Earn 50,000 Points or More from Signup Bonuses

30.11.2016 |

Episode #5 of the course Travel hacking: Earn frequent flyer miles without flying by Chris Guillebeau


Rise and shine, traveler!

Today’s lesson contains lots of vital information. I hope you’ve had your morning or afternoon coffee!

So far you’ve been learning about ongoing ways to earn miles through dining, shopping, and special promotions. If you want to take the concept of flying around the world to the max, adding a smart credit card strategy into your plan is mandatory. You might be asking, “What do credit cards have to do with free travel?”

The answer is: a lot!

These days, pretty much every major airline and hotel has partnered with a bank to offer a branded credit card that earns frequent flyer miles and points you can redeem for free travel and accommodation.

Every time you spend money with these cards, you’ll earn at least 1 mile or point per dollar (oftentimes even 2x miles or points/dollar!), and you can start redeeming for free flights and hotel nights with 10,000 miles or less. But that’s just the beginning.

Because the competition for customers between banks is so high, many have developed a system to attract you to their card by offering huge signup bonuses—anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 miles just for signing up and using a credit card for two or three months.

And it gets even better. If you set up a strategy for how you apply for new cards and spend money on them, you can sometimes get the same card (and the associated bonus) multiple times.

Along with many of my readers and friends, I use this strategy to earn millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points every year that allow me to travel completely free. The offers change often, but you can always find the best current ones at Cards for Travel.

Here are some options that are usually good regardless of season:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is my all-time favorite and typically the first I recommend to anyone starting out with travel hacking. With this card, you will earn 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. With a consistent 40,000 (50,000 right now!) bonus point signup offer after you meet the minimum spend, it’s like getting two round-trip flights in economy class, or one international flight. If you love it as much as I do, you’ll be using it every day.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Earn an 80,000 point signup bonus with a low annual fee. You’ll also earn 3x points for all spending on travel, phone, internet, and more. This card pairs well with the Chase Sapphire Preferred—the points you earn from each one are pooled in the same program, and you can then transfer them to your choice of more than 15 travel partners.

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN: For a limited time, you can earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points when you sign up for this card. This business card is ideal for serious travelers who are also serious about their business card needs. With this Platinum card, you’ll be able to get into the new Centurion Club lounges, and you can earn 1.5 points per dollar on each qualifying purchase of $5,000 or more with the potential of getting up to 1 million additional points per year.

Some people say that getting credit cards lowers your credit score, but that’s not true. In the long term, getting more cards and being responsible with paying off the balance each month will actually increase your credit score.

Many of my readers have used these strategies to earn 200,000 miles or more each year, all without getting on a plane. It really does work!


Action Items:

Visit CardsForTravel.com and research the mileage-earning credit card offers available
Choose an initial card (based on what kind of points you want to earn) and apply. If you aren’t sure what to choose, pick a card with flexible rewards (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card)
Apply for cards only when you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for the signup bonus (you want to make sure to get all those points!)
Review your existing and upcoming expenses to determine how much spending you could generate within a 90-day period

Remember to update your credit card number on file for online billing purposes when making payments so that your payments are charged to the card with the minimum spend you’re trying to reach.

Tomorrow, you’ll learn about co-branded promotions. Yes, there are even more opportunities to earn points!

Until then,
Chris Guillebeau


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