Yes, you can travel the world with your family! I'll show you how
Here's the guide to getting started.
What is the first card I should apply for?
I usually recommend jumping in with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Starwood American Express. Let's talk about each card and then you can figure out which one would be best for you and whatever trip you would like to take.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a bonus of 50,000 ultimate reward points with a $3,000 minimum spend in the first 3 months and the $85 fee is waived for the first year. Ultimate Reward points can be transferred to about a dozen airlines and a few hotel chains. You can also use the reward points to book hotels and flights through the Chase Ultimate Reward Travel portal.
The Starwood American Express offers a bonus of 25,000 Star points, $3,000 minimum spend in 3 months and a $95 fee waived for the first year. Star points can be transferred to about 30 different airlines at a 1:1 ratio and a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 20,000 points transferred. You can also use Starpoints at Starwood hotels which include Sheraton, Westin and W hotels. With the recent merger with Marriott, you can also transfer your points Marriott at a 1:3 ratio and use them at Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels.
How do I know which credit card I want?
First thing I recommend is to figure out where you want to travel and then work backwards. If you want to go to South America, you need to find out who flies there. Once you know that, you can find out if you can use Chase Ultimate Reward Points or Starwood Points to purchase the tickets.
How do I apply?
If I have a link on this site, please follow that to apply for the card. If not, do a quick google search and you will follow the link. I usually snap a photo of the offer just in case I don't get the bonus. Most of the time, you will get an instant approval. But even if you get a pending notice, just wait. Don't call them!
Can my spouse apply too?
Yes! And if you have a business even a home based business like selling stuff on Ebay, you can open a business card too. Starwood points are nice because you can share them between family members. But not all programs are like that so check the fine print.
I got the credit card, now what?
This is where you need to be organized. Verify the card and then put it on autopayment immediately. This is very important because if you carry a balance then you are wasting money paying interest. So you need to pay the card in full each month. If you don't have the discipline to do that, then this hobby may not be for you.
How do I reach the minimum spend in 3 months?
I do not manufacture spend by buying gift cards etc. I just charge everything that I spend money on to the card that I am trying to reach the minimum spend. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Gas, grocery, Costco, online shopping, property taxes, restaurants etc. Once I reach the minimum, I put the card in a drawer and move on to the next one. That's my system, you may develop your own, but this works for me. There are a couple of core cards that I return to when I am not trying to reach a minimum spend and there are a couple of cards that offer a bonus if you use them for specific categories.