Tag Archive for Credit card churning

Want to Go to Hawaii for Free? Here?s How

Go to Hawaii

Go to HawaiiMy wife and I have been thinking over our travel hacking plans for next year and are in the middle of discussing some exciting options. One place we keep coming back to (well, at least my wife does) is Hawaii. I wouldn?t mind going to Hawaii at some point, but I?ve got other places I want to see first. Seeing as?the ?average? trip to Hawaii cost nearly $2,700 as of 2012, we?re of course looking for ways to be below average in this area.

In fact, if we do end up going, we want to go to Hawaii for free. We?d settle for cheap, but we?d love to be able to go to Hawaii for free. We?ve been able to take, or are set to take, a number of free trips thanks to credit card churning?over the past year or two and once you do that you quickly become spoiled. While it might be a challenge, on one level, to go to Hawaii for free I know numerous others who have done it, which means it?s certainly possible. You just need to find a way to take care of both airfare and lodging.

Go to Hawaii for Free With Free Airfare

In my completely unscientific testing, I found that plane tickets to Hawaii seem to cost around $800 for us to fly out of Omaha. I suppose we could also try and fly out of San Diego and leave our kids with the in-laws to get a cheaper price, but did not check on that. Going back to the article on the average cost, tickets to Hawaii were in the $600+ range. At any rate, those are costs I?m not willing to pay.

If we?re wanting to go to Hawaii for free then the first option will most definitely have to be the?Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard. Why should you be interested in the Hawaiian Airlines credit card? It?s quite simple really ? you can use it to earn a free ticket to Hawaii. Ok, you?ll likely have to pay the taxes and fees but that?s nothing compared to the cost of the ticket itself.

Here?s how the card works. You spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of signing up for the Hawaiian Airlines credit card and you get 35,000 bonus miles. A coach ticket to Hawaii requires 40,000 miles, but as a cardholder you get a 5,000 mile discount. If you want to use the credit card between different islands, you can do it for as little as 10,000 miles. There are some other nice benefits to having the Hawaiian Airlines card such as getting a one-time 50% off companion ticket as well as a complimentary checked bag. The card does have an $89 annual fee, but I personally would not let it hold me back from taking advantage of the benefits.

The other nice thing I like about the Hawaiian Airlines credit card is they offer both a personal and business version of the card. What that means is if you have a justifiable business you could apply for and use both cards and get double the miles. Not too bad in my opinion!

What About Lodging?

If you want to go to Hawaii for free, or for cheap then lodging is going to be the obvious second major cost. Going back to the same article, the average total cost of a hotel room in Hawaii is $233. Again, that is something I?m not willing to spend. The nice thing is there are several options to consider if you?re looking to go to Hawaii for free and spend nothing on lodging.

The first option I?d look at would be the?Barclaycard Arrival cards. Barclays has both a fee and no annual fee card. Don?t sweat it though as the annual fee of $89 is waived the first year. With the annual fee version you get $400 after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of the card. You also get 10% points back when you redeem your points, which takes the value to at least $440. If you can combine that with your partner?s card that?s $880 right there. The no annual fee version gets you half the value, so $220 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Beyond that the cards are the same and also offer 2% back on all purchases. The cards can also be used on virtually anything travel related, so it doesn?t just have to be used on hotels.

There are some other options if you want to go to Hawaii for free and you don?t want to deal with Barclays. The first thought would be a card from Chase ? like the Chase Ink which would get you enough Ultimate Rewards points to transfer out to different hotel programs to cover the lodging. There are also numerous other hotel cards you could consider, like the Starwood Preferred Guest card. Their properties do seem to be a little higher in Hawaii, but it could be an option that works for you. You can check out a listing of their properties?here.

If you want to go to Hawaii for free, it can most certainly be done. It just takes a little work and some planning. I?ve never been there, but my wife has and from what I hear it?s well worth the experience, so why not get it for free or cheap to boot?


Where was your last free trip? If you could travel anywhere, and cost wasn?t an issue, where would you go? Have you ever been to Hawaii?



Photo courtesy of: kenlund

US Airways Mastercard Review: Get 40,000 Miles Now!

