Today I will explain how I flew from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia and had a 3-day layover in Hawaii for Free (well practically, there is no escaping taxes). Flights normally range between $1,300-1,500 for one-way flights from California to Australia with a layover in Hawaii! Read below to find out how you can fly for free.
(Beach from the TV show LOST in Honolulu, Hawaii called Mokule’ia)
There are 5 ways to fly for free and I will cover them all in detail.
1.) Open a Travel Credit Card
This is the easiest and probably fastest way to earn a free flight. There are tons of options out there to sign up for a credit card and earn a ton of free miles. I used the American Airlines Citi Platinum card to earn 50,000 Miles and fly for free. This card is great and offers a few other perks like priority boarding and free checked luggage. The two other cards I would recommend are Chase Sapphire (multiple airlines) and Barclays Card (no foreign fees/cash back). They all have their own strengths, but if you already have miles on an airline, it is smart to use their credit card. If you are spending money and not getting rewarded for it then you are really missing out! Credit Cards are simple, don’t spend money unless you have it and pay off the balance each month. If you can handle a debit card, you should be responsible enough to start building some credit.
My card rewarded me with 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Okay, so you’re probably thinking so how is this a free flight? After you put your rent, food, gas, bar tab, etc all on this card you will easily reach this goal. You can even be savvy and use your credit card to buy Visa Gift cards…so you don’t really spend anything extra. (*some cards don’t allow this though or will charge a cash advance)
Using my miles to fly from San Francisco to Sydney allowed me to do a layover in Hawaii, but this part was a little more confusing. Since Hawaii is an international hub, it was free to do a layover for any period of time. (*You have to call the airline to book this) I chose to stay 3 days since I was Moving to Australia W/ Under $5,000 and needed a job. Everything ended up costing me $57, you still have to pay taxes and a booking fee, but it beats that $1,500 flight.
2.) Open a Frequent Flier Account
I still can’t believe how many people don’t do this. It is FREE on almost every airline and those miles can add up. I currently have enough for a free round trip to anywhere in the world just from flying. You can claim miles even if your flight already happened (sometimes up to a year). Sign up for the free program for any flight you take. This is also a good way to show off your loyalty and can help bump you up to first class or give you other perks. There are tons of ways to earn miles besides flying like shopping, wine clubs, signing up for satellite TV or getting miles from staying in hotels.
3.) Get paid NOT to Fly
Airlines always overbook popular flights, if you are in no hurry to get to your destination the airline will announce that they are offering people not to fly in exchange for a free flight voucher. This is a great way to get some free money and even in some cases it works out better. A few times you can actually rebook and make it to your destination within a few hours or even on time with a different route.
4.) Have Work Pay for It
There are plenty of ways to use your vacation days to extend that business trip, just ask your manager if it is okay to book the flight later and pay the difference in price. Also, there are lots of perks for military and flight attendants to fly for free. Sometimes friends and family can even reap the benefits and fly for free or dirt-cheap. It doesn’t hurt to ask your friends that work in the airline industry to see if they can help you out. Also, most teaching jobs in Asia will pay for your flight. There are also some other options like joining to Peace Corps or volunteering abroad.
5.) Sneak Into the Airplane (just joking)
I am being completely sarcastic about this one. Recently a 16-year-old kid snuck into the airplane and almost froze to death while trying to return home to Somalia; he ended up in Hawaii though and luckily he is okay. Instead of that extreme method you can find some ways to study abroad via scholarships, research or professor sponsorship that will pay for your flight. This is how I was able to fly from Australia to South Korea for free and from the US to Prague for free two times.
What is your secret to earn free flights? Leave a comment below or if you need to book a flight ASAP you can book cheap flights via my Travel Resources Page! Safe travels.