Getting started in the world of miles and points is very exciting, and sometimes can be a bit time consuming. Trying to catch up on all the new deals, promotions and credit card sign up offers is definitely overwhelming. In this post, I would like to offer a few steps to follow in order to keep track of your points and miles journey that will take you to much more affordable travel and even upgrade your experience for little to no cash!
First, I suggest open accounts with all the major loyalty programs out there. Make sure to choose the ones that have benefits that align with your travel needs and goals. This is beneficial especially if you are about to go on a trip where you will use some of these companies and to stay in the know with their latest offers and promotions.
Types of Miles and Points
Familiarize yourself with the different types of miles and points. Most people are familiar with airline miles and hotel points. These are a form of rebate that you earn by flying a certain airline or by staying at specific hotels. These airline and hotel companies set how many you points you earn per flight or stay. They also set their redemption values according to their terms and conditions.
Banks offer rewards programs through using their own credit cards and services. The most common redemption value for these points is 1¢ per point. Which means that if an airline is offering a ticket for $200, you can redeem 20,000 points to offset the cost of that ticket.
Transferable/flexible points are programs that allow you to transfer points directly to their airline or hotel partners. This huge benefit gives you many options when you decide to redeem your points, as you have the chance to pick which partner airline will give the best deal to reach your desired destination.
Where to Go?
Think of where you want to go next and focus your miles and points earning in the program that will best help achieve your next travel goal. So, if you’re planning on doing a lot of domestic flying with a spouse or a companion then you should focus your credit card applications and points earning on Southwest Airlines. If you are thinking of a fancy trip to Asia then maybe open a card that will let you earn some Amex Points like the Platinum Card from American Express, Amex BusinessPlatinum Cardand the Business Gold RewardsCard. Alternatively, start earning American Airlines miles or maybe open a Hyatt Credit card to earn points that are enough to get you a few free nights.
Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
Your Credit Score
Learn more about your credit score. While there has always been a connotation of negative effect when apply for multiple credit cards, this is not necessarily true in all cases. Applying for new credit cards might actually help in building up your credit score. Your credit score is a very important tool and you should always be mindful of it and how you use it. Credit card applications spread carefully over time should not hurt your credit score on the long run. However, always make sure that your applications and expenses are reasonable and within your means. Do not overspend and always pay you balances in full and on time and this will result in your credit score and your points and miles balances to flourish and prosper. Use Credit Karma to check your credit score and any updates to it, anytime, free.
Rewards Credit Cards
Apply for one or more rewards credit card. Always start slow, I recommend one or two at most until you get the hang of keeping track of your spending and points earning. Make sure you apply for the best offer and do not settle for low sign up offers. You can check the best offers on points and miles blogs likepointspointers.com and check your targeted offers on cardmatch.com. This tool will only perform a soft inquiry – which will not affect your credit score – in order to match you with the best offers.
Track your Miles and Points
Once you start earning miles and points, start tracking them on Awardwallet. It is a free service and it safely connects to and tracks all your different miles and points and alerts you whenever your points are about to expire.
Time to Go!
Now that you have all the points you need; It’s time to maximize these points and redeem them for your dream trip.
Ramy is a 29 year old points connoisseur based in NYC. In the last year he accumulated close to 1,000,000 miles and points spread over multiple airlines, hotels, and banks without actually stepping foot into a plane or staying a night in a hotel. In his blog, PointsPointers, he seeks to help anyone who has points and miles and isn’t sure how to us them … as well as newbies who want to save up the latter for a dream vacation or first class suite on a dream airline!