Never Pay for Flights:
Strategies to Maximise Credit Card Benefits to Fly Nearly Free
Strategies to Maximise Credit Card Benefits to Fly Nearly Free
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Guide to Flying Free on United Airlines through Chase Credit Cards
Note: This is intended as a supplement to the Chase Trifect for those who are loyal to United Airlines or who predominantly fly on the Eastern Seaboard. Other approaches are better for other people. See this Guide to decide which approach is right for you.
If your travel goals are within the United States with some trips to Europe sprinkled and you are loyal to United Airlines, this credit card strategy can get you well over 236,000 miles in Southwest Rapid Rewards Points per person in the first two years. This is a supplement approach to our favorite credit card strategy. A more detailed description of why and how to fly free with Chase credit cards is available by clicking here.
United Airlines is our favorite airline for flying to and around the portions of the United States East of the Mississippi River. This is due to a many smaller airports being included in their route map from Orlando and a strong international route map from Orlando and New York City.
It is rare for us to suggest that you get a credit card that is cobranded before starting with the Chase Trifecta because the Freedom cards have better spending categories, and all the points can be transferred 1:1 to United through the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. However, the current 70,000 mile welcome bonus on the United Explorer Card and the free baggage is too hard to pass up for frequent flyers of United
Therefore, we are recommending a different approach to United points than we usually do. While we usually use cobranded cards to supplement the Chase Trifecta, we suggest that you start with the United Explorer card in this strategy and long as the welcome bonus remains 60,000 points or higher.
Done right, this will result in roughly the following rewards for someone who spends at least the averages for Americans according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Year 1: 116,000 Points/Per Person 40,000Chase:76,000 United
Year 2: 120,000 Points/Per Person 120,000Chase:0 United
Year 3: 61,000 Points/Per Person 40,000Chase :21,000 United
Year 4: 40,000 Points/Per Person 40,000Chase:0 United
Total for 4 years: 337,000 Points/Per Person 240,000Chase:97,000 United
Click below to Learn More About How to Earn 337,000 Miles with Chase Credit Cards
mIf you use all your Chase points by transferring them to United, this will get you an average of $3,370 worth of rewards flights, which is nearly triple your reward if you only use the United MileagePlus cards for the same expenses. However, if you use the Chase points for other flights and hotels, you will get more value. Therefore, we tend to keep our Chase rewards separated for flexibility and only transfer them to United when we need more than we already have in United points.
Below, we will cover the schedule of how to best use this strategy to earn the most possible points over a 4-year period for an individual and for a couple below that. For the specifics on the Chase Trifecta, which will be the cards you get and use over the first 12 months, please see our more detailed blog here.
Individual Strategy for the Chase Trifecta with the United Airlines Priority
This will take you to the 4 year point and max out your ability to use credit card bonuses to increase you points earnings on United Airlines, unless they add further cards to their line or you start a business and move on to the United Business cards.
The years following, you can either consider adding other airline cards, the American Express Trifecta or just enjoying the 40,000 estimated annual miles you will earn by using the Chase Trifecta for all your purchases, if you spend in accordance with the U.S. BLS average spending for Americans.
Couples Strategy for the Chase Trifecta with the United Airlines Priority
1. ASAP: Person 1 should apply for the United Explorer Card and stop using any other cards until you have spent $6000 on this card over the first 6 months. This is the highest intro offer United has had in some time. It will get you at least 76,000 MileagePlus points.
2. Six months later or as soon as you have spent the $6000 for the welcome offer, both people should apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and charge everything possible on this for the first 3 months. This will be your Grocery Store card for the first year and the card you will use most all 4 years covered here.
3. Three months from receiving the Freedom Unlimited, person 1 should apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and charge $4000 in the first 3 months. Thereafter, only use this card to charge Travel expenses for the protections and to transfer points .
4. Three months later, person 2 should apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and charge $4000 in the first 3 months. Thereafter, only use this card to charge Travel expenses for the protections and to transfer points.
5. 12 months after receiving the Freedom Unlimited, both people should apply for the Chase Freedom Flex. This will be your grocery card for the second year, and you will want to use it for the 5% categories from now on.
6. 6 months later, Both people should apply for the United Gateway card. This is a free card that comes with an easy 20,000-point bonus at this time. I would only use it for the introductory period, however, as the spending categories are weak
7. 6 months later, person 2 should apply for the United Explorer Card and stop using any other cards until you have spent $6000 on this card over the first 6 months. (Bonus spend may be only $3000, and the bonus may be less;
8. In year 4, you should consider the United Infinite card if and only if they are waiving the annual and have a great introductory bonus at the time. While this would be a great card for someone who flies United 10 or more times per year, it is a top tier travel card that does not compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the American Express Platinum.
This should earn the couple anywhere from 600,000 – 700,000 points in less than 5 years. If they have a family it should be much more due to increased expenditures.
This will take you to the 4 ½ year point and max out your ability to use credit card bonuses to increase you points earnings on United Airlines, unless they add further cards to their line or you start a business and move on to the United Business cards.
The years following, you can either consider adding other airline cards, the American Express Trifecta or just enjoying the 80,000 estimated annual miles you will earn by using the Chase Trifecta for all your purchases, if you spend in accordance with the U.S. BLS average spending for Americans.
We are writing similar strategies for Several of the other Chase Transfer Partners, if you prefer these carriers and will link them below as they are completed.
Important: The instructions in this guide are based on current credit card incentives. We will periodically update them to keep them accurate, but there is no way to guarantee that the particular costs and incentives will be available at the time you choose to enroll in the services we suggest here. They could be better or worse. We are doing this as a service to you and may be compensated from other organizations for referring you to their services. Always read all credit card agreements and terms carefully before signing up and remember to spend responsibly to avoid interest and fines.
These strategies can be a great tool to enrich your life and can improve your credit when used correctly, but irresponsible spending on credit cards can do just the opposite. We attempt to influence people towards what we think is the best strategy for them, but we are not experts or professional financial advisors. Please monitor your credit and spending. We suggest you adjust these schedules as needed to keep or advance your credit at the level you are targeting. We keep ours in the mid to high 700s at all times and find that easy to do through paying off all credit card debt every month, and never paying any creditors late. You should too.
Please leave us any questions below or contact us on our Facebook or Instagram accounts @oldsolestravel . We do our best to help you save money, travel more, and “Find Yourself on the Journey”.
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,Turtle and Bear love to travel and do so, far and wide, on Park Ranger salaries which can be quite a challenge. Here we teach you to leverage credit card benefits to save a lot of money and travel better, more often, and for much less $$$$ than you think.