My vacation is funded with credit card rewards


Many people redeem their credit card rewards as soon as they earn them, but a few people keep their rewards for a special season. Beth McCarter, mother of two and founder of home schooling resource Teachable Stem, uses the rewards from her credit card to help her family have a great vacation.

“This year we earned 100,000 Capital One miles,” McCarter told us. “We have covered all these kilometers last month. “

It’s not an unusual year for McCarter and her husband. In fact, they’ve earned around six figures of Capital One miles almost every year since applying for the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card. This year, their Capital One rewards not only offset the cost of Christmas gifts, but also allowed McCarter to book a solo trip to Mexico. “I’ve been doing a solo trip every year since 2018, always or partially funded by points. “

So how does McCarter finance her vacation with credit card rewards? And can you do the same? We asked McCarter to share his story, and added our own expert advice to help you earn the rewards you need to have the vacation you want.

How I started with credit

McCarter is extremely good at earning and redeeming credit card rewards, even though she didn’t get her first credit card until she was 28.

“I got the Capital One Venture Rewards card in 2018,” she told us. “Before that, I was afraid of credit.”

McCarter opted for the Venture Card, which offers 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2X unlimited miles on all other purchases, after hearing a friend rave about the rewards. “The benefits seemed incredible. The Capital One card provided the extra oomph we needed as a low income family to reap rewards on the money we were already spending.

Although McCarter had never opened a credit card under her own name, she had already built up a credit score by becoming an authorized user on one of her husband’s credit cards. This gave her the positive credit history she needed to be approved for one of the best travel credit cards on the market today and the opportunity to earn enough rewards to not only fund this year’s vacation spending. there, but also every year to come.

Become an authorized user

If you are considering getting a credit card with the best rewards to help you while on vacation, it is a good idea to get your highest possible credit score before you apply. If you don’t already have a credit history, becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card can help you build credit quickly.

Becoming an authorized user on another person’s credit card often means that when the card issuer reports to the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), it will update the card’s balances and l ‘payment history on your credit report as well as that of the account holder. (It is important to check with the issuer to confirm that they are reporting data for authorized users.) This gives you the flexibility to take advantage of someone else’s good credit while creating your own.

How I use a travel credit card to finance vacations

How does McCarter consistently earn 100,000 or more Capital One miles each year? And how does she use those miles to cover the cost of her vacation purchases, while still having enough rewards to book solo travel?

“We spent all of our expenses on Venture,” McCarter told us. “Before we got our mortgage, we put our rent on it.”

Putting all of your spending on your highest paying credit card is one way to maximize your credit card rewards, but if you really want to get the most out of your rewards credit card, you also need to know how to redeem your rewards. . In McCarter’s case, it’s all about setting a vacation budget and offsetting the costs with miles.

“I spent $ 500 on freebies using miles,” she told us. “It doesn’t correlate directly because you can only erase travel expenses, but the way we budget is to erase things we can and use that money for freebies. The Capital One Venture Card allows you to redeem your miles using the Capital One Purchase Eraser to clear travel expenses. Thus, the McCarters keep their budgets balanced by wiping out all family travel expenses during the year and directing the money saved on holiday gifts.

What did McCarter do with the remaining kilometers? “I used my Capital One Venture card to purchase $ 300 tickets to Mexico in the southwest. When you book travel through the Capital One Travel Portal, you have the option of redeeming Capital One miles for all or part of your purchase. This is how McCarter is able to give his family happy holidays and a well-deserved vacation!

Choose the right loyalty card

If you want to use credit card rewards to offset the cost of your vacation, choosing the right rewards card is important. If you are planning to travel while on vacation, a Travel Rewards Card might be the way to go. If you are spending the holidays at home, you might want to take advantage of a credit card that rewards online shopping, or one that rewards grocery shopping.

Confused about what your vacation budget will look like? Look for an everyday spending card that offers flexible rewards redemptions, giving you the flexibility to redeem your rewards for statement credits, gift cards, online shopping, travel bookings, gift giving. charity and more.

How I Avoid Credit Card Debt

“We try to pay off our cards every month. We’ve had a shortage of jobs because of the pandemic, so we have interest payments for the next month or two, but generally we’re doing very well in paying off our balances in full. Fortunately, she and her husband are already used to the kind of budgeting that will keep their credit card purchases from turning into credit card debt.

How does McCarter avoid overspending on credit? She is on budget and doesn’t allow herself to think of her credit cards as a tool to buy now and pay later. “If you’re like us and have a fixed income, make sure you don’t use your credit cards as pocket money,” advises McCarter. “Use it to pay bills and budgeted expenses. “

McCarter and her husband used this strategy to enjoy many rewarding vacations using their Capital One Venture Rewards card. Confident in their approach to debt management, they recently decided to add another rewards card to their household.

“We opened a Discover it® Miles card because it had a great welcome offer,” McCarter told us, along with an attractive 0% APR on purchases for 14 months (followed by 11.99% at 22.99% variable APR).

Like the Capital One Venture Rewards card, the Discover it Miles credit card is a flat rate travel rewards card. McCarter and her husband will earn 1.5 unlimited miles on every purchase, and Discover will match any miles they earn in their first year as cardholders.

Respect a budget

There are plenty of great reasons to create a family budget, whether you’re trying to save money, plan ahead for shopping, or avoid the kind of overspending that can lead to debt. However, not many people realize that staying on a budget can improve your credit score as well. Since 35% of your FICO credit score is based on payment history and 30% on credit usage, you can dramatically increase your credit by spending within your means, keeping your balances low, and making every effort. payment on time.

Do you want proof ? McCarter’s credit score is currently in the top 700, which is considered “Very Good” according to the FICO credit score model. Her husband, who is an authorized user of her Capital One and Discover credit cards, also has a credit rating in the top 700.

The bottom line

Want to finance your vacation with credit card rewards? Pick a card that offers high rewards on the purchases you make most often, then redeem those rewards for travel, gifts, and more.

“Credit card points are a reward for paying your bills each month and staying on budget,” says McCarter. “Use the points on your credit card for fun things, like nice gifts for your family. I have no financial guilt for spending my credit card rewards on vacation gifts and travel. It’s a bonus, and it’s really special to me.


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