Flights for Family Travel are Expensive. Here’s how we do it.

Flights for Family Travel are Expensive. Here’s how we do it.


If you want to go abroad and you have a family, travel is expensive (shocker, right?). Since we can’t afford to fork over thousands of dollars for flights, husband and I take turns signing up for airline credit cards and getting the bonus miles to use toward our ticket.

Most credit cards award about 30,000 bonus miles when you sign up for them, but they’ll usually offer specials a few times a year for up to 50,000 bonus miles. After see one of those 50,000 mile specials, I applied for the Gold Delta Amex card and got the bonus miles after charging $3,000 in the first 3 months of having the card.

(We signed up for a Delta card because our airport (MSP) is a major Delta hub. A different airline card may make better sense for where you live)

After the bonus miles hit my account, I purchased flight tickets with the card (by using the cash + miles option); kept the card throughout our workation because it gave us free checked bags, cheap entry into the Delta Sky Club at airports (those can be lifesavers if you have a long layover with young children! Think big, comfy seats, more area to run around and lots of food and snacks) AND no foreign transaction fee (that’s a HUGE savings if you’re using a credit card overseas like we do).

After the trip, I canceled the card before the annual fee came due. The next time we took a workation, my husband applied for and got the Gold card and we did the process again. And so on. The only hitch is that you can’t apply for the same level of card twice – so after getting and canceling the Gold card, I had to apply for the platinum card in order to get the bonus miles.

We’ve been using this approach for about 4 years for workation flights and big-ticket vacations (like Hawaii) and we haven’t seen any major hit to our credit score. We aren’t applying for credit cards constantly, either – maybe one a year at most.

There are several sites that do a great job of breaking down the credit card/bonus miles strategy even further, and I especially like the Spartan Traveler. In a former life of mine, I was a co-blogger with Clayton on an environmental news site and I’d recommend starting with his post here.

Related: Six Ways to Cut Costs on a Workation


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