I wrote an entire book about my travel hacking principles, but the one question I keep getting is about the magical free airfare. I’ve even seen people post quotes and images on social media stating, “If travel were free you’d never see me again”. Well, I replied, it is, and if I can do it anyone can. Most of them are still where they were when they posted their wishful status. So, I’m not going to give all the insights from my book away in this post, but I’ll uncover the tip of the iceberg in this post and help you get a free roundtrip flight anywhere in North America.
The secrets to travel hacking lies in travel rewards cards, and contrary to popular belief the trick is not to sign up for as many as possible, but to use them in a certain way. I cover all those details in my book, so please help yourself to a copy of The Freedom Project on Amazon, Kindle or your favourite bookstore.
As not all cards work the same, choosing the wrong type of card can keep you saving for the rest of your life without ever getting a free flight to the next town. My favourite card, both for rewards and customer service, is still American Express.
Here’s how it works
American Express is offering 25,000 bonus points to anyone who signs up for a Gold Card. These points can be used to pay for up to $250 in travel, but also instantly converted into Aeroplan Miles at a 1:1 ratio, at no cost. As you can see from the Aeroplan rewards chart, that’s enough for a free flight to anywhere in Canada or the Continental USA.
American Express currently waives the annual fee ($150) for the first year. To get the 25,000 points, all you have to do is charge a total $500 to your card in the first 3 months. Even if you just pay for your gas or groceries with the card, that’s easy to do. Of course American Express would like you to stay a member beyond your first year, but you can cancel the card anytime and keep your bonus points.
In addition to the welcome bonus you’ll get 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores in Canada, 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases for eligible travel purchases (including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more), and one point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.
While you can use the $250 to pay for a flight in full, tickets through Aeroplan are usually still subject to taxes and fees. I typically choose to pay the $150 in fees myself which means I get the most travel for my points.
Get your free flight
Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to get your flight:
- Click on this link, which will take you to the American Express website. The Gold card is the first one at the top of the page: https://www.livingbyexperience.com/go/amex-gold/
- Select the ‘I have read and accept the referral program terms’-checkbox
- Click on the Apply Now button
- Fill out the application, and wait for your new card to show up in the mail!
Apply now and get your free flight
Full disclosure: when you receive your free bonus Aeroplan points, American Express also gives me a 10,000 point bonus for referring you, assuming you signed up using one of the links on this page. I have enough points for a few flights around the globe, but could always use the extra points. 🙂
This offer is open to residents of Canada only.