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I’m excited to let you know about a great free tool for keeping track of rewards credit cards and signing up for new ones: Travel Freely.
Travel Freely offers lots of guidance for those newer (or brand new!) to rewards credit cards, while also giving you the option to jump right in if you’re more advanced (which they define as holding 10 or more rewards credit cards). When you register for an account, one of the first screens you’ll see lets you customize your level of experience.
During the signup process, you can also choose whether you want to track just your own cards or also cards for another person (such as a partner/spouse), and whether you qualify for business credit cards. (You can also change these settings later.)
Once you register, the first step is to enter information about the credit cards you currently have.
The site offers very clear instructions on how to access your credit report summary through CreditKarma and add your credit cards into your Travel Freely dashboard. Most rewards cards are loaded into the system and will automatically add details like the annual fee – if your card isn’t supported yet, you’ll have to email them to add it before you can track the card.
The autocomplete works pretty well, though occasionally it took a couple of tries to get the right keyword for the autocomplete – for example, at the time of researching this post, “Citi Prestige” doesn’t come up with any results because the card is listed under its old name, “Citi ThankYou Prestige.” (But typing Prestige by itself will find the card). For the Prestige card, everything was updated promptly after I mentioned this to Travel Freely founder Zac Hood.
I was also happy to see that the site has a comprehensive database of both current cards and cards that are no longer available for new signups, like The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa from Chase and the Citi AT&T Access More card.
The only information you need to add a card to your dashboard is the name of the card and the date you signed up, but there are also additional fields for the amount of the signup bonus and any notes you want to make (like recurring card benefits).
Once you’ve entered all your credit cards into the Dashboard, Travel Freely can really work its magic. Using the information you’ve provided, Travel Freely will calculate useful statistics like how many cards you’ve signed up for in the past two years (including separating what cards count toward your 5/24 status and which ones don’t) and how many points you’ve earned over time.
It will also track deadlines for annual fees and signup bonus spending requirements, providing a calendar to see all those dates at a glance and also sending email reminders so you never miss out on a signup bonus or an opportunity to call and ask for a retention offer on a credit card.
One of the coolest features is that Travel Freely leverages its knowledge of your credit card portfolio to provide informed recommendations about which cards you should apply for. Their CardGenie™ tool will look at the cards you’ve had in the past and restrictions like Chase’s 5/24 rule.
The cards are ranked based on clearly explained criteria including the value of the signup bonus, the minimum spending required, and how easy it is to use your rewards.
In addition to the data-driven content on the site, Travel Freely also offers a comprehensive library of resources that offer guidance for every step of the process – from “what’s a credit score” and “how do I apply for a credit card” to meeting minimum spend requirements and how to transfer points from bank programs like American Express Membership Rewards to their partner airlines. They even offer some success stories to inspire ideas for your next trip.
New features are being added to Travel Freely regularly. The next upgrade in the works will include information about the perks of different cards and spending categories.
I’ve switched over from my out (and usually outdated spreadsheet) to using Travel Freely to keep track of my cards, will you do the same?
Areas for Growth: The site already offers a super useful set of features. There are a few things I’d love to see them add though, like the ability to calculate net annual fees after travel credits (to get a better sense of the true cost of ultra-premium credit cards like the American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve) and tracking additional bonus offers besides the initial signup bonus like retention offers or the forthcoming Marriott Bonvoy American Express card offers (25,000 bonus points for each $25,000 you spend). Offering a summary of key card benefits could also be helpful for users less familiar with “which card do I use if I’m not working on a signup bonus?”.
The Verdict: Travel Freely offers a powerful and easy-to-use set of tools for anyone earning travel rewards from their credit cards, no matter how much experience you have. Clear instructions and video tutorials make navigating the site very straightforward, and if you have questions about anything – from “how do I do X” to “I can’t find my credit card on the site” to “which card should I apply for next” – help is just an email away. I’ll definitely be using it to track my own credit cards, and encouraging my friends and family to sign up too.
[Image Source: Shutterstock]
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