It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle belling… sorry, nearly got carried away there. Yes, the holiday season is in full swing with cooler weather (as I write this, I can see that it’s snowing outside through the window in front of me), fireplaces in full use, Christmas decorations taking center stage, and last but certainly not least, consumers going a bit crazy on the spending side. That last one will be the focus of this article.
It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to travel hacking or are an experienced travel hacker, one of the most important things you can do this time of year is to maximize your holiday spending to get as many points and miles as you can by using the right cards. But how do you do that?
Picking the right cards for yourself
The war on credit cards is ramping up thanks to what several major retail chains just announced.
They want to be able to keep you from using certain credit cards. Specifically, the ones that offer the biggest rewards. According to the Wall Street Journal, companies like Amazon, Target, and Home Depot want to end a rule that requires merchants that accept a Mastercard- or Visa-branded card to accept all the cards branded that way.
“If merchants could pick and choose among Visa or Mastercard credit cards, those with the highest merchant fees—and most generous rewards—likely would be on the chopping block,” wrote the Wall Street Journal.
There are a lot of people out there that don’t like credit cards. I don’t know if “scared” is the right word, but it seems to fit. They’re scared that all the perks you may get by signing up for a credit card is too good to be true. They’re scared that they may start to use a credit card for what banks hope you use it for: living today on tomorrow’s (possible) income. Indeed, if you use credit cards like that, you’ll be up a creek… and it won’t smell anything like flowers.
Why the hostility towards credit cards?
So far this year, I’ve spent way more than should be legal on my wedding. But it’s not all bad! I’ve put most of that on credit cards trying to maximize my earning potential when it comes to points and miles. You see, I’ve figured out first hand that expenses can add up quickly when planning a wedding, but using the right credit cards for wedding and honeymoon purchases can pay off big time for future travel.
Including bonuses, I’ve earned:
The Platinum Card by American Express is one of those cards that exudes a bit of clout in the credit card community. That clout seems to have dissipated somewhat as of late, due to stiffer competition like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige, but it’s still there. And the Amex Platinum also has quite a few perks up its sleeve that may make the fact that it has a $550 annual fee worth it. Ultimately, though, that’s up to you.
This is a charge card
First and foremost, I think it’s important to point out that this is a charge card, not a credit card. What’s the difference, you ask? The biggest difference is the fact that a charge card needs to get paid off in full every month. A credit card can carry a balance. But because of that, you will typically have more spending power with a charge card because you won’t have a set limit that you can put on them.
Not paying off a charge card will come with severe consequences. Those consequences can include suspending your line of credit entirely. So if you decide to get one, it's best to pay it off.
Main card benefits
Those who are frequent visitors already know I love taking advantage of credit card rewards. For the new readers? Well, now you know. Credit card rewards can be very lucrative. I’ve easily saved thousands by using my miles and points for free flights or free stays at hotels.
The rewards you earn make it possible for you to afford to travel to an expensive destination (such as Bora Bora or Australia) or stay longer at a cheap location (such as Prague or Vietnam). Points and miles can also change how you actually do the traveling. Wanna fly first class? Use your miles.
It’s the day I’ve been looking forward to for months now! My book is now officially out! You can get the ebook version or paperback!
For now, it is exclusively on sale on Amazon. Here’s the direct link to both versions.
It’s an easy read and probably won’t take you more than a day or two. But it’s extremely educational and certainly worth every penny - especially when you consider how much you can potentially save on travel.
Not all credit cards are created equal. There are a lot of popular cards out there that you probably shouldn’t take overseas with you. Take, for example, the Chase Freedom credit card. It’s one of the most popular credit cards Chase has. Unfortunately, it has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: take a credit card with you that has no foreign transaction fee. And there are a ton of options at your disposal.
Two things you should know about these options first:
The competition may have just been blown out of the water with the new Chase Sapphire Reserve. I’ll tell you right out front, this card has a $450 annual fee. But with the amazing travel benefits this card comes with, that fee is well worth it. But what are these benefits? Why is the $450 annual fee worth it? And is the card for you? This post will supply you with all the answers you need.
Getting a travel credit card (or two) is great. But once the honeymoon period, if you will, is over it can be tough to know how to maximize the spending of those cards. Plus, the last thing you want to do is go into debt to get points. So how do you find the happy medium? How do you maximize spending without going overboard?
Here are several items/purchases you can make to earn more credit card points than you ever have: