Despite the fact that I write about how I earn miles and points from credit card bonuses to travel for nearly free, people who know me in real life (and on social media) still draw their own conclusions about how my family travels so often. They think we’re rich, or have a massive amount of debt, or that I get special privileges with airlines and hotels because I write about travel. None of those are true!
It IS true that my family has flown to Europe on business class two summers in a row. And yes, I’m going to Europe twice again in 2024. But, those trips are only possible because of the way I earn miles and points from new credit cards sign-ups.
So, I’ll keep repeating myself on here. 🙂 My family applies for a few new credit cards every year for the high welcome bonuses. These bonuses are usually 50,000-100,000 miles or points, which gives our miles balances a bigger boost compared to just continuing to accumulate miles on an existing credit card.
We collect those miles and points from the bonuses and use them to book flights and hotel rooms. We still have to pay some expenses (like taxes on flight awards, which vary), so our trips aren’t totally free. But, using miles and points certainly takes a big chunk out of the cost of family travel.
If you are thinking about starting this traveling on points hobby, now is the best time of the year to take the plunge!
Why Now is the Best Time to Start
The best time to open a new credit card is when you have upcoming expenses that help you organically meet the minimum spending required on a new credit card to get the big welcome bonus. And for many people, the end of the year is just that time.
Expenses most people incur over these next few months:
- Halloween decorations/candy
- Holiday meals
- Holiday gifts
- Transportation costs to visit family
- Holiday activities and parties
- Property taxes
- HOA fees
If you’ve been saving up for these expenses throughout the year, why not charge them on a credit card and pay them off so that you can earn miles and points for future travel?
Credit Card Recommendations
For newbies in this hobby, I always recommend accumulating flexible points that can be used in a variety of ways and that don’t limit you to just one single airline or hotel. Based on current sign-up bonuses, here are a few cards I recommend:
Chase Sapphire Preferred: 60k bonus after spending $4000 in the first 3 months. $95 annual fee. Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to many travel partners including Southwest, United and Hyatt.
If you own a small business (and you may qualify even if you don’t think you do, see this post), here are some suggestions for business credit cards:
Note: Chase is unlikely to approve you for a new credit card if you’ve opened 5 or more new credit cards in the past 24 months. See all bank application rules here. Also, do not start this travel hobby unless you can pay off your credit card balances in full each month.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.