A 30-something travel hacker who spent 11 years exploring 193 countries reveals which travel rewards card he uses every day

Chris Guillebeau travelCourtesy of Stephanie D. ZitoChris Guillebeau loves the perks that come with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Chris Guillebeau is an expert world traveller. From 2002 to 2013, the Portland-based author and blogger visited every country in the world before turning 35.

Guillebeau told Business Insider that much of the reason he was able to afford a lifestyle of near-constant travel for so many years was thanks to smart spending habits and racking up airline miles and credit card rewards points. In other words, he practiced travel hacking.

Now 39, the New York Times bestselling author hasn’t eased up on the globe-trotting. In fact, he says, between book tours, speaking events, and his new travelling workshop, “Side Hustle School,” Guillebeau is on the road for about 10 to 14 days every month.

In a given year, Guillebeau says he earns 1 million frequent flyer miles and points. While he uses various travel rewards cards to rack up points, there’s one card he calls his “favourite”: the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

“I use that every day, great signing bonus but also great ongoing benefits … double points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and it’s also good for primary car insurance when renting a car, which is something that a lot of people don’t actually know about the Sapphire card,” Guillebeau said.

Guillebeau says he often books trips entirely on Chase Sapphire points, like recently when he flew business class from Hong Kong to Johannesburg, with a layover in Singapore.

“Chase Sapphire has 11 travel transfer partners [hotels and airlines] … and that’s usually where the best value can be found,” he said.

Using Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, which transfers points on a 1:1 basis, Guillebeau was able to book the flight on Singapore Airlines — which came with his choice of a gourmet meal — for 52,125 points. That’s after he received a 15% discount applied by the airline for booking online. He says it otherwise would have cost him $4,000 to $5,000.

“Obviously, that’s a great value,” he said. “For me, I’m not usually going to pay $4,000 to $5,000 for an international business class ticket, but that’s, again, one of the great things about points is it allows you to experience things that would otherwise be really expensive — or not just unaffordable, but entirely prohibitive.”

For more of Guillebeau’s travel-hacking tips, check out his blog.

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