Travel Hacking With Credit Cards
If you’re like me, you don’t have a ton of cash lying around for vacations. So I recommend taking advantage of the credit card sign up bonuses below for FREE TRAVEL and awesome rewards. We have already taken 3 free trips in 8 months this year, and are planning a BIG trip next year…all on points! Contact me if you have any rewards travel questions. I love helping out with this stuff!
You can read up on how to churn credit cards for travel and hotel rewards, and then start your free vacation plans with the cards below.
1. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- Starpoints® bonus: earn up to 25,000 bonus points: 10,000 after your first purchase and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Cardmembership
- That’s enough for a weekend getaway to a Category 4 Hotel.
- Earn up to 5 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG hotels and resorts – that’s 2 Starpoints for using the Card in addition to the Starpoints you earn as an SPG member. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
- Free Hotel Nights: redeem Starpoints at over 1,100 hotels in nearly 100 countries worldwide – with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
- Free Flights: redeem Starpoints on over 350 airlines with SPG Flights – with no blackout dates
- No limits on the number of Starpoints you can earn
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
- Terms and Restrictions apply.
Jake’s Review: This card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred were our very first cards to apply for. SPG points are the most valuable around, and can get you a free hotel night as cheap as 3,000 points! Michelle and I each have this card, and I also have the business version because I love it so much. Our 3 trips this year have all used SPG points for our hotel stays. A weekend in Portland, Disney hotel in Florida, and anniversary getaway on one of the top floors in the Westin downtown Seattle. With a $5,000 minimum spend in 6 months, you will end up with 30,000 points to play with. Get your spouse the card as well, and that’s 60,000 SPG points! With airlines partners and transfer bonuses, as well as the 5 night free on all hotel bookings, this is my favorite all-around rewards credit card.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening – that’s $500 in travel rewards!
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- Receive a 7% Annual Points Dividend on all new points earned on purchases – even on points already redeemed
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs – that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
- Get 20% off airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when you redeem through Ultimate RewardsSM
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated advisors
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Jake’s Review: This was the second card in our first credit card app-o-rama. Chase points are extremely versatile, and can be used for cash, hotel, or airline rewards. Michelle and I each have this card, as well as the Ink Bold to build a BIG chunk of Chase Ultimate Rewards points for all kinds of rewards. On our wine tour trip, we got $450 cash back to pay for all the wine and food. Now we have found that we can transfer to British Airways and enjoy short-haul flights FOR CHEAP! Like, we can visit my grandma just north of Sacramento for 9,000 points per ticket. We can also stay at the BEST Hyatt hotels in the world for only 22,000 points. Like the Hyatt Regency Maui. This card is a keeper, definitely recommend this for those just jumping into the free travel game.
3. Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®
Jake’s Review: This Barclaycard is the new kid on the block. I didn’t care much for Barclaycard until this guy popped up earlier this year. As you can see, it’s simple. $1,000 minimum spend in 90 days, get 40,000 points which equals $400 statement credit. I don’t currently have this card, but am looking at this for my next churn. Basically, you book a flight or hotel at the lowest price you can, take the trip, and get $400 erased from your credit card bill with the 40,000 points. Oh, and you get 2x points on everything. Always. Not bad at all!
4. British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- You will get 50,000 bonus Avios after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- NEW! $0 Introductory annual fee for the first year, thereafter $95
- Pay no foreign transaction fees for purchases when you travel abroad
- Get 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
- Earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years, every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa Card
Jake’s Review: Another gem of a card from Chase, this card boasts one of the best bonuses around! With only a $2,000 minimum spend in 3 months, you can easily hit 50,000 miles very quickly. Michelle and I have one of these each, as does another family member. We’re pooling our points in a “household account”, and can get tickets to Hawaii for as cheap at 12,500 miles one-way! I LOVE Avios points, and may be visiting my grandparents soon as well, as low at 9,000 miles round trip to California, and 15,000 miles round trip to Arizona. I recommend redeeming your points through their partners, Alaska and American airlines, as there are no fuel charges, and you will use LESS points. It’s an amazing combo.
5. Ink Bold® Business Card
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- No interest charges because it’s a pay in full charge card.
- Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Direct access to a live service advisor anytime.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs with no transfer fees.
- $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $95.
Jake’s Review: This card is my points champion. I now have over 70,000 Chase ultimate rewards point, over 60,000 from this card alone. With partners like British Airways, Hyatt, and United Air, these points are EXTREMELY VALUABLE. Not to mention good for 1% cash back if needed. This card earns quickly as well. 5x on phone and internet, 2x on gas and hotel accommodations. If you have ANY sort of side income at all, you have a small business, and can qualify for this card. Contact me directly if you need any help with this card. It’s totally worth it!
6. Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Receive 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
- Redeem points for International flights, cruises, hotel stays, car rentals, and gift cards.
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways purchases made directly with the airlines.
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Receive 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary every year.
- Earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 you spend on the card (maximum of 15,000 Tier Qualifying Points annually).
- No foreign transaction fees.
Jake’s Review: This is the second card I’m look at for our next churn. Currently, it’s offering 25,000 bonus points. Their “Wanna Get Away” fares offer crazy low mileage redemption. For example; Seattle to Sacremento to visit my grandparents would be 7,000 miles one way. And that’s a fully refundable ticket with 2 free checked bags! Pretty wicked awesome, huh?
Disclaimer: If you sign up for any card using a banner on my site, I do receive a small commission. If there’s a better deal available, I will directly link to it, and I would not receive a commission. I hope you can enjoy the perks of credit card sign up bonuses as we have this year!