Take the stress out of credit card bonus hunting: Travel Freely

I’ve taken the unprecedented (for me) step of entering a business relationship with another business — Travel Freely.  I met the founder, Zac Hood, through the Frequent Miler Insiders Group on Facebook.  Via web-conference, he walked me through Travel Freely’s features and I realized that his site would work well for me.  And I figured that it would be great for my readers as well.

Travel Freely conveniently displays annual fees coming up soon, bonus deadlines (e.g. how much longer you have to meet minimum spend), and your Chase 5/24 status.

Travel Freely does one simple thing: it guides you through the steps involved in earning points and miles through credit card bonuses.  Travel Freely recommends cards for you based not just on the current best offers, but also based on what cards you’ve signed up for previously.  And it’s aware of most of the known multi-card rules.  For example, it won’t recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve if it has been less than 48 months since you obtained a signup bonus for either one.  Once you sign up for a card (and enter it into the website), you’ll get periodic emails reminding you of the due date for meeting minimum spend.  Later, Travel Freely will notify you when it’s a good time to sign up for another card.  Travel Freely will also notify you when an annual fee is coming up so that you can plan to downgrade, cancel, or seek a retention offer if the card’s benefits don’t outweigh the fee.

You might wonder why I would want to use a tool like this.  Isn’t this way too basic for me?  The truth is, if it was just me, I wouldn’t.  I’ve long kept all of my credit card info in a Google Doc spreadsheet and I’ve been fine using that to track my card applications.  For a novice or intermediate user, though, or for someone who doesn’t have the time to track their cards and to keep up with the latest application rules, I think it’s great.  In my case, I like it because I manage card applications for multiple family members.  Remembering to meet minimum spend and monitor annual fees for my own cards is easy.  Remembering this for each family member is tough.  I like that Travel Freely can do that for me.

Readers often ask whether they are eligible for various cards based on what cards they already have.  We’ve done our best to answer that question with application tips on each of our individual credit card pages (see, for example, the App Tips section for the SPG card) and in our Best Credit Card Offers page, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. It can be challenging for the average person whose life isn’t dedicated to miles & points to keep track of these rules: To get a similar card again, do they need to wait 24 months from sign up, cancellation, or the day they got the sign up bonus….or does this count against 5/24 or is it subject to 5/24, etc.  Travel Freely is a tool that knows. And when something changes unexpectedly (such as when Chase suddenly changed the rule for getting a second Sapphire bonus from 24 months to 48 months after the previous bonus), this tool knows and won’t recommend a Sapphire card if you’ve received a bonus within the past 48 months.

Travel Freely lets you manage two people’s cards within one log-in.  In my case, I decided to create a separate log-in for each family member that I manage.  I already use the Google Chrome Switch Person capability (see my post about that here), so it’s natural for me to sign up for Travel Freely separately within each log-in.

The Travel Freely Card List shows you the status of each of your cards. You can even record product changes here, such as when you downgrade to a no-fee card.

Travel Freely makes money primarily through credit card affiliate links. That’s true for most points & miles blogs too (including Frequent Miler). But, unlike most blogs, Zac has agreed to do things the Frequent Miler way: If a better public offer exists, he has promised to show that better offer even if it means getting no affiliate commission for that card.

DISCLOSURE: I like the site and find it useful. And I love that Zac has been open to the idea of showing only the best public offers. So, Zac and I now have a business relationship. I won’t go into complete details, but suffice to say that Frequent Miler may gain financially If you use our link to sign up for Travel Freely and use the site regularly.

Here’s the link again: Travel Freely.  It’s free.

After you try it out, please post your reactions in the comments here. Zac is determined to make the site as useful as possible and is eager for feedback.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Julia
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Julia

‘Due to complexities of GDPR compliance and the fact that we do not serve customers who reside in Europe, our website is not available to those currently in Europe. If you live in the U.S., please come back to the website when you are done with your European travels!’

Ahh……..

THEsocalledfan
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THEsocalledfan

You can always use a vpn to avoid crap like that.

RKToledo
Guest
RKToledo

Not a useful tool for most as it’s so much easier & quicker to use a spreadsheet, as you mentioned. However, kudos for developing a creative way to disguise a scheme to earn money from affiliate credit card signups.

Wwllmm
Guest
Wwllmm

What do the TOS say about sharing info w/Rat team, etc?

Todd Reigel
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Todd Reigel

Great idea to help keep track of all matters credit card related. However, I could not find a link anywhere on your site to contact you. I had questions regarding security. The fact that I didn’t have to confirm my email twice nor were there significant password requirements makes me worry about the security of my credit card info. Can you elaborate.

Beth
Guest
Beth

Hi Todd – I’ve used Travel Freely since it’s inception, and you don’t enter ANY credit card numbers, bank account numbers or even a physical address. This tool is for keeping track of current and past credit cards (by bank & card type only), bonus deadlines and bonuses earned. I hope that helps.

George
Guest
George

I created a Travel Freely account and then deleted it after just 1 week because I was fed-up with all the junk email that they sent. I specifically did *not* signup for the class, but kept receiving notices about the lessons. This was simply too much incoming trash for me to tolerate.

BoBart
Guest
BoBart

It seems that this tool would be even more useful if you could link your bank logins so new accounts would be added automatically. (Similar to how Mint works).

