Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and President Trump deemed it a National Emergency.
Governments around the world are closing its borders and banning travel. But eventually, COVID-19 will be under control – and you’ll be dying to take a vacation.
So if you want it to cost as little as possible, here are the best ways to accumulate the most travel miles for your next vacation.
Sunshine beating down on your face, a soft breeze flowing through your hair, the sand between your toes, the smell of salt in the air, and the sound of waves breaking on the shore… these are all things you’ll just have to imagine for the time being.
Everyone is going to have a little cabin fever for the foreseeable future.
And money may be a little tight by the time this global pandemic is controlled, which means you’ll be 1) itching to go on a vacation and 2) searching for the best way to do it as cheaply as humanly possible.
The good news is that given the sharp decline in the tourist industry around the globe, destinations will be competing hard for your business to make up for lost profits.
This means there will be amazing deals everywhere. But you can drive the prices down even further by accumulating travel points the most efficient ways possible.
Open a new credit card
This one seems obvious, but if you want to get a free vacation, this is the easiest route.
The credit card industry is always vying for your business and they’ll give you all sorts of free things to get it.
So, if you have a credit card with an old rewards program – pay it off, cut it with scissors, and throw it away because new credit card offers are more attractive than ever before.
For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa gives you 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months. That’s a bonus value of $1,200 towards your next vacation in just 90 days – and the COVID-19 outbreak should be resolved by then.
In addition, you earn 5 points on Lyft rides, 2 points on travel and dining at any restaurant worldwide, and 1 point per dollar spent.
In fact, you could spend the initial $4,000 on a vacation now – and then really rack up those points by dining out, enjoying a few drinks, then taking a Lyft back to your hotel. By the time you take your next vacation, it will be entirely free because your point total will be through the roof!
There are also several other Chase cards that have great benefits.
Capital One Venture offers 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 within 3 months.
Delta SkyMiles lets you earn 80,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within 3 months – and those points are multiplied if you fly exclusively with Delta.
Opening a new credit card may seem daunting, but you could get a free vacation.
Point being, the sign-up bonuses are huge.
All points and miles are not created equal
Points and miles are a type of currency and different credit card companies offer different values for them.
For instance, one program offers $200 in USD for 20,000 points, while another program offers $400 for the exact same amount of points.
You have to pay attention to these things when opening a new card because that’s obviously a crucial distinction.
This is the most underrated strategy when accumulating miles.
You may see an email every once in a while about exclusive offers from certain restaurants, retail stores, or other establishments for a multiplier of points all the time.
You’d be surprised how much money you’d save by actually dining out and letting those points/miles accumulate for your next trip.
For example, grocery stores will only get you 1 point with most cards. And what happens when you go to the grocery store? You plan to just buy the basics like bread, milk, and eggs. But you always end up buying more – lunch meat, cereal, juice, chicken – before long, you’ve got a $150 dollar grocery bill. And earned 1 point.
But if you dine out for lunch each day of the workweek, you’ll spend roughly a total of $60 for the week – and earn several points.
Dinners can be a bit more expensive for earning points, still, every point/mile you accumulate comes back for your next vacation.
It’s almost as if you’re spending money specifically to get free money for your next vacation. It’s a double win – not only are you dining out and having a good time, you’re taking care of that vacation without forking over thousands.
The key is to look for those multipliers for your credit card when buying. Even if Lyft is a tad more expensive than Uber at any given time, it’s still more beneficial points-wise to ride with Lyft.
Know the language on how to accumulate miles or points and you’ll be on the fast track to a free vacation in no time.