Free travels are available to anyone with a good to excellent credit score. All you need to do is to apply for the right credit cards and redeem their signup bonuses into travel. Normally, two signup bonuses are enough to cover travel expenses for two people or even for a family with kids. To make traveling for free even easier, use our ready redemption recipes for popular destinations.
No tricks here, look how it works.
How it works
It is true, you can visit any place in the world for free. That means you can get a flight, hotel stay, rental car and ticket for an event without paying for them.
Take your piece of the pie
The opportunity comes from smart credit card use. Each time you pay for a purchase with a credit card, the merchant pays a fee to the credit card issuer (bank). This is how banks make a profit from each credit card transaction.
To increase their profit, banks encourage you to use credit cards more often. This is why you get generous rewards programs and huge signup bonuses for nothing more but your typical monthly expenses charged to a credit card. And this is how by simply paying with a credit card, you get an opportunity for free travel as a bonus.
Let’s stress once again, no overspend required. The formula is:
Charge your typical spendings to the right credit card for X months, and get free travel.
Bear in mind please, it’s mainly people with a good to excellent credit score who can qualify for the best rewards credit cards and get all those incentives.
Draw up your free travel budget
Your goal is to get enough credit card rewards (signup bonuses are the fastest option) to cover your travel expenses. Draw up your budget in three steps:
- Estimate your travel expenses. They depend on your location, destination, season, and the number of travelers. Travel booking portals, like Expedia.com, may come in handy while checking prices and available connections. Do your best to find the most comfy and less costly offers and write them down.
- Divide your travel expenses into categories: flight, hotel, car rental, tickets for events and so on. The point is that banks rarely allow redeeming points from different owners into one booking. So it’s important to decide from the very beginning who applies for which credit card to cover what expenses. (You can find the cards with the heftiest signup bonuses and most profitable credit card combinations in the section below).
- Estimate how much of your typical expenses you can charge to a particular credit card. This is important, since to get a signup bonus, you need to meet the minimum spending requirement of $3,000-$4,000 within, normally, three months of account opening. So if you need several credit card bonuses, plan thoroughly to avoid overspending. Apply for the next credit card only after you’ve met the minimum spending requirement for your current card.
Please note that you can use points to pay for flights, hotel stays, rented cars, cruises, experiences, vacation packages and various upgrades. But for taxi, souvenirs, meals, and similar things, you have to pay with a card or cash.
Also, you should understand that when you pay for your travel expenses with points, you are normally not eligible for credit card benefits like travel insurance or baggage protection. Such programs kick in only when you pay for your tickets or hotels with a credit card.
Pick the right credit card
The fastest way to arrange a trip for free is to use credit card signup bonuses. Our favourite picks among rewards credit cards are:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ brings you a 50,000-point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. This is equal to $750 if you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal for travel booking.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card brings you a 50,000-point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. This is equal to $625 if you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal for travel booking.
- The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express earns you 30,000-point bonus Starpoints® after you charge $3,000 in purchases on the card within three months of account opening.
- Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card brings you a 80,000-point signup bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
Based on your travel budget, you may use combinations of these cards to cover higher expenses:
- Sapphire Reserve℠ + Sapphire Preferred®. Transfer a signup bonus from your Sapphire Preferred® account to your Sapphire Reserve℠ account and get $1,500 in total for flight, car and hotel booking.
- SPG AMEX + Marriott Chase. Transfer your SPG bonus points to your Marriott account and get 170,000 points in total for hotel booking.
Stick to your plan
Getting free travel may take from one to nine months depending on your typical monthly spendings. The lower your monthly expenses are, the longer it takes to meet minimum spending requirements of multiple credit cards. Plan thoroughly to avoid overspending.
So, here is the algorithm:
- Apply for the chosen credit card.
- Spend $3,000-$4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening to meet the minimum spending requirements and get the signup bonus. (Besides typical monthly expenses, use your card to pay for planned big-ticket purchases. Or pay your rent or taxes with your card — but, in these cases, a fee is charged).
- Repeat steps 1-2 for the next credit cards.
- Redeem your points. Use bank rewards portals to redeem your points and book flights, hotels, cars and so on. Such portals offer better redemption rates and special deals for their users.
Planning free travel may seem complicated, but it makes your dream vacation come true within less than a year.
Ready redemption recipes
Here you may find ready redemption recipes for the most popular travel destinations within the U.S. and overseas:
- Surfing in Maui, Hawaii, Single Round-Trip Flight & Car Rental FOR FREE
- 7 Night Cruise to Bahamas for Family with Kids FOR FREE
- Long-Weekend Family Trip to Disneyland, Orlando, Hotel & Round-Trip Flight FOR FREE
- Week in Mykonos: Round-Trip Flights & 6-Night Comfy Stay at Marriott Property FOR FREE
- Five-Day Vacation for Two in Cancun, Mexico, Hotel & Round-Trip Flight FOR FREE
- Three-Day VIP Tickets for Two People to Governors Ball Music Festival, New York, FOR FREE
The bottom line
Any person with an excellent credit score can afford traveling to any place in the world and what’s more – for free. All you need to do is to apply for the right credit cards, receive their signup bonuses and redeem them smartly for your travel.
Take your piece of the pie, and discover the world!