Best Skymiles Programs for World Travel

Best Skymiles Programs for World Travel


skymiles-1-3One of the best money saving opportunities available when planning to backpack around the world are skymiles credit card bonus offers combined with a $0 annual fee for the first year.

Credit card companies in America are so despyuperate for debtors that they will literally give away thousands of dollars in incentives for the chance of acquiring a customer who will accumulate high interest charges on a credit card.

Thankfully, if you have decent credit you can take advantage of this desperation. (Corporate desperation FTW!) Keep in mind that you only have to pay interest on a credit card if you do not payoff the balance in full every month.

Credit cards are a great alternative to debit cards because they allow you to rack up mileage or spending points without having to make interest payments to the credit card companies if you pay off your card balance in full every month. It’s an extra transaction to remember to pay off your card at the end of the month, but one that will pay off in skymiles or rewards points.

Before we move on to the nitty gritty (and pretty simple, anyway) details let me sell you on the benefits of skymiles. What if I told you that you could fly from the USA to Japan, from Japan to China, from China to Australia, and then from Australia to the Middle East for only a couple hundred dollars? Or if I told you that you could fly from the USA to Peru, from Peru to Europe, from Europe to India, and then from India to the Middle East for about the same amount of money!? No way, right?

Yes, way! Both of these trips cost 105,000 miles on United Airlines and may sound like a lot given that most programs pay you one mile for every dollar you spend, but remember that we are talking about bonus offers, not just the mileage you rack up on your own expenses.

I don’t want to just talk about the merits of skymiles programs in general, but share with you the reasons why I’ve most recently used the United Airlines Skymiles Program versus some of the other best skymiles programs:

  1. United Airlines has several great credit card partners and great bonus miles specials available on the internet right now.
  2. United Airlines gives you more freedom for how you spend your miles; no minimum fare, no round trip booking requirements or one-way trip penalties- important for world travelers!
  3. The airline is HUGE, with many partner airlines, giving you a host of options when booking your trips.
  4. You can accumulate at least 105,000 miles in six months or less- enough to visit at least a few of your dream travel destinations.

How to get it:

  1. Go with the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. It’s definitely one of the best skymiles programs around and gives you 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in just the first three months (and don’t forget you get the equivalent mileage for that $2,000+ as well). You can then earn an additional 5,000 miles when you add an authorized user and the authorized user makes a purchase in the first three months. This brings your total bonus miles to 57,000.



  1. Next go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which gives you 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You get another 5,000 for adding an authorized user who uses the card one time within the same time period. Now this isn’t a United Airline card per say, but you are able to transfer miles to a number of partner airlines, including United Airlines.


  1. After you accumulate your miles transfer them to your skymiles account and close your credit cards before one year is up so you do not incur the yearly membership fee for the card! Suckers!

Just by completing steps 1 and 2 above you will have 100,000 miles from bonuses and then another 5,000 miles from the $5,000 you needed to spend on both cards to get the bonuses. Bringing your grand total to 105,000.

This 105,000 miles on United Airlines gives you the flexibility to reach your dream of world travel. You can go here to see the redemption chart for various trips and start planning your dream trip.

Pro Tip: If you are like us, you might have a hard time spending $5,000 in six months.

  1. Front load your spending by buying gift cards from your favorite retailers (we buy Amazon gift cards because we already buy almost everything there, and the gift card credit is so versatile).



  1. Procure your credit card right before big spending events such as a major car repair, Christmas shopping, or airfare for a trip (if you just can’t wait) to help you meet your spending minimums.

What about you? Any other opinions on the best skymiles programs? Any skymiles hacks or hints? Share them in the comments!

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