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How to Grow Your Points on a Budget?
First off, I’m so glad I happened to stumble across this blog! It’s great to read articles and posts from people who also love air travel.
I’m a college student based in DEN. I’ve always had a huge passion for flying and traveling, and I’ve been fortunate enough to go to many different destinations over the course of my life thus far. My first flight was in my early stages of infancy, and my family has continued to travel quite frequently since then.
However, that being said, up until recently, most of my flights were booked through my parents’ corporate frequent flyer accounts. I did the flying, and they reaped the benefits!
Now, I’ve spent some time building up my own frequent flyer account. But, it’s not easy when you’re in college and on a budget!
Any suggestions as to how I might be able to fly more often, without high ticket prices?
Thanks in advance!
P.S. Mostly fly with United. Should I change now or stick with them?
P.S.S. Several of my family members work in the industry and give me buddy passes, which lets me fly, but since it’s non-rev, I don’t earn the miles. Any general thoughts on buddy passes?
Welcome [USER=1674]@flygirl[/USER] – if you follow flight attendant Heather Poole on Twitter you’ll know that in general she has a “friends don’t let friends use buddy passes” type of mentality. Having said that, she lives in LA and her flight base is in NYC so I’m sure it’s a lot more difficult to use buddy passes there than in other parts of the country. I have a co-worker who uses buddy passes several times a year but he is also typically taking flights to-and-between mid-continent hubs and usually doesn’t have any problems
But as for your situation with miles – do you currently have any mileage-credit cards? Or any cards at all? While I don’t imagine you’d be able to sign up for tons of cards on a college student’s income I’d think you should be able to get one or two – just enough to start building your credit history. Then down the road you could look at manufactured spending techniques (which is not a focus of this blog) and see how to use those cards to buy things that can be turned back into cash relatively quickly and use that to pay off the credit cards.
Of course the most important thing with credit cards is to pay off the entire balance each month. Paying interest on credit cards can offset any benefit you reap with “free” flights.
[USER=184]@MidSouth Skier[/USER] Thanks for your reply!
I’ve only had positive experiences using buddy passes from my family members. And since they have seniority within their respective airlines, it’s easier to get a seat.
No current credit cards! Debating getting one later this year, but I’ve always been worried about going into debt like many others have when they obtained a credit card. How quickly do you think I would be able to see a return on the benefits? Do you think it would be worth it to get a credit card?
It’s always worth it to get a credit history started! If you’re concerned about it, just get one of your parents to make you an Authorized User on one of their cards or to co-sign for a card for you. Only use it for, say, gas and essentials and be sure to pay it back. The great thing about building a credit history is that it doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot, you just have to pay back (on time) what you do spend.
With the death of mileage runs (for the most part) credit cards and their sign-up bonuses are the fastest way to accumulate miles. Take a look at the Beginner’s Guide under the Start Here tab at the top of the page and give that a read-through before signing up for any cards.
I had a niece request gift miles (Delta) to pay for an award flight to Europe for her college graduation. It worked out great – she got her free flight and Mom and Dad paid for the other expenses.