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I booked my Christmas flight home for $10!

September 11, 2008

This summer I realized I had 21,000 miles in Northwest’s frequent flier program. I used to fly Northwest, as few airlines serve my home city, but I haven’t flown with them for about 2 years, so the miles were just sitting there.

“PerkSaver” flights are 12,500 each way, while “PerkChoice” flights are 25,000 miles each way. PerkChoice is sort of a “rule breaker” flight, without blackout dates. PerkSaver flights were originally available through the holidays, but they sold out quickly for most dates (leaving only PerkChoice). Either way, I had only enough for a one-way PerkSaver ticket, so I applied for a world perks visa.

Last night I noticed they had deposited my 20,000 Visa sign-up bonus miles into my WorldPerks account. I now had 41,000 miles! I found a flight home was classified as PerkSaver, but my return flight was PerkChoice. For a total of 37,500 miles and a $10 booking fee, I jumped on it and now will be able to fly home. Almost for free!

It was easy to do, I only wish I would have done it sooner to have more options for dates/times. My flight home is days earlier than I’d hoped, and I’ll have to take roughly 5.5 days off of work. I should be able to work on the weekend and flex 2 days, thus draining my vacation from a projected balance of 42 hours to 27 (better than zero). I’ll be home in the cold for two full weeks! Yes! (Honestly, I’ll probably get bored.)

This strategy won’t work next year, as I just depleted my WorldPerks balance. It wouldn’t have worked at all if I didn’t have a pile of miles I had no real intentions of using. At 1 mile per $1, I’m probably better off just getting straight cash back, though there is a “half cash half miles” ticket I could try for with 12,500 miles….

Well anyway. This is a huge weight off my shoulders (until next Christmas). I happily deducted a mere $10 from my travel fund, and I’ll have to be careful to allocate sufficient funds next year. My travel fund is still going to start next month in the red (don’t ask) but will be in the black by the end of October, with no anticipated travel purchases for months.

For those of you interested in trying something similar, here is a post from MyMoneyBlog about a recent offer. He often posts similar deals–very useful site! (Note: Applying for new cards will ding your credit score a little, so may not be worth it if you are planning on buying a home in the near future.) I don’t have that card, and it seems like it could be a nice (temporary) addition that could fund next years ticket, or something sooner.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2008 8:39 am

    I was really excited for booking a flight for under $300 🙂 Of course, I don’t have any frequent flyer miles that I can redeem.

  2. September 11, 2008 11:44 am

    Yay cheap flights! I’m still wondering what to do with my 7000 Alaska Air miles, I’m not flying Alaska anytime soon and seems a waste to just let them die.

  3. September 11, 2008 11:55 am

    @R – Alaska Air is partners with Northwest (and american, and others). I don’t know how to redeem them on other airlines, but they do claim it is possible. Maybe not with just 7000 though

    @Saving Diva – this is my first free ticket (and I’ve been flying regularly for years). But i’m really excited.

  4. September 11, 2008 4:20 pm

    I took my wife to Hawaii for her birthday by using the frequent flier miles I had accrued while working. The total trip cost over $11,000. My price was $25.00 booking fee for her ticket. My work sent me out to do some stuff out there for two weeks and paid for my tickets, my hotel and our food!

  5. September 11, 2008 6:18 pm

    Glad to hear it! It can be a pain accumulating enough miles to finally get a ticket. I’m hoping to use some soon myself.

  6. September 12, 2008 6:06 am

    I tell you: when I’m finished with Iran you can go for $ 1, man!

    Vote for me.
    Thank you for your support.


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