How to Use Credit Cards to Earn a Free Trip

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Imagine if a credit card rewarded you with free airfare or hotel nights and all you had to do was use the card. This is the world we live in today. A lot of credit cards have bolstered their rewards programs to allow you to get more than ever.

Taking advantage of these rewards to get a free trip is easier than ever, but there are a few things to look out for. Our quick guide will give you the lowdown on how to earn a free trip.

Research Travel Cards

Travel cards would be the first place we look for a rewards program that will directly lead to free vacations. These cards can be issued by major banks or by airlines, hotels, or even cruise lines. Most of these cards will give you points or miles towards a future travel purchase.

This is where the research begins. You have to look at your spending and determine which card will give you the most rewards with the least amount of spending. Another point of emphasis, is factoring in the annual fee of these cards.

A large majority of these cards will have an annual fee that could offset some of the gains you earn through points. Be diligent and you will find cards with no annual fee, or cards with the first year waived. Luckily, there are other bonuses that help offset the annual fee cost too.

Earn a Sign On Bonus

Some travel rewards cards will offer you a sign on bonus when you apply and are approved for their card. This bonus could be as much as $600 in some cases and is a very large incentive to go with a particular card. Whether it's points toward travel or airline miles, make sure to find the value of the bonus before signing up.

Once you know the value of the sign on bonus, look for any other terms that must be fulfilled. Some cards require travel on certain airlines or stays at certain hotels. Other cards may require certain dates that the rewards points or miles can used on. The bigger the sign on bonus, the bigger the annual fee could be too.

Stack Your Miles

Travel rewards cards will also have promotions that rewards you for certain activities. These rewards can be "stacked" and give you a much better chance at that free trip. These cards will give you 2x the miles with certain purchases, or bonus points if you spend with certain retailer or airlines.

By picking a card that fits with your spending style, you will earn reward points or miles much faster. Take advantage of these offers whenever possible, and pay attention to how you are rewarded for spending. Earning a free vacation means maximizing your rewards and getting the most benefit.

Take Advantage of Special Offers

The easiest way to free airfare or hotel stays is through the rewards programs of travel credit cards. Whether issued through an airline, like Delta, or through a standard credit card issuer, like American Express, these cards reward you for spending. The special offers they provide, like sign on bonuses, can lead to a free trip for you and your family.

Pay attention to the dates, places, or airlines that will accept your rewards points or miles. Once you have stashed enough rewards, it will be time to pick your destination and mode of transportation. Travel cards can cover an entire trip if you have enough points or miles.

Use a specific travel rewards card.
Find a card that compliments your spending habits and rewards you accordingly.
Look for cards that have major bonuses for applying and using their rewards card.
Beware of large annual fees.
Stack your reward point or miles by taking advantage of special offers.
Pay attention to blackout dates or specific airlines that will accept your points or miles.
Book your trip in confidence with a stash of collected points.

There are a myriad of cards to choose from, so the research process could get tedious. With a little elbow grease and a bit of research, you will be well on your way to free airfare, hotel stays, or even the cruise of your dreams.