One of my favorite festivals I attend each year is the Movement Festival in Detroit over Memorial Day weekend. I truly believe it is the best techno focused festival in the US each year. Last year I went with a friend to Detroit for only $10. Since this is the next big festival many of my readers are thinking about attending, I’m going to show you what you can do now to get free flights there from Miami (but many of the options should apply wherever you are coming from).
1. Pay cash for the plane ticket.
Current prices are $218 (departing Friday, May 23) or $240 (Departing Saturday, May 24) on Delta Airlines. This obviously isn’t a free option, but I wanted to include it so you can compare its cost to the other options and see what value you are getting for the points you are redeeming.
2. Use part of the 40,000 Mile Bonus of the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® to pay cash for the plane ticket. Value – 1.25 cents per mile.
Apply for the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® card and use 21,800 Miles of the 40,000 Mile sign on bonus to pay for a ticket. You will get an automatic rebate of 2,180 Miles (10%) back into your Arrival mileage account. You will get 2255 Skymiles since you are basically paying cash for the ticket as far as Delta is concerned. You could consider the true cost of this option as 21,800 – 2180 – 2255 = 17365 because of the rebates and miles you will earn. Read our full review on the Arrival Card here.
3. Use part of the 40,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus to book Southwest flights using points. Value – 2.2 Cents / Point
Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and transfer 10,940 of the 40,000 point bonus to Southwest Airlines where you can book an award seat using those points. Read our full review on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card here.
4. Use part of the 50,000 Chase Rapid Rewards Plus bonus to book Southwest flights using points. Value – 2.2 Cents / Point
Apply for the Chase Rapid Rewards Plus card and use 10,940 of the 50,000 point bonus to book an award seat using those points (same flights apply as the picture on option 3).
5. Use part of the 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus to book American flights using British Airways Avios. Value – 1.2 Cents / point
Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and transfer 20,000 of the 40,000 point bonus to British Airways Avios where you can book an American Airlines award seat using those points. Read our article on how to book American Flights with British Airways Avios if you aren’t familiar with that process. Read our full review on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card here.
6. Use part of the 50,000 Avios British Airways Mastercard bonus to book American flights using British Airways Avios. Value – 1.2 Cents / point
Apply for the British Airways card and use 20,000 of the 50,000 Avios Bonus to book an American Award seat using Avios (same flights apply as in option 5). Read our article on how to book American Flights with British Airways Avios if you aren’t familiar with that process.
7. Shop online with Rapid Rewards shopping to earn the 10,940 points needed for a Southwest Award flight. Value – unlimited if it is for purchases you would have made anyways.
This will be the only option available for those without good credit since you can use your debit card or even a prepaid card. There are hundreds of merchants you can shop with and get points for every dollar that you spend. If you were planning on making these purchases anyways then you can end up with completely free points to redeem for your tickets! Some of the high earning merchants right now are 12 points / $1 at Magazines.com, 10 points / 1$ at Rosetta Stone, 7 points / $1 at Snapfish, 4 points / $1 at Advance Auto Parts, or 3 points / $1 at Groupon. If you aren’t familiar with how to make miles and points with online shopping, read our article on how to make mega miles shopping online!
As you can see, the best value for your miles is in option 3 and 4, followed by option 2, then option 5 and 6. If you don’t have a lot of miles, then option 1 isn’t a bad choice while the fares stay low. As the fares go up, the free ticket options will go up in value. I personally will probably be using option 3 since I have so many Ultimate Rewards points.