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Free Travel! Getting the Most Out of Your Travel Credit Cards

My wife and I travel often, so we use these four credit cards to maximize our travel rewards, saving us money

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Being wise with your credit can go a long way. While I’ve always been skeptical of the whole credit card churn movement (regularly signing up for new cards and canceling them), that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some pretty great offers. Depending on the type of card you sign up for, you can get valuable rewards in the form of points, miles, and discounts.

My wife and I love to travel, which is why we tend to gravitate towards credit cards with travel rewards. We love to do a big trip once a year using only our credit card points, and we also travel to LA and NYC quite frequently. We like to keep things simple with just a few high-impact cards that give us the rewards we’re looking for. We live near Salt Lake City, a Delta hub, which is why we have Delta cards.

These are the four cards we use to maximize travel rewards:

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

This card we use primarily for my wife’s work expenses, which are all travel-related. The points add up quickly, and if we use them via the Chase travel portal, they’re worth way more than expected. When we went to Tokyo, for instance, we transferred the Chase reward points to Hyatt and got our hotels for free. Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

The perks include:

  • 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5X total points on air travel through Ultimate Rewards, 3X total points on travel otherwise
  • 10X total points on dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards when you make prepaid restaurant reservations or order takeout
  • 3X total points on dining at restaurants and other eligible services
  • Priority Pass membership for access to 900+ airport lounges worldwide

The annual fee is $550, but the annual travel credit does a lot to offset this.

Depending on your spending needs, one or more of these cards can do wonders to earn you travel rewards. If you choose wisely, you can make your travel spending work for you.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Our other personal card is Venture Rewards from Capital One. It’s really easy to use the reward points for anything travel-related. We usually use it to cover non-airline travel expenses such as our train tickets in Tokyo or our recent hotel in Aspen. Earn 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

The perks include:

  • 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 2X miles per dollar on every purchase

It has an annual fee of only $95, but it’s incredibly handy for erasing travel expenses with the 2X miles you earn on everything.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

My wife and I have lifetime status on United, but since we’re now located in Utah, we want status on Delta. This is because Delta is the main airline out of SLC, and to fly anything else would be a hassle. That’s why we use the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card for everything business related. Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.

The perks include:

  • 60,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership
  • 3X miles at Delta per every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1.5X miles per dollar after you spend $150,000 on your card in a calendar year
  • 1X miles on all other purchases

The annual fee is $550, but it’s well worth it for the great rewards and the ability to get quicker status on Delta. With Delta we can pay with a combination of points and cash, which is handy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

For our personal Amex, my wife and I use the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card. This helps us get my wife status on Delta, and we use it mostly for our groceries and Delta purchases. Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months.

The perks include:

  • 50,000 bonus miles after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months
  • 3X miles on Delta purchases
  • 3X miles at hotels
  • 2X miles on dining at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) in the US
  • 2X miles on groceries at US supermarkets
  • 1X miles on all other purchases

It has an annual fee of $250. MileValue has a great article on Delta SkyMiles, which I find helpful for getting the most out of their program.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓



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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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