Credit cards get a bad rap these days. Insane interest rates keep many North Americans in debt forever. Paying anywhere between 20-35% is no exception. We use one credit card to pay off the other, making just the minimum payments as we go along. For every $100 in balance, we’re happy to pay $35 (or more) in interest. The credit card companies are the only ones benefiting from this deal. No matter how much you love your new purchases, you can’t afford them. Period. Many articles have been written about getting rid of credit cards, cutting them up, and paying with cash instead. I think that’s short-sighted.
The problem is not with credit cards, but with the way you use them. Here’s my golden rule:
Use all credit cards as charge cards only. Pay off the entire balance every two weeks.
Using cards this way has many financial benefits. For one, you’re always ahead of your payment schedule. More importantly, as long as you stick to this one golden rule, you can use your cards to fly for free.
Let Your Credit Cards Fly You
In continued attempts to entice new cardholders, credit card companies always come up with new offers and promotions. You have access to the most exotics types of credit cards, promosing all kinds of rewards. Travel reward cards, when used in a specific and controlled way, are great for people (want to) travel frequently. You can redeem points for hotel stays, flights, car rentals, cruises and much more. When signing up for a card, you can get a welcome bonus to get you started. As you go along, you’ll earn more points every time you use your card to make a purchase.
If you often travel for business, you probably stay in the same hotel chain, use the same rental car company and fly on the same airline. I’ve been there, done that. If you don’t, you probably don’t travel that much. When you’re gone often enough, using those familiar companies almost bring an odd sense of feeling at “home”. Am I right? Leveraging your business expenses, you can double-dip and earn bonus points to take your family somewhere nice. You can read my post on how to earn travel rewards with your business credit cards here. Many of these credit card companies are affiliated with the hotels and car rental companies you use all the time. With each business trip purchase you earn points, sometimes double points or more, towards free hotel stays, free airline flights, free car rentals and more! If you earn enough points, you can earn a combination of all three for a vacation that is virtually free. However, as I teach participants of my new Travel Revolution travel hacking course, I don’t recommend that approach. The total miles you need is way too high. Even if you have that many miles, you’re not using them in an optimal fashion by blowing them all on one trip.
The Golden Rules
Even if you don’t travel for business, you probably have you favourite travel providers you like to deal with.Travel reward credit cards can give you the flexibility to choose how you’ll be rewarded on your next trip. You can offset or even eliminate most of your travel expenses. When used following my rules, it might just free you up enough to take an extra vacation. I’ve compiled a list of my seven golden rules of travel hacking. The entire set is available in the members only section of my Travel Revolution course, but available to download free for a limited time. Please use them to your advantage, and travel safe.7 Golden Rules Of Travel Hacking