I have been able to travel to numerous different cities in the USA, and a multitude of different countries. Most of my traveling I have been able to do for free by using points to book the travel. When I tell people how much I have been able to travel, many times they will say, "I wish I could do that." The truth is, many of the people I talk to would be able to travel much more than they realize. One of the tools that significantly helps me to travel is my use of credit cards. I have earned points through sign up bonuses and through everyday spending.
Sign up bonuses-
Sign up bonuses are where I have earned the bulk of the points I have used for travel. Credit card companies will offer sign up bonuses for using their cards. Typically, the sign up bonus will be awarded after meeting a minimum spending requirement. A common sign up bonus requirement is spending 3-5k over three months. Now, $3,000 may seem like a lot, but it is much more manageable when broken down. For example, $600/month for rent/utilities, $150/month for phone/internet/cable, and $300/month for groceries/food would be $3,150 when spread out over three months. This bonus could earn $625 to use for travel, without having to buy anything you would not normally buy anyway.
While I have earned the bulk of my points through sign up bonuses, points can also be earned on credit cards after receiving a bonus. Some credit cards will have targeted categories such as business costs, cable bills, groceries, or travel. Using targeted categories can earn 3, 4, or 5 points per dollar spent on the card. Also, many credit card companies have "portals" on their websites that you can use to purchase items online. I have earned as much as 20 points per dollar spent by using these portals.
Organization and Self-control-
Organization and self-control are incredibly important when using credit cards to accumulate travel points. If you start spending money you do not normally spend or buying more things than you can afford, you will end up worse off than when you started. Also, it is important to remember to pay all of your bills on time. A late electric bill could get your electricity shut off, and a late credit card payment could eliminate the benefit and make it harder to get new credit cards in the future. One useful tool to help stay organized is auto-pay. Most credit card companies allow you to link your bank account and schedule the money to be paid automatically. As long as the proper planning, organization, and self-control are used, many more people can see their traveling dreams realized.
Welcome to the Healthy Explorer Blog. If you like travel stories have a look around my blog and check out my podcast— maybe you'll find an extra spark for your own adventures.