I'm going to conclude this series of how I travel for free with this post. I'm certain some of you, if not most, have read the way the credit card system can be gamed and think, that's not for me. I understand that. But I want to present to you that this method is scalable. Meaning you can take any part of it and still enhance your travel experience. I'll give examples.
(If this is the first post you are viewing, please start at the first of this ten part series to see how to really take this to next level!
Perhaps you're not into the manufactured spending piece I explained in an earlier post of this series. But the low hanging fruit of credit card sign up bonuses are easy. Anyone can do it! Last week I just applied and was approved for the Aadvantage Red Aviator card. The annual fee for this card is $99, but after your first purchase you'll receive 70,000 American Airlines miles.
This seaside vacation can be yours for pennies on the dollar
Now I love AA miles. I use them all the time. When I fly from Florida to visit family in Maine I use American Airlines. The cost in miles? I always fly when the miles required is low. For an average I spend about 7,000 miles each way, or 14,000 miles round trip. For a 70,000 mile sign up bonus that's 5 free trips to Maine!
What's better about this, I have Executive Platinum status with the airline. With that, I'm upgraded to first class over 90% of the time. And when not upgraded I always get preferred seats at no cost.
The credit card also offers you a free checked bag for you and and several companions. That can save $30 per person. Want to use Wifi on board? It pays $25 toward this.
If you're married or have a partner, both of you can get the card giving you a combined 140,000 miles. If used prudently this can get you several nice trips within the United States for very little cost ($99 credit card fee plus about $5 per one-way trip in taxes).
This is just one example of the many offered. If you have any interest in traveling at all, this is too easy to pass up. For little cost and effort you can travel at greatly discounted rates.
If you're new to credit card applications, meaning you've only applied for a few over the last few years, the game is wide open to you. You likely could get 6 or 7 of these type bonuses for hotel stays and airline flights. That's enough for the average person to take 5 years or more of great vacations.
There's really no downside to this. As I explained earlier your credit score will only go up over time if you pay the balance on your cards each month. That's because your credit utilization drops (amount you owe divided by the credit extended to you). That's one of the main drivers in your credit score. As I said before, I've applied for 100's of cards and my score is 830.
Many of the credit cards you get come with added benefits. Some give airline lounge privileges. So when waiting at the airport, go relax with free food and drinks between flights.
Other benefits may include elite status with a hotel chain. That can get you free breakfast, late checkout, and maybe a free upgrade among other benefits.
Everything I've explained is scalable. If you do want to enhance your miles and point totals you can do some small scale manufactured spending as I described. But be careful, this game is addictive as any gamer will tell you.
Decide what's right for you and employ some or all these tactics and you're on your way to explore new places immediately. There's much more to be told here but other bloggers have covered it well. If interested in the best credit cards to start with, just comment below and I can do a post on where to start. But again, I know this game is not for everyone.
I'm not like most bloggers out there. I get no commission if you apply for a credit card. You see no credit card links on my blog. I'm not trying to sell you anything. I just want the readers here to enjoy some free, or nearly free, travel.