What became of my last minute mystery hotel...
About a month ago on my way to Nicaragua, I discovered that I could blog from an app on my phone and left everyone hanging about my past trips. Here I am, back and ready to tell you about my most recent, last-minute travels and how exactly I did it. Specifically, how I got to Nicaragua for $100 and how you can too!
It's no secret that credit card offers are really great ways to build up miles for travel, despite the recent change in miles acquisition that spread like wildfire among most US based airlines. Sadly, our miles are now earned by the dollar spent instead of actual miles traveled. A huge loss, SOMETIMES. Other times, you can actually use it to your advantage.
Spirit Airlines isn't one of the carriers that changed their policies, and while they may be the worst airline in the world, this airline also got me to my first Central American country, for less than $100! A win if you ask me. It was accomplished with an maneuver as easy as signing up for their Bank of America credit card.
As with most credit cards, you receive some kind of introductory bonus after making a minimum number of purchases after opening the card, within a specific time frame. Having signed up in-flight, I received an additional bonus, adding on the miles!
The card bonus equaled 20,000, and with multiple trips over the years, I eventually worked up to over 40,000 miles in my bucket, so I dipped into my account to afford my first trip south of the USA: Nicaragua.
At the end of September I was left with just enough time for a trip before I started my contract at Radio City in the Christmas Spectacular. This was the perfect period for travel. Summer was over and thus off-peak prices were in.
With Spirit's off-peak base mileage for a one-way trip at 7,500 miles, the 15,000 mile round-trip price was a no-brainer! In any case, travel is never free, as there always remain a number of fees and taxes, especially on international flights, so my total came to $157.
Luckily, at the end of your transaction, you'll get a prompt for a $50 rebate if you sign up for Great Fun (had no idea what it was and still don't, but they exist purely for the reason of getting you to pay monthly membership fees, it seems).
Naturally, I wanted my fifty bucks back and signed up, careful to set a reminder to cancel the service before the free 30 day trial of whatever I was signing up for.
Eager to receive my reimbursement, I filled out the rebate form, printed a copy of the receipt and 'signed, sealed, delivered'.
Weeks later after returning from a week in tropical Latin America, meeting monkeys, living on a volcanic island, and drinking out of a coconut, I get my check in the mail, making an international round-trip to the other America for a modest 107 dollars!
While Nicaragua was a very interesting choice for a lone, backpacking excursion, it was worth breaking the pact with myself that I would never fly Spirit again. I know your thinking of the last, miserable Spirit airlines flight you had and promised yourself you would never subject yourself to that again, but I ask you to reconsider on a situational basis. Is it worth it to "grin and bear it" when you're paying only a small fraction of the largest expense of the trip?!
I owe it to Brad and Alexi for teaching me the in's and out's of credit card miles through their Travel Miles 101 course: http://www.travelmiles101.com/. They offer a private Facebook group for all your questions after their 15 day course and treasure chest of travel bonuses!
Also well known is the Points Guy at pointsguy.com offering similar advice in addition to how to fly in something more luxurious than coach.
Happy credit building!