How to travel for free in the U.S. [this is how we do it]

how we got 161 free hotel nightsI know when you read a title like “how to travel the U.S. for free” you can’t help but be suspicious.

But stick with me on this – if this is new to you, you are going to like it.

Over the last 5 years, we have gotten 161 hotel nights and 97 flights all around the U.S. – for FREE.

It is absolutely legit and honestly not even that difficult.

1 quick thing before we get started:

My first taste of free travel

When Linda and I got married, we had a terribly small bed with a huge dip in the middle. All night long, we would each struggle NOT to roll into the dip. We were grateful to be married, but we hated that bed.

So when it came to deciding whether or not we were going to do a fancy honeymoon or get a new bed, the decision was easy.

New bed it was!

We spent every dime of our wedding money that we received on that King-sized bed.

It only fit in our apartment by resting on 2 walls – so she had to climb out on my side.

But we didn’t care. It was huge and didn’t have a dip. We were tasting our first glimpse of heaven.

Thankfully, we had a generous couple in our church who graciously allowed us to use their beach house for our honeymoon – for free.

It was my first taste of travel with the love of my life, and I wanted more of it.

bob-linda-surprise-vacation

I had been on vacations growing up as a kid with my family, but now that I was an “adult” and got to call the shots, traveling for fun was a whole new experience.

So I began dreaming of all the cities that I would like to visit.

And then reality hit me upside the head…

Traveling in the U.S. is REALLY expensive.

For some reason, this truth never found its way into my brain until I got married.

As I began pricing out hotels, I quickly realized that even cheap hotels are expensive! And when I looked at how much it cost to fly (just around the U.S.) my jaw dropped.

With both of us having low-paying entry-level jobs AND trying to pay off $46k of debt, I came to the conclusion that there probably wasn’t as much traveling in my future as I was hoping.

So a few years go by (you can read about what happened during those years here) and then I discovered the secret that allowed us to essentially never pay for U.S. travel again.

I know that may sound like a late-night infomercial, but for us, this has been one of the most amazing blessings.

It was what we had always dreamed about, but always seemed out of reach financially for us.

 

What we discovered

After opening about 15 different credit cards and doing lots of research, I discovered the best ones and the ones that would best help us reach our goal of traveling around the U.S. – and for free.

The truth is that credit card points are FAR from being equal. Some rewards programs are good, and others are terrible.

For example, some might give you 50,000 points for signing up for a new card, but those 50k points will only provide 1 flight or night in a hotel for that amount.

When I discovered the best program, we were able to take 50k points and use it for 10 nights in a nice hotel – which we did in 2014.

So one rewards program can absolutely be 5-10x better than another.

The point is that just because you might get points for using your credit card, that doesn’t mean it will get you very far.

You need to have one of the high-yielding rewards cards to make the most of it.

 

How do you earn points?

For people new to this whole world, you generally get points by:

There are other ways to earn, but these are the only ones I choose to focus any time on.

 

A quick caveat

There are entire blogs and books devoted to free travel, but my goal with this is to slim the information down into an easy to digest article that I wish I could have read when I was dreaming about traveling but thought it was impossible.

What that means is that I am going to give you my best advice – what has worked for us – based on what I have learned over the last 5 years of doing this.

Depending on which airlines you can fly, where you want to travel, etc. you might find some other programs to be beneficial, but suffice it to say that our system will be great for probably 90-95% of Americans wanting to travel the U.S. for free (and maybe a little beyond).

 

So which ones are the best?

Simply put, Chase rewards credit cards provide the most versatile and valuable points that I have found.

(Compare these cards with other rewards cards here)

Their rewards program is called Ultimate Rewards, and while you can use those points to book flights and hotels directly, the best bet is to transfer those points to partners.

These are some of the options available:

reward-point-options

We have found that transferring those points to Southwest Airlines to book flights and to Hyatt to book hotels has yielded the biggest bang for the buck.

There are tons of options, but for us, that has been the winner 90% of the time, and since I like making things easy whenever possible, those are our go-to options.

