I’ve mentioned many times on this blog how Spirit Airlines is our weekend airline. With the Spirit Credit Card, one can use the points go secure great deals. Here is one of the best deals I’ve scored so far.
Look at the cost of that ticket! $1037.14. You know what I paid? Just $89 and change. How did I do it? With my favorite travel tip: The FreeSpirit Master Card. A lot of people are afraid to apply for this credit card and I can’t understand why. The annual fee of $59 is waived for the first year and as long as one makes one purchase a month with the card, the points will never expire. In addition, when one makes one’s first purchase with the card, 15,000 miles will be deposited into one’s Free Spirit account. From Detroit, that’s a free trip to Cancun with miles to spare for a getaway to New York City. Or it could be a round trip ticket to Cartagena from Detroit. Or if one follows my tip below, that could be a trip to Cartagena with enough miles left for a round trip to Fort Lauderdale.
Here’s how I ensure I make that one monthly purchase (I won’t use the card during a period when one of my major airline cards is running a promotion). I set up a recurring charge like Netflix to the card. That way every month my card is billed 7.99. I have an automatic transfer set up from my bank to pay that same amount to the card the same date the transaction posts. I keep my miles and I don’t run up a balance that I may forget about.
So here’s how I turned that $1000 ticket into an $89 bargain.
Go to the ticket purchase page. As a Free Spirit member with an active credit card check the box “Purchase flight with FREE SPIRIT miles” and enter “Search Flight.”
It is necessary to log in the Free Spirit account when prompted. This will reveal the lowest points redemption for the selected travel dates. One week of travel will show. I always select the “month” view so that the travel dates will align as a standard calendar. Look for the dates with the black triangle in the upper left corner. Those are the bargain days. Make sure the lowest redemption is being offered by checking the redemption chart.
Look at the flights below. They are on bargain days.
Here’s that flight to Cartagena.
Notice the cost is this ticket is 15,000 miles and $83.66 for taxes. According to the mileage zone chart, Detroit to Cartagena is a Zone 3 ticket. What I do is split my ticket into two zone one tickets and redeem 2,500 miles per segment for a total of 10,000 miles. The 5,000 miles I save is a one way ticket to Cancun.
Here’s the first leg: Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale-2,500 miles and $5.60. (Use the 6:40 a.m. flight)
And here is the second segment of that flight, Ft. Lauderdale to Detroit; also 2, 500 miles and $5.60.
And here are the Cartagena segments: Ft. Lauderdale to Cartagena and return. First segment is 2,500 miles and $20.60.
And the return segment is 2,500 miles and $57.46.
By splitting my ticket, I paid $89.26. Yes, that’s $5.60 more, but the availablility to redeem 10,000 miles over 15,000 for the same trip is worth it to me. It gets me that much closer to another free ticket.
Be forewarned, if the weather doesn’t cooperate and you miss a connecting flight, you will be on your own to get home. I’ve cut it close, but I’ve never missed a flight. I’m willing to take the gamble. Having Global Entry or a Nexus card, though can prove indispensable.
Other free tickets (we pay only the taxes) we’ve earned:
Las Vegas-Total 2
St. Thomas-Total 5
Fort Lauderdale- too many to recall
New York City-at least 2
Watch for their sales too. I check daily. It is not uncommon for them to run 90% to 99% off deals. I’ve gone roundtrip to Houston for $46, Atlantic City for $46, Las Vegas for $75, Jamaica for 1 cent (but I had to pay the taxes which made the ticket around $148 round trip), Kansas City for $56, Myrtle Beach for $70.
One last tip–if one looks at the bottom of the flight selection page one will see “lower fares generally available at the airport.” Go to the airport, if possible, to purchase a ticket. Regular price tickets are usually $15 cheaper, but often more.