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I created this website to explain to my friends and family how my wife and I have been able to travel the world for free. The “secret” has been using various credit card mega bonuses (often non-publicized), layering additional offers and some other tricks that I will show you. Below are some of my favorite offers or delve deeper by reading my Points Blog.

Before applying, make sure to check your credit. You can get two of your three FICO scores for free at Credit Karma and Credit Sesame.

Card NameUpfront BonusesSpending BenefitsOther Key BenefitsAnnual Fee
Barclays US Air CardThe US Airways Premier World MasterCard®40k miles on 1st purchase LIMITED TIME DUE TO MERGER1 mile / $
2x on USAir
  • fist bag free
  • preferred boarding
  • companion tickets (of limited value)
  • reduced mileage awards
$89
Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® - Earn 2x on All Purchases
  • More Info
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®40k ($400 toward travel) after spending $3k in 3 months2 Points + 10% rebate / $ (in effect 2.2% toward any travel)
    • No FTF's
    • Chip
    • 10% rebate on points used
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $89
    AMEX Business Gold Card

  • More Info
  • The Business Gold Rewards Card50k points after spending $5k in 3 mos.1 point /$
    3x on air
    2x on advertising, gas, shipping & computer hardware, software, cloud services
    N/A$0 1st Yr.,
    then $175
    Citi Hilton Reserve Credit Card
  • More Info
  • Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve card2 weekend nights after spending $2.5k in 4 mos. + 1 more/yr after spending $10k
    3 points / $
    5x on airfare and car rentals
    10x at Hiltons
    • Auto Gold
    • Diamond status after spending $40k
    • No FTF's
    $95
    Chase Hyatt Visa Card
  • More Info
  • Chase Hyatt Card2 free nights at ANY Hyatt hotel worldwide after 1st purchase + 1 more (cat <=4) each year1 points/$
    2x for restaurants, airfare (direct) and car rentals
    3x at Hyatts
    • Auto Plat.
    • No FTF's
    • Smart Chip
    $75
    American Express Starwood Credit Card

  • More Info
  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express25k points (~2 nights in lux hotel): 10k after 1st purchase + 15k after $5k in 6 mos.1 (valuable) point / $
    • SPG Gold after $30k/yr
    • 5 nights toward elite
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $65
    Chase Southwest Card
  • More Info
  • Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Card (Chase)50k points (worth $800 in restricted economy flights) after spending $2k in 3 mos + 3k/anniversary1 point /$
    2x on Southwest
    • Can help you get the 110k companion-flies-free for up to 2 years deal
    $69
    Chase Sapphire Card
  • More Info
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card40k points = UA, BA, SW, Amtrak,etc. or $400 Cash after spending $3k in 3 mos.1 point/$
    2x for Travel (Good) and Dining (not impressive)
    • No FTF's
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $95
    Chase Ink Bold
  • More Info
  • Chase Ink Bold Credit Card50k points after spending $5k in 3 mos = UA, BA, SW, Amtrak,etc. or $500 Cash or $625 toward travel1 point/$
    5x for telecom and office supply(up to $50k)
    • No FTF's
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $95
    Chase United Plus Explorer CardUnited MileagePlus Explorer Card (Chase)30k after spending $1k in 3 months + 5k for add. cardholder + 10k/yr after $25k1 point /$
    2x on United
    • No FTF's
    • free bag & priority board on United
    • 2 lounge passes/yr.
    • No inv. controls on redeeming mileage
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $95
    Citi AAdvantage Visa Platinum Card
  • More Info
  • Citi® AAdvantage Cards40k points after spending $3k1 point/$
    • 1st bag free
    • Priority Baording
    • $100 AA discount/yr
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $95
    Chase Priority Club Visa Credit Card
  • Unofficial Link
  • Priority Club® Select Visa® (Chase)60k-80k points on first purchase + free night on your anniversary1 point /$
    2x on gas, grocery & dining
    5x at their hotels
    • No FTF's
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $49
    Lufthansa Credit Card 35k points (20k on 1st purchase + 15k after $5k in 3 months)1 points/$
    2x for Lufthansa
    • Annual companion ticket (on paid economy H class or above)
    $79
    BofA Hawaiian Airlines Card
  • More Info
  • Hawaiian Airlines® Visa Signature® (BofA & Bank of HI)25k miles after spending $1k in 4 mos.Most people focus on getting this card for the bonus
    • Not much
    $79
    Card NameUpfront BonusesSpending BenefitsOther Key BenefitsAnnual Fee
    Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® - Earn 2x on All Purchases
  • More Info
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®40k ($400 toward travel) after spending $3k in 3 months2 Points + 10% rebate / $ (in effect 2.2% toward any travel)
    • No FTF's
    • Chip
    • 10% rebate on points used
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $89
    American Express Starwood Credit Card

