Every so often, people ask me, how do you accumulate so many miles to fly around the world? How much do you have to fly to get all the miles?
The answer is, majority of my miles portfolio is made up from sign up bonuses from credit cards, and out of those, a huge chunk is from American Express cards. The rest of the miles come from casual flying, credit card spending, promotional events… etc. But they barely add up to 50,000 per year. In comparison, I redeemed 500,000 miles in the past year: a mini-around-the-world trip for 2 in business class(150K miles x 2), a trip to China and HK for a bachelor party with my best buddy (150k miles), and a roundtrip from Toronto to Vancouver in business class on the new 787-9 Dreamliner (50k miles).
This game is not for everyone. First, you need a decent annual salary, since most credit cards require 40-50k annual income. Secondly, you need a solid credit history, that means, you have not defaulted credit or declared bankruptcy in the past few years. Lastly, and most importantly, you need to understand how credit score works, and how applying credit cards can affect your credit score. I have previously posted a guide on this, please check it out here.
The concept of this is very simple, you apply for the cards, get the signup bonus, and cancel it before the one year mark. Wait for at least 6 months, then repeat the process. The reason I endorse American Express card is that, they always offer lucrative bonuses, excellent service, a comprehensive insurance package, and the ability to refer to friends and family for referral bonus for both the referrer and the receiver. The downside of American Express is the lower acceptance rate by vendors. Many small/medium businesses do not accept Amex because they usually charge a higher merchant fee compared to Visa and Mastercard. Personally this causes inconvenience at all Loblaws chains as well as small restaurants, though this only represents about 15% of my spending.
Now here’s the spoon-feeding steps for you!
First card to apply would be the Gold rewards card for 25,000 points (see my review here)
Second card to apply would be the Aeroplan Gold card for 26,000 points
Third card is the business gold rewards card. You do not need to own an actual business to apply. Though you do need to spend $5000 within the first 3 months to receive the 40,000 bonus points. This may be a bit harder to achieve for some people, so consider your own spending pattern before applying!
That’s it! Getting all 3 would net you about 100K points after the spending requirements! Enough for a roundtrip to Europe in business class. Or 4 round trip between most places in North America in economy.
For the sake of full disclosure, I do receive a referral bonus when you apply through my link. These referral links also give you a higher sign up bonus compared to the public link on the website!