The whole idea of Travel credit cards is to trample the high costs of travel into dust! I knew I took that photo for a reason.
Seriously, if you want to travel like a Geezer building your travel mile and point portfolio will involve collecting bonus points to build air miles. A bonus is the reward the credit card company pays you after you spend a set amount of money on their site.
One example would be the Citi banks AAdvantage Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard. This card offers a bonus to 30,000 American air miles after the new card holder spends $1000 dollars on the card. When I look at a bonus I try to give the bonus a dollar value to see if it makes sense. I value American Airlines air mile points at ~1.5 cents based on their ability to purchase actual airline tickets. Using my 1.5 cent value per American Airline air mile point the bonus with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard’s bonus is about $450 dollars worth of travel. This cards annual fee is $95 and that fee is waived for the first year.
Because this is an introduction to bonus points I want to keep my explanation simple. If you were able to qualify for this card and spent the required $1000 in spending on the card, you would have a balance in your air miles account of about 31,000 (30,000 bonus + 1000 spend) air miles points. Thirty thousand points is enough air miles for a flight across America or to Mexico or the Caribbean. If you take your free flight pay your $1000 credit card bill at the end of the month and then cancel your card you just got a free flight.
If you do cancel your card after you have used your miles you will not be able to get another American Airlines credit card for 24 months. In 24 months you will again qualify for the card.
So again keeping this basic, your spouse can also sign up for the card when you do so that’s 2 free round trip flights every 24 months.
In just using the tool of getting an American Airlines card for you and your spouse every two years you as a couple can fly for free. That’s a nice thing, but don’t forget that United and Delta and many other airlines also offer similar bonus mile deals on their credit cards. I think you’re getting the picture.
Until now in this article I have been focusing on branded credit card offers with the major U.S. airlines, almost every major motel chain has similar deals if you get their cards. One of my favorite hotel cards is the Choice Privileges Visa Signature credit card. This little card offers a 32,000 point bonus after you spend $1000 on the card and this card has no annual fee. Branded hotel cards are offered by all of the major hotel chains and many of these like Choice Hotels offer no annual fees.
At this point we have figured out how to use our credit card bonus’s for free flights and free hotels, whats next.
In my other credit card articles I talked about the non-branded credit cards like the American Express Platinum, the Barclay Advantage Plus, and the Chase Saphire Reserve card. All of these non branded cards offer bonus rewards for signing up for their card. When considering these cards watch your step because some like the American Express charge a large annual fee that you will have to consider.
As a closing caveat; always read the fine print before you decide to get a credit card, never spend more then you can pay at the end of the month and take the time to read the comparisons on the internet of different cards.
You can travel for free and one of the best travel tools to accomplish this goal are credit card bonus’s. So use the credit card bonus tool properly and you can travel like a Geezer.