  • More Info
  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express25k points (~2 nights in lux hotel): 10k after 1st purchase + 15k after $5k in 6 mos.1 (valuable) point / $
    • SPG Gold after $30k/yr
    • 5 nights toward elite
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $65
    Capital One Venture Credit Card
  • More Info
  • Capital One Venture Rewards10k points after spending $1k2 Points / $ (basically 2% Cash)
    • No FTF's
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $59
    American Express Blue Credit Cash
  • More Info
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Credit Card$150 after spending $1k in 3 mos.1% cash
    6% at supermarkets (up to $6k spend)
    3% at stand alone gas stations and some department stores
    • 0% interest on purchases for up to 12 mos.
    $75
    Chase Ink Cash Credit Card
  • More Info
  • Chase Ink Cash Credit Card$20 after spending $3k in 3 mos.1% cash
    2% on gas & dine
    5% on off. supply, cable, telecom
    (2/5% - max $25k)
    • 0% interest on purchases for 12 mos
    $0
    American Express Blue Cash Credit Card

  • More Info
  • Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express$100 after spending $1k in 3 mos.1% cash
    3% at supermarkets (up to $6k spend)
    2% at stand alone gas stations and some department stores
    • 0% interest on purchases for up to 12 mos.
    $0

  • More Info
  • Chase Freedom$100 after spending $5001% Cash
    5% (up to $75) of rotating categories
    • 0% interest on purchases for 15 mos
    $0
    Card NameUpfront BonusesSpending BenefitsOther Key BenefitsAnnual Fee
    Barclays US Air CardThe US Airways Premier World MasterCard®40k miles on 1st purchase LIMITED TIME DUE TO MERGER1 mile / $
    2x on USAir
    • fist bag free
    • preferred boarding
    • companion tickets (of limited value)
    • reduced mileage awards
    $89
    AMEX Platinum Charge Card
  • More Info
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express25k points after spending $2k (personal card only); See this page for up to date info on the Biz version1 point / $
    • AA,DL,USAir lounges with guests
    • Priority Pass lounges solo
    • $200 toward 1 airline's fees
    • Global Entry
    • Global Evac.
    • Pur. protection includes loss
    • No FTF's
    $450
    Citi Hilton Reserve Credit Card
  • More Info
  • Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve card2 weekend nights after spending $2.5k in 4 mos. + 1 more/yr after spending $10k
    3 points / $
    5x on airfare and car rentals
    10x at Hiltons
    • Auto Gold
    • Diamond status after spending $40k
    • No FTF's
    $95
    Chase Hyatt Visa Card
  • More Info
  • Chase Hyatt Card2 free nights at ANY Hyatt hotel worldwide after 1st purchase + 1 more (cat <=4) each year1 points/$
    2x for restaurants, airfare (direct) and car rentals
    3x at Hyatts
    • Auto Plat.
    • No FTF's
    • Smart Chip
    $75
    Chase United Plus Explorer CardUnited MileagePlus Explorer Card (Chase)30k after spending $1k in 3 months + 5k for add. cardholder + 10k/yr after $25k1 point /$
    2x on United
    • No FTF's
    • free bag & priority board on United
    • 2 lounge passes/yr.
    • No inv. controls on redeeming mileage
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $95
    Chase Priority Club Visa Credit Card
  • Unofficial Link
  • Priority Club® Select Visa® (Chase)60k-80k points on first purchase + free night on your anniversary1 point /$
    2x on gas, grocery & dining
    5x at their hotels
    • No FTF's
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $49
    American Express Delta Skymiles Gold Credit Card

    Delta Amex30k miles after spending $1k in 3 mos (most of my readers would be better off holding out for more)1 point /$
    2x on Delta
    • 1st bag free
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $95
    Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card50k points after 1st purchase (note: certain versions of the card have better deals), free night @ approval(<=cat 4), free night @renewal (<=cat 5)1 point /$
    2x for airfare, dining and car rental
    5x for Marriott
    • Auto Silver Elite
    • 15 elite nights + 1 night/$3k spent (auto gold at $105k, auto plat. at $180k)
    • No FTF's
    $0 1st Yr.,
    then $85

    If you apply for a card with good credit and you don’t get instant approval, click here for a list of credit analysis and reconsiderations departments’ direct lines. They can often expedite an approval or fix a denial.

    Unless otherwise stated, my advice is for people with good credit that are able to pay off their entire credit card balance each month. You also accept that my advice is provided as a courtesy and you agree to do your own research. Also, credit card bonus offers change rapidly — while I try to keep this site up to date, you must check the credit card company’s website for the latest rules before you apply. For a more complete introduction and details on how card applications can affect your credit score, click here.

    See Glossary for definitions of the shorthand I use on the site.

    Permanent link to this article: http://freetravelgenius.com/

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