United Airlines can fly you to the CrossFit Games in Madison, WI for almost free

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Come the weekend of August 3-6, fitness nuts from all over the US and abroad will meet up in Madison, WI. What’s so cool about Madison, WI on that particular weekend? Well among all the wonderful things Wisconsin has to offer, on that weekend Madison will host the Reebok CrossFit Games for the first time in its 10-year history. If you’ve never seen what the Crossfit Games are all about, know that it starts with a worldwide online competition, then a Regionals live event, and culminates with ‘the Games’, were the best of 8 regions worldwide meet to compete for the ‘Fittest on Earth’ title. Last year 324,307 from 175 countries participated in the Open. Though the stats for 2017 haven’t been published yet, it surely beat the numbers from 2016. Needless to say the following is widespread and loyal. Madison, WI is a happy camper. Naturally, many will want to travel on that August weekend to Madison to enjoy the action of the Games live, and that’s where this post will come in handy. CrossFit Games tickets have become pricier as the years go by, so saving some $ in your airplane ticket is not a bad idea.

If you’re planning on attending, then there are several offers that can fly you to and back from Madison, WI and you’d essentially pay for taxes and fees only. If you’ve never used miles to pay for an airline ticket, you can read HERE about how applying for credit cards with the purpose of earning points and miles is the best method yet for almost-free travel. United Airlines and Chase -it’s primary credit card partner- make it easy to earn miles.

Current offers

Why earn the miles through the card


  • You fly to and from Chicago O’Hare Airport – the reasoning behind this is that Madison is only a 2.5 hr drive from Chicago and finding award availability to Chicago is much easier than to Madison, WI.  Also, since the Madison flights will be regional flights, you’re likely going to be stuck at a connecting airport for 4+ hours, which would actually delay your arrival in Madison. Renting a car one-way or taking greyhound will still save you a substantial amount of money.

The award tickets for two to Madison will cost you around $60! As you can see in the screenshot below, 2 roundtrip tickets to Chicago O’Hare will cost you 50k miles + $22.40.  Two Greyhound roundtrip tickets would be around $40.

Having the Chase Explorer card gives you access to more saver award flights! The standard redemption rate for a roundtrip ticket within the US is 50k. This is considered a bad redemption because common Saver Award tickets are half that, which is what your target should be. Being a card member will give you access to more Saver availability, as shown below.

This same route would otherwise cost $ for two! It’s a no-brainer. Why pay this much when you don’t have to?!


Meeting the minimum spend requirement

This is the scary part for most, spending the money. I highly discourage anyone from applying for these type of offers unless they have a viable way to spend this money within the time frame WITHOUT incurring in debt. In other words, this has to be spend that was either planned and budgeted. If you didn’t have plans to spend this money, take a look at these innovative ways to meet minimum spend requirements. Think outside of the box! Do you have family or friends who’s rent can be paid with a Visa card? Maybe you can offer to pay for their rent and have them pay you, so that you can pay your balance? What about medical expenses that you can then claim from your insurance company? Do you have a friend or family member that does have spending planned, and you trust enough to make them an authorized user and thus spend more within a shorter period of time? All these are ways that many use regularly to earn sign-up bonuses.

Final reminders

Although this offer allows for 3 months of spend, be aware that you have less than that if your plan is to use your miles for the Games. You apply and meet the spend within a few weeks to allow enough time for your miles to post. If you have additional questions, please post them on the comments below, and I’ll be sure to respond. You may also contact me directly here.

For your enjoyment (or not), here are a couple of photos from a CrossFit competition that my wife and I participated in some years ago.

*Featured image taken from games.crossfit.com

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