Many of us had the desire to make money traveling the globe. Most of us had had menial jobs in the past. Working for minimum wage, or doing a hard job for not much money. This post is about saving money, which in effect is actually earning it. Here is a recent example of how you can pick a cheaper way of traveling and you can actually get ‘paid’ for your time traveling.
I recently booked some airplane tickets to Florida. I was able to accumulate 15,000 miles by applying for the airlines credit card, and a few additional miles from the actual flight itself. Tack on a few miles from the actual purchase amount, and I was nearly to the amount of miles I needed for a second set of round trip tickets. I was short just less than 3,000 miles to get the free tickets I needed. Of course, this means I have to manage my property from a distance for a week.
I received a few texts from my tenants while I was gone. One was wondering about garbage pickup being delayed due to labor day. the other was a tenant letting me know her rent was dropped in my rent box on the 5th. There were no maintenance calls.
I was able to do some travel hacking by purchasing three $500 Visa gift cards, for $2.00 each. That was worth 3,000 miles. That gave me enough miles for two free round trip tickets, MSP to FLL. I booked the tickets on Spirit Airlines to fly during the slow (i.e. cheap) season. This airline is known for its cheap pricing, so it was right up my alley. They advertise it is a low cost airline, and they charge for everything under the sun. On my last flight with them, the flight attendant even made a joke about how they charge if you push the flight attendant button overhead. Spirit does have one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the business, so the planes are not (hopefully) going to fall apart when I am on it. They are also one of the most profitable airlines, so hopefully they do not skip maintenance (Southwest?) to avoid losing money (or maybe that is why they are profitable?)
Nothing is Actually Free
So I booked the tickets, using my miles. The total cost of the trip, using miles, was $195. That included two round trip tickets, one bag per passenger, a $12.50 per ticket booking fee, and joining their $9 fare club for $59. The $9 fare club saved just a bit of money on bags, but still made the trip cost slightly more than not buying it. If I fly again in the next year, or added another bag, it will be well worth it.
When you book an airline ticket, fly on Tuesday or Wednesday. Those are the cheapest airline ticket days. Any other days typically cost more. I probably would saved $50 for each ticket by flying these days with Spirit, compared to other days. I know I saved 7,500 miles for each ticket, each way, or 30,000 miles.
The total length of the trip down is about nine hours. There is a stop in Detroit for about 5 hours, and then it’s just flight time. I could have upgraded seats so I would have more room, and that would have cost a bit on each leg of the trip, so I skipped it. A person should be able to be a bit cramped for three hours to save about $40 per person. That’s almost a savings of $10 per hour for doing nothing more than sitting in a seat. Or I can even sleep on the flight, which is real easy money. No other job would pay you to do that. (I won’t go into some other jobs I have had…)
I received a bit of grief from the other ticket for having a 9 hour total flight time, a lengthy layover, and wasting so much time on the trip. The trip back was comparable to most other airline options, and only had a short layover. So I compared the other options to reduce the first layover.
Getting Paid $62 per Hour
The next cheapest flight was a major airline. That price was $235 for each ticket, and also cost another $25 per bag. For two people, the total cost would be $570. It was faster with a six hour total flight time, because they had a shorter layover. Saving the six man hours for both of us would have cost $375. That is like getting paid over $62 per hour, just for sitting in an airplane. EASY MONEY!!
Evaluating the fastest airline is even a better use of my earning power. The quickest travel time is just under 5 hours. That still has one layover, but it was a short one. There are pros and cons to a short layover, especially when you have to get to the next plane, in a different concourse, and the plane you are arriving on is late.
So a short layover could turn into a very long layover and a landing on a different day if you miss the connection. Assuming that all goes as planned; the cost of this ticket was a whopping $664. That’s $1,328 for both tickets. Saving $1,128 but spending just a bit over 8 man hours to do it. That’s $141 per hour. I will take that wage any day.
Making Use of the Layover
I made some use of the layover while I was in Detroit. My sister lives about 45 minutes away from DTL, and she works in Detroit. So I was able to meet her, and a friend that I had not seen in 40 years, for lunch at the Westin Hotel, which is right in the airport. We have both aged a bit, and he was one of the people that taught me a bit about carpentry. He was a carpenter when he was working. I had not seen my sister in a few years, so it was a great place to catch up and make use of the time.
Money you save, is like money you earn, tax free.
Have you ever upgraded to a better seat or flight and calculated what it cost in terms of dollars per hour?