How we travel for FREE by simply using our credit card WISELY

Clickbait as it may sound, this isn’t really a “secret” for many of us who actually care about accumulating credit card “points” the same way we do with membership points the likes of SM Advantage/Prestige for example.

Some of you might even have friends who will volunteer to pay your meals using their credit cards one of those Dutch treats you’ve had before – this is exactly the reasoning behind it.

There’s even this one guy who is so good at taking advantage of credit card points mechanism that he was able to travel around the globe entirely for FREE – you can check him out here.

One thing is for certain though, what Chris Hutchins has done took time and a lot of READING – a trait not many have these days that’s for sure.

Hopefully, my tip for you today won’t be as long as the terms and conditions of many credit card rewards programs so you should have no excuse to actually not be able to try and replicate it.

Not all cards are created equal

If you’ve gotten this far, then I’m sure you would like to know more about our simple strategy to actually make this work in your favor more than that of the card company.

The first thing you need to know is of course is the “what” given not all credit cards available to most of us are naturally not created the same.

One thing is constant though, get a credit card that has a rewards system attached to it for every X amount you spend. Try to ask around your circle and do your own research as well as most of the credit card websites have all the information you need already.

What’s the best card to travel free?

For about 8 years now, we’ve been happily using Citibank’s CITI Premeirmiles VISA credit card and we’ve been very happy with it for so many reasons including:

1. NO ANNUAL FEES – for real!

This saves you about Php 1,500-3,000 in yearly membership fees other cards charge. And the best part, unlike our experience with BPI’s Mastercard Credit Card where we actually incurred finance and other charges because we didn’t call BPI’s support to have the card’s annual fee waived AGAIN (you have to call them once a year and I am not the best at remember once a year events that’s for sure).

2. High points to spend ratio!

At every Php 30.00 spend you get 1 premiermiles point while others give you the same points at about Php 35.00 spend or more.

3. Never expiring points

All the points you can accumulate have no expiry dates whatsoever so you can spend them however you like and whenever you like without worrying that your points have been deducted for having expired.

4. Rewards store variety

Citi being a global banking and finance company since 1812, there’s no surprise they have already forged many business relationships with other companies to join their rewards program.

You can exchange your points for just about anything from kitchenware, gadgets, to of course flights and hotel bookings.

5. Highest credit card limit

Even if we are a BPI “preferred client”, our credit card limit maximum back then was only Php 200,000.00. When we started with Citi, our limit was double this amount and after about 5 years it’s nearly at 1M.

6. Convertible to cash

Although Citibank also has a card that’s specifically meant to offer cash in return of points (the Cash Back card), the Premiermiles card is better given it has no annual limit of Php 15,000.00 as a cash back.

They both have the same conversion of 1/3 of your points, meaning if you have 90,000 premier miles, you can get Php 30,000.00 as a cash back on your points.

7. Best phone support

Sad to say, no local bank’s customer service just comes close and that’s coming from a preferred BPI client.

Wait times are not that long and most of all, they are very accommodating with requests like waiving finance charges incase you missed your payment sometimes.

IF, you can get Citi’s coveted Platinum Card, then I have a feeling this would be better than their Premiermiles card but for most of us, this won’t be easy.

Are you sure you are not paying more in finance charges?

A very valid question indeed as credit card companies naturally never lose akin to the casino’s “the house always wins”.

So how exactly do we not end up paying more finance charges than the value of the points we get?

The simple answer is we don’t incur finance charges simply because we treat our credit card purchases as cash. By this I mean once we use our card, we try to pay that amount on the same day if possible so we do not have to think about paying it on its due date and all that.

So basically, instead of using the cash that we have to make a purchase, we just use our card and then use our existing cash to pay our card company for that purchase. Bonus is our points.

This is VITAL and of PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE because if you will use your credit card to make purchases and you end up having to pay for finance charges, your points WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH TO COVER for finance charges so please be very mindful of your credit card purchases.

If you have other tips on how to make the best use of your credit card, please do share them on the comments section so others may know as well.