I spent some time and put together this chart today and thought it could be a great resource you, our readers here on the blog! There are more rewards cards out there, but these are the ones we have had experience with.

Using what many call travel hacking, we have been able to save over $12,000 in the past three years of travel.  This was money saved on Airfare, Hotels, Rental Cars and more.  If you want to get into using credit cards so that you never have to pay for hotel or airfare again, I recommend the following:

  1. Don’t start until you are debt free and know that not paying off your credit card each month would cost you more in the long run than just paying for hotels and flights on your own.  Relatedly, never spend more than you would if using cash/debit.  The point conversion is not worth it.  If you are looking for an awesome budget tracking app for iOS, we highly recommend the Trail Wallet App.
  2. Sign up for free at the following websites to receive monthly credit updates (This is a good idea in general even if not interested in the CC):
    1. http://www.creditkarma.com – TransUnion Credit Score Updates
    2. http://www.creditsesame.com – Experian Credit Score Updates
  3. Only apply for cards with points you will use within the next 12 months.  The reason for this is that if you do not use the miles in the year after receiving them, some expire and/or may require paying high yearly fees to keep them thereby making them more costly than they are worth in most cases.
  4. If you are wanting a few cards and can meet the minimum spends, apply to them all in one day to get only a single Hard Inquiry on your Credit report.
  5. Take some time to look at the different grades on your Credit Karma Report Card to understand how different things may affect your credit.
  6. Make sure you meet the minimum spend and get the bonus reward point otherwise the annual fee and hassle is not really worth it.


Download Valerie & Griffin’s Credit Card Comparison Chart

[click link or image to download]


If you are starting to get overwhelmed with keeping up with Rewards Accounts and Credit Card Payments, we recommend the following free services:

    1. Award Wallet – free management of Rewards Accounts
    2. Mint – free financial and payment management as well as goal setting and accountability
    3. TripIt – free trip organization and travel itinerary service

Taking It Further

If you are looking for further resources, here are many free and a few paid options we use and highly recommend.

Related Posts By Valerie & Griffin on Travel Hacking

How To Save Money On Vacation

Airline Booking Tips

Summer Travel Plans

How To Get Free Air Miles & Save $600

Travel Hacking Related Sites & Blogs

Chris Guillebeau

Travel Hacking

The Points Guide

The Miles Professor

Boarding Area

Art Of Non-Conformity

Air Treks

Boots n All


The Art Of World Travel

Frequent Flyer Master

* This article was originally published here

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