Both of them are great and reliable companies and have been great to work with – in addition to having incredibly generous rewards programs.

 

So what does this look like for us?

For us, we put as much of our spending as possible on our 2 credit cards and between our personal credit card and our business credit card we spend at least $5k each month.

This provides 5,000+ points, which is enough for a night at a good number of Hyatt hotels or a cheap Southwest flight.

To give you a little point of reference here, we have gotten many of our hotel stays for as little as 5,000 points a night and some Southwest flights as cheap as 3,600 points.

What about sign up bonuses?

What I mentioned in the paragraph above doesn’t even take sign-up bonuses into consideration. That is just our everyday spending that is earning us points.

When I got started in all this, I signed up for tons of cards and earned tons of bonus points by doing so, but honestly, haven’t opened many new cards in a while because we have more than enough points to do what we need to do.

But, there is no doubt that opening a few cards with lucrative bonuses is a great way to get started.

Many of the Chase cards offer 50k points for signing up, so that could potentially get you a FREE week+ stay at a Hyatt.

Many of these hotels will cost $130/night, and you can get 10 nights free. That’s $1,300 of free hotel stays!

Just for opening a credit card. That is just insane to think about.

Just to clarify, many of the Hyatt hotels are considerably more than 5,000 a night – some up to 30,000 a night for the lap of luxury.

But, at the time of this writing, there are 136 Hyatts in the U.S. and Canada that only cost 5,000 points a night.

Here they are:

hyatt-hotel-options

Let’s chat a little about Southwest

Early in 2017, we adopted our baby girl and long-story-short, it came as a surprise, and we had to move really quickly.

We literally packed up our whole family for a 10-day trip that we weren’t expecting and got on the road to get our baby girl in less than 2 hours.

Once we were on the road, I called my mom and asked her if she could fly up to meet us to help take care of our 3-year old for a few days.

She is nothing short of amazing and said that she could catch a flight that day.

As I went to book her flight, I realized that Southwest didn’t fly to the airport in the small town where our daughter was born.

So, I had to cough up $500 to fly my mom up on a last minute flight with another airline.

Many people might not think anything of it, but for me, it was such a foreign concept. I didn’t remember the last time I actually paid real money for a flight.

Don’t get me wrong; I would pay the $500 again in a heartbeat because having my mom there during those chaotic first few days was priceless. But it made me appreciate the value of all these points on a higher level.

Just to give you an idea of how far Chase points go with Southwest, here is what Southwest is currently charging (one-way) to fly out of Nashville to various locations:

southwest-flights-nashville

Again, you should be able to see how far a 50,000 point bonus can go.

As if that wasn’t good enough, Southwest just has some very customer-friendly policies like:

  • Allowing you to cancel your flight for any reason and get all the points refunded to your account.
  • If you book a flight that costs 7,000 points and you see that they lower the price to 5,000 you can just call them, and they will refund you the difference.

I am sure there are many great airlines out there, but Southwest has truly been outstanding for us.

Plus, two bags fly for free! Boom!

 

So what’s the catch?

There are no “catches” per se, but here are a couple of things you should know…

Most of the cards with signup bonuses will have a minimum spend requirement for the card

Basically, they want to know that you are using the card before giving you the bonus. Spending a total of $3,000 on it in the first 3 months is pretty common. But once you spend the minimum amount, you aren’t obligated to use it anymore.

Some cards have an “annual fee”

Many Chase cards have a $95 annual fee, but some of them waive it for the first year. The benefits we get from our card so far outweigh that fee, that I don’t even think about it. But, whenever we stop using a card (sometimes before we get charged the fee), I typically close the account, because I don’t want to pay the fee for a card I am not using.

 

So how do the credit card companies make money?

If you think this seems too good to be true, I get it.

The reality is that credit card companies make money by:

  • Charging us interest (if we don’t pay our balance in full each month)
  • Charging merchants processing fees

So what this means to you and me is that we can use the cards, pay them off each month and never pay interest, and they still make money from charging merchants a percentage.

