Spend $300 online, get 2100 Bonus Miles with Mileage Plan Shopping

The holiday shopping bonuses have started up and Alaska Airlines has a great one!  If you aren’t familiar with how shopping portals can earn you miles then read our primer article on how it all works
Mileage Plan 2100

Continue reading “Spend $300 online, get 2100 Bonus Miles with Mileage Plan Shopping”

Should I get a cashback or a miles card?

Reader Javier asked recently in the comments on this article: “Keith turned me on to your site on Facebook. I wanted a little direction. I have the Capital one Venture card with 2x per dollar spent. I crunched the numbers for last month and if I switched to the Chase card I would be down about 3200 points/miles. Capital One doesn’t necessarily use the miles redeem system, they just reimburse you for the travel based on the amount of the ticket. How would I be able to utilize your system with Capital One?”Credit Card Question Mark

I started writing a quick reply but it quickly got more involved with examples so I wanted to make this into a more comprehensive post that I could refer people to in the future since this is a common question. This is a long post, but read and digest it slowly because it is an important one. If you don’t want all the details, skip to the bottom to the Conclusion TLDR section.

What is the difference between a cashback card and a miles card? Continue reading “Should I get a cashback or a miles card?”

Reader Question: Should I 0% balance transfer $7700 for $230 just for the miles?

This is another of our Reader Question series of articles.  One of our readers recently asked:

“I received the older version of the US Airways card with 30,000 miles (the current offer is 40,000 mile sign up bonus after spending $1).  As part of that offer they will give me 1 mile/$ transferred up to $10,000.  I have a balance I could transfer for $7700 but they would charge me a 3% fee of $230 to do it.  Is it worth it?”
Question Continue reading “Reader Question: Should I 0% balance transfer $7700 for $230 just for the miles?”

How I made an easy $62 with my Discover Card.

Remember if you don’t have a Discover It Card, use our link to sign up for an exclusive 18 month interest free period!

Discover Card is having a promotion through Sept 30 where they are giving you 5% cashback on all gas purchases up to $1500 in spending.Discover Gas Continue reading “How I made an easy $62 with my Discover Card.”

5 Ways to get a Free Credit Score

Did you know that some credit cards will tell you what your credit score is for free?  Knowing your credit score is one of the most important things when you’re working on Credit Repair or about to apply for a new credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred with its 40,000 point sign on bonus.  Your credit score is computed by scoring different things in your credit file to come up with an objective number to help creditors quickly make credit decisions.  Credit ScoreWhile the above graph tells you what is important, it doesn’t tell you exactly what your score will be which is why it is great to be able to see your score regularly.  Here are some of the cards we recommend that allow you free access to your credit score:

1. Discover It Card.

This card is great because it not only gives you your FICO score but also has no annual fee (all of the rest below have annual fees).  This is one of the reasons that I still have this card even after getting it over 20 years ago.  Discover makes it really convenient by giving you credit score each month right on your monthly statement.  This makes it easy to keep an eye on that all important credit score.  Add this to the fact that Discover has a great cashback program with quarterly bonuses, great promotional 0% interest balance transfer offers (such as the 18 month interest free offer they currently have for new signups), no foreign transaction fees and is the only cars that you can use reliably in China, I really think that this card should be in everyone’s wallet.



2. US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®

USAirThis card is one that we recommend over and over because of its generous 40,000 mile bonus with just $1 in spending!  In fact, I used part of this bonus recently to go to Austria, Germany and China in business class for just $184!  It also gives you a free FICO score via their website when you log into your account dashboard.  Their standard benefits of a free checked bag and a 5,000 mile discount on US Airways awards definitely are useful to have.  To add a cherry on top, they have a 15 month 0% interest offer for balance transfers made in the first 45 days after your account opening.  Since US Airways has merged with American, these miles will eventually become American miles in 2015 and this card will disappear as we discussed in this article.



3. US Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card

US Bank FlexperksThis card is one we haven’t covered in a full article yet but we wanted to include it because it gives you a free Experian Credit Score monthly.  The 20,000 Flexpoint signup bonus can be redeemed for an airline ticket that costs up to $400 which can be a good value if you are trying to earn status with an airline while you redeem the bonus.  If you redeem your points wisely, you can end up with 2% back on normal expenses, 4% on airline purchases and cell phone bills, gas or groceries.  Look for a full article digging into this card soon, but for now check out the application page for details.


4. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Arrival Card BigThis card offers not only a free monthly FICO score, but also a 40,000 Arrival Mile sign up bonus that can be redeemed as a statement credit for up to $400 in travel related expenses.  We previously wrote about the 7 best ways to use the Arrival Card bonus, another article about the benefits in detail, and another article as a general overview.



5. Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Capital One VentureCapital One Venture Rewards gives you a monthly non-FICO Transunion Educational Score each month via their online dashboard.  We got this card when they were offering a great100K bonus, but the 40K bonus they currently offer is still good for $400 in travel expenses.  This card offers 2X miles for every purchase which means it is worth 2% as a credit for travel related expenses.



By getting a credit card that gives you a free credit score each month it allows you to keep an eye on your score without paying for it.  This way if you notice a score drop due to mistakes on your credit report or fraud, you can quickly notice and take action.  Having quick access to your credit score also helps if you are doing our Credit Repair 101 Section and want to see how the changes are effecting your credit.  Finally, it allows you to know when the best time to apply for that new card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred is and its 40,000 point sign on bonus!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!

Austria, Germany, China 2014: Part 10 – How my Discover Card saved my life in China.

This is part 10 of a series on my trip to Austria, Germany and China.

I received 40,000 of the 100,000 miles I used for this award ticket by getting the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®!  This is a great card and one I still carry.  These miles will eventually become American miles which are some of the most valuable.  Click here to apply now for one of your own!

The Discover It card is one that I don’t talk about too much on the site.  When I have talked about it in the past it has been talking about the great 18 month interest free offer they have for balance transfers or in my popular article about the 3 best credit card to build your credit.  They also have a great shopping program called ShopDiscover that often has some of the best cashback rates when you are shopping online (including 10% cashback at Groupon which I use all the time). Plus, they give you a free FICO credit score on your statement every month which makes it easy to keep an eye on that all important number.  The best part is that there is no annual fee so it costs nothing to keep the card each year until you need it.

Now, back to China.  I don’t usually take a lot of cash with me on trips because I prefer to use a miles earning credit card whenever I can.  I guess being a travel guru I should have researched China a bit more before I got there:  I just assumed I would be able to use my Chase Sapphire Preferred card there since it has no foreign transaction fees and gives me double points on restaurants and travel expenses. So when I had my first nice meal and I whipped out my chip enabled aluminum Sapphire card, I was surprised when they said they couldn’t accept it.  Then I started looking around for those window signs saying Visa accepted here and didn’t find any! What I did see was the UnionPay logo.UnionPayAfter a little research I learned that this is China’s home grown payment processing system and Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are not accepted here outside of hotels and some very limited western focused restaurants.  So I was looking at not getting any miles, points or cashback on most of my spending including all those bullet train fares. That just isn’t acceptable!IMG_8181 Luckily I found that the Discover It card has a reciprocal agreement with China Unionpay!  It turns out that they also have an agreement with JCB Japan which means it will work well there too (although I didn’t have any problems with Visa when I was in Japan).  Discover also has no foreign transaction fees which means I will get the true exchange rate from Yuan to USD on my spend without any markup.Discover China

I took my Discover Card to the train station in Beijing displaying the Union Pay logo and had to convince them (via google translate) to try it since the card doesn’t actually display the UnionPay logo on the back of the card.  The charge went through perfectly in all cases but one (where I am pretty sure the attendant was doing it wrong).  Cashback Success! I ended up using my Discover Card at some tourist attractions and restaurants as well without any problems after assuring them it was UnionPay.

Travel sometimes throws you curveballs and you need to have a plan A, B, and C ready.  Discover ended up being my plan B and made me an extra 1% on a lot of my spending on this trip.  I can take this 1% cashback and use it on my next trip! Maybe it didn’t exactly save my life, but it sure saved my wallet and allowed me to buy this particle mask at 7-11 which saved my lungs!IMG_7999

If you want to know more about the benefits of the Discover card, read about it in our article about the 3 best cards to build your credit or if you just want to apply for this great no annual fee card then click here to apply!  If you get it now, it will be ready to help you out when it is your turn to visit China!

Is There a New Card King for Balance Transfers?

