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.

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.

Category Bonuses

For those focused on spending, below is an analysis of Category Bonuses for some of my preferred cards to help you decide which to pull out of your wallet.

  Ink Plus Ink Pref. Ink Cash Ink/Freed. Unlim Sapphire Pref. Sapphire Reserve Amex Biz Rewards
Gas 2X 1X 2X 1.5X 1X 1X 2-3X
Travel 2X Hotel Only 3X 1X 1.5X 2X All 3X All 2-3X Air Only
Restaurant 1X 1X 2X 1.5X 2X 3X 1X
Office Supply 5X 1X 5X 1.5X 1X 1X 1X
Telecom/Cable 5X 3X 5X 1.5X 1X 1X 2-3X
Shipping 1X 3X 1X 1.5X 1X 1X 2-3X
Advertising 1X 3X 1X 1.5X 1X 1X 2-3X
Tech 1X 1X 1X 1.5X 1X 1X 2-3X Select merchants

Other Bonus Categories Supermarket: If you spend over about $50/week, you should use the Amex Blue Cash Preferred for the supermarket to get the 6% cash back.

Non-Bonus Spending

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards Premium Cards (Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, Ink Preferred): transferable into United and Hyatt points among others. I generally consider United and Hyatt points worth over 2 cents each, though not everyone should
  • 2-2.1% Cash Back Cards(Barclay's Arrival Plus, Capital One Venture, Capital One Spark): fixed cash value
  • Your bonus card for convenience. Realistically, there are only so many cards you want to physically carry, especially if you don't have an iphone.

Note that everything is a multiple of the that program’s points. The relative value of such points is generally selective though there are a few exceptions (such as Ultimate rewards points needing to be worth at least as much as pennies and hyatt points due to their convertibility). In general, I consider Chase points worth than Amex points and Chase points worth more than pennies. If a Chase point is worth > 2 cents, than the Sapphire or Ink Plus should probably be your general spending card. If it is worth < 2 cents, than a Barclays Arrival Plus, Capital One Venture or Capital One Spark should probably be your non-bonus spending card.

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