Rewards programs like this have been around a long time, and I don’t think they would still be around if they weren’t making money.

The most important part here (worth repeating) is that you and I do NOT need to pay any credit card interest to get these perks.

For the 5+ years of doing this, I have never paid any interest to the credit card companies.

And I strongly suggest you do the same.

 

What all this credit card point stuff has meant for us

Just in terms of numbers, I dug and dug to see if I could tally up all the free flights, and hotel stays around the US that we have taken over the last 5 years.

And making a very conservative estimate, I counted 161 hotel nights, and 97 flights that we used points for (and did NOT pay for).

I estimate it would have cost us $45k-$60k in cash for all that travel.

And honestly, that has just been the beginning. I could go on and on about what credit card points have done for us, but I will just give you a few highlights:

Flexibility

In the story I just mentioned about adopting our daughter, you may or may not know that in the U.S. cross-state adoptions require the adoptive family to remain in the state of birth for 7-14 days until given clearance to leave by the state.

With our daughter, we were able to book a Hyatt and stay for free the entire time.

The same thing happened when we adopted our son a few years earlier. We stayed there for 10 days and didn’t pay a dime.

Being able just to go book a hotel pretty much any time we want and NOT pay cash for it has been such an incredible blessing.

Seeing family more

Linda and I left a lot of family behind when we moved to Nashville a couple of years ago, and now we have people we love spread across the U.S.

We are so grateful that we generally don’t have to factor in the financial cost of visiting them because of our rewards points.

Getting out of the house more

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we had only dreamed of being able to get out and explore like we have been able to the last few years.

While we haven’t done much international travel yet (that is next on our list), we have been able to travel around parts of the U.S. a lot more than I could have dreamed.

Being able to give points and bless others

Another unexpected benefit is that we have been able to give many points away to bless others’ with trips.

And who knows? Maybe you might get to be one of those people too! 😉

See where I’m going here?

But first…

 

If you want to get started down this path, read this first

In my 20’s I don’t know that I would have been able to use a credit card and NOT get myself in trouble spending more than I should.

We opted to NOT have a credit card for the early years of our marriage when times were really tight. I am glad we made that decision.

Please know that if you can’t pay your balance off each month, you will negate ALL of the benefits of these rewards if you are paying interest on the card.

My suggestion would be that if you do have a single month where you don’t pay off the full balance, then close the card immediately. There is no point to getting a bunch of reward points if you are paying big interest charges to get them.

 

How to get started traveling for free

My favorite tool for free travel

My well-worn Sapphire card

Now that I got that out of the way, what I would recommend is:

1. Just open one Chase card that has a good bonus.

We have found (and almost every other credit card expert I know agrees) that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best general rewards card out there.

(Compare this card with other rewards cards here)

 

2. Start using it as your main card

You want to do this so you can meet the minimum spend requirement of the card. If you want to earn points though, you will obviously want to continue using it.

Once you reach your minimum spend, they will credit your rewards account with the bonus points. In my experience, this normally takes about a month.

 

3. Now you are off to the races.

You can go with my recommendation of mostly transferring to Southwest and Hyatt to book travel, or you can use the points to get cash back, shop on Amazon, or book tons of other airlines or hotels.

 

**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

We want to give away a free U.S. trip on us!

Linda and I chatted about it, and we decided we want to give away a U.S based trip (up to 50,000 of our points) to one of our awesome readers! Please read the giveaway details below the entry form.

There are many ways to enter below, so hopefully at least one will work for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway details:

  • Only 1 person per household can enter. Duplicates will be disqualified.
  • We can NOT transfer the points directly to the winner, so we will chat with the winner to work out the details of the trip, and we will have to book the travel for the winner. So this means that you might need to share some details with us so we can book hotel/flights for you.

Good luck!

Jean Chatzky on Rewards credit cards

Interestingly, Jean Chatzky, the Today Show Financial Editor, echoed my sentiments about the Sapphire card (and credit card rewards as a whole) just a day after we posted this article.