Update June 2014:  The balance transfer offer for the Barclaycard Rewards card has expired.  This means that by default the Discover 18 month interest free offer is the King!

Please note: These are special links in this post that give you better offers than the usual offer if you went straight to the card web site.  Make sure to always use the TWM links to get the best offers and help support our site!

Back in August, we answered a reader question about the best credit card for a balance transfer.  If you currently are paying interest on a credit card balance and you won’t have it paid off in 3 or less months, a balance transfer is a smart financial move.  Our previous recommendation was the Discover It card that has a 18 month 0% interest free period for balance transfers with a 3% fee. This means that on the first month you will pay a 3% transfer fee then you will pay no interest at all for the next 18 months.  Example would be if you transfer a $10,000 balance, you would get a first months bill for $10,300.  But then for the next 18 months (as long as you pay on time) you will pay zero interest!

Just yesterday we learned about a new promotion for the Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® that could be even better than the Discover It offer.  We have also added this card to our Top Credit Cards page.  Let’s look at the offer in detail.Barclaycard RewardsThe Barclaycard Rewards card has the following benefits:

  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases
  • Earn 1 point per $1 everywhere else
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.

Here is a chart I prepared that shows you how quickly you can profit from a balance transfer (including the transfer fee) depending on how much your current interest rate is.

Current APR Months before profit after transfer fee
5% 7.2
10% 3.6
15% 2.4
20% 1.8
25% 1.4

How does this compare to the Discover offer?

Discover It Barclaycard Rewards
0% Interest on Purchases 6 months 18 months
0% Interest on Balance Transfers 18 months 18 months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% 3%
Rewards program 5% on quarterly rotating categories, 1% on the rest 2% on Gas, Groceries, Utiities, 1% on the rest
Online shopping Rewards Yes, Discover Mall Yes, Barclays Rewards Boost
Annual Fee $0 $0
Free FICO Score Yes, on your statement monthly Yes, accessed online

Conclusion: Who is the King of the Balance Transfers

As you can see by the above chart, the offers are really neck and neck.  The extra 12 months of 0% on purchases could make a difference for some and push the Barclays offer ahead.  The rewards programs are both good but there are better programs where you can earn miles so I would recommend these cards mainly if you have a balance you are paying interest on.  Either of these cards will help you get your balance paid off quickly and seeing that $0 interest charge each month will definitely make you feel warm and fuzzy. I think the Discover might be a little easier to get approved for, but if your credit is already good then diversifying your banks to Barclays might make sense.

So what are you waiting for?  Click here to apply for the Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® or Click here to apply for the Discover Card.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

3 Best Credit Cards to Build Your Credit

One of the most popular questions we get is “I am just getting started and have one credit card that I use for everything.  How can I make my credit better so I can get a premium card like the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® that gives 40,000 Miles for spending just $1?”

Premium cards usually require a more established credit history and established means both longer (more history) and broader (more than one creditor).  So getting multiple cards is an important part in having a healthy credit history, even if they all have 0 balances.  If you already have multiple cards then you probably don’t need this article and can go right to our Easy Quarter Million Program to start getting mega miles.  But if you just have one card or a really short credit history, then read on… Having multiple cards drives some healthy competition between the banks which is good for you, the consumer! To accomplish that, here are our 3 best credit cards to build your credit from 3 different banks.

1. Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®

This is definitely the easiest card to get approved for that isn’t a secured credit card.   Unlike secured cards, this one actually gives you some useful rewards to get started!  Extra points on gas, grocery and utilities will be something that everyone spends on every month so why not get rewarded for it and build your credit history as well.

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else
  • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you’ve made.
  • No redemption fees, no limit on the points you can earn and no complicated set up.
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly providing you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score
  • Complimentary FICO® Credit Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.

2. Discover It

Discover is the second easiest of the cards that we recommend to get approved for.

An awesome feature of this card is it gives you a credit score every month right at the top of your statement.  This is perfect for people just getting started so you can keep an eye on this super important number.  Here are some other highlights of this card.

  • Experience our cash rewards with $20 cash back after you make your first purchase within 3 months of approval.*
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won’t increase your APR.*
  • 5% cashback in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum after you sign up for 5%. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on monthly statements, online and in our mobile app.*
  • Free text alerts can remind you when your payment is due. And free mobile app helps you stay on top of your account.
  • 100% U.S.- based customer  service – day or night.
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it’s unusual, you’re alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking “Apply.”

