Our introduction to traveling for free initially took longer than my husband and I would have liked. The reason for this being that we had accrued a good amount of expenses and credit card debt as we moved out to our first place together and planned our wedding. Having mentioned this brings me to a very important point; please make sure that when using credit cards for points and free travels, that you DO NOT carry a balance. Paying interest on those credit cards will deplete any value in accumulating points. Below I will detail some points to keep in mind when trying to select a credit card:
For starters, when looking for credit cards that earn points you should look for ones with no annual fee. These cards typically do not require as high of credit scores as some of the premium cards that do have annual fees, and by doing this you can “get your feet wet” in learning the options at your disposal. Some credit cards that come to mind are the Bank of America® Travel Rewards and my personal favorites, Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The last two, are labeled as Cash Back cards but in reality the points accumulated can also be redeemed towards traveling. Below you can find the advantages of these cards:
Bank of America® Travel Rewards:
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases.
- 20,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – which can be redeemed for a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases.
- No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees†.
- No blackout dates and no restrictions when booking your trip.
- No expiration on your points.
- Flexibility to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees.
- Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account.
- If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%.
- Introductory 0% APR for your first 12 billing cycles for purchases. After that, a Variable APR that’s currently 16.49% to 24.49% will apply.
Chase Freedom® Credit Card:
- $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn a $25 bonus after you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within this same 3-month period.This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.
- No annual fee.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
- Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
- 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After that, 16.49%–25.24% variable APR.