THEsocalledfan
Guest
THEsocalledfan

I am a pretty advanced hacker, and I do think this may be useful for me as not as organized as Greg with his spreadsheet. My tracking system is old cards with the cancel date written on them……Down side is with all the really, really good manufactured spend opportunities, I just don’t apply as much as I used to. But hoping this will make me not forget good opportunities.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’ve started using Travel Freely recently and have been impressed with how user friendly the site is. Travel Freely has helped me get started with my Travel Hacking and I look forward to continued use! I can’t recommend it enough!!!

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I’ve been using it for a few weeks and the automated reminders sure help me not need to remember to login to my spreadsheet anymore. For free, I think it’s pretty great so far.

Alexander
Guest
Alexander

In this day and age with so many details to remember, this is the sort of thing that will keep it simple. Just what’s needed. Kudos.

Brannon
Guest
Brannon

I’ve been wanting something exactly like this! Wow! I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks and found it really simple to use, informative, and helpful. Strongly recommended…

Rob
Guest
Rob

This is an AWESOME idea. I am so sick of using a spreadsheet and forgetting to update it.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Very cool. I’ve been looking for a platform to help me be more strategic with my travel hacking and card mgmt, looking forward to digging into Travel Freely!

Kim
Guest
Kim

This tool is terrific. I manage my family’s cards and this is so helpful. I have referred this site to several friends who I have introduced to the mile and point game. When I start to tell people about credit card points, their eyes usually gloss over with all the details they have to keep track of. Now I can just say, “Oh, and there’s this great site that will help you every step of the way.” Thanks Zac and Greg!

Beth Branson
Guest
Beth Branson

This is an excellent pairing!! Frequent Miler & Travel Freely are my two ‘must have’ tools for my point hoarding schemes. I have used Travel Freely since it’s inception and highly recommend it! Travel Freely is an organization genius – no more spreadsheets, notebooks, stickies or journals. And Zac is on point, available for any questions or issues you might have. If you gave up on it early in his beta phase, try it again. It just gets better and better!

Pretty happy you two found each other, Zac & Greg. 🙂

ktc
Guest
ktc

for those who had the info in xls or other format, is there an import capability?

Zac Hood
Guest
Zac Hood

Hi ktc, Zac here. I’ve definitely thought about this. The problem for now is matching up the card names exactly – would still require some manual work. However, I’m still brainstorming how to make the initial adding of cards as easy as possible for power users. Feel free to share any other feedback or thoughts. If I had the cash, I’d send everyone a Starbucks card so expert users can enjoy a drink while they input everything. =)

ktc
Guest
ktc

as is i think its quite easy, just for users with a lot of cards trying to save some manual work.
to standardize, maybe on the ‘import’ page, the editable Card Name dropdown, which works pretty good, can display a value for each card that we can enter into our data source for export. the gist is that all cards on xls can be edited at once so i think would be faster there and upload selected columns.
yep a peppermint mocha is what i am having right now…

JohnB
Guest
JohnB

I came across Travel Freely through another FB group and have used it for the last 6-mo or so. I’m by no means an experienced hacker, plus between work, wife and 2 kids, I don’t have the time/energy to track everything. This is RIGHT up my alley. Automated, simple, step-by-step… I don’t have to remember to set reminders, downgrade, apply again, etc.
I would not be hacking if it weren’t for this tool! Really slick.

Echo7
Guest
Echo7

I would discount any of the “positive” reviews that use the word “hacker”. They all sound like the same person who has no clue about this hobby.

Jak
Guest
Jak

Those also seem to be the ones with exclamation marks, sometimes multiple. I can’t say if they’re fake, but they do have many of the hallmarks.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

I agree when reading these they definitely sounded fishy and unlike the usual comments on this site.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Agreed, there are some very obvious fake comments here “supporting” this.

Jared
Guest
Jared

I’ve found the algorithm for the card recommendations for me and my companion to be pretty spot on most of the time.

Chuck
Guest
Chuck

Cool. I’m pretty new to this. Anyone else a newbie that’s found this tool helpful?

Kim
Guest
Kim

Tried it out. Says I’m at 5/24 after I added Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. I thought that it wasn’t part of 5/24?

Zac Hood
Guest
Zac Hood

HI Kim, Zac here. I follow Doctor of Credit and Greg for the most accurate info on 5/24 and data points. To clarify, I track two things for each card regarding 5/24: a) Will you be approved at 5/24+?; and b) Does it count towards your 5/24 number? For the IHG cards, data points are showing you can get approved over 5/24, but it will still count towards your overall 5/24 count. Recent reports are saying you may no longer be able to get approved for IHG (and Hyatt apparently) over 5/24. p.s. The CardGenie has these rules built into them as well. Feel free to reach out with any other questions or feedback. Trying to make this as useful as possible for beginners or advanced users. Data points certainly help me with the accuracy, too. – Zac

Zac Hood
Guest
Zac Hood

.

Lewie
Guest
Lewie

I understand the focus on points/miles but still curious as to why there are no similar trackers for credit card benefits. For example, which card that I have (or don’t have) would be best for primary coverage on a personal car rental, or which card would extend the warranty most on a laptop purchase. I don’t always remember which card to use and find that I have to spend time looking them up again, plus the rules could have changed, ugh.

MalMel
Guest
MalMel

I may have missed this being mentioned, but it would be nice to include anniversary points and annual spending bonuses.