The segment is below:

 

 

 

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119 Comments
  1. Brad

    Great article! We started this in 2016 and credit card points have been a great way to travel (Florida, Hawaii, Mexico and soon Puerto Rico) when we do not have the amount of money we would need to take these trips. Thanks for sharing and I appreciate how you show how we can be great stewards of the resources God has given us!

    • Bob

      Thanks Brad!

  2. Smart Money

    Awesome article! It’s amazing that you can snag a flight for several thousand points. I have to shell out 25K points for a round-trip domestic ticket to fly out of my home town (United, Delta, etc). To fly on Southwest Airlines means driving hours to the nearest large city.

    Do you have any travel “hacks” for people like me who live in a small town? Thanks!

    • Bob

      No, unfortunately all I really know is our system and what we have done. Having a Airport with Southwest in our hometown has been a huge blessing!

  3. Kyra

    I want to go to Hawaii or Puerto Rico!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s awesome, Kyra!

  4. Rachel anderson

    My husband lost his job in October 2017. We have been able to
    Stay out of debt through the Pat few months and are changing much of the way we live. I want to travel with my family and make memories!!! We would travel to Puerto Rico.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Good for you for staying out of debt, Rachel! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Gina Lawrence

    I’ve had this card for years and my husband travels southwest occasionally for business. I’m looking forward to making this card work for us now! Any suggestions on what you use your card for? Do you pay bills and just budget from your cash to pay the card monthly?

    • Bob

      Gina, we try to use it for everything. You can’t use it on your mortgage payment, but all of our everyday spending goes on it and whenever possible we pay our utilities with it (some allow that without a fee), And yes since we are only spending out of our budget, we just pay the card off each month easily.

  6. Anika Hughes

    I would like to go to California or Florida. We have some friends in Florida we would like to visit so I am leaning more toward Florida. Thanks 🙂

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s great, Anika – thanks for sharing!

  7. Matt E

    I’ve been getting airline specific cards for the past several years, and finally got the Sapphire Preferred. Excited to hopefully continue getting free travel! Thanks for the article, and if I win, I’d love to take my wife to Hawaii again, or maybe to California to visit family.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Hawaii sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing, Matt!

  8. Chet

    Hi Bob,
    This is a really interesting article, it really got me to thinking. Thanks for all the detail to help with what will work best for my family and I. And if we win we would probably go to Texas.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s great, Chet – thanks for sharing!

  9. Jewel Sullivan

    We have a baby on the way and would love to visit somewhere sunny before then. Thinking Florida or Hawaii!!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s a great idea, Jewel – thanks for sharing!

  10. Debbie

    What a wonderful gift you are giving. I’m working towards being debt free. If I keep following the debt snowball plan, I should be free of non-mortgage debt by November!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s great, Debbie – keep up the great work!

  11. Andy Gartman

    Thanks for offering such a generous prize. If we win we hope to visit friends who recently moved to Arizona.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s great, Andy – thanks for sharing!

  12. Sarah Proctor

    I have several cities I would love to visit but cost has always been a hinderance. I’d love to visit St, Augustine, New York City, or Dallas!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Those all sound great, Sarah! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kathleen Bandaruk

    Bob, you are amazing. I’m always in awe of the quality content you produce! I also enjoyed your blog class as well as your mentorship and availability through the years! Thank you for this!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks for the kind words, Kathleen!

  14. VERONICA

    Hello, My fantasy trip would be to go to the Ark Encounter and their museum in Louisville, KY.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s great, Veronica – thanks for sharing!

  15. Angela

    Would love to go to Austin, TX! (:

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s a great idea, Angela!

  16. David Etter

    Our family decided long ago to spend our $$ on making family memories rather than getting stuff, and since then we’ve downsized our home twice…even as adding children (4 bio, 2 adopted). When we lived overseas for 21 years, I charged as much as I could on our credit card, and then used those miles to get free flights back and forth to the mainland, or to get our daughter to and from college. Very worthwhile!

    • David Etter

      Btw, I am taking my wife to New England this summer for our 26th anniversary. That’s our next vacay…

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Love that, David – making memories instead of having stuff! Enjoy New England!

