Don’t waste your money on airfare, save that cash for more yoga classes!

Below my boyfriend explains how to travel for hardly any money at all!

General Travel Hacking Process

  1. Sign up for a new credit card with a large sign up bonus. I’ll give you a suggestion of which card to start with in a bit.
  2. Spend a minimum amount (typically between $1,000 and $4,000) on the credit card in the first 3 months. I suggest spending only money that you would be spending on a credit card anyway. Make sure you will be able to meet the minimum spend before applying.
  3. Receive the bonus (typically 40,000+ miles or roughly enough for an off-peak round-trip to Hawaii or Europe).
  4. Book a miles ticket (pay only taxes and fees). Ashley and I are flying round trip to New Zealand for around $150 each by using this technique!

Other Details

  • Annual Fee: most cards have an annual fee that they waive in the first year. I typically downgrade (preferable) to a no-annual-fee card or cancel my card before paying this fee in the second year. Some cards don’t waive the fee in the first year and you will need to calculate if paying the fee is worth the bonus or not.
  • Referral Bonuses: many cards give bonuses if you refer your friends to a card that you have. Typically the sign up bonus for the new cardholder is the same whether you use a referral link or not. When I sign up for a new card, I check to see if anyone I know already has the card so they can get an extra bonus if possible (my brother-in-law got an extra 10,000 miles for the last card I signed up for).
  • Chase 5/24: Chase Bank has some of the best rewards cards on the market today. They also have the strictest approval rules. If you have applied for 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months, then you will be automatically rejected for a new card. This makes Chase a particularly good company to start with while you don’t have many recent credit card applications.
Best Card to Start With
Some people go to extreme lengths to maximize the efficiency of their credit card sign ups. I prefer a simpler approach based on flexibility. With this in mind, the best card to start with is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which has a bonus offer of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Chase Ultimate Reward Points are the most flexible type of miles/points available. They can be redeemed for cash ($600 value), they can be redeemed through Chase’s travel portal, which is essentially Expedia ($750 value), or they can be transferred 1:1 with 13 airline partners including United, Southwest, and JetBlue ($1,200 value based on latest 3rd party projections). The card has a $95 annual fee (well worth it in year one because the bonus is worth a minimum of $600 cash) and is easily downgraded. It also has no foreign transaction fees and excellent rental car insurance. If you decide on this card, consider using my referral link:

Ashley here! If you have a business, you can really maximize the number of points that you are able to get by signing up for personal and business cards that get you points on the same airline, that is a big part of what has made this New Zealand trip possible.

Here are the cards that I have signed up for recently

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card – You can earn 40,000 points and I can be rewarded too!
  • Barclay Aviator (American Airlines)
  • Aviator Advantage Business Mastercard (American Airlines)
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited (Many Airlines, same program as Chase Sapphire listed above)