Nowadays you can’t open Instagram without seeing an ad for How to get paid to travel. It is certainly an appealing idea. Who doesn’t want to travel for free??
What people don’t realize is how much work goes into being a travel blogger or influencer. It’s more work than your 9-5, I can promise you that.
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But there is another way to get paid to travel without being an influencer.
And that is with learning how to master the art of traveling with credit card points.
How Do Credit Card Points or Miles Work?
Think of credit card points and miles like collecting little treasures on each purchase. Every time you swipe, tap, or buy online with your credit card, you’re earning a small piece of your next adventure.
It’s like getting a reward for buying things you were going to buy anyway – from groceries to that cute travel hat.
Redeeming these miles is usually straightforward. Most credit card companies have online portals where you can view your miles balance and browse for flights.
Just like shopping online, you select your destination, dates, and use your miles to pay for part or all of the ticket. Some cards even allow you to book hotels and rental cars with miles.
Think of it as cashing in your hard-earned treasures for a passport to new experiences.
Do All Credit Credit Programs Work the Same Way?
Not all cards are created equal. Some give you points (like currency you can spend on travel or other goodies), while others give you miles (specifically for flights or travel-related expenses).
The trick is to find a card that suits your travel style. Are you a frequent flyer? Look for cards that offer more miles.
Love a bit of everything? A points card might be your best buddy.
Not sure where to start? Not to worry, I am going to give you a comprehensive overview of some of the top credit card companies.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred®Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might just be your ticket to free travel, even if you’re not a social media influencer.
This gem of a card is a traveler’s best friend, especially for international escapades, and here’s why:
- Affordable Travel Buddy: At just $95 annually, it’s a steal considering the travel perks you get.
- Earn as You Go: Rack up 5 points for every dollar spent on travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, and 2 points on other travel buys. Dining out or ordering in? That’s 3 points per dollar, too.
- No Pesky Fees Abroad: Forget about the usual 3% foreign transaction fees – they don’t apply here.
- Travel Protection Galore: Up to $10,000 in trip cancellation coverage, primary rental car insurance, baggage delay insurance, and more – it’s like having a travel safety net.
- Hello, Bonus Points!: A welcoming 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months can be a huge boost towards your next trip.
- More Perks: $50 annual travel credit and solid insurance options make it an even sweeter deal.
But, remember the fine print: You’ll need a good to excellent credit score, and the card is under Chase’s 5/24 rule, limiting approval if you’ve been card-hopping lately.
In short, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn’t just a credit card; it’s a passport to free travel experiences, minus the need for thousands of Instagram followers. It’s about smart spending leading to even smarter traveling!
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Not an influencer? No problem! The Platinum Card® from American Express is your secret tool to unlocking ‘complimentary’ luxury travel.
Here’s how this card is more than just a status symbol – it’s a travel revolution in your wallet:
- Epic Welcome Bonus: Start your travel saga with a whopping 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first six months. That’s a treasure trove of points, potentially translating to extravagant trips.
- Skyrocket Your Points: Earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via Amex Travel (up to $500,000 per year). Plus, 5X on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. 1x on all other purchases. This is your fast track to accumulating points that can unlock complimentary flights and hotel stays.
- Credits That Count: Imagine getting statement credits up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, another up to $200 in statement credits for hotel bookings, and up to $200 in Uber Cash in statement credits. These aren’t just perks; they’re like cashback for your travels.
- Lifestyle Perks with a Travel Twist: Up to $20 monthly digital entertainment credit, up to $155 Walmart + Credit, and up to $300 Equinox statement credit. These aren’t just for fun; they’re potential savings that can fuel your travel fund.
- Shopping and Security Perks: Up to $50 Saks in statement credits twice a year, and up to $189 CLEAR® Plus credit to whisk you through airport security. These bonuses not only enhance your shopping experience but also streamline your travel.
- Gold Status Glamour: Get treated like travel royalty with Hilton and Marriott Gold elite status, plus elite perks with Avis, Hertz, and National car rentals.
- Travel Insurance for Peace of Mind: Comprehensive coverage for trip delays, cancellations, and interruptions.*
- The Investment: Yes, the $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) is steep, but it’s a gateway to benefits that far outweigh the cost for avid travelers.
Why It’s a Win:
The credits effectively reduce travel costs, making many aspects of your journey ‘zero cost’. Earning points is like mining for travel gold, and the comprehensive travel protections are priceless.
Consider This: The annual fee is significant, and the bonus categories are primarily tied to Amex Travel and direct bookings. Plus, the current welcome bonus is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make it count!
In essence, The Platinum Card® from American Express is not just about traveling; it’s about traveling for ‘complementary’, luxuriously, and smartly.
It’s for those who see travel as an art and want to master it without being an influencer!
Who says you need to be a travel blogger to get perks? The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is like a secret wand for turning everyday spending into extraordinary travel.
Here’s why this card is a must-have for those seeking adventures on a budget:
- Impressive Welcome Bonus: Embark on your travel saga with a generous 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months. This hefty starter pack of miles is your ticket to exciting destinations.
- Earn Miles in Your Sleep (or Drive): Accumulate 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Picture this: each hotel stay or car rental brings you closer to your next free trip.
- Miles on the Daily: Every single purchase, from your morning coffee to quirky souvenirs, earns you 2X miles. Every swipe or tap is a step closer to your next getaway.
- Perks That Make Travel a Breeze: Enjoy up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, making airport security less of a hassle. Plus, revel in the VIP treatment with Hertz Five Star status on your road trips.
- Travel Safely: With rental car insurance and travel accident insurance included, you’re always covered on your journeys.
- Dine and Discover: Delight in exclusive access to Capital One Dining and a six-month membership to The Cultivist, enriching your travel with culinary and cultural experiences.
- Easy on the Wallet: With a modest annual fee of just $95, the world of travel perks is surprisingly affordable.
- The Winning Points: The simple yet rewarding structure, coupled with a wide array of airline transfer options, makes earning and using miles a breeze.
- A Balanced View: While the lounge network may not be extensive, the quality and other travel benefits more than makeup for it.
In essence, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is about making travel attainable and enjoyable. It’s perfect for those who believe in smart spending for smarter traveling. With this card, you’re not just going places; you’re earning your way there!
A Few Tips to Maximize Your Miles
- Use your card wisely: Stick to your budget and pay off your balance. It’s about being smart, not spending more.
- Look out for bonuses: Many cards offer sign-up bonuses or extra points for certain purchases.
- Stay informed: Credit card offers change, so keep an eye out for the best deals.
Curious about Travel Blogging and becoming an influencer?
As a travel blogger, I can say it’s not all bad, but it isn’t as easy as it is made out to be. And truthfully I much rather earn points or miles to redeem for travel than hustle for what I could get in a partnership with a brand.
If you do still want to learn more about blogging, consider taking a course on SEO and Instagram.
In the short term, research the more attainable ways to travel free, like getting one of these credit cards.
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.