So for today’s Blog Post I wanted to talk about some strategies for getting the most travel for the least amount of dollars. The easiest way to do this is to Sign-up for Credit Cards. Now this is not always the best thing to do. These card have annual fees and opening credit cards does affect the credit score.
Now I was very skeptical about bloggers recommending credit cards, as many of these people have something to gain if you sign-up and get approved. In my case I can actually get a referral bonus if you are interested in signing-up of the AMEX card I am about to recommend.
But I have a fairly strong ethical compass and I can say that regardless I actually preach what I am saying and can give this advice free of bias, especially since I get no incentive for recommending the first card.
Chase Hyatt Visa Card
This Chase Credit Card was introduced a few years ago and this is one that is easy to recommend. First you automatically get two free hotel nights at any Hyatt hotel around the world to be used within the first year of having the card. This includes some Park Hyatt hotels that would cost $500 a night or 30,000 Hyatt points. This is a very generous sign-up bonus if used correctly. Save this for a weekend stay at Park Hyatt New York that will be opening in August, and you will easily get over $1000 of use out of this sign-up bonus. Plus, this card is one that I don’t mind keeping every year when the annual fee kicks-in. The reason is you get one free night at a category 1-4 hotel. This will not get you quite as far as the sign-up bonus, but for $75 annual fee I would get a free hotel night for a property like the Hyatt Regency Jersey City. This is an excellent hotel that I’ve stayed at several times as a base to sight-see in New York. The views on the NYC skyline are great and your free night will go to great use considering this property usually goes for $200+ most days. Having this card is a great tools to stretch your travel budget as Hotels can be the single biggest cost of a vacation. This card also has no foreign transaction fee and I find myself using this card a lot when I’m travelling internationally.
Starwood Hotels Amex Card
So I have had this credit card for over 13 years. I keep this card because Starwood Hotels are among the best in the world. This company runs the W, Westin, Sheraton, and St. Regis brands of hotels. They have some of the most luxurious hotels in the world in some of the best locations. Their awards program is also arguably the most valuable as their hotel award have no blackout dates. I have used these points to stay at the W Hotel in New Orleans over Mardi Gras. That is about as Peak Season as you get. Additionally these points can be converted to airlines miles with almost every major airline out there. I recommend you use these points for hotel nights, but if you need to use them for an Airline Award ticket you will also get a 25% bonus if you transfer in 20,000 points increments. Do this for all airlines except United as they have an unfavorable exchange ratio. The current Sing-up offer is 25,000 starpoints which does require you to spend $5000 over 6 month to get the full sign-up bonus. Depending on how you use these points, this could be just as lucrative as the Hyatt offer and you can keep the points longer than a year unlike the first offer. To put it in perspective the Five night stayed I book for the W hotel cost me 40,000 points. The sign-up bonus won’t get you all the way there, but value of the points is well over $500 and can easily be used for more than that. If you have interest in this card feel free to reach out to me as I do have a referral link I can send you.