll go more into the site in a later post but I use it on a DAILY basis if not multiple times a day to keep myself in check.
For myself, I have a lot of random expenses and bills under my belt from running a couple different business, so $2,000 spend in three months was cake. I did it in a month and a half. I actually signed up with the original 40,000 points after $1,000 and saw the other offer for 60,000 points after $2,000. So I called the number on the back of my Southwest card, and they said if I went ahead and spent the $2,000, to just call back and they would add the extra 20,000 points to my balance! (An advantage of this may also be that it’s easier to qualify for the card with the lower promo, then just ask for the larger promotion once you’ve been approved for the card.)
So, you use your Southwest Card on those purchases, then immediately make a payment to your credit card from your checking account, just like you would have purchased directly from your debit card. Hopefully, you get the idea. You are NOT adding any extra expenses!
Now, with that being said, there is a $69 annual fee. That is an additional expense, but really, if you’re wanting to travel, a $70 access fee to be able to get under $100 international trips and under $20 domestic is well worth it. You’ll have the first month to pay that fee before it starts accruing interest basically. Again though, well worth it. By the second year, you can call and ask for the fee waived (pretty easy to do, actually!) or just cancel it altogether. (Note: If you have less than 10 total credit accounts, loans included, I would suggest not canceling to build your credit. That good history and the additional ‘line of credit’ boosts your credit.
So now I’d bet your thinking, ‘Well don’t you have to have good credit already to be approved for cards like those?’ Well, yes and no. When you have great credit, like about 700 or greater, you can get just about any credit card you want to. Cards with bigger bonuses or cash back are reserved for higher credit scores. But, I’ve been approved for cards when my credit was probably in the low 600s. If it’s below that, then I do believe you can build it fairly quickly, which I will cover in a later post (it took me a while to learn this stuff, I have so much to tell you!). But you have to start somewhere. Typically, if you want to apply for credit cards, a good rule of thumb is only once every 2 months. Hard inquiries fall off your report after 2 years, so if you only did once every two months (theoretically, less is better though) you would be in good shape. DO NOT try to apply to a bunch of cards at once. It makes you look ‘desperate’ to creditors, and it will hit you harder and harder for each one you apply to if the timing is really close together.
If you don’t know your credit or want to check anyways, go sign up at CreditKarma.com. It really is free to join and gives you a close idea what your score is. (It’s not always accurate because it’s only updated every month or so, while your credit actually can change daily.) If your score is 600 or above, I would go ahead and try to apply for a card if you choose to do so. (Again, please evaluate your spending habits and whether you would abuse it or not. I am not responsible for you getting into debt!)
When you apply, you just need to give them where you work and what your annual salary is (if you don’t know, I just use my previous tax return income, but again, it needs to be FACTUAL. Most don’t require pay stubs or bank statements, but if it is obvious purgery, you can get into big trouble. So, just don’t try to lie.)
If you’re ready to apply, here is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Card page again. The 60,000 point offer is the best I’ve seen in a while, but Southwest is also great because they often have low lowwww point flights (I’ve seen a one-way for 1,600 points from Denver to LA!) and promotional sales, so the points are worth a lot and they reach a lot of places domestically! (Especially when you get those killer international deals off another airline, which are typically from LA or New York!)
Or, if you’re interested in international travel, Delta is a good one to go with. They’re flights cost more points, but can take you as far as Bali and Tokyo! You can earn 50,000 points, 60,000 points, or 70,000 points and $50-100 credit which can take you pretty far.
Again, please do not try to hold me responsible if you get yourself into debt or bang up your score! If you get denied, you lose a couple points (like less than 10, for a short while, not really a big deal), but you should look at your Credit Karma report to possibly see why (they will also send you a letter in the main giving a general reason why, but usually takes a couple weeks.)
In the next few posts I make, I will try to tell you my own story of improving my credit (mine was pretty bad JUST a few months ago, and I’ve jumped over 170 points in 3 months)! So, I will try to give you tips or ideas on how you could improve it based on what I’ve learned from that. If your credit score is decent but not great, or you have less than 10 accounts (credit cards, loans, car loan/mortgage), this is for you! I will give you a full out plan of what I’ve learned are the rules of credit, and they’re a lot easier than you’d think (at least that was the case for me)!
If this works for you, or you have any questions, please let me know! I am wanting to grow with you guys, so I have tried to cover as much as I could so please ask me any glaring questions you may have!
With much love,
The Adventure Bitch ❤