Hawaii feels like the pinnacle of family travel. Since I’m encroaching 40 (I feel like if I keep sharing this fact I’ll get used to it… it’s not working so far) I decide this was the year to do it. Now that we are debt free, we are moving to a Money 2.0 frame of mind where we look for ways to be smarter with our money. This has got us looking into reward points for travel. First up is how our family of 4 is flying to Hawaii for less than $2000.
It boils down to doing some homework with reward cards (don’t worry I’ll show you what we did so you won’t have to) and then making the best use of the system. We looked at our options. In Canada the best one for us was to fly WestJet. After doing some research we saw that the WestJet MasterCard was the best option for getting discounts on flight. Their premium card gave us the flexibility and you can’t beat the initial rewards.
Here’s how We Made Use of the RBC WestJet MasterCard Points and Reward System
Let’s get down to the facts. The WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard has an annual fee of $119 a year.
Here is what you get when you sign up:
- One time sign up bonus of 250 Westjet dollars (which is the same as $250 dollars when booking through WestJet)
- 1 Annual roundtrip voucher that allows for a return flight in Continental North America for $99, or Hawaii for $299.
- Plus you get 1.5% cash back on all purchases to be used with WestJet.
- First bag checked for the primary card holder (a $50 savings per person every time you fly)
- No blackout or restrictions (this is the big one for us!)
So we decided to each get a card. This was a huge benefit of living debt free. We feel like we are now playing Money 2.0 which requires some different thinking.
This way for $238 (i.e. 2 times the annual fee) we get $500 in WestJet dollars we can use on our flight. I will happily spend $238 to make $500 every day if it’s possible.
Flying on Cheaper Days
WestJet flight seat selection makes it super easy to see this. It’s much cheaper (sometimes half the price) to fly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So that made our decision easy.
Flying in the low season.
If you want to go to Hawaii at Christmas (or any cold time really) it’s going to get expensive. Make better use of your travel rewards and book when it’s the low season, like spring and summer.
Here is how the fares shape up just checking today.
The differences in flight prices is huge!
What it shows me is that if you can leave mid-week and come back mid week you are going to save a lot. Plus being able to pick the right week goes a long way too.
Looking at this, May 9 is half the price of May 16. Having some flexibility in your flying schedule can save you big time.
Here’s How the Fares Break Down:
Person 1 full fare = $727.82.
Person 2 annual voucher fare $299, less the $250 WestJet Welcome Bonus= $49 plus fees and taxes = $139.81
Total flight cost for the first two people is $867.63
Person 3 (second card) full fare = $727.82.
Person 4 (on second card) annual voucher fare $299, less the $250 WestJet Welcome Bonus= $49 plus fees and taxes = $139.81
Total flight cost for the second two people is $867.63
All in all for our family of 4 to fly to Hawaii was $1735.26 + the annual fee of $238 = $1973.26
There you have it.
To look at it another way, for the four of us to fly at full price would have been (4 *727.82) $2911.28. That’s nearly $1000 savings, plus the free checked bag with is another $100 and the 1.5% cash back on the flights. Which is another $30-ish in savings.
Smart shopping can really help and that’s good because Hawaii is an expensive place so that money will come in handy (I mean when has an extra $1000 not come in handy?).
Hawaii for 4 for the same price as 2 during the cold months. Brilliant!
The added benefit is the cash back for future travel as well. If we continue to use this it’s going to give us 1.5% back on our normal spending, so future trips will get that cash back applied to it for even more savings.
If you are in Canada you can check out RateHub for all your credit card hacking ideas here.
Since we never carry a balance on our cards we know that we can do this without worry. It’s pretty cool, otherwise if our family had flown regular fare it would have cost us closer to $3500. I’m looking forward to finding more ways to travel hack. This is fun!
If you are in the U.S and looking for a way to get to Hawaii for less, you can check out Michelle’s post on it here.
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