Buy One Flight, Get Four Free: A $900 Family Vacation for Five

Sheldon wrote an excellent post about the greatest gift you can give your spouse, one that won’t wither, or be consumed and then disappear – the gift of travel and the memories that come with it.  And if travel is great to bring a couple together, wouldn’t it also be great to bring a family together?

The most exciting piece of travel is the discovery – new places, people, and ideas that stimulate your mind, and sharing it with the people you love is a singular experience.

I just returned from a family vacation to Florida, where we took a cruise to some incredible white sand and blue water beaches, invited the kids to explore the history of space travel at the Kennedy Space Center, and brought to life the wizarding world of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.  It was such a great time together, and while there were times when I wondered if it was all worth it, we were all so pleased to have created memories that none of us will ever forget.

Carnival Glory

Our family took a cruise out of Miami

Tallying up the cost of what it would have been without the WorldWanderlusting secrets of almost-free travel, though, I wondered how any family would ever be able to afford to do something like that. For someone without the savvy to acquire frequent flyer miles, the flights alone would cost at least $600 for a total of $3000 for a family of five. Most families would have to spend years saving and that would barely cover a third of the total cost by the time you paid for food, lodging, and entertainment.

Grand Turk

Belle played with stingrays at Gibbs Cay

But what if you could get flights for five to some amazing place for less than $900? Would that not be a game-changer?  Would that open the door to a whole new world of opportunity?  Would your family be able to do far more?

Almost everyone plays the frequent flyer game to at least some degree.  But a lot of people think that the only way to accumulate miles is to fly, and that the free flights can only come once every several years. But as the faithful followers of this blog know, we’re accumulating miles like they’re going out of style, and traveling for free multiple times a year.

Snorkel St John

Westley was a snorkeling fiend at Trunk Bay

In fact, I’m going to show you how you can apply for a single credit card and then obtain 5 flights and only pay for one of them.  It seems downright silly that it’s even possible, but it is because I have done it and it’s awesome.

Even though US Airways is merging with American Airlines, for a limited time, you can still get The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®. It’s offered by Barclaycard and the features include 40k points after your first purchase, a 5k point discount on reward bookings, and a companion pass that allows you to add up to 2 companions to a ticket for $99 each.

You will be on the hook for an $89 annual fee, but that’s a whopping monster of a bonus for a small price when it comes right down to it.  The end result is this:

You’ll be able to book 2 flights within the US with the 40k points, Pay for a ticket for yourself and then add two companions for $99 each.  Depending on the cost of the one flight you do pay for, for less than $900, you’ll be booking 5 tickets within the US for a net cost of less than $200 each. If that weren’t enough, the card also gets all of you free baggage!

Universal Studios Harry Potter

The kids loved their visit to Hogwarts Castle

It’s far more simple than you’d imagine and US Airways flys almost everywhere, so there’s no shortage of opportunity.  You could follow in our footsteps and take the family to Florida.  You could go to New England in the fall.  You could take the kids to Nashville, or Branson, or to the dozens of free museums in Washington DC.  No matter which of these or the many other options you choose, you’ll be making the kinds of memories that no amount of time can wipe away.

And in the unfortunate case that you can’t find time to take your family on this kind of vacation, those US Airways miles will eventually roll to American, where 40k miles could take you to Europe or Northern South America… the possibilities are endless.

But this is an offer for The US Airways Premier World MasterCard® that won’t be sticking around forever.  At some point, they’ll shut down the card as they continue the merger and there probably won’t be much advance notice. Where there’s not a minimum spending requirement – you get the points after your first purchase, it boils down to a question of whether it’s worth it to you to pay $89 for a slate of benefits that will get you five flights for a fraction of what you’d expect to pay.  If there’s a family vacation in your future, this is the way to do it.  If there’s not a family vacation in your future, this is a way to put one there.


Also, if this idea is one that makes sense for you, would it also make sense to sign up your spouse and do the same thing all over again? Do you see where we’re going with this?  Now you know why we’re constantly WorldWanderlusting…

Where will your US Airways free flights take you?


