I love to travel! Exploring new places resonates with me. I love leaving my life (just for a while) and exploring the surrounding cities, states and countries. Beaches—yes! Mountains—sign me up! Cities, towns, campgrounds, I get excited about it all.
I also like to “get a good deal.” I usually shop for inexpensive flights and explore a variety of accommodations before choosing. Since I have a large family and many preferences to consider, we don’t always buy on price alone, but we are always conscious of where we are spending our vacation funds.
I tried, at one point, to keep track of miles on certain airlines through their mileage programs. I learned it is hard to transfer miles from child to parent and even harder to get a decent flight using miles. I have “earned” a couple of flights this way though and that was nice.
I never considered credit card points as a way to travel. I always just took the cash back option, figuring I would put it toward travel or whatever I wanted.
So, I was probably an average consumer. Doing exactly what the credit card companies and airlines expect.
I didn’t give it much thought until I met Keith Crowe.
Keith is an Amazon seller who uses credit card points to secure first class travel and resort stays. The way he manipulates credit cards, points and first class travel is remarkable.
He takes his family on a complete first class vacation every year, usually overseas, using credit card points alone.
He actually started his Amazon business planning to “break even” so he could earn points on his credit cards. He has learned how to optimize all the various credit card points and travel deals and put them together into a system that earns his family at least one fully paid vacation a year. He is an expert on “hacking” through the fine print and deals the credit cards offer and using his points in the most cost effective way to secure free travel.
I heard Mr. Crowe give a talk back in April and was amazed at all the ways credit cards can be used to get free travel. I made a note to myself to figure this out.
When I went to look at all the different reward programs on my own, however, I got a bit overwhelmed. I had a lot of questions and wasn’t sure if I understood the fine print of the credit card deals. So, I took the couple of things I could recall from his talk and applied those.
1.) Save your credit card points for travel—preferably overseas and preferable first class. This is where you get the largest value. Don’t “cash out” or get gift cards—these are “sucker choices.”
2.) Chase Freedom and Chase Ink are both good cards (I already had these, so it was easy.)
3.) Put everything on credit cards. I always pay off my balance, so interest is not a concern. I switched my utilities, trash and every recurring payment I possibly could to credit.
I caught up with Keith a couple of weeks ago at an internet conference. He was surrounded by entrepreneurs asking him about cards and points. I waited my turn and learned a few new ideas. I also suggested he write a book so all the advice he doles out could be in one place! He agreed to teach me how to earn a first class vacation for the Carriers (!!) and he is starting his book.
I am lucky enough to be a case study for his book! As he teaches me, I will share here. Make sure to sign up below to get the inside scoop on free travel—I will keep you up to date.
I will share here as I learn. SIGN UP at the top of this website to get FREE alerts and tips as Keith teaches me which credit cards to use and how to use them.
Please email or comment with any advice or ideas you know about to earn free travel.
This is fun!