GUEST POST OVERVIEW: When it comes to travel, some people think that you must budget wisely to be able to afford to go away as often as other people do. You may feel that it’s only one component of what allows you to travel as often as you like.

The other component is taking advantage of travel credit cards that reward you with bonus miles for using the card. When the right card is used to its maximum potential, it becomes easy to earn free travel, which allows you to nourish your passion for visiting foreign cities!


Central Market Project Skyscrapers. Abu Dhabi
A plane soars above the Central Market Project Skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

. . .

Some Sweet Bonuses!

The United MileagePlus Explorer credit card awards cardholders with nice bonuses. You may have been searching for a card that would give you enough miles for one free flight within North America. When you discovered the United MileagePlus Explorer card, you may have felt that it really suited your needs.

As a signup bonus, when you spent $1,000 on the card in the first three months of having the card, you were awarded with 30,000 bonus miles. It is always wise to pay attention to all the opportunities for earning bonus points when applying for travel credit cards.

When you add a spouse as an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first three months of having the card, they’ll earn an additional 5,000 bonus points. With 35,000 bonus points, you are on our way to earning two free tickets to fly within the 48 states and Canada.


A selection of boarding passes from my travels in 2013
A selection of boarding passes from my travels in 2013

 . . .

How to get the most out of your points

When trying to earn free travel with a credit card, it is important to look at all the ways that bonus points are awarded and pay close attention to how close you are to reaching the milestone you need in order to earn free plane tickets.

In a study, found out that with the MileagePlus Explorer card, cardholders are rewarded with 10,000 bonus miles every year they spend $25,000 on the credit card. While this may seem like a lot of money, you may charge your everyday expenses on the card, like gas, grocery shopping, dining out, morning coffee, holiday gifts and pretty much anything else that you can!

You earn one mile per dollar spent on the card this way. When you have large household expenditures, such as automobile repairs, car insurance, charitable donations, new furniture and even home improvements, you make sure they accept the credit card as a form of payment.

Charging these expenses to the card helps you reach your goals for earning points. You know you will incur these expenses regardless of how you pay for them, so it makes sense to get the points, which you use towards free travel.


A collage of US Dollars $ currency
Bonus points are kinda like having free US Dollars.

. . .

Wanna stay in a swanky hotel?

One of the perks that you may appreciate is the access to Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection privileges. This phenomenal benefit allows you to travel in style, with free room upgrades, early check-in, complimentary daily breakfast for two and late check-out.

These are available at over 700 luxury hotels and resorts around the world. Though these perks are subject to availability, you may have great luck getting upgraded to at least one room category every time you have traveled.

The early check-in and late check-out benefits have always been graciously been extended to travelers. Of course, it is very important to book the properties through a Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection travel specialist or their website to make use of these fabulous benefits.

. . .

United we stand

When you are trying to earn free travel, always make sure that you are loyal to the airline while accumulating points. Therefore each time you travel on business or pleasure, make sure that you travel United Airlines.

By using the MileagePlus Explorer credit card to pay for airfare, you receive double reward miles.

It is important to note that to get the double miles, the travel must be booked directly through United and not through discount websites.

Since you may consider yourself as a savvy consumer, always check to ensure that you are getting the best deal. You can always find the price on the discount websites as the same as the price on the United website.

. . .

When you first apply for the card, you may use the free ticket for travel within the United States.

You could decide afterwards that you would bank the miles and use the card as often as possible so that you could fly to Europe next summer for vacation.

Since the points never expire, you can keep accumulating them until you reach a new goal. It is so nice that you can have access to any available seat, any time on any United-operated flight, as long as you redeem points at the MileagePlus Standard Award level.

Photo courtesy of Leave Your Daily Hell
Photo courtesy of Leave Your Daily Hell

There are no restrictions, no limitations and no blackout dates on available seats. At the rate you are accumulating points, it won’t be long before you are able to take your European vacation.

. . .

Some people may ask about the annual fee on travel cards. With the United MileagePlus Explorer card, the fee is just $95 per year.

With the first year of use, the fee is waived. Since you will be using the miles you earn towards overseas plane tickets that would cost around $750 each, many people consider the fee money well spent.

You may feel like you can’t hardly wait to use the miles for free airfare to Europe. It’s all about maximizing the potential of the travel rewards credit card.