How To Use Manufactured Spending To Earn Free Flights And Hotel Stays

Do you realize how many credit card bonuses are out there just waiting to send you on a free vacation?  If you have good credit and pay off your credit card balance in FULL each month, using a travel credit card should be a no brainer.  Over the past 10 years,  I have redeemed at least 1 flight and 5 hotel stays per year from my credit card rewards – all without being charged a single cent of interest.  If you need suggestions on how you can meet the minimum spend for the sign-up bonus on a travel credit card without being irresponsible with your spending, I’m sharing two suggestions below along with my favorite ways to earn miles and lodging!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

How To Meet The Minimum Credit Card Spend Responsibly

  • Purchase gift cards in large denominations for stores like Walmart or other grocery stores where you know you will be shopping often for necessities.   If your bills/expenses typically add up to $3000 over 3 months, and you purchase a total of $1000 in gift cards (can be broken up into multiple gift cards, of course), you will be able to hit the minimum spend for one of my favorite hotel/travel cards.
  • Another option is to pay your phone bill ahead by a month or two, as there is usually no surcharge for doing this.
  • Also, look into paying utility bills ahead.  Sometimes there is a surcharge of a few dollars, but it may be worth it to hit your spend.
  • Plastiq – pay off ANY bills (including rent) with a credit card.  Use promo code: 1149797 for a sign-up bonus.  They do charge a fee for this service but depending on the size of your bill and how much minimum spend you need on the credit card, the rewards you get from the card may outweigh the fee.  Just make sure you do the math before using this service to be sure it will benefit you.

My Favorite Travel Cards For Free Flights And Hotels

Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months your account is open.
  • Points can be redeemed for flights, cash back, hotels, event tickets, and many other items.  50,000 points will typically be enough for a flight to Europe.
  • You earn double points on travel purchases – love this!

Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express 

  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • No annual fee for the first year, then $95 after that.  I cancel before the annual fee kicks in!
  • I’ve gotten 3 free flights by using this card alone!  If you don’t have enough miles for a full flight, you can also pay with miles for a portion of the flight too, which is a nice perk.

Note: I have also earned flights from the Alaska Airlines card (LOVED this one but they discontinued the bonus), American Airlines card, and United MileagePlus card.  All these cards served their purpose but I prefer flying with Delta and/or having flexible points that I can redeem with ANY airline, which is why they are no longer in my travel arsenal.  I’ve also received 2 free hotel stays through the Hilton Honors card.  I considered that to be a good value but ended up preferring the Marriott card overall.  No hard feelings, Hilton.

We used a combination of our free flights and hotels from our credit card rewards and wedding gifts from our Honeyfund honeymoon registry to pay for our month-long honeymoon in Europe, and it was amazing!   Just sharing that as proof that you can easily earn and redeem for free trips, too, whether you want to be gone for a month, a week or just a weekend getaway.  Let me know if you have any questions about the process – I’ll be glad to help if I can!

Thanks for reading!


Start your FREE honeymoon registry or universal gift registry today at!

Participating stores include_ - Kyobi Games - Polabooks Online Bookstore - Li'l Shoppe of Flowers - Paperdollie Clothing Co. - Mavens' Applicances - Hewna Beauty - Zimcore Cybermart - Paw-Paw Pet Store (3).png


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s