United just increased their sign up bonus to 50,000 miles on the Mileage Plus Explorer card from Chase. The regular bonus is 30,000 miles.

In addition to the 50,000 miles that you can redeem for Free Flights, the card offers one free bag, 2 club passes and priority boarding.

It’s our Free Money offer.

How to Get Your 50,000 Sign Up Bonus

  1. Apply for the United MileagePlus Explorer card.
  2. Spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
  3. Earn 50,000 miles.

Earn 15,000 More Bonus Miles

In addition to the first 30,000 miles you also earn:

  • Earn 5,000 more miles after using the card & adding an authorized user within 3 months of opening your account.
  • Plus, earn 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $25,000 or more each calendar year.

Terms and Conditions

  • $95 annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.
  • Your miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn.

More on Chase

Earning Miles. You will earn 2 miles per $1 on United tickets and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

Earn a $50 Statement Credit. You might be able to find the same offer with an added $50 statement credit. Pretend to begin booking a flight at United.com and watch for an advertisement.

Targeted 70,000 Mile Offer. The 50,000 point bonus is for everyone. Some people were targeted for 70,000 miles. To see if you were targeted login to your United account. I tried all of our accounts, but they all showed the 50,000 mile offer only.

Subject to 5/24. This card is subject to the 5/24 rule (5 approvals in 24 months), or the Chase rule that they will not approve you for another Chase card if you’ve opened 5 new cards in the last two years with any issuer (not just Chase).

More Popular Free Money Offers

This is usually the time of year when the travel sign up bonuses start increasing before the holiday travel season.

The Premier Miles and More Mastercard from Barclaycard just increased their sign up bonus and made it much easier to get 50,000 Lufthansa bonus miles.

50,000 miles is good for a round-trip award flight to Hawaii, Europe or the Caribbean. If you aren’t planning a trip abroad soon, you can redeem 25,000 Lufthansa miles for a domestic round trip flight.

It’s our Free Money Friday offer this week.

How to Get Your Miles

  1. Open a Barclaycard Lufthansa Premier Miles and More Mastercard.
  2. Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer.
  3. Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Terms and Conditions

  • $79 annual fee.
  • Taxes and fees are not included in the award.
  • No mileage expiration with monthly qualifying purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

More on Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World Mastercard

Earning Points. Earn 2 award miles per $1 spent on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners and 1 award mile per $1 on all other purchases.

Annual Companion Ticket. With this card, you’ll receive an Economy Class Companion Ticket upon the first use of your account and on your account opening anniversary every year.

0% Intro APR. There’s a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months with a 4% balance transfer fee (3% during the first 12 months).

Sign Up for Premier Miles and More Mastercard

Just like clockwork, the Starwood American Express card is back with the 30,000 point sign up bonus they offered the same time last year (and the year before); just like last time the offer ends quickly.

It’s time to celebrate Free Money Friday.

How to Get Your 30,000 Point Sign Up Bonus

  1. Apply for the Starwood American Express business card or the Starwood American Express personal card by September 3, 2013.
  2. Make one purchase & receive 10,000 bonus points.
  3. Spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of having the card & receive an additional 20,000 bonus points!

American Express Terms and Conditions

  • $65 annual fee is waived the first year.
  • Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months.

More on Starwood

Free Flights. You can redeem Starpoints on over 350 airlines with SPG Flights. There are no blackout dates.

Free Hotel Nights. You can use your Starpoints at 1,100 hotels in nearly 100 countries worldwide. There are no blackout dates. We used our Starpoints for free rooms during our spring break ski vacation last year.

Amazon.com. In addition to redeeming Starwood points for hotels stays and airline miles, you can also redeem the points on Amazon.com. I just redeemed 14,000 Starpoints for $150 on Amazon.

Transferring Points. My husband and I both took advantage of this offer last time around. After redeeming all of our points he still had an extra 419 points. It took just a minute to transfer his extra points to my account.

Sign Up for Starwood

This week’s Free Money Friday offer is the first in a series of summer travel sign up bonuses. The Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® is offering a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus!

The 40,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles are for a limited time.

How to Get Your Miles

  1. Open a Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®.
  2. Spend $3,000 within the first three months.
  3. Earn 40,000 bonus miles to redeem towards free flights!

Terms and Conditions

  • Offer is only valid for new applicants.
  • Miles will appear 8-10 weeks after conditions are fulfilled.
  • $95 annual fee, waived for first year.

More on Citi AAdvantage

Other Benefits. The Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® also allows you to board with Group 1. Plus, you and 4 companions can have your first bag checked free and any on-board spending with your card on food and beverages is 25% off!

Earning Points. I have this card and a few things I really like are that I earn double points on flights I book on American plus I get 10% of my redeemed points back! Also, I find that Citi tends to run promotions where they give 3x points on groceries or other types of purchases and allow me to really rack up miles quickly.

