This post is geared for newbies to the miles and points travel world. See our Advertiser Disclosure here.
I have a full year of travel planned. My family is visiting a new country for spring break (Costa Rica), traveling to Disney World this summer and going on several shorter trips.
Every time we return from a trip, someone inevitably says to me, “I wish I could afford to travel” or “I wish I could travel more.” My reply is always: “You can! Get a new credit card with a miles or points sign-up bonus!”
If you want to travel more in 2020, here is how getting a new credit card can help.
Credit Cards Don’t Have to be Bad
First of all, credit cards aren’t always bad. Some people associate credit cards with high interest rates and debt.
But, if you only charge what you can afford to pay off in full every month, credit cards can be wonderful tools. Many travel cards come with a high sign-up bonus of 50,000 or more miles and points after meeting a spending threshold.
But I Already Have a Credit Card!
Some folks say, “But I already have a credit card that earns miles.” That may be true, but earning miles on an existing credit card is a lot slower than earning miles on a new credit card. That’s because many new credit cards give you that sign-up bonus boost that ends up being more miles than you earn in a year or two with your old card. Sign-up bonuses are a quick way to boost your miles and points balances.
Using Miles and Points from Credit Cards to Travel More
Before you apply for a credit card, think about where you want to travel. Do you want to travel within the U.S.? Or, do you want to fly internationally? Does your family fit into a standard hotel room, or do you plan on using Airbnb? Answering all of those questions will help you decide what kind of miles and points will help you attain your travel goals.
Keep in mind that using miles and points for flights and hotels only covers part of your travel expenses. You still need to pay for vacation food, excursions, airport parking, pet sitting, etc. Using miles and points doesn’t make travel 100% free, but it sure knocks off a big chunk of expenses.
Hot Credit Card Deals for 2020
Overall Best Starter Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred. Currently, it has a 60k sign-up bonus (worth $750 or more) after spending $4000 in the first three months and a $95 annual fee. I always recommend this card because the points are flexible. You can use them to book travel in the Chase travel portal, or you can transfer them to airline and hotel partners like United, Southwest and Hyatt.
Easiest to Use Card: Capital One Venture Rewards. This card currently has a sign-up bonus of 50k miles (worth $500) after spending $3000 in the first three months. The annual fee is waived the first year. You can use these miles to erase any travel purchase from your credit card. It’s super easy to use because you don’t have to worry about award availability at hotels and on flights. The card earns 2X miles on all purchases.
Best Small Business Card: Chase Ink Business Preferred. If you own a small business, keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses by opening a business card. This card currently has a huge 80k bonus (worth over $1000!) after spending $5000 in the first three months. Annual fee is $95. Earn 3X points on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone and social media advertising. Use these points to book travel through the Chase travel portal, or transfer them to travel partners like United, Southwest or Hyatt.
Credit card offers change all the time, so be sure to check our best credit cards page for the most current offers.
Where Will You Go in 2020 and Beyond?
If you are hoping to travel more in 2020, prioritize your travel wish list and take the first step towards booking your trip by earning miles and points from a new credit card. Where do you want to go in 2020?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.