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Leveraging credit card points has been a great tool for us to save money on traveling. We mostly use them for booking flights, but have recently started to use them for other perks such as booking rental cars and hotel rooms. 

Let me be clear, though, I’m not a credit card guru. I do not know the very best card that will work for every different person in every different situation.  

But what I can do is tell you what cards we use and why we like each of them. 

Many of the cards listed below will have our referral links. If you end up being interesting in any of these cards, signing up through the links would help support me and the website.

Before signing up, I do encourage you to do your research beforehand for each card.  Bonus offers change frequently and there may be a better sign on bonus out there that is not offered through my referral link. 

Disclaimer: Before using credit cards to travel hack, please make sure you are able to use credit cards responsibly. At the least, this means you pay your bill in full each month and only purchase what you can afford.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom

Best card for starting off and for those who don’t want the annual fee

Bonus: $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual Fee: $0

Why I love it:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred*

Best overall card for those starting off in the travel hacking game.

Bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual Fee: $95

Why I love it:

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve*

Best premium travel card for those who travel frequently

Bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual Fee: $550

Why I love it:

*Note: You can not have both the Chase Sapphire Preferred AND Chase Sapphire Reserve at the same time. 

These three cards are our staples. 

I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Card while Mr. Taco uses the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The Chase Freedom card is used solely for the 5% bonus categories that rotate throughout the year while the other two cards are used for everything else. 

In total, we pay $545 a year in annual credit card fees. The Chase Sapphire Reserve does have a $300 travel credit each year which essentially reduces this annual cost for our two cards to $245 a year. 

As long as we travel a few times a year and utilize our points for airfare, rental cars, and hotels; we will be able to easily recoup the $245 a year fee each year. This is why having these cards and paying for the annual fees has been worth it to us. 

Other cards we have utilized for their bonuses:

Capital One Venture

This is also a great overall travel card and you can find a detailed review at The Points Guy.

We applied for this card purely to get the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee credit for Mr Taco since I already had it through my Chase Sapphire Reserve. 

The Capital One Venture has an annual fee of $95, but it’s waived in the first year. This allowed us to get Mr. Taco Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® for free as long as we cancel the card before the year is up. Total win if you ask me. 

INDIVIDUAL airline credit cards

Over the past few years, I have worked my way through many airline specific credit cards (Delta, American, United) to earn free flights. 

Many of these cards have annual fees that are waived the first year so it’s easy to take advantage of the sign on bonus and then cancel the card before the fee hits.

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