This is a real post written by a friend of mine who asked to remain anonymous. My friend has used this travel hack many times to travel for free (including to my wedding in the Czech Republic), so this really works. It’s written from the perspective of someone travelling from the USA. What makes this travel hack even cooler is that not only can you travel for free, but when you deliver something for someone using Packmule, you get paid to travel and make a profit. No joke! :-) This is why we love Packmule!

Here is the post:

I’ve had several friends ask me to update them about how to travel for free. I know this sounds like spam, I swear it’s not.  You’ve seen pictures of my trips the last few years. I’ve had flights to Europe, Maui, Grand Cayman, Oahu, New York, Vegas, but I haven’t bought a plane ticket in many years.  All of those flights, some of them in Business or First Class, have been free.

If you have good credit and are willing to do some reading and a little work, 6 months from now you’ll have 230,000 miles. That’s enough to do a roundtrip to Hawaii, a round trip to Europe, a roundtrip to the Caribbean… And then repeat all 3 of those trips again with plenty of miles to spare!

Here is the summary:

Sign up for Citi cards which give you miles on American Airlines.  Due to Citi’s rules, you may have multiple identical credit cards with them.  Meaning as long as you follow their application deadlines, you can sign up for the same deal multiple times.  Here’s what the schedule looks like:

  • Day 1 50K mile Personal Platinum Visa
  • Day 9 or later 50K mile Personal Platinum Visa #2
  • Day 66 or later 40K mile Business #1
  • Day 74 or later 50K mile Personal Platinum Visa #3
  • Day 161 or later 40K mile Business #2

 The only catch is you must spend $3,000 on each card in order to earn the bonus.  For some people, hitting that spend is not difficult.  Just charge all your business expenses to the card. For others who may not be able to spend that much, there is a an alternative.

Here’s the summary:

Use your Citi card to purchase Vanilla Reload gift cards at CVS in $500 denominations.  There is a $3.95 fee per $500 card.

Use these cards to reload an American Express Bluebird card.  The Amex Bluebird card can be used as an ATM card to withdraw the cash, or you can pay your Citi card bill online using it.  Meaning for $118.50 in fees, you can churn through the $15,000 spend requirement on 5 cards, netting you all of that travel for less than the cost of a flight to Vegas.

 If you’re ready to learn how, here are the sources for some reading:

Some people ask if this will destroy your credit.  The answer is if you pay them off on time, no.  It might take a very slight dip from the applications, but actually it will increase your total credit line, which means your utilization is a smaller percentage.  I have never experienced a credit score problem as a result of doing this.

Instead of doing all airline credit cards, you can mix in some hotel credit cards for free accommodations.  We usually prefer to stay in a VRBO rental, and instead prefer the free air travel. If you love to travel and have good credit, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity to travel for free.