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How I Hacked a FREE Flight to Iceland (and Earned $ back)

Earlier this year I visited Iceland for the first time (and fell in love – here’s why)! It was an epic mix between a cityscape in Reykjavik and a solo winter roadtrip in the countryside.

But, to be completely honest, the ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak was getting my flight over for FREE, plus even earning a little bit back!

So how did I do it?! I took advantage of a seat sale Wow Air was having at the time, and was able to use yet another credit card hack

(Related: How I got $800 flights for less than $80).

Step #1: Find a Seat Sale

I prefer Skyscanner’s search engine because it allows you to search for airfare by MONTH to view the cheapest prices across time if your travel dates are flexible.

In my case, I searched Toronto –> Iceland for the entire month of February and then I was able to identify which dates had the lowest fares. Sometimes it can work out cheaper to buy two individual one-way flights this way instead of return airfare so I would recommend trying both!

Since I found a super cheap single fare, I booked them separately. There were return fares from as little as $80 CAD at the time and as high as $180.

free flight to iceland - the pink backpack travel blog

For the purpose of this post, I will just show you how I got the single one way ticket for free.

free flight to iceland - the pink backpack travel blog

Step #2: Book with Cash Back Credit Card

I prefer the American Express Cash back credit card because it has a great cash back rate (5% for the first three months, then down to 1.25% after 3 months), included car rental and travel accident insurance and no annual fee!

HOWEVER, Wow Air only accepts Visa or Mastercard on their website so I opted to pay with my Mastercard Cashback. I use this one for a lot of my daily purchases primarily for the cash back (it doesn’t have the best travel rewards to be honest), but as you can see in the screenshot below, the cash back adds up quite quickly when I use it to pay for everything.

Note: I am only suggesting this if you can pay off the balance each month; the whole point of using charge cards for cash back or travel rewards is to reap the benefits, not get charged ridiculous interest rates.

free flight to iceland - the pink backpack travel blog

free flight to iceland - the pink backpack travel blog

Step #3: Reimburse Card Charge with Cash Back Balance

Once I purchased the flight on the cash back credit card, I requested the cash back balance to be applied to the card to pay the balance.

The math: Flight from Toronto to Reykjavik total was $119.99 – cash back balance of $141.56 =  + $21.56 

Not only did I get the one way flight for free, I actually came out on top with an additional $21.56 credit applied to the card for future purchases!

 

What do you think? Do you use credit card rewards for travel?

 

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Related:

How I Travelled to 13 Countries Debt-Free while Doing a PhD

How I Got $800 Flights for Less than $80

The Craziest Things I’ve Done to Afford Travel

What are your thoughts?

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Harmony, Momma To Go said:
This is such a great use of your cash back! You must have been making alot of purchases to get that 141 credit though. Great fare either way, but cant beat free!
October 21, 2017 at 8:03 pm
Sherrie said:
That's an awesome hack! Looks like I need to change the credit cards I'm using...
October 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm
Brenna said:
Such a great post!!
October 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm
Crystal said:
I so wish Credit Cards in Australia were more on top of these sorts of things. Still haven't figured out how to hack the Aussie system!
October 14, 2017 at 6:54 am