Click here to apply for the Discover It card.  What do you have to lose?

3. Chase Freedom with 10,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus

Chase FreedomThe Chase Freedom is a perfect credit builder card for a few reasons. It gives you a $100 bonus after spending $500, but it is given in the form of Ultimate Rewards points.  With the Freedom those points can only be used for gift cards but when your credit is a bit more established you can get the big brother, the Chase Sapphire Preferred that gives you a 40,000 bonus and you can combine it with the 10,000 for this card.  You can also transfer the combined points to airlines and hotels once you get the Sapphire Preferred card. Here are some other highlights of this card.

freedom categories

  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories each quarter (such as gas stations, restaurants or Amazon.com)
  • 1% Cash Back on all other purchases without limits.  Cashback never expires!
  • When you have both Chase Freedom and a Chase checking account you get an Extra 10% Annually on the cash back earned on new purchases from the previous year.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • You will get a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months from account opening.


If you get these 3 cards, then charge small amounts and pay on time for 6-9 months you will then be considered a premium customer and be ready to hit our Easy Quarter Million Program!  What are you waiting for?  Why not apply for all 3 today and jump start your credit history?!

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Happy Birthday to Travel With Miles! And your present is a facelift!

2nd BirthdayTwo years ago today I started Travel With Miles!  I had just finished my 5 month trip around the world and was excited to start this web site to share just how I did it.  Yesterday I chronicled my travels in 2013 all of which were free or close to free using frequent flyer miles. kilkenny castle

Since then I’ve earned and burned hundreds of thousands of miles and had an amazing time doing it.  I’ve talked about ways to get hundreds of thousands of miles with online shopping, written dozens of trip reports, and showed people how to get miles with No Credit and No Problem!

I’ve talked about cards that give you $400 for travel expenses like the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®,  cards that give you 18 months interest free if you are carrying a balance like the Discover It card, and cards like the powerhouse Chase Sapphire Preferred that gives you 40,000 of the ultra flexible Ultimate Rewards points. I’ve helped friends and received testimonials such as this one.

Most importantly, I have helped people to travel the world.  Just this morning the winner of our contest left to the BPM Festival in Cancun Mexico and I will be joining him tomorrow!

bpm festival


Thank you everyone who have read my articles and told me how much my information has impacted your life.  Over the next week, I will be giving the site a facelift to keep it looking as good as the information that is on it!

How I got 257 miles by buying … Protein Powder?

I have started going to the gym regularly lately with the whole 9 yards of a controlled diet and protein shakes, fish oil, creatine etc.  I recently ran out of my “Whey Protein” and hadn’t planned ahead.  I usually buy almost everything online so I can get miles or cashback by going through a shopping portal.  But in this case, I needed to buy it today and locally.  I know that GNC is a good albeit sometimes overpriced vitamin shop that carried the Optimum Nutrition brand I use.  I checked online and it was on sale for $56.99 which was about what I had paid before.


The normal method of getting miles for purchases is to just use a card such as my SPG Business Amex to get 1 point per $1 spent, which would have given me 57 points.   But I can do better than that! There is a Staples close to where I live that has GNC gift cards.  And since Staples is an Office Supply store, if I use my Chase Ink Bold, I receive 5X points for anything spent there, including gift cards!  So into Staples I go and I pick up two $25 GNC cards.


For this purchase I will get 250 Ultimate Reward points ($50X5) that I can eventually transfer to airline miles or hotel points or even cash! I then went to my local GNC and paid for my purchase with the gift cards and put the additional $7 on another card that earned me 7 more miles. This netted me a total of 257 Miles instead of just 57. Nice!

But I could have done even better if I hadn’t been in a rush and had planned ahead.  By going to the EVReward.com site, I see that if I had shopped online at GNC.com using the ShopDiscover portal, I could have gotten an additional 15% back in cold, hard, cash through my Discover It® Card.


As you can see from the above chart, there are many different ways to get miles and cash at GNC.com.  Pick the one you value the most! And you can use this in combination with the gift cards you got from Staples with your Chase Ink Bold!

I know this is a simple example and not a whole lot of points or miles, but I hope this makes you think next time you need to buy something about how many miles or points you should be getting!