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This is a companion piece to my beginner's guide to getting free flights using credit card sign up bonuses. Refer to the link below to get more context about this post!
PREVIOUS: The Comprehensive Beginner's Guide To Getting A Free Flight Anywhere In The World
Is this what the cool kids are referring to 'Travel Hacking'?
Yes, although travel hacking is an arsenal of techniques and tools to make travel cheaper overall. This is just one method to travel hack, and is undoubtedly the most popular at the moment.
Can an airline belong to more than one alliance?
As far as I can tell, no.
If you look for 50,000 miles bonuses, how on earth did you earn 1.1 million miles and points in 12 months?
Typically I sign up for 2-4 cards every 2 to 3 months depending on the offers out there. Before I became a full time traveler, I had monthly expenses of about US$3,000 a month which I leveraged to earn travel rewards with my everyday spending. Refer to the article below on different ways I used to meet minimum spend requirements and rack up sign up bonuses.
I'm buying a house soon. Can I still apply for new cards?
Yes, as long as you only get 1 - 2 new credit cards per year. Lenders take into account how many open lines of credit you have. The more you have, the less likely you are going to get a good interest rate. Thread lightly!
Won't applying for new credit cards hurt my credit score?
In the short term, yes, but it will rebound as you continue using the card responsibly, pay your bill in full, and on time. In fact, prolonged responsible use of the card can increase your credit score over time. I'm living proof. Currently, my credit scores range from 793 - 802 (Excellent) across the different bureaus.
Help! I don't have enough miles for the flight I want.
In such a case, I try to book one way of a round trip with miles and book the return leg with cash, or vice versa. If you secured a 50,000 miles sign up bonus, then that should get you to a lot of places around the world in Economy one way.
Should I cancel the card after the first year? I've already received the bonus.
If I were you I wouldn't. If I don't want to pay the annual fee for the second year, I will call the number on the back of the card and ask for the card to be downgraded to a no annual fee product. Not cancelling will ensure that you are a loyal customer to the bank and are not simply abusing their credit cards for travel rewards. They win, you win too.
Does calling a bank and asking for the annual fee to be waived or lowered work?
Yes, sure does! I've gotten the annual fee waived or lowered on 4 cards recently just by calling and informing them of my intention of cancelling the card. They will often offer you this before you can downgrade (see question above) or cancel the card.
What is your favorite Credit Card?
It will have to be my hefty metallic Chase Sapphire Preferred® ($95 Annual Fee / Limited Time 50K Bonus). The points you earn on the card can be transferred to many airline and hotel partners making them very valuable. Also, double points on travel and dining is huge because those are the categories where I do most of my spending on!
What was your most favorite use of miles?
Hands down, flying in Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Manila. In particular, the first class experience from New York to Hong Kong on my first leg was undoubtedly stellar.