Research and Statistics

Funding dreams on credit: Travel junkie


Jeremy Jones strategically opened travel rewards cards to get promotional bonus deals to fund his goal of traveling around the world

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Gene Hamilton
Gene Hamilton

Kenny Golde
Kenny Golde

Geir Ness
Geir Ness

Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones

Michael and Michelle Ware
Michael and Michelle Ware


Dreamer: Jeremy Jones

The dream: Taking a trip around the world

How he is using credit cards: Strategically opening cards to get special deals and paying for almost everything with plastic to maximize rewards.

How he paid off the debt: Jones pays his credit cards off in full each month, making sure not to accrue debt in the first place.

Advice for others: Do the math. Calculate exactly how much you’ll save by using rewards, and factor in the cost of  annual fees on cards to make sure it will pay off.

The back story:  For the past few years, Jeremy Jones and his wife, Angie, have been strategically opening rewards credit cards that come with sign-up bonuses of points or airline miles to help fund a trip around the world. The couple, who blog about their travels at, are planning to leave this summer for a trip that will last more than a year.

The two also have been saving as much money as they can, because they plan to use no debt for their trip, which will include time in Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America.

“There are so many bills we have to pay that it seemed silly not to open a couple of cards just to get the points for money we’d be spending anyway,” says Jones, who has four rewards cards while his wife has three.

The pair pay their rent, groceries, gas and just about everything else on their cards to get as many miles and points as possible. “Any place that will let me put something on my credit card, I do it,” he says.

Jones says it’s important to be strategic about rewards. For example, he and his wife opened up cards specific to two major points networks, United Airlines and Hilton hotels, to streamline their rewards. Now, they have about 300,000 miles on United and 100,000 Hilton points, as well as four free weekend nights at any Hilton property in the world. They’ve already used points to buy two business-class plane tickets to Paris, and they also plan to use miles to pay for their other major flights on the trip.

They plan to go hiking in Nepal, visit Antarctica, spend Oktoberfest in Germany and take cooking classes all over the world. They’ll use their free Hilton nights at a resort in Venice, Croatia or Dubai, “somewhere really expensive or luxurious,” Jones says.

Their advice on dreams: “Do what you can to make it happen now.”

See related: Main story: 5 who funded their dreams on creditFinancing your business without relying on personal credit

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