$7,200 Worth of Free Travel in 12 months

Over at my personal finance blog I mentioned that this is the time to become an airline miles points junkie.

However, newbies often wonder: is it really worth all the effort?

I’ll answer that question in two ways.

First, my recently launched Travel Free Coaching consultations help make the process so much easier.  I’ll help you maximize your miles so you don’t have to make newbie mistakes.  Besides, if you follow Help Me Travel Cheap, I’ll take a lot of the legwork out of the equation. 

Second, I’ll illustrate what I once did in a 12 month period, and then let you be the judge and jury to see if it is worth all the effort.

$7,200 Worth of Free Travel* in 12 Months

Once upon a time, in a 12 month period, together my wife and I applied for (and were approved, with no denials) 15 credit cards. 

Yes, that might seem like (and is) a lot of credit cards.  However, we did that to see the true impact on our credit score and also the true impact on our travel plans.

Once everything was said and done, we both still had 770+ FICO scores and …

  1. 200,000 airline points each
  2. 72,500 hotel points each (Starwood and Hilton)
  3. 25,000 American Express membership rewards points each
  4. $1,100 dollars worth of travel credit each

I very conservatively estimate each of our points and miles is worth $3,600. 

The family total worth of rewards is at least $7,200 or an average of $480 in rewards per credit card application.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of the credit card system for earning points and miles.

* People typically say, “there’s no such thing as free travel”.  That once was true.  However, when you combine using airline miles and Capital One Venture Rewards points, you can cover the taxes and fees using your Venture Rewards.

How much did you have to pay in annual fees?  Zero.  All the cards waived the annual fees for the first year.

Can You Expect the Same Results Over the Next 12 Months?

No one knows.  It all depends on what type of promotions there are going on.  If you follow my blog each month, I do a monthly roundup where I include all the best current credit card promotions. 

Basically, you need to always stand ready to take advantage of whatever bonuses come your way.  In the illustration above, near the end of the year Capital One had a promotion where they matched up to 100,000 miles.  There would have been no way we would have had 100,000 miles to match unless we had taken advantage of another bonus earlier in the year.

Any questions or concerns about collecting frequent flyer miles?


  1. Diana says

    Can you post your 100k chase BA link here. I read somewhere in your blog that you get referral incentives if we used your link. This is our first chase card. Hoping to get approved. Thanks.

  2. James Vu says

    Hi , expert .
    I have been approve 5 cards in the last 60 days . 2 from citi , 2 from chase and 1 from american express . I am planning to apply 2 more from citi . The premier card with 50,000 point target no fee for the first year and 75,000 AA either CITI AMX or CITI BUSINESS . does my credit will be freeze after I get approve or deny . Thank you in advance !


    • Craig says

      Getting approved or denied for a card will not freeze your credit. If have recently got 2 citi cards it may be hard to get another one soon.

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