Many people dream of traveling. Constant images of social media influencers visiting interesting or exotic locations make that desire even more potent.
While it looks like these online personalities enjoy limitless funds, the reality is more mundane. Many of them rely on credit card points to help them finance these adventures.
Anyone can use this strategy. Keep reading and learn how.
Credit card companies often offer different versions of their credit cards that award points based on different lifestyle choices.
Travel-oriented cards provide points for travel-related purchases, such as hotel bookings or rental cars. Other cards award points for things like grocery shopping or gas purchases.
Racking up points that someone can use for a flight means picking a card that awards common behaviors in their life.
Applying for cards with lots of sign-up bonus points is one of the simplest ways a person can rack up a lot of points in a hurry. This approach requires some consideration, though.
Getting the points typically requires that the cardholder meet a certain spending threshold within a fixed amount of time. For example, Mary Sue must spend $3000 within the first three months to score those bonus points.
If the spending threshold isn’t realistic for a household, that card offers little value. If the threshold is realistic, the bonus points may put a flight within reach all by themselves.
Credit card companies routinely provide points-based travel options through their own systems. Savvy consumers get around that by transferring the points to an airline with which the credit card company maintains a relationship.
It’s a smart move for consumers because airlines often value the points higher than the airline. A flight that costs 90,000 points through Visa might only cost 75,000 points through United Airlines.
Ongoing problems with flight cancellations make a backup plan a good idea. For example, someone planning a domestic flight might decide on a closer location they can drive to by renting a car right at the airport if their flight gets canceled.
Consumers get free flights with credit cards, but it doesn’t happen by accident. They choose cards that provide points for their everyday shopping activities.
They look for cards that offer big point bonuses for signing up and spending a certain amount. They transfer their points to an airline rather than use the credit card company’s travel options.
Just as importantly, they make backup plans in case their flights get canceled.