  17. Crystal Apollon

    This is a great article. Very informative just like all of your other articles, thanks for sharing. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity as well. There are so many places we’d like to visit…I’m not really sure where we’d go, guess we’d have to vote! Lol

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      You are welcome, Crystal – thanks for entering!

  18. Tanya Ezrol

    I love your blog and your generosity. I’m great with credit points and love the idea of gifting nights to family and friends. Looking forward to blessing a family someday soon.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Love that, Tanya – it’s such a blessing to be able to bless others!

  19. Michelle

    I would love to go to Puerto Rico! I need some beach in my life!!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That sounds wonderful, Michelle! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Kendall | Perfect Cents Living

    I needed this post! My husband and I finally became credit card debt-free back in December and we have been researching how to use credit cards to our advantage to travel more. Now that we know (and have the ability) to not carry a recurring balance from month to month we are in a better position to “travel hack”. We would love to explore more of the U.S.! Specifically, Alaska, Hawaii, Tennesee, Texas, Montana, and Wyoming!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Congrats on being CC debt-free, Kendall! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Regina Lento

    I would visit my sister in UT!

    Thanks, & your emails are one of the few I open <3

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Glad to hear that, Regina! Visiting family is a great idea!

  22. Jerry

    Great post. I try to accumulate and use points when possible. Given that I have 2 children and one more on the way the points dissapear pretty fast. Would love to take my family on small getaway before baby 3 to either Texas or Florida. We are also luck to have southwest in our city. Enjoy reading your posts.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks, Jerry – having Southwest as an option is so nice!

  23. Sarah Jones

    Unfortunately Southwest doesn’t quite make it to Alaska, where we live. But the Hyatt idea sounds great. We use a Costco rewards card but this does sound better. I’ll be looking into it.

    We would love to visit my husband’s best friend in New England- or the in-law’s and my best friend in Hawaii! Everyone is so spread out, us included, up here in Alaska 🙂

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Those all sound great, Sarah, especially Hawaii!

  24. Sheila

    Hi Bob, Thank you so much for your advice on traveling. I’ve wanted to travel, but it is expensive! This may be my “ticket!” 🙂 My first trip will probably be to see my son, his wife and 3 grandbabies in Ohio! After that, seeing the Giant Redwoods and Whale watching!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Love those goals, Sheila! Good luck!!

  25. Laura

    Thanks so much. We may need to make some changes. We work and serve at a christian non profit ministry and sometimes travel seems just out of reach. We would love to make it to the mountains with our kids someday.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That’s a great goal, Laura! And thank you for the work you do!

  26. Kathryn G Maas

    Great post here! One cautionary word – always start with a checkup on your credit rating, as opening – and even CLOSING your cards – has an impact on that. By closing an account you directly impact a) how much credit is available against any debt you carry (increasing your overall debt ratio), b) possibly your age of accounts. Only for the credit savvy and disciplined! I’d love to go to Hawaii, which has been out of the realm of possibilities for us. Thanks for all you do Bob!

  27. Tammy Wilson

    I’d love to go to Yellowstone or CA!!

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      That sounds great, Tammy!

  28. Justin Benner

    If I won the giveaway, I would love to take my wife to the Pacific Northwest. She’s never been to that part of the country before and I love it up there! Hawaii would also be worth considering as that’s the last of the 50 states for me to visit.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Those both sound great, Justin! Thanks for sharing!

  29. BJM

    We .have used points to buy flights on Southwest. It’s a great option.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Thanks for sharing, BJM!

  30. BJM

    I want to go to Hawaii if points will get me there

  31. Sherri Dube

    We are adopting a little girl from China in a few weeks. We are bringing our whole family (4 other kiddos), and we do have some points but definitely not enough. So we would try to use the points towards that trip!

  32. Julie Dostal

    If I won I would take my husband to NYC for some broadway musicals and great food!!

  33. Alicia

    The chase sapphire is great for points! We would go to Hawaii or maybe Seattle.

