Purchase your tickets by May 18, 2012, for travel to Europe between May 26, 2012 and June 9, 2012. All travel needs to be complete April 11, 2013.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months).
My favorite perks about this card are earning 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.