Credit Card Miles and Perks Got Me 2 Round-Trip Tickets To Australia for ~$330 – Here’s How I Did It

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Airlines have been having all sorts of sales and mistake fares right after the holidays.  As if our wallets aren’t already suffering enough.  Recently there were major sales to Sydney, Australia, and my wife and I had been waiting for the right moment to book an adventure for her Spring Break.

We were able to jump on these flights for only ~$330 out of pocket for two tickets!  And I did it all by using the perks and credit card miles I earned with these AMEX cards:

Credit Card Miles Made Getting to Sydney Easy!

Flights from Los Angeles to Sydney typically cost $1,000+, so seeing these flights for ~$650 each in coach was a great deal.  I was able to get flights for us using a combination of cash, gift cards, and Delta miles.

How I Used Credit Card Miles & Perks to Get Cheap Flights

This year, I’ve been collecting Delta miles with my Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.  I applied for the card when the intro bonus was increased (I earned 60,000 Delta miles after meeting the minimum spending requirements) and earned a bunch more miles from flying Delta this year.  So I booked the first flight for 70,000 Delta miles + ~$100 in taxes & fees.

It wasn’t the best redemption in the world, but it was nice to keep hundreds of dollars in my pocket.

Booking the second flight was a bit more complicated, but it paid off!  My wife and I hold multiple American Express travel credit cards, including the The Platinum Card® from American ExpressAmerican Express® Gold Card, and Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express.  These cards come with an airline fee credit for your selected airline.  These airline fee credits can be used for things like seat upgrades, checked bag fees, and other incidental fees.

However, we have always used them to purchase Delta gift cards.  While this isn’t technically allowed based on AMEX’s terms, there are some airline gift cards, like Delta that might trigger the statement credit.  There’s no guarantee it will work for you.  But you can read more on which gift cards may trigger the credit here.

Yes, I do understand I paid for these in the annual fees beforehand, but the other perks we get with these cards make it worth the expense.

For her flight, we were able to knock down the price to ~$230 after using our gift cards.  And we used our American Express Platinum card to book the flight because it earns 5X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with the airline or through the AMEX travel site.  That earned us 1,150 AMEX Membership Rewards points, worth ~$23.

All in all, it was a great deal to get us to Sydney for 10 full days for only ~$330 out of pocket!

Bottom Line

These sales are absolutely worth keeping an eye on.  They happen because airlines are trying to fill empty seats to help make some sort of profit.  It is an easy way to save on travel if you have to pay cash.

Have you taken advantage of any sales recently?  Let’s hear it in the comments!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Marilyn B
1 year ago

This is one convoluted post. I’ve tried reading it a few times and it’s still confusing. And it doesn’t sound like a deal to me.

First it is saying ” seeing these flights for ~$650 each in coach was a great deal. I was able to get flights for us using a combination of cash, gift cards, and Delta miles.”

Lately, there have been a number of sales to Australia, and they have been listed as round trip. I even saw ~$800 from Newark to Australia RT in coach. So, I’m assuming that $650 for coach was RT. So that would be $325 one way, theoretically.

I understand wanting to save cash. I’ve done it myself, but you say you used 70,000 Delta miles plus $100 for one way.
So I have to assume that was 35K for each of you one way?

But more confusing is your info on the 2nd flight. You mention “For her flight, we were able to knock down the price to ~$230 after using our gift cards.” So, looks like that return flight was more than $325. And how did you get your 2nd (return) flight? I don’t think you mentioned that.

Hmm, so busy making sure the credit card links are in that this is one sloppy post.

Been a reader since 2011, but your posts are getting to be more about credit card links than ever. Disappointing.

1 year ago

Wait, how were you able to use your Delta gift cards AND book through the Amex portal?

Reply to  Erin
1 year ago

The AMEX Platinum card earns 5X points on flights booked directly with the airline in addition to flights booked through the AMEX portal.

Reply to  Jason
1 year ago

That doesn’t answer the question. You can’t use Delta gift cards on the Amex portal. So you pay with points or a credit card for the full cost of the ticket.

Reply to  Erin
1 year ago

Sorry for not being clear. What you said is correct, but you’ll also earn 5X points if you book directly with the airline. My understanding is that it includes booking over the phone with Delta or on Delta’s website. If you did that, you could use a credit card and gift card for the same purchase.