Redeeming Points. It usually takes 25,000 miles to redeem a free, round-trip domestic flight but you can also use miles for upgrades, international flights or one-way trips.

As part of our countdown to Spring Break series, it’s time to check out some flight deals! This week’s Free Money Friday offer is a good one. Southwest is offering a bonus for 2 roundtrip flights that is good for travelers or Amazon shoppers. The offer is for a limited time.

Southwest Sign-Up Bonus

  1. Apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
  2. Spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account.
  3. Get 50,000 bonus points, meaning you’ll earn 2 roundtrip flights after the required spend!

Terms & Conditions

  • $99 annual fee.
  • Allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus points to post to your Rapid Rewards account.
  • Valid only for first-time Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards personal Cardmembers with new accounts.

More on Southwest

Earning Points. In addition to earning points for using your card (2 points per $1 on Southwest, AirTran and partners; 1 point per $1 everywhere else), get 6,000 points every year after your Cardmember Anniversary (enough for a $100 Wanna Get Away fare)!

Redeeming Points. Use your points for car rentals, cruises, and hotel stays and gift cards, which include Amazon.

Added Perks. As you may already know, Southwest doesn’t charge for checked bags or for changing your reservations, which are both huge benefits.

No Foreign Transaction Fee. If you’re planning a trip abroad, this perk can be another huge money-saver.

With US Airways and American Airlines merging, US Airways miles should have more options for redemption in the coming months. The US Airways sign up bonus is this week’s Free Money Friday!

US Airways Mastercard 30,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus

  1. Apply for the US Airways Mastercard.
  2. Make your first purchase.
  3. Earn 30,000 bonus miles!

Terms & Conditions

  • $89 annual fee.
  • Offer applies to new cardholders only.

More on US Airways

Earning Points. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on US Airways purchases and 1 mile per $1 spent anywhere else.

Companion Tickets. With the US Airways Mastercard, you get 2 companion tickets every year with redemptions starting at $99.

Added Perks. You get great perks with this card, including first class check-in, Zone 2 priority boarding and a complimentary US Airways Club day pass every year.

Another Option. US Airways also offers a $49 annual fee card with a 15,000 mile bonus offer.

Additional Balance Transfer Miles. You can earn another 10,000 Bonus Miles when you transfer a balance within 90 days of account opening. You’ll get 1 mile per dollar in balances transferred, up to a maximum of 10,000 miles. The card has a 0% APR on balance transfers (3% fee) for the first 15 months after account opening.

Sign Up for US Airways

A lot of my West Coast friends swear by Virgin America and now they’re getting even better because they’re offering a great bonus that’s this week’s Free Money Friday!

For a limited time, Virgin America is doubling their sign up bonus.

How to Get Your Sign Up Bonus

  1. Apply for the Virgin America Visa Signature card.
  2. Earn 20,000 points after your first purchase.
  3. Points will be added to your Virgin America Rewards Account at the close of the first billing statement.

Terms and Conditions

  • $49 annual fee.
  • Points required to redeem an Elevate travel reward on Virgin America will be publicly available on a seat and flight-specific basis and are subject to change. Taxes and applicable fees are extra.
  • Domestic reward bookings are subject to a security fee of $2.50 per segment, payable by credit card or Virgin America credit file. The Passenger Facility Charge and Segment Fees are waived for domestic reward bookings.

More on Virgin America

Earning Points. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on Virgin America and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else. You can also earn up to 5,000 points with a balance transfer option but the balance transfer has a fee.

Companion Tickets. You’ll also receive a $150 off a companion ticket every year!

No Blackout Dates. Virgin America has no blackout dates on any seat at any time for reward flights! As a frame of reference, I recently found a flight from Boston to San Francisco for around 15,000 points so this card will easily earn you a free flight.

Sign Up for Virgin America Visa Signature Card

The British Airways mega sign up bonus returns. The Free Money offer from British Airways makes your trips significantly cheaper!

Did you catch the sneak peak of this offer in my $2,325 Holiday Credit Card Application Spree?

British Airways is offering 50,000 Avios points, when you get a British Airways card.

How to Get Your 50,000+ Avios

  1. Open a new British Airways card.
  2. Earn 50,000 Avios after $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  3. Spend $9,000 more in the first year and earn 25,000 more Avios.
  4. Spend $10,000 more, also in the first year, and earn 25,000 more Avios.
  5. Redeem your Avios for reward flights.

British Airways Terms and Conditions

  • All reward flights are subject to taxes, fees, charges and surcharges, including airline sur­charges.
  • After qualifying, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus Avios to post to your account.
  • This one-time bonus offer is valid only for first-time cardmembers with new accounts. Previous and existing cardmembers/accounts are not eligible for this bonus offer.

