Author Topic: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking  (Read 3000 times)

Jeremy E.

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What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« on: May 27, 2015, 10:15:35 AM »
I'm planning a trip that will be in about 4 months, for 2 people. I plan on flying to vegas, staying there for about 2-3 nights, then renting a car and visiting a bunch of national parks in Utah for about 4-5 days (camping each night, maybe staying at 1 hotel in the middle). Then returning the rented car and flying back home(washington).
Travel costs will include
1. 2 Round trip flights from Spokane Washington to Las Vegas
2. 3 nights in a hotel in Las Vegas
3. Renting a car for 5 days.
What would be the best credit cards to reduce my travel costs? Both me and my girlfriend can get credit cards. Between the 2 of us we will probably spend about 4k (I could put 3k on 1 card). Thanks in advance.

Mikhial

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Re: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2015, 10:27:29 AM »
One of my favorites is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. $3k spending in 3 months will net you $440 in statement credit that can be used for travel (hotels, flights, and rental cars all count). After that it gets you 2 points per dollar spent.

JLee

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Re: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 10:57:40 AM »
I picked up a Chase Sapphire a few months ago. 40k points for $4k/3mo and another 5k points to have a second card (have to use it once, no minimum amount).  The annual fee is waived for the first year and you get a bonus (25%) for using points through Chase Rewards Travel (so what would be $450 in statement credit is $562.50 in travel credit). I booked a $158.xx flight for ~12k points the other day. :)

https://creditcards.chase.com/sapphire/travel-rewards

Schaefer Light

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Re: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2015, 11:17:11 AM »
I'd look at all the cards in the link below and see which of the bonuses you and your girlfriend might be capable of getting based on your spending habits.  Maybe one of you could get a card that generates airmiles and the other could get a hotel card?

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/best-credit-card-sign-up-offers/

Eric

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Re: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2015, 11:18:41 AM »
Isn't 4 months out too short of a window to make this work?  Maybe the OP should focus on using this spending to meet minimums to gain sign up bonuses to be used for the next trip.

Schaefer Light

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Re: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2015, 11:23:45 AM »
One of my favorites is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. $3k spending in 3 months will net you $440 in statement credit that can be used for travel (hotels, flights, and rental cars all count). After that it gets you 2 points per dollar spent.
I agree.  I just started using this card.  I like the flexibility it gives you.  Much like the Capital One Venture card, but with a 10% bonus for redeemed points...which is why I chose it over the Venture card.

Schaefer Light

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Re: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2015, 12:57:09 PM »
Isn't 4 months out too short of a window to make this work?  Maybe the OP should focus on using this spending to meet minimums to gain sign up bonuses to be used for the next trip.
That is a pretty tight window.  There are some cards that give bonuses for the first purchase, but I'm not sure you'd get enough points to pay for much more than one night in a hotel.  The big bonuses usually take 3-6 months to earn. 

I should mention that one nice feature about the Barclays card is the ability to use points for purchases that happened up to (don't quote me on this) 120(?) days in the past.  In other words, you can use the Barclays card to book a hotel room or flight and then when you have enough points you can use them to receive a credit for the room/flight.

Jeremy E.

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Re: What are the Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2015, 02:56:15 PM »
I've decided on the Wyndham Rewards Visa, which gives me 2 free nights stay after first purchase, as well as 1 free night after spending $1000, it has a non-waived $69 annual fee that I will have to pay for the 3 free nights.

I'm thinking I'll also go for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, which will give me 50k rapid miles(only usable at southwest airlines) after spending $2000, it also has a non-waived $69 annual fee, but it will get us there and back with the 50k rapid miles. 

I'm going to have my girlfriend get the Barclaycard Arrival Basic, which gives $200 after spending $1000(we won't spend enough for her to get the Plus card). This will pay for a portion of the car rental.

I'm hoping if I get these cards today then I'll be able to use the rewards by Late September, but If not, I can postpone the trip till next spring, and instead go on a less expensive vacation this fall. Whenever I end up taking this trip, I expect to have to pay $20 for the plane tickets, $138 for the annual fees, $150 National Park Entrance/Camping fees, $100 gas, $50 leftover car rental fee, $100 food and hopefully no more than $100 in Vegas. So all together that will be $658, still expensive, but acceptable. Does this sound like an acceptable plan?

I also looked at the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa, which after spending $2000 gives 70k points as well as a free night in a low cost hotel after the first purchase, with the 70k points I could get 2 free nights in vegas, but I can't take the free night from the first purchase in vegas because it's not a low cost hotel, Maybe I could use it somewhere in Utah. This has a annual fee that is waived the first year, so I almost went for it, but I decided on the Wyndham instead. Maybe the Marriott Card will be good when I go to California or Hawaii next year.