How to Travel for Free With Credit Cards

Travel Hacking with Credit Cards

Traveling for free (or almost free) is achievable with strategic credit card use. Here’s how to leverage credit cards for significant travel savings:

1. Reap the Bonus:

  • Many travel cards offer a large sign-up bonus in points or miles after meeting a spending requirement within a few months. This initial boost can fund a free flight or hotel stay.
  • Important: Apply strategically! Space out applications to avoid harming your credit score. Aim for one new card per year.

2. Utilize Travel Credits and Perks:

  • Certain travel cards provide annual statement credits towards travel expenses (flights, hotels).
  • Hotel cards may offer free nights upon reaching spending thresholds or account anniversaries.
  • Some airline cards come with perks like free companion tickets, checked bags, or travel expense credits.

3. Earn Rewards on Everyday Purchases:

  • Travel reward cards give points/miles for every purchase, often with bonus rates for travel-related spending.
  • By maximizing your everyday spending on these cards, you can accumulate rewards for free travel.

4. Redeem Rewards for Travel:

  • You typically get the most value by redeeming points/miles for travel purchases like flights and hotels.
  • Redeem points through the card issuer’s travel portal, transfer them to airline/hotel loyalty programs, or get reimbursed for past travel purchases.
  • Redeem rewards frequently to avoid potential devaluation over time.

5. Consider Booking Through Issuer Portals:

  • Many card issuers offer online travel portals for booking flights, hotels, and car rentals.
  • These portals may grant bonus rewards for using them, and sometimes offer a higher redemption value for your points/miles.

Here are some top credit cards to consider for free travel:

Quick details at a glance:
Credit Recommended (660-850): – Good/Excellent
Intro Rewards Bonus – 75,000 bonus points
Card Rewards Offer – 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases
Foreign Trans Fee – $0
Annual Fee – $95
Regular APR – 21.49%-28.49% Variable
Credit Recommended – Good/Excellent

Here are more detailed features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 75,000 points are worth $937.50 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Airline: JetBlue Plus Card
  • Hotel: Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®
  • Free Hotel Nights: IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card (IHG), Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Hilton)
  • Free Airline Flights: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card (Southwest), Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® (American Airlines)

Remember: While credit cards can significantly reduce travel costs, they might not cover everything. However, with the right strategy, you can unlock amazing travel experiences at a fraction of the price!

Compare the top Excellent Credit Card Offers - CreditSoup Balance Transfer Cards

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