With the holiday season approaching, many of us know that our monthly expenditures will rise in the next few months. And that increase in spending is met with a low level of dread for some. But it doesn’t have to! Learn how that spending can lead to travel savings!
Now first things first –don’t spend money you don’t have. Don’t go into debt to fund travel or Christmas gifts or other discretionary expenses!
But if you have good credit (a score of 700+) – you can use that extra spending in November and December to earn at least $500 in travel savings for your next vacation. Also, for all who are worried about your credit score, no, this won’t ruin it.
Welcome to the world of miles & points or “travel hacking”
Here’s the short of it: banks give you bonuses for opening new credit cards and completing a minimum amount of spending on that card. You’ve probably seen these offers advertised widely because they are quite common. You can then use those bonuses for free or almost free travel.
November is the perfect time to dip your toe in the water of travel hacking because it is a time when many people spend more, and can more easily meet their minimum spending requirements.
Just getting started? Check out my intro post for an overview of how the travel savings will start to add up.
Picking A Card
There is a whole lot of information out there about strategies and picking your best card.
But you’re busy, right? And maybe you don’t exactly know where you want to go or how you will use your points? Here’s a list of 4 great options for cards with points that are easy to earn and easy to redeem.
As always, email me if you have questions about what card is best for you.
Spend $1000 for $600 of free flights on Southwest
We love flying Southwest — particularly because flights booked with points are refundable up until 10 minutes before departure AND you can exchange tickets for a lower price if the price drops. See more in our Intro guide to flying Southwest.
A bonus of 40,000 points is worth $600 of flights! Current bonuses may vary.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
- $149 annual fee
- $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases
- 4 upgraded boardings per year
- 7500 points per year on your card member anniversary
- 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
- 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
- Check your Companion Pass strategy before applying
Spend $2000 for a 4 night hotel stay
With the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card you can often earn 60,000 points after spending $2000 in 3 months. This card has no annual fee!
Best Value: With this card, your 4th night of any hotel stay booked with points is free! So the best value is finding a hotel for 25,000 points per night or less and using your 80,000 points for 3 nights + 1 free!
Check out my Guide to Booking Free Hotel Rooms for more hotel card options
Spend $4000 for $750 travel savings on any expense
- $95 annual fee
- Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
- Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
- Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
- Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- $95 annual fee
- Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Southwest, Hyatt, United, and more!
- You can also redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal. 60,000 points = $750 of travel
- Great option for booking all-inclusive resorts or hotels in Hawaii.