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Can you cross the street?
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The secret to getting lots of travel miles

Everyone assumes that I get lots of airline and hotel points from traveling. I don’t get them from traveling. I get most of my points from credit cards.

There are two ways to get travel points from credit cards.

  1. Sign up bonuses. Most cards offer a sign up bonus. Sometimes they offer an amazing sign up bonus. A couple of years ago British Airways offered 100,000 Avios points for signing up for their card and spending a few thousand dollars. I flew 3 of us to the British Virgin Islands on those points. Actually, I flew 3 of us down and 2 of us back. I debated just staying there but ended up buying a one way ticket back. Most offers aren’t that good but almost all travel cards offer some sort of initial bonus.
  2. Earning points for spending money. All cards offer points for dollars spent, so you can earn points over time. I like earning Starwood points with my American Express Starwood card. We stayed at the W in the French Quarter every April for years on the points from that card. (We now use Airbnb’s.)

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. One time deals. If you plan to travel within the United States in one year, you should know that Southwest will fly a companion for free on every flight you take if you earn 110,000 points in one year. So if you plan on traveling a lot next year with a partner, you should get the Southwest credit card (with 50,000 bonus points) and a Southwest business credit card (with 50,000 points) – start an LLC if you have to.
  2. How to find deals. I don’t get any referral fees or points from recommending credit cards and I don’t follow all the deals. If you want to find out about the latest deals, I recommend following a blog like The Points Guy or One Mile at a Time.
  3. Getting the deal again. Most credit cards will let you reapply for their initial sign up bonus every two years, so be sure to cancel any cards you aren’t using.

Have you found any good deals or ways to get points for travel?

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