SurfSeaYou+Me

Playing the Points Game for the Love of Travel

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The lists continue in our planning to make our big move in late July. Every day I am starting a new list on things we will need to do to get ready. What to buy, what to get rid of, where to store the things we do want to keep around. As Tyler continues to work on his IEP Visa application, I also put another item on my to-do list: open up another credit card.

Why do you ask would I do this when the point of the next couple months is to put money away in the bank? Because I am a points person, and as an avid traveler, know this is a great opportunity to bank some new points on travel before we leave.

We are going to be purchasing multiple plane tickets, travel health insurance for both us, and also purchasing my holiday working visa coming up here in the next couple months. This is the perfect time to open up a new rewards points credit card and easily make the minimum spend amount in three months. This will get a huge reward bonus of precious travel points.

As a general rule, I never pay for my flight with a debit card. If you do, you are not taking advantage of free miles, trip coverage, free insurance, and other perks that come along with putting your trip on a credit card then paying it off. My recent trip to the Bahamas? Paid for using miles. I also paid for my portion of the hotel room using reward points through cash back on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. I seriously paid close to nothing for my trip except for my expenses while I was there. Also, by putting all these expenses on the card, I also got two points back for travel and dining while I was there, which led to me accumulate even more points for my next trip. Total win win.

Who doesn’t like free money for doing absolutely nothing except following your daily routine? Why would you pay for anything with a debit card or cash and get nothing back, when you can pay for practically everything with a credit card and get money in return? Not taking advantage of this is silly. Reroute your thinking on how each purchase you make can work for you. But also rerouting your thinking to pay off the card every single week is also crucial. Nothing can change the entire game into a negative experience like holding a credit card balance. Paying off the card every week is the only way this works.

My favorite credit card to date is my Chase Sapphire Preferred and I will be using it extensively when we move to New Zealand. One amazing thing about the card is no foreign transactions fees, which for an active traveler is a huge perk in itself. Another reason I love the card is that I do not have to be loyal to any specific travel brand. If Tyler and I want a break one day while camping in New Zealand, I can hop on the computer and book a hotel room using points and not worry about if there is a certain brand name hotel in the area, we will have choices in which hotel to book. We also will have trip cancellation insurance through the card, baggage insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement, and baggage delay insurance. I have had this credit card for about a year now and seriously love it.

Seriously people, if you love to travel, have decent credit, and can spend some time researching different cards, you would seriously miss out for not taking advantage of all these free rewards out there floating in the universe.

I know a couple people that also actively participate in mileage rewards; I also have a couple people who refuse to have credit cards all together. The thought of having a credit card or annual fee completely freaks them out and they also think that opening new credit cards hurts their credit score. I have never seen my credit score be affected by opening up a new card or cancelling another, maybe for a month or two my credit will vary a bit but then it always goes back to normal (it’s my stupid student loan that’s the real problem sigh). But here are a couple links to different people discussing the issue:

http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-tips/picking-a-travel-credit-card/

http://thepointsguy.com/2014/07/how-card-applications-affect-your-credit-score/

http://thepointsguy.com/2012/01/credit-faq-does-closing-an-old-credit-card-hurt-your-credit-score-faq-does-closing-an-old-credit-cards-hurt-my-credit/

Here is a fantastic beginner’s guide I used when starting, the Points Guy is a great blog to check when looking for airline deals.

http://thepointsguy.com/beginners-guide/

I understand this method will not work for everyone. Some people do not have the best credit, some already have a significant amount of credit card debt, and some do not think they will be able to control keeping their balance to zero. My advice to these people is get your credit card balances under control then come back to the point’s game. Before you even think about applying for new cards, you need to make sure your credit is in decent shape.

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