While summer doesn’t begin until late June, it already feels like it here in Texas. I don’t know about you, but I’m already dreaming of my summer vacation. It’s not planned yet, but I’m not too stressed out about it. I’ve been saving for a trip little by little every week, and have enough Continental OnePass miles to get me a round-trip ticket to pretty much anywhere the airline flies.
I don’t fly more than a few times a year. I have been accumulating the miles from traveling with Continental for years, but part of why I have so many miles is because I frequently use the Chase Continental MasterCard. I get a point for each dollar I spend, and double the points for each dollar I spend when buying a Continental flight.
I often use the card for regular purchases to get the miles and then pay off the balance right away. Like most airline cards, the issuer has partnered with vendors in every industry and gives you miles when you use the card to shop with them. You can earn miles for buying flowers, using certain cell phone providers, staying at specified hotels and much more. They often run promotions where if you sign up via email to learn more about a new service, you’ll get 100 bonus miles.
I also use a site called e-Miles that allows me to earn more OnePass miles for answering short surveys.
If you want to travel, but have trouble stomaching expensive plane flights, you really can fly for free with frequent flier credit cards. When I was in high school, my mom took my brother, my sister and I to London and back from Houston on Continental OnePass miles that she had accumulated over the years.
There are many credit cards for specific airlines, such as Continental, Delta and United. There are also many general travel credit cards from Capital One, Discover and American Express that allow you to earn air miles that can be used for any airline, giving you more flexibility. Even better, many airline credit cards often offer enormous amounts of sign-up bonus miles — sometimes enough for a free flight.
Before you get too lost in thought about your next vacation, read on for my roundup of my favorite posts from the past week from the personal finance blogosphere.
1. My Dollar Plan tells readers about eight new words that were added to the American lexicon thanks to the Great Recession, one being “toxic debt.”
2. Money Under 30 helps those who have trouble sticking to their budget learn how to do it with two effective shortcuts.
3. Bargaineering discusses the value in teaching your kids about interest, especially if you have credit card debt.
4. As someone who recently got married, I found an interesting post from Dinks Finance that discusses why pre-nuptial agreements are a wise decision.
5. For those who are feeling behind in their finances, Being Frugal explains how to perform budget triage to determine priorities and fix the problems.
6. Good Financial Cents offers great advice on how you can negotiate with credit card issuers if you want a fee waived or an interest rate lowered.
7. Money Reasons outlines three steps for creating a debt repayment plan that actually might be a little fun.
8. Little House in the Valley chimes in with her opinion on emergency funds, and why she thinks trying to save up for as much as 6-12 months is a waste of time and resources.
9. The Prairie EcoThrifter describes the basics of getting out of debt and the steps you need to take to get started.
10. Green Panda Tree House explains the differences between good debt and bad debt and explains how bad debt can affect you.