How to Get an Almost Free Around the World Trip with 6 Credit Card Approvals

Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Yesterday, we burned another 100,000 miles. I flew with my wife and three kids from New York City to Buenos Aires, Argentina (via Santiago, Chile).  We’re here for two nights before heading down to San Carlos De Barlioche.  Tickets here cost us 100,000 BA miles (accumulated from a single credit card application pre Avois) and about $250.

How can you afford to travel so much?

Some people ask it.  Others just think it.

This post is for the sake of my wife’s conscience.  She’s feeling a little guilty about traveling to Australia, Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, Hungary, and Argentina (5 continents!) in the last two months.

Around the World

Riding Elephants in Thailand

Worse yet, our acquaintances are starting to wonder where we got all this money from.  You see, for the last six years we’ve been missionaries in Papua New Guinea. That means we shouldn’t make a lot of money, and we certainly shouldn’t be able to afford to travel.

As a result, I need a place where she can point her friends to visit.  I need a concise way to prove that it doesn’t take as much money to travel as people assume.

So, what I’m going to do is to teach you the simplest way to get enough miles to travel around the world.  I’ll show you how to easily plan a vacation that will take you to South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

This is an appetizer post.  Not inclusive of all options.  Not necessarily the most mile efficient routing, but just enough information to let you know how far you can fly with just a few credit card applications.

I’m going to base my search starting out of Denver.

British Airways Avios from the US to South America:

Recommendation: British Airways Avios

  • Denver to Miami – 10,000 Avios and $2.50
  • Miami to Buenos Aires (via Santiago) – 32,500 and $23.70
  • Miami to Santiago – 25,000 and $23.70
  • Miami to Lima – 12,500 and $38.70

British Airways Avois needed from Denver to destinations in South America = 22,500 – 35,000 Avios and >$40.00


Apply for the British Airways credit card that offers 50,000 miles for signing up, and if you are a high spender, it you could earn another 50,000 Avios with more spending.

United From South America to Asia to North America


  • Buenos Aires to Frankfurt (stop) to Tokyo (stop)  to Denver = 80,000 and $198.35
  • Lima to London (stop)  to Singapore (stop) to Denver = 75,000 and $312.34
In fact, if one wanted to work in an extra city/stop on United, that would be a possibility, too.
By applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the United credit card, a person could accumulate between 80,000-100,000 United miles.

From Asia to Australia back to Asia:

Option #1 to use up British Airways miles.  

These options tend to have higher fuel surcharges, but certainly much less than you would find when flying to Europe.  All rates below are sample one way mileage and costs.

  • Hong Kong to Sydney = 25,000 and $189.96
  • Tokyo to Sydney = 25,000 and $232.39
  • Singapore to Sydney = 20,000 and $193.36
Use remaining Avois miles from the 100,000 miles sign up bonus.  If you can’t make the minimum spend for the extra miles, you could apply for the American Express Premier Rewards Gold and get 25,000 American Express Rewards miles that can be transfered into 25,000 Avois (or more if there is another promotion like the current 50% Avois transfer bonus).

Option #2: United (one way rates)

  • Tokyo to Sydney = 25,000 and $71.50
  • Hong Kong to Sydney = 30,000 and $50.40
  • Singapore to Sydney = 30,000 and $47.50


If you’ve already applied for Chase Sapphire Preferred and the United card, the Ink Bold card has a 50,000 Ultimate Reward offer.  50,000 Ultimate Rewards can be transfered to United miles.

Option #3: Use American Airlines miles

I don’t offer many samples here as the site doesn’t price out flights starting outside of the States.  I made a phone call to get the following information and didn’t want to keep plugging in city pairs just for this little experiment.

  • Tokyo to Sydney = 60,000 –  $129.40 (roundtrip)


Get the American Airlines credit card which gives 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months or the American Airlines credit card with a $3,000 spend in the first three months which offers 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles.  You can either use the two browser trick to get your miles, or combine it with the American Express Starwood card for another 10,000-25,000 Starpoints that can transfer to American.

How to Travel Around the World for Nearly Free Summary

What would it take for someone to travel from Denver to Miami to Lima, Puru to Frankfurt, Germany to Tokyo, Japan to Sydney, Australia (back to Tokyo), to Denver?

Six credit card applications and $368.95!

That, my friends, is how simple it is to travel around the world when you don’t make very much money.  By the way, if you want you can learn how to get free hotels too.

If you want to learn more about using credit card applications to travel around the world for as close to free as possible, you can subscribe to this blog and get a free bonus ebook – How to Travel Around the World for Next to Nothing.

If you’re already subscribed, why not share this post with a friend so they can start saving, too.

Disclaimer: Hey, I haven’t written this disclaimer for a while so … if you have credit card debt and carry a credit card balance, then applying for credit cards just for the sign up bonus is foolish.  This hobby of applying for credit cards is only for the organized and financially responsible.  We have no credit card debt and pay off all our balances on time, so we can enjoy the benefits without falling prey to the debt trap.


  1. kurt says

    I believe you once posted the credit cards you applied for in a one year period. Could you post them again? Thank You.

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