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!
Meeting The Minimum Spend For Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses
- Manufactured Spending – 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 my favorite travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa
- 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 50,000 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 is typically enough for a flight to Europe!
- You earn double points on travel purchases – love this!
- US Bank American Express Flex Perks Gold (Enter 400007847447 as your referral code)
- Earn 30,000 bonus FlexPoints worth $450 on airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more. Just spend $2,000 in eligible Net Purchases on your card within the first four months of account opening.
- PREMIUM benefits like TSA Precheck or Global Entry automatic statement credit and complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi membership. I love the TSA Precheck benefit! This allows you to speed through security lines in most airports. I have primarily used my FlexPoints for hotel stays, as that has seemed to be the best value.
- 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.
- Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Visa – Earn 3 FREE nights after spending $3000 in the first 3 months of account opening AND a free night each year on your account anniversary. Gabe and I use our free anniversary night as a romantic getaway each year. It’s definitely been worth the annual fee for us! Now that Marriott has merged with SPG into Bonvoy, there are many more properties to choose from as well.
- Lyft – Earn Delta SkyMiles through booking a ride with Lyft. Use code EMILY6454 for your first ride. I haven’t earned this way yet, but I plan to the next time we need a ride!
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!
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