How To Fly For Free

I’ve been earning lots of airline miles and cash over the last several years with credit card offers. I often fly on miles alone. Here’s how:

  • The most important benefit is the signing bonus. Look for credit cards that offer things like “25,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months”
  • Keep track of your cards by putting notes on them. I print out a document in 5 point type and tape it to the card. They usually say something like “spend $2k by [date] for 25k miles. 2pts/$ on restaurants. Cancel by [date] or $95 fee” Then I leave a space to write how much I’ve spent on the card”
  • Always pay off your credit card in full every month. Always. If you are tempted not to, stop reading right now.
  • Keep 2 cards in your wallet, an Amex and a Visa/Mastercard that you are spending on.
  • Cancel the card before they charge you a yearly fee. Most cards say something like $95 per year, waived for the first year”. Sometimes it’s worth paying the yearly fee, usually it isn’t.
  • Get maybe 1 card per month, cancel maybe 1 card per month. Else the companies will worry something funny is going on and they might deny you a new card.
  • If you have a business, you can open cards under the business’ name and use more cards.
  • I use cards from all of the airlines. I keep track of approximately how many miles I have in a spreadsheet. When I have enough on an airline, I use them.
  • Sometimes you can spend your miles on points or trade them for cash. That is nice because I only fly so much.
  • Always consider the “exchange rate” of points to dollars when you are considering getting a card. Earning $0.01 per dollar is the “norm”, but when I pay attention to signing bonuses, I often earn $0.10 of travel or hard cash per dollar. It’s like getting 10-15% off EVERYTHING.
  • After doing this for 5+ years, my FICO score is something above 780 (excellent).



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