I found an offer that netted me 75,000 miles. Before my husband applied, that offer had expired and he got a card that awarded 60,000 miles (the same bonus available now). The annual fee is waived for the first year. In the end, we were able to use a combination of points and cash to book five nights (three with my points, two with his) at the Holiday Inn Express Madison Square Garden for $40 each night, cutting our hotel expenses by about 80 percent. I also had my husband apply for a Delta SkyMiles Amex card, which at the time offered $50 off your first Delta booking and a free checked bag.
Here are some important caveats if you’re considering travel hacking with credit cards. It’s important to:
Have impeccable credit: Many sites warn that credit card churn can adversely affect your credit rating, but I recently bought a car, and my credit remains excellent.
Be willing to track purchases: Most cards that reward points have spending minimums (usually about $1,000) that need to be met and paid for before points are awarded. For cards that charge a fee after the first year, you'll have to weigh if and when to cancel.
Have a plan: Don't just randomly apply for cards. You don't want points scattered among too many different reward programs. Have a specific goal and work toward that. Know which airline you hope to fly on and which hotel group would be the best fit.
Lifehacker has a good introductory guide for people who might want to dip their toes into travel hacking: strib.mn/1ubuznd.