Believe it or not, with a frequent flyer points card you can actually take a free vacation using bonus points that you earn from using your credit cards. Really. We promise. But you need to know a few things to really make out well.
One way to see the world on someone else’s dime is with a frequent flyer points card. You can do this in two ways. First, you can pay for flights and earn miles through the airline’s frequent flyer program. But unless you are a frequent work traveler it can take so long to earn a free flight this way that your miles expire before you have enough to fly to the next city.
Your second choice is to get a frequent flyer points credit card that offers airline miles as a bonus for spending money on the card. These cards come in two flavors. You can get a card sponsored by a specific airline and earn miles directly to that airline, or you can get a generic card that lets you transfer your points to any one of a few different airlines.
If you tend to fly the same airline over and over, and already use a frequent flyer account, then getting a card with that airline may be your best choice. These cards are more likely to offer various bonus mile offers and often have higher returns than other cards. But if you tend to fly different airlines at different times, or you are planning a trip in the future that you want to save up for but you don’t know what airline you will use, then a card that gives you the option of transferring to various airlines is probably a wise choice.
While airline tickets can be one of the most expensive parts of a trip you will need some cold, hard cash as well. Cashback credit cards can help here. Look for cards where you can earn high rewards on the things that you normally buy. But check the fees – annual fees are alright if you know that the cashback you earn with outweigh the fees. In addition, spending money on your trip can earn you some cashback as well, taking a little bit of the sting out of all those souvenirs.
Many cards provide frequent flyer points card sign-up bonuses that provide extra miles when you sign up, a period of time when you earn miles faster, or even a free “companion” airline ticket when you get the card. These are fantastic ways to earn free travel more quickly.
The only think to know here is that while we used to be able to turn these cards over, meaning you could sign-up for a card, get the bonus, close the card, then sign up for it again and get another bonus, most companies have caught on and are no longer allowing this.
And, of course, too many credit card company inquiries on your credit report doesn’t look good, so choose one or two cards with good bonuses at just the right time, but also ensure that their standard bonuses will work for you in the long run.
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