Like me, I’m sure you’ve all seen these sorts of credit card offers around for years. Get a new card, get an exorbitant amount of miles. And like me, you’ve probably avoided it for whatever reason, be it the hassle of transferring miles or avoiding a ding to your credit report or whatnot. Well I’m here to say that I recently took the plunge and got my first credit card specifically to earn miles. After some due diligence, I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which at the time was offering 40,000 miles if you spend $3K in the first three months (the offer has since changed). They waived the annual fee for the first year and offered a few other bonus, like double and triple miles on things like travel and dining.
Seeing as how I was planning a costly trip to Iceland, I knew I could hit the spending limit – and more importantly – that I could pay it down immediately. I ended up earning 50,000 miles in a few months, which were then transferable to a few different airlines, including United, Virgin Air, Singapore Airlines, etc.
I recently combined the miles with some leftover United miles, and for 60,000 miles, I booked a roundtrip flight from Honolulu, Hawaii to Buenos Aires, Argentina, upgraded to economy plus on every leg. I paid $93 total, and the process was painless. With one click, the miles were transferred and the flights were booked.
Needless to say, I am a believer. And as such, I’m passing along some useful info from the blog “View from the Wing” about how to earn 140,000 miles for $89. (Or how to get 90,000 miles if you’re not interested in taking out a business card).
I will, however, point out what I think is a very important caveat that is worth stating over and over again. While it is tempting to open card after card chasing hundreds of thousands of miles, I definitely don’t think this strategy is for everyone. Before taking out a new card, I suggest:
– Being 100% sure that you can make the full payments in a timely manner. I don’t mean the minimum balance, I mean the full balance, every month. There’s no sense in getting into debt for airline miles.
– Scrutinize the details. Deals like these often have a lot of fine print. Make sure you understand the nitty gritty, like when the miles will be available for transfer, when they expire, and your APR.
– If the card is waiving the annual fee, you can close it before the annual fee comes due next year. Be mindful, however, that opening and closing cards in this fashion will ding your credit. Have a good handle on your credit score before you engage.
If you’ve got success stories or tips on scoring miles with cards, please drop a comment below. Aloha!