Posts tagged Credit Cards
Maximize Credit Card Travel Rewards

If you aren't using a credit card for all your expenses, you need to start now!  However, I do take back that advise for anyone carrying a balance on their cards.  There are so many credit cards that can save you money on your travel expenses, including flights, hotels, airport lounges, foreign currency exchange fees, trip insurance and more.  You are really leaving money on the table by not taking full advantage of these credit cards.  You could extend your trip of a lifetime with all your savings!

I found this great article by U.S. News & World Report on how find the credit cards that provide the most value and how to utilize the cards to get the max value from them.  The only card that is missing is the Capital One Venture card.  We get 2 points for every Dollar spent on our Venture card.  Points accumulate very quickly in our household.  Then, you just login to their website, click on recent travel related charges, and, poof, they disappear!!


Julie JonesCredit Cards

My best piece of advise for you...don’t spend your precious travel Dollars on airfare.  With a little hard work and determination, you can use and manipulate credit cards to earn free flights and/or upgrades to first class.  You do need excellent credit to work the system.  However, if your credit is less than stellar, maybe you shouldn’t be taking so many luxury vacations.

Airfare is ridiculously expensive.  Use your savings from flying free to upgrade to a suite at the fabulous resort you have always wanted to visit.  Without having to pay the airfare, you may find that an African safari or expedition tour is not as expensive as you previously thought.

People can get really fanatical about racking up miles.  I don’t take it to that extreme, so I will share the measures I take to help start you on a simple path of earning free airfare.  From there you can really go crazy and start flying First Class all over the World!!

I recommend signing up for cards that earn cash back as opposed to airline miles.  That way, you are not limited to using the points for one airline and the value is not subject to deflation when airlines hike the number of miles needed to buy a flight.

1.  Sign up for a 5% rotating-categories card.  I use Chase Freedom.  Each fiscal quarter, they switch the categories that earn 5% cash back.  Right now, it is gas stations.  So, I currently use this card whenever I purchase gas.  This card has no annual fee.  

I also use this card to do my online shopping at its shopping portal.  For example, right now you can get 15% cash back on your FTD purchase.  

2.  Sign up for a Cap One Venture card.  I use this card for every purchase that doesn’t qualify for 5% on my Freedom card.  You get: Unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase; One-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months; Earn unlimited miles that don't expire; Redeem miles for flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, gift cards, and more!  As Cap One says, erase the cost of travel by redeeming your rewards with Purchase Eraser® 

The 2 miles per Dollar on each and every purchase is great!  It is the equivalent of getting 2% back on everything you buy.  You can use this card for every single purchase you make and use the miles for your airline expenses (or any other travel expenses).  Also, you don’t have to worry about how you purchase your travel.  Just pay for the travel with your Cap One card.  Then, review your statements online and click the boxes of your travel expenses.  So long as you have enough miles in your account, the charges are deleted from your statement.  It couldn’t be any easier.

Another great thing about the Cap One card is that there is no charge for foreign transactions.  Some cards can charge 2-3% of every charge you make in a foreign currency - not a fun surprise after your vacation!

3. Sign up for a Starwood American Express Card.  According to the experts at working credit cards, this is THE card to have in your wallet if you want to manipulate credit cards for free travel.  It is very easy to rack up enough points to earn free stays at any of Starwood’s nine hotel brands.  You earn up to 5 Starpoints for expenditures at Starwood properties.    Alternatively, get that free airfare by calling SPG Flights to book your flight on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates.  You can also transfer your Starpoints to nearly 30 airline frequent flyer programs.

4.  Sign up for an American Express Blue Cash Preferred card.  I have just learned of this card and plan on using it at the grocery store and gas stations.  It pays 6% back on groceries and 3% back at gas stations.  That is outstanding!  It seems too complicated for me to have this many cards, so I think I’ll pocket the Starwood AMEX card.  No big deal, since we now have enough points for a week stay at any St. Regis!!  That is easily worth more than $5000.

Note:  Complete your applications in one day.  I have heard only one inquiry will be recorded on your credit report.

That’s it!!  

Some people go crazy and get 10-15 cards.  I would worry what that would do to my credit score.  There would be lots of annual fees you would have to pay.  Alternatively, you would have to take the time to cancel your cards before the renewal date.  Some people also churn cards buy signing up to get the sign up bonus points, canceling the card soon thereafter and signing again in the future to get more bonus points.  Again, there is a risk as to how your credit score is affected by the churning.  Also, that sounds like a TON of work.

Start using credit cards to your advantage and fly for free!!  Then, call me so I can advise you on where you should take your next adventure at 314-608-4553.  Contact TopFlight Travels.