Couponing for Travel

We like to think of our way of using credit card rewards as the equivalent of couponing for travel.

My wife has taken a liking to the many blog posters who share their methods of combining coupons to rake in amazing deals on massive quantities of everything from cereal to toothpaste.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting something for free, or at least “almost-free.”  That feeling is all the more meaningful when it’s an $800 airline flight you’re getting for free, as opposed to two sticks of deodorant.

Just yesterday, for example, I took advantage of a promotion American Airlines is running, and got a code for $100 off a $250 flight.  All I needed to qualify was to be a member of their FF program, AAdvantage, and a holder of the Citi AAdvantage card.  I thought I had hit it big with the 75,000 mile bonus I had gotten for both my wife and myself, but it appears that the benefits just keep on coming.

Here’s a sampling of the places I’ve been by taking advantage of Airline Frequent Flier programs:

I took my entire family to Medellin, Colombia.  It was a phenomenal adventure, and our flights cost us nothing more than the taxes – all thanks to the two 75,000 mile bonuses for signing up for the Citi AAdvantage cards.  Together we climbed to the top of El Penol, visited Spanish colonial pueblos, indulged in a $19 per day nanny, and paraglided over the verdant mountains of the Andes.

Delta and KLM miles that came in the form of transfers from American Express points took me to the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, for an incredible expedition through five climatic zones.  You begin the hike in a lush rainforest, and end it in the harsh cold of glacial tundra.  It was a testing adventure that will never be forgotten.

On Northwest Airlines, we flew to Cancun, Mexico, and gave ourselves a self-guided tour of the Mayan Ruins,  relaxed on white sand beaches, and pretended to be high-rollers at an amazing beach house that we rented for an even more amazing price.

 

There are more places we’ve visited, and many more that we will visit.  Travel has opened our eyes to things they couldn’t have otherwise seen.  We live in a beautiful world, a world that is under-appreciated by too many who find themselves comfortable in “adventures by Disney.”  Catch the wanderlust, and wanderlust with us.

See our favorite hotel offerings that you can use for free with Starwood points for signing up for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

 

 

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6 Responses to Couponing for Travel

  1. claire says:

    I got your link from utah deal diva. We have a trip planned to California (I know, not too exotic) and would like to do Disneyland and the whole she-bang, so obviously I’m curious about any deal-insight you would have on a San Diego/Disneyland trip. The accomodations are taken care of by my loving parents and we’ve already booked a rental van through priceline. I just want to know the best deals on the attractions and entertainment and food there. Thanks for your insight, if any.

    • bradleyjai says:

      Claire-

      We’re in Idaho Falls, so we love to use Allegiant Air to fly to LA… last November we flew RT for $75, but unfortunately they don’t fly out of Utah.

      We had a blast playing on Manhattan Beach, walking Hollywood Boulevard, and Santa Monica Pier – all of which were free. Here’s a list of other things you can do for free.

      Earlier this year I bought a Sea World (Orlando) pass on craigslist for $20 – a fraction of the retail cost ($72). I just checked the LA Craigslist and there are all kinds of listings for discounted park-hopper tickets, so you can go to California Adventures as well. I prefer to try to buy from individuals, rather than dealers, and the closer they are to expiration, the better deal you can get.

      You get a coupon for Medieval Times tickets here. In fact, that site has a number of coupons for activities in the LA and San Diego area. They’re not screaming deals, but it provides a discount on things you might be planning on anyways.

      Hopefully that helps. I’ll admit that the LA area isn’t our strong suit, but we won’t pretend that there aren’t cool things to do there, too. Thanks for stopping by our blog and keep checking in so we can share any other ideas that come along.

      Best wishes,

      Brad

  2. Claire says:

    Thanks for the info!
    I heard about buying tickets off of craigs list or ebay but then also heard the tickets are non-transferrable, so how does that work? It makes me a little nervous to go that route, but it would save a lot of money…

    • bradleyjai says:

      Claire-

      In most cases, vouchers are not transferrable, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t transfer them. I know that doesn’t make a lick of sense, but that’s how it works. For example, with Delta, if a voucher (e-credit number) is issued to Brad Christensen, then Brad Christensen’s name must be used along with the e-cert number in order to book the tickets, but Brad Christensen doesn’t necessarily have to fly. The ticket could be booked for John Doe. Essentially what you are paying for is the e-cert number as well as the name on the voucher. Then you book the ticket as if you were the holder of the voucher. Some vouchers are transferrable, and may charge a fee. You kind of have to look at this on an individual level. Make your seller do the research. They shouldn’t be selling it if they aren’t 100% sure that you can use it.

      The easiest way to protect yourself is to validate the certificate by typing the code into the reservations system. The seller may be reluctant to offer the code before receiving the money, just as you might be reluctant to offer the money before receiving the code. Thus, it’s best to use paypal or some other method of payment where you have some form of recourse – basic practice for any transaction.

      Theoretically, though, the seller could record the certificate number and later use it, thereby invalidating the voucher they sold to you. This is one reason I’d only recommend buying a voucher once you’re completely ready to book, so that there’s no time lapse there at all.

      If you’re a little skeptical, that’s normal, but if you’re feeling like a seller is really shady, go with your gut and don’t take the risk.

      If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our post on secondhand vouchers and our follow-up post

      We like to turn these comment questions in to future posts, so keep an eye out for a fuller explanation of how it works, and email me if there’s anything specific that you’d like me to take a look at.

      Thanks for wanderlusting with us,

      Brad

  3. Pingback: Learn How to Save Money on Travel and Vacation with World Wander Lusting! - Coupons Are Great

  4. Pingback: How to Save $2000 on a Trip to Disneyworld - This Mama Loves Her Bargains

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