Here at The Credit Traveler, my focus has always been to enable people to maximize the value of money and one way is to earn enough miles to travel for “almost” free.
How would you like it if your everyday transactions can be turned into profit when considering their long/short term benefits?
Most people are under the assumption one needs to fly more in order to earn more miles which can maybe at some point in the future be used towards an upgrade or a free flight. What if I told you that wasn’t the only way and that there was a much faster and more efficient way to building up the miles you collect.
Signing Up for the Best Offers
If you’re someone who is regular at paying off bills and stay on top of your finances, you may consider this option. Banks often partner up with airlines not only to promote volumes of bilateral transactions but also to make money each time you swipe their card at the point of sale.
Hence, they offer these lucrative sign-up offers which often a lot of value if used optimally. More often than not may be an Annual Fee that is asked up front and in some cases is waived for the first year of card membership.
Annual fees aren’t as bad as people make them to be because with the high sign-up bonus, you are guaranteed to get a higher return/ positive expected value.
If you feel you are someone not comfortable playing annual fees long term, my personal recommendation is to choose cards which has downgrade paths to no-annual fees cards. Alternatively you can always cancel the annual fees card if it no longer gives you positive expected value.
You may find a list to all cards I recommend here.
Meeting Minimum Spend Requirements
As mentioned, many credit cards have huge sign-up offers: 50,000 Points or 60,000 Points but it they are always accompanied with a spend requirement of $2000 or $3000 (or even higher).
The best way to meet these minimum spends are by paying bills online using credit cards or your insurance and other daily charges (there may be charges in some cases). However, if you have to pay your things such as rent, mortgage or other charges where credit card fees are too high, you may consider Plastiq.
If you do not have transactions in the next three months that meet the spend requirements, I would not recommend over-extending yourself just to get those points (failure to pay off the card may lead to delinquencies and high interest payments).
Shopping on Airline Online Portals
Most airlines have online marketplaces/shopping portals where you can earn additional points/miles when making regular transactions. I cover an example of how to you can earn upto a 1000 miles in this article.
Flying For Free
Once you’ve earned and collected all those wonderful points either with a particular airline or card, you can subsequently use them to book flights (and even hotels).
If you got an Airline card such as one with American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United or any other, the points earned directly collect miles into their account. You may use them to directly book tickets with the Airline or book a partner airlines.
If you have a point earning card that collects American Express Membership Reward Points or Chase Ultimate Reward points, you may check my article on each one’s worth and how to redeem.