It was inevitable that things would switch directions on me. Years ago, before I ever started playing around with the credit card miles and points and bonuses, I was still a traveler. Just not the kind of traveler I wanted to be. I wanted to go further, see more, and experience new places and customs. My wife and I decided we couldn’t care less about the big house, fancy cars or even the best clothes. We still get some pretty nice clothes, but at a fraction of the cost. I handle the travel gig; my wife handles the discounts on just about everything else.
We figured that at the end of the day, a big house was simply more to clean. A big car would decrease greatly in price before we ever made it off the lot. So, it was somewhere in between the mountains of Colorado on a vacation that I decided that there was much more to this world than what is in my backyard. The problem with this decision was how I could get there? I have a good job. I may never become a millionaire, but not many people do. There had to be another way. That’s when a chance meeting with someone we knew changed everything for us.
A Random Meeting Leads to a Life Change
A simple request for low-budget ideas for a dream trip to Europe led to credit card bonuses, points, and eventually, mass collecting and redeeming. My mind was racing, especially since I’m pretty knowledgeable about these things considering my career in the financial industry. But I had no idea what I had stumbled upon. That was several years ago. Or maybe I should rephrase that. It was millions of points ago. I remember busting my hump using only one credit card to get a free Southwest flight every so often and thought I was doing great. But as Jimmy Cliff stated famously, “I can see clearly now”. There was more to this and we had only scraped the surface.
I talk about what I’ve stumbled on to people all of the time. Just lately, some are starting to take me seriously. There are many reasons people are reluctant to head down this path. The usual responses of course, such as this will ruin your credit report, issuers look out for people like you who take advantage of the system, but of course the biggie is it’s just too hard to do. All things I thought were true and have discovered over the last year to be false. Although, let me say it can be quite stressful at times early on, but like everything else, you adapt.
A Few Myths About Collecting Points
Can multiple cards hurt your credit report? The simple response is no, if you do things the correct way. Having multiple credit cards won’t hurt your credit report. That being said, balances being carried over month to month CAN on these cards. The basic principle here for everyone to understand first and foremost is this. If you can’t pay off your credit card every month, you don’t need to do this. At any given time you may be dealing with 3-4 cards, maybe more, actively spending on them to receive the bonuses, and possibly have many more that you hold, but don’t use. If you can’t keep up with one, don’t expect to keep up with more.
Just look for cheap travel the old-fashioned way and search for great deals. There’s nothing wrong with that as your main priority should always be your current financial situation and ensuring it remains in good standing. One other thing to keep in mind before you start this hobby is if you’re considering a sizeable loan over the next year or two such as a mortgage, wait until you have completed that process before you even think about collecting miles and points. But, if you’re open to the possibility of seeing the world much faster than you ever could have dreamed of, maybe this is for you.
The Biggest Myth of Them All
One other myth is that credit card issuers look out for people like you and will turn you down. Trust me; this was the one I truly believed had to be right on the money. Why would they want people like me that take advantage of the bonus offers that are put out there? Easy to answer. For every person like me that has successfully managed the system, there’s hundreds, if not thousands more who can’t. It’s worth overlooking me if you get much more of the target audience in your offer. Not only that, but there are MANY bloggers who get paid by the companies to send people through their links. That should tell you everything you need to know right there. Now I haven’t seen that money yet! I guess I’m like Forrest Gump and the Million Dollar Wound, but hell, I like writing, so that’s good enough!
To really get involved in this gig, take some time to look around at my fellow bloggers on Travelupdate.com and BoardingArea. I’m no expert on the best deals that can be found, but they are! I use their resources to support my habit and you should too. Open your eyes and see this world, but do it for the least amount of money possible. I’m 43 years old and my goal is to see everything on my bucket list by 50, and then move onto your bucket list. And believe me, it’s more than possible. So here’s to hoping the light goes on for you as it did me. Let the world open itself to the possibilities and become one of those who does the very things they dream.
Live within your means, Travel beyond them!