How I almost exclusively travel for free

Free trip to Portugal! WIN!

If you're a friend of mine, then you're probably rolling your eyes at this post because I just won't shut up about it. If you want to travel the world, stay in nice hotels, and get access to airport lounges at virtually no cost, this is by far my #1 tip. Watch the miles roll in and be amazed at how many trips you're now able to take. Save the cash you'd spend on a ticket, and, instead, spend it on experiences once you get there. Here's how you do it:


(which you'll use just on travel and dining because you get 3 points but only 1 point on everything else)



(which you'll use for everything else because you get 1.5 points on everything)

You can stop ^there if you already trust me. If you don't, I'll break it down a little more below.

Yep, stayed in an Egyptian palace for free too. POINTS BABY!

"Well, why not any of the other airline credit cards?"

If you are very  frequently using one airline (like more than once a month), sure maybe it makes the most sense to you to be loyal to that one airline to get upgrades + free bags checked. If not, the Chase card allows you to use your points to book on almost any airline you'd be wanting to fly anyway. "But I just LOVE Southwest!" Cool, you still can book on Southwest like you would with your Southwest card, but you also get 3x points on travel & dining. So you'll get MORE points on Southwest this way plus all the other additional features. I'm not sure why this doesn't make sense to some people, but I find this the hardest point to get home. Let me be frank with you again: It absolutely does not make any sense to get the credit card of one airline just because you like it best because you can get MORE miles on that same airline with the Chase cards. Should I repeat it again just to really hammer than point home? ;) The only time this makes sense is to use it to get the bonus sign-up points and then use the Chase cards for everything else once you've gotten the bonus.

"I thought Chase Sapphire Preferred was the card to get. What's the difference?"

It use to be before the Reserve came out, but that's a thing of the past. Here's the breakdown between the two:

Full list of rewards here: Preferred, Reserve

Did you stop after reading the annual fee? If so, go back and do the math again. I'm going to be totally frank with you: If you travel internationally at least once a year, you're a fool to not get the Reserve. The 3x miles (which add up like CRAZY and will get you flying and staying in fancy hotels around the world for free in no time) and additional perks add up to WAY more than the $450 annual fee, meaning it more than pays for itself and is just a far superior reward program than the Preferred. There's a reason all of us 'travelers' are getting this card. If you are looking for a card to just use on domestic trips, then the Preferred might be enough for you.

Pro tip: Get BOTH cards, and you'll get 100,0000 miles for the sign-up bonuses. This is how I went to Lisbon for FREE.

"Darn it! I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Is it even worth getting the Reserve now?"

Here's what you should do: Call Chase and ask to downgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. They'll do it no-questions-asked if you have the Reserve. This card has a $0 annual fee, and you get 1.5 points on every purchase, which can be transferred to miles. Use this card on every purchase that isn't dining or travel to watch the points roll in even faster! Note though: It DOES have international fees, so this only applies when in the U.S.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Always happy to chat about this!