Broke Traveling: Airline Miles

Devastating debt due to avocado toast.
We get it. Your student loans are crippling, your three Bumble dates this week refused to split the check, and Anthropology’s sage-eucalyptus candle you bought your mom for Christmas was basically a car payment in itself. You’re broke; again, still, always.

As such, #Wanderlust or #InstaTravel is closer to #TooBrokeToLeaveMyCouch.
We are tortured by our dickhead friends showing us the far and exotic reaches of the world via social media. Meanwhile, we’re stuck behind a desk, too poor to get out and experience it for ourselves. Not to mention the constant ridicule from Baby Boomers bitching about how lazy and entitled we are. Nah, we just inherited a shit economy, a fucked up world and are straight-up broke. 
Thankfully, contributor Jon Honari cares about us deeply and has written a five-part series on how to play the system of reward points and airline miles to make the unaffordable affordable. His goal? Get you out in the world before the Orange Man and the Rocket Man bring about nuclear winter.  

Lederhosen, Bratwurst, beautiful Bavarian women and more beer than you could ever consume. 
It’s Oktoberfest in Munich, two of your best friends are galavanting around Europe, and you’re stuck stateside seeing everything via Instagram and having the shenanigans relayed secondhand through WhatsApp. Life is hard sometimes. But your break comes when they shoot you a message saying you should meet them there.
You think to yourself, hell yeah! But when you jump online to book your tickets, your dream of a spontaneous trip to Germany is shattered. Turns out buying a ticket ten days before the biggest beer festival in the world costs over $5,000. For coach.

Unless you’re willing to sell some organs, you’re not going anywhere.
False. There are methods of savvy searching that can get you there and back, paid for with miles and a little cash. For example, I went to Oktoberfest last minute and found a round-trip ticket to Munich using 60,000 airline miles and under $200 in cash. That same flight would have cost me over $6,300 on few days notice. You ask, how is this gypsy magic possible?

Because although flights aren’t free, airline miles are.
While nothing in life is free, there are ways to travel for next to nothing by leveraging airline miles and credit card points. For those of you who have been living under a rock and don’t know anything about airline miles, they are essentially loyalty programs for airlines. On every flight, you earn miles based on different factors, and can then redeem those miles for flights.
Every major airline has a program (such as Delta SkyMiles and Alaska Mileage Plan), and you can sign up for free.
You can also earn miles by holding and spending money on an airline specific credit card such as American Express, Delta Gold SkyMiles or the Bank of America, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature. This way, you’re getting more free miles for the money you spend in your everyday life.

Sign up, now.
If you’re not already earning airline miles, create an account right now. It’s free to sign up and only takes a few minutes. From here on out, you should never take a flight without earning miles, I repeat, NEVER. Also, you should be smart about using your miles. Don’t burn 25,000 miles on a flight to Vegas because you want more money to blow at the club. Instead, redeem them for expensive flights or first class tickets.

Understanding the world of airline miles and points ain’t easy, but if you stick around and follow the advice in the coming posts, you’ll end your days of traveling like a bro and start traveling like a pro.

And if you’re wondering, Oktoberfest is legit. Do yourself a favor and go, just don’t forget your lederhosen. Until next time, prost!

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