I just purchased our flights for our Camino de Santiago trip in May using travel hacking. I have to admit it was pretty easy. I’ve always seen people posting about how they got these amazing seats for like $200.00 and I always thought they were blowing smoke. But if played correctly they are right.
If you don’t know we are walking the Camino de Santiago in a couple months. We are flying into Paris for a couple days then taking a train to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port where our walk will begin. At the end of our walk in Santiago we will take a train to Madrid to fly home. Home is in Boone, North Carolina so we will fly in and out of Charlotte which is about an hour and 45 minutes away.
I love to research the options for traveling, for some weird reason it brings me joy to find the best and most affordable option. Not always the cheapest. But I was a little surprised when I started looking around at the cost of flights in general. The lowest price I was seeing for economy was around $1900.00 with multiple layovers and more like $2200.00 for a flight that met our needs.
We are fully capable of sitting in economy except that Jeff is 6’7″ and for his comfort we try to upgrade to premium economy or at least an exit row that offers more leg room. But the prices of premium economy is a lot higher, like $3000-3500 per ticket.
This is where using credit card points gets interesting. I have points on Delta and United along with general points on Chase and Amex. I wanted to see which one of these would offer me the best bang of my points. I tried searching Delta for option but I was only able to get the prices down to $1500 each. I just didn’t have enough points to make it work.
However, we had more points on United when we combined our Chase Sapphire points with our United Chase points. We needed 100,000 points each. Jeff was very close, only off like 2,500 points so his ticket was $135.00 for economy then we upgraded to premium economy for $448.00, for a total $583.00. I was short 23,000 points so I had to pay more to buy points to meet the gap. My ticket was $845.00 plus another $448.00 to upgrade to premium economy for a total of $1293.00.
The total flight cost for the both of us was $1,876.00 including the upgrade to premium economy. I paid for the tickets with my American Express Platinum Card that paid me back $200.00 for airline incidentals like seat upgrades. After this reimbursement the grand total is $1,676.00.
Not bad for simply using a credit card for our spending. Note we do not carry a balance on any credit card and yes some of these credit cards do have annual fees. Be sure to utilize all the card benefits to minimize the annual fee cost. Travel hacking for the win!