  34. Barbara

    Great article and something Ive thought of doing but just scared I guess. I think I’d go to Washington to see my sister!

  35. Leia

    Thanks for the article Bob! My husband and I have also dreamed of traveling but with four kids and his salary as a high school teacher, we just thought it would have to remain a dream. Maybe not anymore 😊

  36. Janna

    Hi! This is awesome. I’m going to talk to my husband about trying to see if we could do this! I am excited thinking about it. We like to travel but we have 4 kids and it is so expensive. Sometimes we even have to get two rooms. If we won we would go to a beach on the ocean. My children and my husband have never seen the ocean. That is one of our goals. Thank you for sharing your points blessing. We are working on paying off our debt now and I follow your blog for inspiration to see that it really can be done!

  37. Margo

    Hello! I just read this article on credit card rewards for travel. In it you mention that you first tried several different credit cards and would close them. My question is that I was told closing credit cards would hurt your credit, is this not true? I have a couple that I wouldn’t mind closing. And I would Like to get the Chase Saphire Card but I would like to get rid of at least one other one first. They are all paid off of course. I just don’t use a couple of themBecause there are no good rewards. Thanks!

  38. Lisa Kay Schoonover

    I have really enjoyed your blog and I would visit Minnesota to vist a old college room mate that I haven’t seen in 20 years

  39. Lenita

    This article has been an eye opener!! I couldn’t click on this article fast enough when I saw that it was from SeedTime because I knew I could trust the information I was going to get. We definitely want to travel more. Thanks for spelling it out on how we can be more cost effective doing it. I would use the flight to go to Colorado Springs!

  40. Samantha Hendren

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go to Japan!

  41. Clinton Brown

    We went a similar debt and escape route. Glad you escaped and are profiting from the incentives the Credit Card companies use to attract less savvy versions of us.

  42. Tiff

    Thanks for sharing how you do this! We love to travel and hopefully this method will help us do it more often 🙂

  43. Mary

    Great article! My husband and I are newlyweds and we haven’t been able to travel since we moved to North Carolina in July. I’m a teacher and he was unemployed the first 7 months we lived here. Your article gives me hope that we will be able to travel again! We currently have the Capital One Venture card but you have made me consider switching to Chase. If we won the giveaway we would love to travel back to Las Vegas (not to gamble or go to the Strip! We lived there for two years and we miss the hiking, camping, our old church, etc.). Thank you for your blog!!

  44. Jessica

    I am so glad you overcame your fear of posting this. Your take on finances is so fresh and applicable. My family of 5 just got a taste of travel this last winter, and all of us would love to do it more. We assumed it would be several years before we were financially able to do so, but this post inspires me! Thanks again! If we win trip, we’ll head to the mountains!

  45. Tina

    Bob, I really enjoy the different topics on your blog. I am so excited and looking forward to traveling for free. I want to travel to Hawaii, Texas and Virginia Beach, but since it is just one trip I choose Virginia Beach since my dad and brothers live there and I don’t get to see them often. Thank God for the gift he has given you. Keep it up!! Blessings!!

    • Bob

      Thanks Tina – I appreciate it!

  46. Brenda Jackson

    Thanks for this good advice. I was already putting all my purchases on one credit card, but I knew it was not the best one for rewards points. I am already a huge fan of Southwest Airlines.

  47. Estelle

    Great article! I love that you share your very relatable relationship with credit cards, from not paying off every month to paying each month and be able to benefit from reward points. I plan to give this a try. I would travel to Puerto Rico to see my Abuela, who I haven’t seen since the hurricane. Thanks!

  48. Tommy R. Carpenter

    Thanks so much for your insight and advice. Jane and I are retired missionaries since August 1, 2016, but since that time we have hosted construction trips to Belize, C.A. building churches. We just completed our ninth project in February.

    If we get the CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED would it be possible to roll over a balance of the current travel card we use?

    As you can imagine, we have at least five more trips for this year. Thanks for your help.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Hey Tommy – yes, you should be able to roll over a balance but you’ll have to check with the CC company for specifics!

