HOW TO SCORE FREE FLIGHTS! TRAVEL CREDIT CARD HACKING
We all love a new budget travel hack and on this lovely Saturday I’m cooking up this blog post to talk about my experience getting my FIRST travel credit card. I compared several travel credit cards and these articles from Money and Nerd Wallet compared the pros/cons, and broke down the benefits of each card very easily. With this travel budget tip you may just score a free flight or hotel stay for your next much needed vacay.
Let’s get these FREE flights! Cause to travel is to live...but on a budget baby!
OVERVIEW: TOP TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS IN 2021
- Best Flexible Points Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred®
- Best Airline Card: Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® or Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Best Hotel Card: World of Hyatt Credit Card
- Best for Luxury Travel: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Best for Small Businesses: Chase Ink Business Preferred®
- Best for Business Travelers: Capital One Spark Miles, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or Ink Business Preferred®
- Best for Cash Back on Travel Bookings: Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Best for Bonus Travel Rewards: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best Cards with No-fees: Capital One VentureOne Rewards or Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
As you can see there are A LOT of travel cards to choose from. What are the best ways to narrow the list down? Here's 4 ways that helped me:
- What categories do you spend your money the most? Knowing where you spend your money the most can get you double or sometimes triple the points.
- Are the annual fees a deal breaker? The annual fees can start at $95 or can be as high as $400. For the latter, this is geared towards business travelers that need those extra perks like lounge access. If this is your first travel credit card - look at the best beginner cards like Chase!
- How are the points redeemed? Will you redeem more points through their booking site or could you lose point value by transfering directly to cash?
- Will you actually use all of the benefits or only some of them? Is the customer service team known for providing exceptional service? Look at the reviews to see what other people are saying about their experiences.
CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED CARD
After researching, I limited my list to 3-4 cards to choose from and acquired my Chase Sapphire card in January 2021. I figured the Chase card was one of the top travel cards to get started with and had benefits I would use on a regular basis. Even though it does have a $95 annual fee, the travel benefits outweigh the fee in the long run. But oh were they quick to charge that $95 – I mean can a girl start making purchases? I mean I wasn't trippin' that much since I still got points from the purchase...but dang can I get my money together first!
One of the main reasons I chose the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was the additional bonus points after opening an account. With the Chase card, if you make $4,000 in purchases within 3 months, you get 60,000 bonus points to redeem for travel. And now if you sign up you can get up to 80,000 points. With these extra bonus points, I have been able to purchase two international flights for zero dollars! Did you catch that? TWO international flights for ZERO DOLLARS! I just get so giddy thinking about it.
Now, $4,000 may look daunting at first but if you are in control of your budget, you probably know that you have bills and regular purchases you pay on a monthly basis that would meet the requirements. If your rent is $1k+ per month, in three months you’ve already spent majority of required threshold and have a bank of bonus points waiting for you to redeem.
So I did exactly that. I didn't go crazy swiping my card left and right just to spend $4,000 for the fun of it. I was still making regular purchases and using my credit card to pay monthly bills while also paying it off per month. I even paid for my friend’s rent with my credit card just so I could get the bonus points faster (of course she paid me back). What a win! 🏆
CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED BENEFITS
Chase is accepted worldwide and the travel benefits include $0 foreign transaction fees, 2x the points on all travel and dining purchases, rental car protection, and 25% more redemption value for your points! On top of the travel benefits you get 24/7 customer service, 5x poins on all Lyft rides, a Doordash pass, and more. Chase makes it easy to redeem your points for anything travel, whether that is flights, hotels, or rental cars as they partner with Expedia to give you the same great deals while maximizing your points.
I definitely recommend getting a travel card to get benefits on purchases you already make, and start traveling for the low low. Even if you don’t want to redeem for travel – you can still redeem those points for cold hard cash. Free flight for you, you and YOU! Sign up today and start earning.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- When’s the best time to get a travel credit card? I’m not a financial expert but only you are the best judge of your financial situation. Adding a credit card is a good way to build your credit if you are able to pay it off monthly. Or maybe you are making a big purchase and want to add it to a new credit line. I decided to do this and use the my Chase Plan which is another perk. The My Chase Plan allows you to pay off purchases over $100 within 6-12 months with no interest. Yet, starting early by obtaining a travel credit card will allow you to start building your points so that you are ready to redeem for your next adventure. If you have a lot of debt, I suggest paying it off before opening a new credit card. That way you can start fresh and manage your money better!
- Consider what type of traveler you are and what type of benefits would assist you the most. Do you rely on your hotel points 🏩to score the best rooms? Or do you prefer keeping your airline elite membership✈️? I'm not a hotel points guru (yet) but many avid travelers swear by travel cards that provide redemption with specific hotel chains. Either way, you want to choose a travel credit card that provides the most benefit from everyday purchases. Since I can purchase flights with any airline, I'll be able to keep my Gold Elite Status with American when I book flights with them through Chase.
- What credit score do I need to get approved? A good to excellent credit score will increase your chances of getting approved. If you have good credit length and history, even better. But we all know credit is a scam either way...right? Make smart financial choices when opening new credit cards.
- Do I really need a credit card abroad? I always tell people to have all 3 types for emergency purposes while traveling abroad. Having a credit card, debit card, and physical cash will help you prepare for any situation. My first credit card was Discover, and it NEVER worked abroad the 3x I tried to use it. I missed out on so much cash back because I could never use the card abroad. My debit card(s) on the other hand are Mastercard/Visa which is more easily accepted worldwide - but I ended up having to pay for foreign transaction fees per swipe. Also think about travel protection that is included in majority of travel credit cards. Lost luggage? Delayed flight? Medical emergency? Anything can happen so be protected with a credit card company you can trust to help.
Can you guess where I’m going with my free flights? Comment 💬 on this blog post to see! Hint: I’ll be able to say I’ve been to 5/7 continents by this Fall 😉