Have you ever considered quitting your job to be able to travel the world? Are you also the type of person who enjoys a good hack – that is, if something is good, how can you make it even better?
If you’re interested, let us introduce you to Hannah and Chad Janis. It’s a married couple in their twenties who quit their jobs on Wall Street, cracked the credit card rewards code, and booked flights to 40 countries. And they do it all for free.
Hannah and Chad began to think about their travel goals during their first year working at a hedge fund and an investment bank, respectively. They decided to sell almost all of their possessions and “live intentionally,” according to Chad. Now, as they travel the world, their belongings fit in two suitcases and two backpacks, and they document their travels on Instagram.
The Janis duo use 2 million credit card points to travel to their 40 countries, all earned by opening 42 credit cards. The duo clearly know a thing or two about the best travel credit cards. Here are some details on their favorites and how they booked their fantastic adventures.
Start with the welcome bonus
One of Hannah and Chad’s biggest tips for free travel is to find important welcome bonuses, then maximize their impact by spending as little as possible. “We only opened cards that we knew would get us the points we needed for certain redemption options,” says Chad.
“We evaluated two criteria for each card we opened: first, does the card earn points for an airline or program that we need and second, the current trend for sign-up bonus is higher. than normal, ”says Chad. this trip with a pretty good understanding of how many points we would need with different airlines and opened up the cards that would help us accumulate those points. “
Hello the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The American Express Platinum Card®
“These are the only two cards we took with us,” Chad says. “The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earn three points for [every dollar spent on] eating and “traveling”, which is rather loosely defined. We therefore mainly use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® because most of our expenses fall into these two categories. However, we use The American Express Platinum Card® for hotel accommodation, as well as taxes and fees associated with booking “free” flights, as this card earns us five points on those purchases. “
Think first, then sign up
One of Hannah and Chad’s mantras is not to spend more than they normally would. It takes a lot of forethought.
It’s no surprise that using points to travel the globe requires careful planning.
“Before we opened a card, we would sit down and map out the purchases we knew we were going to have over the next three months,” says Chad.
“Based on our planned spending, we would then open one to three cards that required us to meet a combined minimum spending requirement that was lower than our planned spending.
Beware of returns
You can’t pull off this feat without being smart about almost every little detail. Yet even they encountered obstacles.
Specifically, how cards handle returns. “Hannah had returned an item on one of the cards she had opened, which gave her the minimum spend required for that card,” Chad explains.
“We had about four days left to meet the minimum spending requirement on the card again. It wasn’t a lot of money (maybe $ 50), but the responsible tracking of so many credit cards to harvest. serious rewards took planning and commitment. We were able to meet the minimum spending requirements for this card again within the three month window. “
Photos courtesy of Hannah and Chad Janis.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our choices for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those that are best suited: