Published in: Credit Cards | July 1, 2020
By: Lyle Daly
If you love to travel, then 2020 has probably been a tough year. The coronavirus pandemic has ruined a lot of travel plans, and there's still no clear information about when it will be safe to travel again.
One way to make the best of a difficult situation is to use this time to prepare for your next trip. And the positive side of being stuck at home is that you can stock up on travel points. That way, you'll be able to treat yourself to an amazing vacation when you're ready to travel again. Here's a look at what you could accomplish if you start collecting travel rewards now.
By this time next year, you could have earned at least 150,000 to 200,000 travel points. Many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses of 50,000 points or more, and typically all you need to do is hit a spending minimum to earn each bonus. If you're a big spender, you may be able to amass over 300,000 points.
Here's how it works -- you open a credit card with a bonus you want. Let's say you pick one that offers 60,000 points for spending $4,000 within three months. After you've spent at least $4,000 and gotten the bonus, you can repeat the process with a new card.
It's a simple, easy way to earn travel points. You just need to figure out which credit cards to choose and be ready to manage multiple credit cards.
When choosing travel cards, the first thing to look at is the sign-up bonus. You're going to earn the bulk of your points this way, so you should aim for big sign-up bonuses of at least 40,000 to 50,000 points.
Next, make sure that you can use the card's rewards to book the travel that you want. For example, you should only open an airline credit card after confirming that the airline offers flights to the place you want to visit.
To give you some ideas, here are some credit cards you could get, the bonuses they offer, and where they could take you.
The most versatile travel cards are those with transferable points that you can send to different airlines and hotels. Here are two Chase cards that fit the bill:
With just these cards, you'd have at least 179,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points (the 160,000 bonus points plus at least 1 point per $1 on the $19,000 spent to reach the minimums on each bonus).
Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are transferable to over a dozen airline and hotel partners. Here are a few examples of ways you could use your points:
Another option is to open a travel card with a specific airline or hotel. Here are two examples:
Getting those cards would give you United miles to help you reach your destination. You'd also have plenty of IHG points for your hotel, with award stays starting at 10,000 points per night in Category 1 properties.
Remember that you could also adopt the same strategy with other travel providers. Most of the major airlines and hotels have their own credit cards. It's just a matter of opening cards with the ones that you plan to use.
Of course, you don't need to choose between these strategies. You could also open a mix of cards with transferable points as well as airline and hotel cards.
One such option would be to open all four of the cards listed above. Counting the spending required to get each card's sign-up bonus, you'd end up with at least:
That's a grand total of 364,000 points/miles, with almost half being Chase points that you can transfer to either United or IHG. That's more than enough to fly to any destination United offers and stay in an IHG hotel for five nights or longer.
If you play your cards right, you could have a huge stash of travel points to redeem in a year's time.
Start by figuring out which travel rewards cards you could use to book either the flight or hotel for your dream vacation. Once you've got some credit card options, you can pick out the ones with the biggest bonuses. Just make sure your normal spending will be enough to hit each card's spending minimum.
The final step is applying for credit cards one at a time and spending enough to get those bonuses. After each bonus, you can apply for a new card until you have enough points to cover your trip.
Information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, and United℠ Explorer Card has been collected independently by The Ascent and has not been reviewed by any issuers.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool brand that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2020
The Ascent. All rights reserved.