When you travel as much as we do, getting the most bang for your buck is crucial. We are not ultra-budget travelers, but we’re also not rich people. We are budget travelers – just like you. Our secret to traveling often without breaking the bank is as simple as the credit cards we use.
Capital One Venture Rewards Card
There are many cards out there that offer points or miles for purchases, but for travel, Capital One Venture Rewards Card is at the top of our list. Here’s why…
Double miles for every dollar spent. Absolutely every purchase you make earns you 2 miles per dollar spent. As George Clooney’s character said in the movie Up In the Air, “I don’t spend a nickel, if I can help it, unless it somehow profits my mileage account.” We’ve adopted this philosophy. We put EVERYTHING on the credit card and I mean everything – gas, pack of gum, cellphone bill, car payment – you name it; it goes on that card. By doing this and because there are two of us using the cards daily, we rack up thousands of points each month.
Bonus miles for in-store and online purchases. Simply buying a cup of coffee or dog food results in bonus miles for you. Depending on where you shop, you could earn an additional 3, 5, 10, and even 20 bonus miles per dollar.
10,000 Miles for Opening an Account. Translation – $100 in your pocket! After you spend $1000 in the first three months, you get free miles. That’s about $333 bucks a month, which should be an easy mark when you pay for everything with your credit card.
No foreign transaction fees. This is a big one for people who travel internationally like us. You use your credit card to get the best exchange rates while abroad, but then your bank hits you with exorbitant fees for each transaction. This nullifies the benefit of using the card in the first place. Use this card anywhere in the world and you can start reaping the benefits of the best exchange rates without paying the price.
Purchase Eraser. This is absolutely the BEST part of using this card. You can redeem your miles for ANY travel related purchase – airline tickets, cab rides, train tickets, hotel rooms, baggage fees, etc. This means you don’t have to worry about losing the best price on an airline ticket because your loyalty miles are with one airline and another airline is having the sale. You can fly any airline, anytime. Buy the cheapest ticket with the best schedule for you and then “erase” it with your accumulated points.
Unlimited Miles that Don’t Expire. The pressure is off. There is no deadline for you to use your miles. They don’t expire which means you can wait until you have enough to cash them in for free travel.
How This Works…
In July, I flew last minute to Portland, Oregon to meet Sam, who was there on a business trip. Because it was last minute, prices were sky high (no pun intended). I searched for a reasonably priced roundtrip flight to try to use my airline miles, but the thousands of points I had could not touch the price of the airline ticket for me to redeem them. To further complicate this scenario, I wanted to fly back to Maryland on United Airlines on the same flight as Sam.
In making my reservations, I learned that I could not use my United miles unless I bought a roundtrip ticket, which was over $900. This was the best price I could find on all the airlines and frankly, I’m not flying to Portland for $900 when I can go to Europe for that amount, but I digress….
In the end, I bought a one-way ticket to Portland on Spirit Airlines and another one-way ticket from Portland on United Airlines. The cost of the Spirit Airlines ticket was $288. The cost of the United ticket was $361. Total cost was $649, which was $250 less than the roundtrip price of $900. But you know what I paid in the end? Nothing!!! Poof! Erased!!!