More on the British Airways Card

No Foreign Transaction Fees. Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.

Annual Fee. The annual fee for this card is $95.

Companion Tickets. Every year you spend $30,000 on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years when you redeem for a flight on British Airways. If you hit the spending requirements above, you’ll be 2/3 of the way there.

Earning Avios. In addition to the sign up bonus, you’ll earn 2.5 Avios per dollar you spend on British Airways and 1.25 Avios per dollar for all other purchases.

Tips and Tricks to Maximize the Avios

The key to this offer is maximizing your use of the Avios at the lowest possible cost. Here’s a collection of tips and tricks that I keep to reference whenever British Airways rolls out their big mileage offers:

Consider Non-European Destinations. While you can redeem the Avios for transatlantic reward flights, including flights to Europe, you’ll still have to pay the taxes and fees on the free tickets. Since the taxes on flights to Europe are higher than other continents, you can actually save even more money vacationing elsewhere. Of course, if you really want to go to Europe, this is still a cheap way to do so.

Merge Family Accounts. You and a spouse can each get your own British Airways card. They’ll allow you to combine the accounts into one family account. Obviously, I don’t have to tell you that getting 200,000 Avios for you and a spouse is a great thing! With the change to Avios, it looks like you have to call to do this now.

Spending Requirements. If you are looking for ways to meet the spending requirements, you could consider the Chase bill payment center. There are no fees to use it and usually you get rewards on the payments. I don’t know if it will work for this offer, but I don’t see anywhere in the terms where it’s excluded, so you might want to give it a try.

Fly on Partner Airlines. Ironically, this deal gets even better if you don’t fly British Airways and use the British Airways Avios on one of their partner airlines, where the taxes and fees are significantly less. Some of the partner airlines include: American Airlines, Qantas, Japan Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Iberia, Finn Air, and more.

Fly Domestically. Since American Airlines is listed in the partner list, you can use your British Airways Avios for multiple domestic flights, again minimizing the taxes and fees.

Use for Hotel Stays Instead. Readers have expressed frustration on redeeming British Air miles for flights. A reader, Todd, suggests that you skip the flights and redeem for hotel stays instead. He said that 50k miles should get you about 4 free nights ($400-$600 value). Thanks Todd!

Sign Up for British Airways

Holiday travel is heating up with another Free Money Friday travel offer. The United MileagePlus Explorer card is offering 30k bonus miles!

If you were paying close attention in my $2,325 Holiday Credit Card Application Spree, you knew the United offer from Chase was coming soon… and here it is!

How to Get Your 30,000 Miles

  1. Apply for the United MileagePlus Explorer card.
  2. Spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  3. Earn 30,000 miles.

Earn 15,000 More Bonus Miles

In addition to the first 30,000 miles you also earn:

  • Earn 5,000 more miles after using the card & adding an authorized user within 3 months of opening your account.
  • Plus, earn 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $25,000 or more each calendar year.

Chase Terms and Conditions

  • Annual fee is $95 but the first year is free.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United; 1 mile per $1 for everything else.
  • Miles don’t expire.

More on Explorer Card

Flying Perks. Primary cardmembers and one companion can each check their first bag for free when you fly United flights. That can really add up for those of us who travel with kids and can’t carry everything on.

Priority Treatment. As a United MileagePlus Explorer cardmember, you’ll be invited to board your flight ahead of general boarding. Plus, Visit the United Club with two passes every year.

As many of you know, PenFed is one of our favorite personal finance secrets. It’s no surprise they have a great Free Money Friday offer for travelers!

Pentagon Federal is currently offering 20,000 points on their premium travel card.

How to Get Your 20,000 Points

  1. Open a PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express card.
  2. Spend $650 with the card in the first 3 months.
  3. Get 20,000 bonus points (worth $250 towards your next round-trip airline ticket)!

Pentagon Federal Credit Union Terms and Conditions

  • No annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction charges.

More on Premium Travel Rewards

Balance Transfer. Penfed is also currently running their 4.99% balance transfer rate until June 30 for the life of the balance (with no balance transfer fee).

Rewards. Earn 5 points per dollar on airline purchases and 1 point on any other purchases. You can redeem points for a range of rich rewards, including travel, brand-named merchandise, and gift cards at PenFed Premium Rewards.

Lounge Club Membership. If you spend $15,000 annually on the card, you’ll get a free Lounge Club membership which gives access to airport lounges around the world.

More Travel Benefits. Other benefits include: complimentary 24-hour concierge service, exceptional travel offers and discounts through the American Express Travel Privileges program, comprehensive world-class travel insurance, roadside assistance and car rental insurance, and more!

Sign Up for Pentagon Federal