How It All Works

Beginner surfer in Panama 2011.

There are many ways to start out collecting miles and points. For some it started when they were very young. Their smart parents signed them up for a frequent flier program, when they went on family trips, and they were on their way.

For me, I started when I saw that a friend of mine was able to pay for his plane ticket to Costa with points. I went out and got the same card he had so I could start charging my expenses and earning points. I did very little research and ended up getting a US Bank FlexPerks card (not recommended) with a 10,000 point bonus, which I thought was good at the time. Long story short, it is not a very good card, but I at least got in the game.

If you are interested in traveling for very little money, which I don’t see how you could not be, there are a few things you need to know first.  The best way to accumulate miles and points, that can be used in place of real money for travel expenses, is to sign up for and use miles and points earning credit cards. Notice I said cards, as in plural. You can acquire just one card and put all your expenses on it, but that won’t get you very far. Maybe you could rack up enough points for one trip a year, it depends on how much you spend.

The way to earn a ton of miles and points, enough for multiple free or very cheap trips per year, is to sign up for several or many of the best cards.  In this blog I will highlight all the best ones and help you choose which ones will work best for where you want to go.

The first thing I think everyone needs to know, before they utilize the maximum point earning strategies mentioned here, would be their personal FICO credit score. This is very important because without a good score you will not be approved for many of the best cards that I will detail. This is also just a good piece of information to know in general if you ever plan on applying for any type of loan. There are many places to check your scores (you have 3 scores from the 3 rating agencies). I just checked my Experian score for $1 using their 7-day trail offer. You can see your credit report for free once a year, but you usually have to pay to see your scores.

Use myfico.com to get your true score. Some others you could use to get your estimated score for free are Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, or FreeCreditScore.com.

Disclaimer – I do not recommend signing up for multiple credit card offers  if any of these conditions apply to you:

  1. You can not pay off each card you use every month in full and on time.
  2. You plan on applying for a large loan, like a home mortgage or car financing, in the near future.
  3. Your credit score is not in the good to excellent range (730+)

If you meet these criteria, and want some “almost free surf trips,” the next step would be to get started now. Head on over to the Paddle Out section.

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