US Airways Mastercard

US Airways MastercardThe US Airways Mastercard is quite possibly one of the easiest credit cards I have churned. Since I like to keep things simple, that?s saying a lot. Many credit cards require a certain amount to be spent in order to earn those fat sign-up bonuses. That?s not the case with the US Airways Mastercard. In fact, you only need to make one purchase on the US Airways credit card in order to qualify for the bonus miles. A transfer works as well, but I just prefer the purchase.

Before I get on with my US Airways Mastercard review I will give you a warning that this card will be going away at some point in 2015. So, if 40,000 bonus miles are something you?d like then act now before it goes away. This is due to their merger with American Airlines, which will be finalizing at some point in 2015. I?ll also add that if you?re trying to pay off debt or struggle with overspending, then churning credit cards is the last thing you should do ? plain and simple. With those disclaimers out of the way let?s get on with the review of the US Airways World Mastercard.

Things I Like About the US Airways Mastercard

There are many things I like about the US Airways Mastercard, such as:

You get 40,000 bonus miles. Like I said above, you get 40,000 bonus miles by using the US Airways Premier World Mastercard once. That?s it, once. No minimum spending to deal with at all. I bought two gallons of gas for our mower with the card and that?s all I needed. Easy peasy. You do have to pay the $89 annual fee, but that?s not bad at all.

You get two companion tickets. These can be used for up to two people and allow you to buy their ticket for $99 plus fees and taxes. I just got mine in the mail a few weeks ago and am looking forward to using them!

You get a 5,000 mile discount. This is a somewhat common one among airline cards, but is still nice to have. So, if it costs 30,000 miles to secure a ticket you get it for 25,000.

Your miles can be used on either US Air or American. This is a nice little feature thanks to the merger. So, if you?re earning points on the US Airways Mastercard you have the option of redeeming the miles on American.

Your first bag is free. This is for domestic flights, but you get the first bag free for you and up to four people with the US Airways credit card. US Air charges $25 for the first bag, so if you fly with a partner this is an instant savings of $50 each way.

Double miles on US Air purchases. With the US Airways Mastercard you get two miles per dollar spent and one mile on everything else. This is fairly common, but is still a nice feature to have.

This covers the majority of the things I like about the US Air Mastercard. There are other things like first class check-in and complimentary day passes to the US Airways Club that are nice, though I don?t see us using that much.

What I Don?t Like About the US Airways Credit Card

There are no perfect credit cards and that?s the case with the US Airways World Mastercard. What I like least about the card is there is an $89 annual fee attached to it. In order to get the bonus miles you will have to deal with the annual fee. That said, I still think it presents a great value even given the annual fee.

What Does the Merger with American Airlines Bring About?

With the finalization of the merger with American pending, there are a few changes that have happened, or will impact the US Airways Mastercard at some point, such as:

This card will be going away. This is a no brainer. The US Air credit card will go away once the merger is complete in 2015.

More possibilities to use the miles. With the merger with American Airlines, you now have the ability to use your US Air dividend miles not only on American but also on any of its 14 other OneWorld member airlines that include airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia and more.

Some privileges will be going away. After the merger with American Airlines is complete, certain privileges will be dying off. As far as I can tell those will include the annual companion pass, first class check-in and 5,000 mile discount. Keep that in mind when you apply for the US Airways Mastercard.

Where Can You Go With Your US Air Dividend Miles?

The thing that got me to sign up for this credit card is the abundant possibilities of where you can go with the 40,000 miles. If you?re going to fly on US Airways, you can find the mileage chart here. As you can tell, you can go anywhere in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America as well as Europe. A few of those destinations will require you to travel during their off peak period, but you can?t complain about that.

The options to use US Air miles isn?t quite as nice on the OneWorld member airlines, but still gives plenty of options. You can find that mileage chart here. Using this option still allows you to get to Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

I think for the right person the US Airways Mastercard could be a great option to consider if you?re looking for a new card to churn. With it only requiring one purchase or transfer to earn the miles, it?s hard to complain about this card. It?s also nice that they offer the different transfer opportunities with the OneWorld member airlines. If you?re looking for an easy card to churn that offers decent miles, the US Air Mastercard could be a solid one to consider.


What is the latest credit card you?ve been churning? Where are you planning your next trip?




Photo courtesy of: Aero Icarus