  49. Samantha

    We had the Chase Marriott Card so we could get points to travel, we were able to cash them in and take our family of 6 to New Hampshire for a winter trip before my husband deployed. When we transferred the points over to Southwest we were told we had made the companion fare for 2 years since it was our first time. When my husband came back from deployment we went to use it and it had disappeared, I called and they said there was no such thing. Left us so disappointed. I’d love to take my kids to visit their grandparents in California.

  50. Arlene

    Very interesting! I would love to be able to travel to see our children and grandchildren.

  51. Kendala Coleman

    Awesome post! If chosen I will take my husband and two little ones to Philadelphia to attend a family reunion and check out the Sesame Street amusement park.

  52. Kevin

    Thanks for sharing! I have really enjoyed following your blog and appreciate the Biblical perspective with which you share. Thank you for sharing the benefits as well as the cautions of using credit cards. Pro my favorite part about your blog is that you do all the research and experiments and then share is with us so we can benefit as well!

    • Bob

      Glad to be of service Kevin!!

  53. Nick tello

    My wife and I have mentioned several times. About going to Niagara Falls but for some reason or another we never go. Usually it’s a money issue and now with two boys, more money is required for airfare and food. Just seeing pictures and videos of the Falls reminds me how great God is and how creative He was when He made this world. The Falls would definitely be our choice vacation spot.

  54. David P

    Sounds pretty awesome, Bob. I’d love to go visit my brother, his wife, and my 4 nieces and 1 nephew (yeah, he’s outnumbered, but he has great sisters) now that they’re easier to visit. They live in Iowa now, no longer missionaries in China. Don’t think my bonus points would have gotten me THERE.

  55. Monica baker

    Inspiring!

  56. Gwendolyn

    My husband and I are planning to go to Texas this year as we have never been there. It would be great to win airfare there!

  57. JoDell

    This seems certainly worth looking into. I’ve always thought I was doing great by having very few accounts open, not opening a bunch of credit cards. I’ve also always been under the impression that you should never close a card account. This made me realize that things change (opening and closing an account in the short term probably doesn’t affect credit as much as we thought) and maybe it’s time to take advantage of some of these offers.

  58. Chris

    This is very helpful! I’ve decided to do this, after taking your advice to get out of debt. My mother has been using her rewards card for “everything” for years! She took my whole family on a cruise of the Bahamas using rewards.

  59. Colleen Lewis

    I’m finally convinced. I’ve read a number of these types of articles, so thanks for making it simple. Prior to having kids, my husband and I used to backpack the national parks. Now we have a 2 and a 3 year old… so maybe we wouldn’t backpack, but we’d LOVE to see Rocky Mountain National Park. Denver would be our pick!

  60. Bryndl Rohan

    Thank you for the information! This is a different perspective on credit cards than I have heard from other financial blogs, but one I have long subscribed too.

  61. Irina

    Thank you for an awesome article!! I always appreciate your posts! God bless you and your family 🙂

  62. Nikki

    We would love to go to either Colorado or Maine. Two different places, I know, but we’ve never been to either and they both seem so beautiful.

  63. Jen

    I’m thinking about getting the Chase card but worried that I don’t have $4000 worth of expenses for 3 months. I currently have the capital one venture card and I make sure to pay it off every month but the rewards aren’t that great. Now I’m thinking of switching to Chase. I’d love to go to Mexico or Peru, where my family is from and visit some of the places they lived.

  64. Shelia B.

    Great information! We fly Southwest anyway, so will definitely be checking this out!

    Would love to take my mom back east to see the fall colors this year, but haven’t checked out Southwest options. If not available, then probably Phoenix or San Diego to visit family.

    Thanks!

  65. Joanne

    This is a great article that would benefit everyone!! Thanks for sharing! Would love to fly to Florida to visit friends and relatives!

  66. Adam Simon

    Thanks for this Bob! I kid you not, my wife and I literally just signed up for these rewards…and then we saw this! Perfect timing.

