Wanna Know Why I Collect Miles with Credit Cards? Here’s Why!

Those of us who collect miles often wonder why so many people pass up the opportunity for so many credit card mileage related bonuses.  The two reasons I hear most often are the hassle factor and the impact on one’s credit score.

They think we’re fools for playing the credit card game.  But I think it can be profitable if you are disciplined with your finances.  If you’re not paying off your credit card each month, then using credit cards to collect miles is a foolish game.  Otherwise, I think you can get some sweet vacations by taking advantage of credit card rewards.

Earlier this year I mentioned that I’d accumulated $7,200 worth of travel within the last 12 months.  That was a very, very conservative estimate.

However, theoretically having $7,200 worth of free travel and actually getting free travel are completely different things.

So I’ll report on a few ways I’ve actually been able to redeem points for free travel.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that our family was in New Zealand and we booked four nights using ThankYou Reward points.  What about the other four?

My wife and I got in on the Capital One 100,000 miles match offer. (We matched the 100,000 miles we’d received from the 2 x 75,000 American Airlines miles.)  In the end, we both ended up with a total of over $2,200 worth of travel credit with Capital One. In another post I’ll explain how simple it was to use the points.  But, as you can see below, I got a credit on my account for $795.14 worth of travel expenses and my wife got $287.53. 

The charges included several miscellaneous expenses like taxi cabs, hotels, and air fare.



In the end, our family of five paid less than $300 (everything included) for an eight night vacation in Auckland/Rotorura New Zealand.

That’s why I collect miles and points using credit cards!

Not convinced?  Need more proof?

Yesterday I booked some flights using our American Airline miles.  I can’t give too many details because my wife has no idea where we’re going.

However, here’s what I can tell you.  Out of pocket we would have had to pay $6,000+for the airfare.  Two credit card applications was enough to cover the mileage requirement for both tickets. 

Still, there was a $230 taxes and fees charge on the flight so we really didn’t get a free flight, right?


Capital One Venture Rewards to the rescue.  I paid for the taxes and fees using my Cap1 card, so I’ll be able to get those travel expenses reimbursed.

All of our hotels will be free using some of the methods outlined in my post on getting free hotels.

My theory is that if you’re going to travel, you might as well travel cheap!


  1. September Price says

    I know. It’s so weird. You tell people about the great deals out there and how they can get them too, and they act like there must be some kind of catch or something that you’re not seeing. There is no catch people! If you have good credit, and you pay off your credit cards each month, it is basically like free money. Last year I got two free flights from Southwest, then canceled the card after 11 months to avoid another annual fee. A few months later they send me an email to apply again and they’ll give me enough reward points for… two free flights. The offers just keep coming.

  2. says

    Yep – I once got vouchers from United for a defunct flight, 2 weeks later they sent me more vouchers, 3 times after that I was upgraded. Not sure how much it cost them to keep me as a customer but it worked! Absolutely changed my image of them also – kudos to United for doing that. (heddi from http://www.mytab.co – gift friends cash for wish list travel)

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