Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights has amassed millions of points opening credit cards. Here’s how he does it without getting clipped with annual fees. Following is a transcript of the video.

Scott Keyes: One of the weird things about frequent flyer miles nowadays is that the vast majority of miles are not earned through actually flying. Most miles are given out through credit cards.

My name is Scott Keyes. I’m the CEO and co-founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Really at the end of the day all that matters is the sign up bonus. I’ve gotten hundreds of thousands, millions of miles just via the sign up bonus alone. In order to get the sign up bonus the credit card will say you have to spend x amount of dollars in x amount of time. So let’s say it’s typically something like $3,000 in three months. I’ll put all my spending on that credit card for the first two and a half months and then I’ll set myself a calendar reminder two and a half months after I’ve opened up that card and I’ll check my statement at that point.

How much have I spent on there? Let’s say I’ve only spent $2,000. I’m not going to go out just to blow a thousand dollars in the next two weeks just hit the spending threshold. What I can do is actually just send my wife $1,000 over PayPal. You pay a 3% fee to do that so you’re going to pay 30 bucks.

That puts $1,000 in spending on your credit card and all of a sudden you’re at the $3,000 threshold. You get those 50,000 miles for $30 extra than you would have spent.

Typically though you really want to focus on making sure you’re putting all your spending on that new card to hit that spending threshold. Credit card companies are necessarily going to like hearing this but once I hit that spending threshold that credit card is going in the drawer and I’m just going to go on to the next one.

And then I’ll set myself a calendar reminder so that 11 months after I’ve opened up that card, pull up my calendar in the morning, gives me a note. Oh snap, you need to call Citibank and be like, “Hey, you know I’ve really enjoyed using this card but the annual fee is just a little bit too rich for my blood. Can you waive it for the next year?”

Sometimes they’ll say yes. Sometimes they’ll say no. If they say no, that’s unfortunate, can we downgrade to a no-fee card? And doing that helps preserve your credit score a little bit because it maintains the credit line that you have open there. And you’ve saved yourself the hundred bucks or whatever the annual fee might have been.

I hate paying annual fees. Why should I pay for credit cards? There’s so many out there, so many good ones. It’s not something I like to do and try to avoid it whenever possible.

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