I’m a freelance travel writer. Sometimes I’m offered press trips to different places and free travel or stay, but that wasn’t (and still isn’t) always the case.

Before I began life as a travel writer, I was traveling around the world on my own penny and dime, and too often than not, I was only making penny-like money and had to come up with creative ways to travel for cheap and free. I found that in travel credit cards.

Travel credit cards may seem scary, but I’m going to break them down for you in an easy, simple way.

Credit cards can be affiliated with travel rewards programs. Each dollar spent on a credit card affiliated with a travel rewards program usually equals 1, 1.5, or 2 points or miles. These points or miles can then be used to redeem for free flights, free hotels, or free transportation.

Now I don’t spend enough money in a month to generally to rack up enough points or miles to redeem for a free flight. Most flights take anywhere between 30,000 miles or points to 100,000+ miles or points depending if you are flying domestic or international.

However, the cool thing about travel credit cards is that when you sign up for one, they often provide a free bonus of 20,000 to 50,000 bonus points or miles, if you spend “X” amount of dollars within “X” amount of months. (Example: Spend $3,000 in 3 months and you get 40,000 points/miles). That bonus alone has gotten me many a free flight and trip.

I could go on and on about this (and I probably will as time goes on, so be sure to follow this blog), but I want to keep this explanation as simple as possible.

So I will end by saying three last things.

  1. Travel credit cards ARE NOT for people with:
  • Bad credit
  • Little to no interest in budgeting (or are bad at it)
  • Credit card debt

These people should stick with basic travel rewards programs and gain miles by using the services, affiliate partners, or the rewards program’s shopping and dining programs.

2. If the first point does not apply to you and you do use credit cards but they’re not travel rewards credit cards, and you want to travel for free or cheap, GET A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD NOW.

3. If you’d like to try a travel rewards credit card, I am currently using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. If you click here, and apply for this card and are approved, you can receive 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in three months.

The 50,000 points equals $500 worth of free travel (applies when you book the flight with your card and then erase it with your points from your card purchase history). And if you book a flight or hotel through the Chase system, the 50,000 points are worth about $600-$700 worth of free travel.

To get this offer, you must use the following link or click the bold “click here” above:

(Note: For each person who signs up with this link, I get a 10,000-point referral bonus with a maximum limit of 50,000)

Travel credit cards can be a little confusing and scary at first, but if my parents who are in their 50s (but don’t look it!) can do it, you can, too. And I’m always on social (@alextemblador) to help with any questions.

Good luck!

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