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Earning credit card bonuses and travel rewards points has become quite a hobby for me. Just by signing up for a new card each time we earn a sign-on bonus, my wife and I have been able to earn 250,000+ points in a year’s time. Each point is worth roughly 1 cent if we were to cash them out. So for doing essentially nothing, we’ve been able to earn an extra $2,500 in a year.
It gets even better though! If you don’t cash the points out and use them for travel instead, you can usually get even more cash value for them. I’m still a bit of a rookie when it comes to travel hacking, but we were able to pay for 2 roundtrip flights and get over $1,000 off of our all-inclusive resort stay in Mexico thanks to credit card points.
If you aren’t using credit cards, you could be missing out on a lot of free money. With that being said, if you don’t have the discipline to pay off your cards in full each month, I can’t in good faith recommend you to sign up for cards. There’s no point in earning credit card rewards if you end up running a balance and have to pay hefty interest fees.
Best Credit Cards
Everyone’s situation is different, so you’ll need to decide which cards are right for you. These are the cards my wife and I have used and I think they’re some of the best out there!
You’ll need to have good credit in order to qualify for these cards. If you don’t currently have a way to check your credit report for free, check out Credit Sesame.
This was our first card and it has been the best so far! With this card, we earned 80,000 travel points by spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. The card does come with an annual fee of $95 so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth holding on to or if you’ll need to cancel before the fee hits. To get this card, I just used my social security number as the business tax ID and the fact that I have an eBay business makes me eligible for the card.
On top of the sign-on bonus, these are the ongoing bonuses:
Receive three points per $1 spent on up to $150,000 combined spending annually on travel expenses; shipping costs; Internet, cable, and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. You’ll earn one point per $1 in those categories once you reach the spending cap and on all your other purchases
Next up on the list is another solid choice from Chase. With this card, we earned 50,000 points by spending $4,000 in 3 months, but now the sign up bonus has increased to 60,000 points! This isn’t a business card, so you don’t have to worry about that. The annual fee for this card is $95.
Here are the ongoing benefits of the card:
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
With this card, you get 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The ongoing benefits are 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. You also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. The annual fee for this card is $0.
With this card, you get 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The ongoing benefits are unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business and 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases. The annual fee is $0.
This is our current card that we’re working towards the signup bonus on. With this card, you get a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. The ongoing benefits are 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020. The annual fee for this card is $95 but it is waived the first year.
And that’s my list of cards! If these cards aren’t what you’re looking for, you can check out more cards here.
How I earn credit card sign-on bonuses
My method for earning credit card sign-on bonuses is simple. I sign up for a card and use it for all of our normal spendings. “Normal spending” includes anything and everything we purchase that we can use the credit card for.
Since I have all of our recurring bills listed out in our monthly budget, I can easily browse through the list and update the payment method to the current card I’m trying to get the sign-on bonus for.
This it the longest process of earning the bonuses and it takes me maybe 30 minutes to complete every few months.
The most typical sign-on deal I’ve come across is “earn 50,000 points by spending $3,000 in the first three months.”
That may sound like a lot, but if you’re putting every expense you possibly can on the card, you probably easily spend more than $1,000 a month.
Even if you’re really frugal and won’t be able to meet the minimum spend to earn sign up bonuses, you can get creative with how you meet the minimum requirement. One thing you could do is prepay insurance and other things you know you’ll be paying for a while.