I’m going to show how my system I’m setting-up to earn credit card points from daily purchases.

  • More Travel Points = Free or low-cost Travel

With Travel Hacking, you have to maximize the ways to earn points from your daily spending and purchases. I’m setting-up an advanced travel hacking system to earn travel point from everyday spending and purchases.  You need to have a credit card (or cards) that give you travel points that can be redeemed for travel.

Credit card points from daily purchase

  • Bank Account – Checking
  • Chase Credit Card ( I’m using Chase Sapphire Preferred Card)
  • Vanilla Reload Card
  • American Express Pre-Paid Card
  • Planning and Tracking

Why do we need this setup?

You need to collect travel points in your credit card.

My major monthly home expenses is my Home Mortgage and utility bills.  Mortgage and certain utility bills can’t be paid via Credit Card.

This is how my current system looks like

  • Salary > Checking Account > Pay Mortgage (and utility bills)

Bulk of my monthly payment  is Mortgage (Home loan payment), which is paid directly from bank checking account.

Now, with this new system, I can pay my mortgage via Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and get points.

Chase Sapphire Credit Card gives Ultimate Travel Rewards Points (UR Points), which can be used to book Flights,  Hotels, Cruises and even cash out your points.

Using the new system, I can pay my mortgage using credit card that will get additional points that can be redeemed for future travel.


  1. Use Chase Sapphire Credit Card to Buy Vanilla Reload Card
  2. Use Vanilla Reload to Load American Express Pre-Paid Card
  3. Pay Mortgage and Other bills using American Express Pre-Paid Card
  4. Pay the Credit Card from Bank checking
  5. Fund the bank account with your salary or earnings

This system requires effort : Manual work and can be partially automated.

  • Manual Work :  Loading Vanilla Reload periodically
  • Long Term : Planning and Keeping with the effort.

Chase Sapphire Credit Card

One of the best credit Cards for collecting points is Chase Sapphire Preferred.

It comes with 40,000 sign-up bonus when you meet the minimum spending limits.

  • 1x points for dollar spend on all purchases
  • 2x points per dollar spent on Travel and Dinning purchases.

Vanilla Reload Card

This method i snow blocked and doesn’t work. But, there’s work around. ( Updated on June, 2015)

vanilla reload card

  • You can get this from several retailers near you
  • Costs $3.95 per card and Max of $500 can loaded per card
  • If you buy for $1000, total cost will be $1007.90
  • Find a store that will let you pay to fund this card via Credit Card
  • Image of Vanilla Reload Car I purchased recently (right side)

American Express Pre-Paid Card

There are two Pre-Paid card from American Express :

  • Serve  (get $50 with direct deposit set-up)
  • Bluebird.

You can make online car payment and other online bills via American Express Serve. But, you cannot have both Serve and BlueBird account at the same time.

No credit check is required to get these cards. 

amex-serve-cardIf you are not writing checks then American Express Serve will be good option.

You can send and receive money between friends and room-mates, even if you don’t have the account in the same bank.

  • Load the American Express Pre-Paid card via balance from Vanilla Reload Card
  • Use the balance in American Express to pay bills.

Why not load the American Express pre-paid card directly?

Credit Card cannot be used to fund American Express Pre-Paid card. But, Vanilla Reload can be used to add fund the card, which can be purchased via Credit Card.

Now, you can collect points from every day spending. Which can be redeemed for travel.

Pay Credit Card

Make sure you have money in your check account to pay off the credit card balances at end of the month.


Now, I have given the blue print to earn points that can be used for travel via credit cards.

  • Do you have any questions about this strategy?
  • Can you think of ways to use this strategy to earn cash back rewards (if you have cash back card)?

Travel Hacking Series


  1. Marilynn on December 31, 2016 at 2:36 PM

    I have had my Alaska Airline card for years. In 2013 I went first class round trip to Europe for taxes and fees. This year I booked a trip to Thailand. I flew coach as not enough miles for better. I flew for 148.46, round trip. This card is fabulous! Have not tried the hotel hacking. It there are chains that give points for stays that will earn you free nights,

  2. Prasanna on November 18, 2013 at 4:29 AM

    i not sure about this blog @ Raghu sir.

    this is not possible.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      I just booked a cruise using my points from credit card which was worth $1110. I paid $600 from my pocket. Total Cruise was around $1700.

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