  67. Smccrory

    Great advice, I will have to try this travel points thing. I had travel points at one time but didn’t take the step to use them, (hits hand on forehead).

  68. Danshelle Jones

    This is so awesome! I can’t wait to try this out!!! I actually don’t spend very much outside of rent so I’ll definitely have to research those minimums. If I win the travel raffle I think I would visit Texas (Dallas or Austin). A lot of my friends from college live down there, it’s warm and I heard the food was ahmazing.

  69. Debbie

    Thanks for the blog post, Bob. Cool idea for a giveaway, too!

  70. Ken

    We just got our first points card in March, and we are looking forward to San Diego so the kids can see the ocean. However, we would also like to visit the northeastern US!

  71. Marissa

    Amazing post! My boyfriend and I haven’t been many places in the U.S. On our bucket list is NYC, DC, Miami + Key West, Seattle, Portland, Austin, St. Louis and New Orleans. Hope we can cross one of those off our list this year!

  72. Jen

    This is super helpful- thank you! My husband and I have been learning more about credit cards and the benefits if used responsibly, so I appreciate your post. We’re currently renovating our first home, a 1960’s midcentury modern ranch. We’d love to visit Palm Springs for inspiration!! Thanks for the opportunity.

  73. Cassie

    Great article! I will have to pass this on to my husband because he has always wanted to get a credit card for the points to fly. We recently got a chase credit card through Amazon but I will have to look into the one you mentioned above. Thankfully we have avoided credit cards for the past 9 years of our marriage and have no debt so I think after years of living within our means with a budget we could pay for everything we budget for with a credit card.

  74. Troy @ Bull Market

    Wow that’s awesome! Another way is to grow a big instagram following and then do reviews for the hotels that you stay in.

  75. Courtney Wanek

    Would love to start doing this. We’ve wanted to plan a trip to Disneyworld and Universal studios

  76. Katherine

    I’ve been thinking about getting a travel rewards card for awhile. The first place I’ll go is back to Virginia to visit family I haven’t seen in years. 🙂

  77. Debra Harden

    I would visit my sister in Texas.

  78. Bethany

    Very interesting couple of articles, Bob!
    I haven’t had a credit card in a few years but after reading these articles, I am definitely interested in trying this method out as I too have been desiring to travel with my family as well. Do you suggest only opening multiple cards if you’re currently in debt and need to transfer for lower interest rates, or does this method work when you don’t have debt but want to earn points? Thanks so much!

    P.S. My hearts desire is to travel to New Mexico. I have a great love for the Southwest, really interested in the art and culture there. 🙂

  79. Matt

    Great article! Can’t wait to go to Hawaii and Disney a world with the fam!

  80. Jessica Lippe

    I’ve been using credit rewards for cash back, but maybe it’s time to get more serious about it. I’d love to go to the East Coast.

  81. Laurie

    very cool!

  82. April Norman

    Great article!! I love using my cards for rewards. Thank you for the advice.

  83. Kimberlea

    Such a helpful article! I’d love to travel to Alabama to visit close close friends that just moved there.

  84. Alex Allison

    My husband Michael and I are going to be having a baby this year, and we have been loving the idea of going on a baby moon! We have heard from friends they are the bomb.com and we want to get on that train! If we could fly anywhere, it would be to Florida, New York, or California. We would love to be a part of this opportunity. Thanks Bob and Linda for laying out everything about different credit cards, which ones are worth it and which ones aren’t. Being traveling photographers as well, it never hurts to be in the know on how to make traveling easier as well!

  85. Jeremy

    I didn’t ever look into transferring points to another rewards. I have that card and have used it to book travel directly through the chase rewards site, not realizing it is a 1-1 transfer. Why do you use Hyatt? I have Marriott Rewards, although not many points currently.

    • Bob

      Jeremy, Hyatt seems to be the best (by far in my experience) in value per point. It is really difficult to book a nice hotel via the Chase Rewards site for 5000 points and there are a whole lot of pretty nice Hyatts that you can get for 5000.

  86. Amanda Jones

    I love this and will definitely use it asap!

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