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How to travel in 2023 without spending a single dollar

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Are you one of the people who works countless hours in order to enjoy those few weeks of vacation you have been saving up for. Whether you are a solo traveler, bring a companion, or have friends/family, the cost of traveling adds up very fast. Some basic expenses include flights, hotels, transportation, food, and other expenses. A majority of those expenses usually lie in flights and hotels, but what if I told you those can all be waved for free or at an extremely low price?


How was that for an intro hook? I won't go on and on about the boring details, so let's get right into it.


The baseline of how you get all these? Credit Card Points.



Let's go over some basics of what and how to earn credit card points.


Think of credit card points as a reward system for your everyday spending. If you buy groceries, dine out, buy a movie theater ticket, shop for clothes, etc. every time you use and pay off your credit card, you are awarded credit card points. These points can be used to redeem for gift cards, cash back, and other goodies credit card companies offer. Those are all good options to cash in your points on, but the best way to use them is for traveling.


What is the best way to earn these points? Intro bonuses.


Everyday spending will definitely help in the long run, but if you are looking to travel soon I would recommend credit card intro bonuses. Intro bonuses are provided when you sign up with a new credit card and reach the required spending on the card. These are quick ways to earn a load of points for your next upcoming travels. A recommended card for foodies who eat out or shop for groceries would be the American Express Gold Card. The Amex Gold offers 4x on Dining and Groceries with plenty of other travel perks.


How much are my credit card points worth for travel?


Your mileage may vary (YMMV) for this. A general rule for most credit card points is that 1 point = 1 cent. If you can get more value than 1 cent per point, you are doing a better job than most people already. The best way to redeem your points is to be flexible and travel during non-peak season. Aspirational travel such as business and first class would make your points even more valuable sometimes up to 10 - 20 cents/point.


Let's see an example of this:


The cheapest delta flight costs $178 round trip from Los Angeles to Seattle between Feb 9-Feb 14 at the time of writing.


However, using points for the same trip would only cost 11k points+ $12 taxes and fees. Keep in mind of the 1 point = 1 cent rule, that would be $110 + $12 in taxes and fees, which comes to a total of $122.

So for the same trip that you would be paying $178 for, you can get it for $122. That is around 1.46 cents/point which means you are getting upsized value.

By being flexible, there are plenty more options for the same price as shown below:

Still with me so far? Great.


For the next segment, let's look into earning these airline miles.


Almost all credit card companies will allow you to transfer your credit card points to airline miles. I have attached a list below: American Express


Chase



Capital One


Citi Thank You Points


Lastly, keep in mind that these transfer partners sometimes will have transfer bonuses so you can get even more miles for your points! To learn more about which credit cards you should open, check out our top 4 guidelines for 4 credit card categories everyone needs to maximize their spending.

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