Over the years I have become addicted to collecting credit card rewards points. I have already used 6 free flights, multiple hotel rooms and even got some cash back. By the time I leave Australia, I will have 3 one way international flight tickets that I earned free. How? Simply put, rewards points from credit cards are awesome. No, I don’t spend $50k to get 50k points, I play the system and get the signup bonus rewards. I never pay interest and never pay fees, otherwise, the credit card company wins.
A quick guide to earning free flights:
To begin, I head over to the million mile secrets to see what offers are available. This site is the first one I stumbled upon years ago and it is always up to date and full of reliable information. I look at the top recommended cards, the rewards they offer and read the reviews.
Then I take a peek at Reddit subgroup r/churning where a lot of dedicated point collectors hang out and share tips. Often there are links to personalized offers that are higher than the regular public offer. These rewards are targeted to certain people but with the link, you can get the special offer as well. r/churning is also an awesome place to get info on recent changes of credit card policies.
Once I find a good deal, I take it. I complete the offer requirements, pay the bill, collect the points and cancel the card. (Sometimes I keep them if they have other perks)
Since the points are for the airline are separate from the credit card company, I don’t lose the points, they stay with my airline account. Best of all, most bonus rewards are good for a one-way international flight!
“Woh, slow down, you just go through a bunch of cards?”
Exactly. Of course, the credit card company is betting on missed payments or irresponsible spending but I make sure that doesn’t happen. I am too frugal to let them get my money. And that leads to the most important part of this system. Make sure you have the means to pay the card. Never run a balance and don’t make a purchase simply because you have an available balance. That is the quickest way to get yourself way off track.
“Doesn’t that hurt your credit score”
This has actually made my credit score go up! Double bonus! I think this is because I pay my bills on time, and never have more than three cards active. I can’t guarantee the same will happen for others, but being responsible with credit cards is proven to boost credit.
Even more, there are cards that are good for hotels or cash back as well!
What I look for in a card:
- No annual fee for the first year unless the benefits are exceptional.
- A spending requirement that is attainable for my expenses. Usually between $1000-$3000 in three months. This is the total amount you must put on the card in order to get the bonus. Again, pay it off each month.
- No international transaction fees if I will be traveling with the card.
- Very important, most offers are for new customers only. If I have earned points for United with a chase card, I will have to find a different program to get another bonus or wait the required time period before reapplying.