This entry was posted in American Airlines, Barclaycard, Family Travel, Florida, US Airways. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Buy One Flight, Get Four Free: A $900 Family Vacation for Five

  1. Debbie says:

    Will this credit card allow you to use those companion fares and miles to fly to san Juan Puerto Rico? Or is it only for contential US?

    • Thanks for the great question, Debbie. The way I read the terms and conditions, it does not allow for flights to San Juan. Here is that section:

      Companion Certificate: The Primary Cardmember is eligible to receive one Companion Certificate redeemable for up to two companion tickets ($99 each, plus taxes and fees). The Companion Certificate is valid for travel within 12 months and tickets must be purchased within 9 months from the issue date. The Companion Certificate is valid for round-trip coach class travel within and between the contiguous U.S. and Canada when the Primary Cardmember purchases a qualifying ticket (minimum fare purchase of $250 required). Additional taxes, fees and charges including (PFCs), Federal Excise Taxes, Canadian VAT/GST and customs/immigration charges as well as the September 11 Security Fee apply to all tickets purchased and are not included in the base fare.

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  3. Megan Robinson says:

    So I’m needing help understanding…(might be from being up with my 2 year old all last night lol) but my husband is from Mexico and the closest airport to his home town is El Paso Texas. So if I purchase a flight with this card I get two other flights free and the ability to buy companion passes for $99? Do I pay the $89 annual fee when I purchase the card?

    • Hey Megan-

      We know what it’s like to be operating on little sleep with help from the kiddos. Yes, US Airways does fly into El Paso, so it will be possible to use your 40k points for free flights to El Paso (depending on whether US Airways serves your local airport, of course).

      The companion passes work like this: You buy one full-fare flight and you can add up to two companions for $99 each plus taxes. You have to book these flights over the phone, but they don’t charge the phone-booking surcharge.

      The $89 annual fee will be on your first month’s bill.

      I hope that’s all helpful! Thanks for wanderlusting with us.

  4. Amber Argyle says:

    We’ve done just this-getting one card for me and one for my husband.

    We tried to redeem our points for a flight to Oregon in July, but our 70K accumulated points (for my husband’s card) would only get us one ticket. The person from the US Airways said it was because we wanted to book too close to when we wanted to leave–even though it’s more than a month out.

    I’m very frustrated.

    We added up the cost of driving and flying, and it’s cheaper to drive. So I get to ride in the car with my three kids for 10 hours.


    • Amber-

      No doubt, flying with Frequent Flyer miles always requires some flexibility. To get precise dates in a short timeframe is always hard. I usually book 3-4 months out and find that is a sweet spot for finding the best reward redemption availability.

      Your 70k US Airways miles are a jackpot, though. Once the merger is fully complete, if you have some flexibility in your dates and destinations, you could follow our lead and fly to Europe for 40k AA miles.


  5. Shafia says:

    Does this apply to US destinations only? Can I use this promo for a trip for 5 for an international trip to Austealia, New Zealand or Fiji??

    • No, sorry, the ideas presented here only apply to US Domestic flights. You can use the points on US Airways to fly internationally, but flights to Australia, NZ, or Fiji will all require much more than 40k points.

  6. Vicki Tibbetts says:

    So if my husband and I both sign up for the card we can get 10 tickets??? We are a family of 5 right now and expecting another. 🙂 Would it work for both to sign up for the great ticket deal?


    • Vicki- Yes, my wife and I both got this card, spent a small amount of money on it, paid it off, along with the annual fee, and ended up with 40k US Airways miles each and a “buy-one, get up to two companions for $99+tax” pass. We still have the miles, but used the pass to book 3 tickets to Fort Lauderdale for $800, and did the other 3 people on free miles from SW for $30 out of pocket.

      This is just one of the dozens of incredible offers out there that you can take advantage of to travel for a fraction of what you’d expect to pay.

      Thanks for visiting. Read through a few other posts and let us know if you have any more questions.


