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Swipe right, swipe left, whatever – just swipe!!

Here’s my #1 travel hack: Find a card that meets your needs and than put EVERY SINGLE PURCHASE on your card. I’ll swipe for a $1 Costco churro. Know that.

I’m not saying spend money but you can chose to use cash/debit that won’t reward you or pay with a credit card and earn points! I chose the latter every time.

Before reading any further know that the only way to make a credit card work for you is by doing the following and maintaining an amazing credit score:

1) Pay on time. I set a calendar reminder on my phone. Late fees are not saving money.
2) Pay your entire balance every month. If not, then you need to either find a card with 0% APR which will limit your reward options or you’ll be paying interest and that’s not cool.
3) Pay attention to fine print to make sure you meet the requirements and deadlines to earn your bonus.

This whole concept can be super confusing but I’ll try and break it down. Here’s a list of what matters in selecting the right card:

1. APR – interest rate is important just in case you have a hard month and can only make your minimum payment. You don’t want to be gauged with a high interest rate.

2. BONUS – Do you have to spend $1k in the first month? $3k in 5 months? Make sure that whatever that stipulation is – you meet in on time so you can reach that milestone to get your rewards!! Again, calendar reminder.

3. REWARDS/MILES – Easy to use? transferrable? 1 mile per dollar? How does it work?

4. ANNUAL FEE – $90 annual fee is not a problem as long as the rewards make up for it (mine do).

5. FOREIGN FEES – If international travel is not your thing, this is not as important. I needed no fees for all my Spanish churros.

Based on the above 5 criteria – I’ll break down my 2 favorite cards:

CAPITAL ONE VENTURE

1. APR – 15 – 25% depending on credit score
2. BONUS – 50,000 miles (roughly $600 travel dollars) by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
3. REWARDS – this is my favorite thing about this card. I DO NOT mess with spending miles for specific airlines or hotels. I use their “purchase eraser” and once I come home from travel I “erase” Uber rides, meals, flights, hotels, etc until I’ve used all my miles up. Forget planning around my points. Now I travel how I want and erase the purchases once I’m home. Takes less than 5 minutes!
4. ANNUAL FEE – 0 for the first year and $95 after
5. FOREIGN FEES – none

CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED

1. APR – 18 – 25% depending on credit score
2. BONUS – 50,000 points (roughly $900 of travel) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3. REWARDS – earn 2x points on all travel and 1 point per $1
4. ANNUAL FEE – 0 for the first year and $95 after
5. FOREIGN FEES – none


Most credit cards offer travel advantages like luggage insurance, car rental insurance and more! When you book travel with your Chase Sapphire, you’re eligible for up to $500 in reimbursements for delayed travel and up to $10,000 in reimbursement for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses if your trip is canceled. Sapphire Preferred cardholders can be reimbursed up to $100 a day for up to 5 days when their checked bags arrive 6 hours late, or up to $3,000 for lost luggage. These perks exist for lots of travel cards, you just have to know “what’s in your wallet” to be able to take advantage of them.

Love a specific airline or hotel chain? Find their card. Marriott has the “Bonvoy Brilliant American Express” and Hilton has the “Hilton Honors Aspire” card from American Express that is awesome! (Bonus of almost $900 and one weekend night in a Hilton each year).

I don’t want to be limited to any one hotel chain or flight carrier. Find a card that works for what you need and then put EVERY purchase on it. You’ll rack up points and take a big chunk out of the cost of your next trip. Already have a credit card that’s not working for you? Pay it off and open a new one that does or transfer the balance.

If you want to read more on the topic check out The Points Guy The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2019.

Happy swiping and happy rewarding! Any tips I missed? Leave them in the comments.

Kate