FREE & CHEAP TRAVEL
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Earn Travel Points for Free Travel
Mileage points, travel points, points churning-no matter what you call it, if you are trying to travel for cheap I am sure you have heard of points by now. You may be saying to yourself, “I don’t travel enough to earn travel points for free travel”. Or thinking you don’t spend enough on credit cards to earn points. Well stop that thinking right now my friend. I started earning points when I was a single mom working at a non-profit and I continue to sign up for cards and earn points now that I don't work full-time. If I can earn enough points for free travel so can you!
Seven years ago when I made it a goal to travel more I spent hours and hours, and yes, more hours researching how to make travel a reality on my limited budget. I found earning travel points to be the magic answer. So I signed up for my first travel credit card and starting earning travel points for free travel.
I like travel points because they are fairly easy to earn and they allow us to fly for almost FREE and stay in hotels for FREE. The key is earning large sign up bonuses.
I have earned lots of travel points (rewards travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty points-whatever you want to call them). The majority of my travel points come from other sources besides travel. I earn the most points by having the right credit cards.
Using travel points I have flown my daughter and I to Paris and stayed 8 nights for free in Paris, London, and Amsterdam. Wade and I flew to Mexico and stayed over half the time for free using travel points. On our honeymoon we stayed 8 nights for free thanks to travel points.
If you are willing to put forth a little effort you too can travel for FREE. You got this! You too can be a penny pinching globetrotter and travel the world for cheap. So let’s get started.
Step 1 -Sign up for a few travel rewards programs
Start by opening up free loyalty accounts with the major airlines and hotels. You can’t earn points if you don’t sign up for an account. Many people advise opening up an account with all of them, but for me that is too much to manage. These are the ones I have accounts with, there are many others.
My current list is as follows:
I would advise starting with a few and growing from there. Be sure you keep track of your rewards number, log in name and password. I find an excel spreadsheet is handy for this task but there are sites and apps out there to help you with this.
Step 2– Sign up for a couple of travel related credit cards.
Credit cards are the best way to earn points and to be honest it is the sign up bonus you are after. Credit cards offer huge signup bonuses of up to 100,000 points/miles or free hotel nights. Lucky for you, I will let you know who is offering the best sign up bonus at the present time. All you have to do is sign up! There are offers for lots of cards out there. What you see below is the current card offering a higher than normal sign up bonus so these are the ones I recommend at this time. Check back as this changes.
HILTON HONORS AMEX I really love the customer service at American Express. This is always a good card to start with and to have as there is NO ANNUAL FEE! You can use points to stay for FREE in there more than 18 brands. The current sign up bonus is 75,000 points if you spend $1,000 in within the first three months of having the card. Sign up before this offer ends on 8/28/19.
IGH REWARDS CLUB CHASE This is the brand that owns Holiday Inn among other named chains. I find I get great value and very nice hotels at Holiday Inns outside of the US. Their current offer is 80,000 points which is pretty good. It usually is 50K so I recommend signing up now.
Marriott Bonvoy Chase This is a really large hotel chain so it is good to have some free stays with them. Their current offer is for 3 free nights when you spen x? within X months
Step 3-Sign up for Shopping Portals-
How would you like to earn free travel for something you already do? Shop! Did you know there are several sites where you can register your credit card and earn hotel and airline points just for shopping? If you shop online, you should be raking in the points and miles by maximizing shopping portals.
My first stop is usually to http://www.evreward.com/. Here you can enter the store you want and find out who is offering the most rewards. For example I looked up Target and it showed Amtrack offering 4 miles per $, Hawaiian Airlines offering 1 mile per $, and Marriott Rewards offering 4 miles per $.
If I can I try to double dip. This is where I buy something on say the Delta Skymiles Site and use my Delta AMEX card to pay for it. This way I am getting points from both buying through the site as well as using the card. However, the great thing is that you can pretty much use any credit card – you don’t have to use an airline or credit card-affiliated product.
If you spend at least a $100 a month shopping online, you could easily earn 1,200-12,000 extra miles or points per year. Here are some of the shopping sites: Sign up and start shopping your way to your next trip!
Earn Hilton Hotel Points: http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/earn-use-points/shopping-dining/earning/index.html
Earn American Airline Points: https://www.aadvantageeshopping.com/
Earn Delta Airline Points: http://www.skymilesshopping.com/
Earn Amtrack Points: http://shop.amtrakguestrewards.com/
Earn Marriott Points: www.mrewards.shopmyway.com/earnpoints/home
Earn United Airline Points: https://www.mileageplusshopping.com/
Step 4-Sign up for Dining Programs
Travel rewards dining programs are free so why not sign up? Just like with the shopping programs many of the programs offer a sign up bonus. Once you sign up and link your credit cards (hopefully it is a travel points earning card), you will automatically earn miles/points every time you use your linked credit cards at participating restaurants in cities across the world.
From what I can tell there is one company who runs this program but you an sign up through different brands (Delta, American Airlines etc). This company is Rewards Network. Once registered they will automatically give you miles and points every time you spend money at a participating restaurant. Registration is free so what are you waiting for?
The participating airlines are: American, Alaska, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways. The general earning is 3 miles per dollar spent, but once you hit 10 dines you get VIP status where you earn 5 miles per dollar. And of course, you should use a mileage/point earning credit card so you get the double dip – miles from the dining program plus the miles earned on your credit card.
So now you are ready to start earning travel points for free and cheap travel. Welcome to the world of being a Penny Pinching Globetrotter. Have any questions? Enjoyed your first points travel? Share with us in the comments.