  7. Judd says:

    Hey fellas, going to take the Fam to disneyland (including in-laws) a month after we get back to Spain. Was wondering on the companion pass. Is it $99 for the round trip or one way. Thanks boys for filling a large void in our lives. Can’t wait to travel now and see what is next.

  8. Judd says:

    Oh, and booking 5 for $900? That’s a rip off. I just booked 5 for $50 (southwest baby) ahahahahahahahhahahaahhahahahahaahha(sorry, just a little tickled)

    Anyways I still would like to know about the companion ticket 🙂

    • Disneyland with the in-laws? I’d much rather work. :)~ The companion pass is $99/companion up to 2, for RT, not including taxes. The example from our recent trip to florida, was that by the time we added taxes, each companion cost about $140 RT.

      We love tickled.

      Thanks for the high compliment.


  9. Bicannette says:

    How long does it takes to get the 40k points? And have you book around the holidays?

    • Bicannette-

      Here’s what the terms and conditions say: “Bonus Dividend Miles: Forty thousand (40,000) bonus miles will be awarded in the first billing cycle in which you have made a purchase… and your Annual Fee has been paid if applicable.”

      Using the points around holidays is difficult, and you need to have some flexibility to get the lowest point-booking, but the Companion pass is perfect for expensive flights around the holidays – you pay full price for one ticket, but only $99+taxes for each of the second and third passengers.

  10. Rob says:

    The companion certificates are only good with a purchased flight(not a rewards flight) so this wouldn’t work using the bonus points for 2 tickets and 2 companion tickets? Because a flight was not purchased? am I understanding the fine print right?

  11. Hey Rob- Thanks for commenting. The companion certificates can’t be used to append $99 flights onto an already free flight. As we say in the title and in the post, you will have to pay full price for one ticket.

    In the example of my flight to Florida, I paid roughly $500 for one ticket and then added two companions for about $130 each – for a total of $760, plus the $89 annual fee, for a total of $859 for three passengers.

    Using the points, 20k can get a domestic flight at the lowest redemption level, so the 40k would get two more passengers and you’d have to pay the taxes of roughly $30 on those.

    If you figure each of those flights would have cost $500, you’re looking at $2500 in flights for around $900. In the end you have a total of five flights, of which you’ve paid full price for one.

    They wouldn’t have to be used together, either. You could book the three with the companion pass and do the other two separately or however you’d like.

    I hope that answers your question.

    Where are you hoping to go?


    • Rob says:

      Thanks, I read everything but I’m new to all this frequent flier rewards etc, we have virtually no debt and are just testing the waters, in using credit cards to gain rewards.

      We are planning in Disney from Boston in April, there’s 4 of us, so I’m thinking if we go this route it’s best to do 2 flier miles plus 1 paid full and 1 companion. If I’m understanding this all correctly. Forgive me, I am usually good at researching these things myself, but someone shared your post on Facebook, and this year our relative doesn’t have the miles to hook us up, and this seems like a affordable way out.

      • Judd says:

        Rob, good luck on booking your trip. While your planning everything through this card, make sure to pike around a bit especially with southwest. They fly into john Wayne which is a few minutes from Anaheim. Someone posted they were bringing back the 50k card. Good luck!

      • TD says:

        Just came across this blog. Not new to credit card but recently found out points and miles have more value than cash back reward.
        Notice you mentioned use the points for 2 and using the certificate for 1 with a full price of one.
        Why not pay full price for one and with the cert up to 2 for $99 each then using the points for only 1. That will allow some left over points to be transfer to American Air later if you dont have a use for it this year.

        • Brilliant point, Trent. Thanks for finding us. Yes, it makes a lot of sense to maximize the use of the companion pass by adding two companions… and letting those points go to American Airlines is really an excellent use for them… nowhere in the frequent flyer mile space do I find the value that I do with AA. A $1300 open-jaw flight for 40k points? That’s a very effective use of points.

  12. Michele says:

    The Credit card offer is no longer available..any comparable offers that you know of?

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