1. Starting Notes
2. Points Vs. Miles (And Their Value)
3. Envisioning a Goal
4. Checking Your Credit
5. Choosing an Airline
6. How to Pick a Card (Or Two)
7. Real Life Examples
9. How to Keep It Going
10. Keeping Track of It All
11. Wonderful Side Effects
12. Final Words
Collecting points as a hobby will ask you to utilize your decent to excellent credit. The creditors are banking, literally, that you will end up paying for your points and miles. The airlines, too, absolutely advertise their loyalty programs, because they want you to spend money with them. Utilizing the techniques outlined in this guide will not cost you a cent (aside from credit card annual fees, minimum spend requirements, and government surcharges and basic taxes on award redemptions – but never interest fees). Also, collecting points is a great hobby, and any game that leads to free travel sounds really fun to play.
I live in the United States, so my examples are with major American airports and airlines. However, there are resources available for the rest of the world. Canadian Kilometers and this site for those in the UK come to mind. However, the need for good credit will remain a constant.
There are a lot of links and mentions to various websites scattered throughout this guide. They are all listed in the Resources section of this website for convenience. Using the links there will take you directly to the appropriate pages.
From here on out, that little guy there to the left (the airplane) indicates either an action item or an explanation related to an action item. This means take action. By following this guide in order, you will have a free trip in no time.