Are you a credit cards travel rewards person or want to be? It’s not that hard to become one if you follow some simple steps and suggestions.
For the most part, it’s suggested you try to join just one mileage program that would reward you for every single transaction you make, from flights to credit card purchases to restaurant meals. After all, who has time to devote to tracking miles and points.
Sounds like a plan, but you might ask which ones should you focus on? Here are some suggestions to get you off to a good start and hopefully claiming some travel rewards.
1.Choose your next destination
When planning a trip, plug in your starting point and destination into Google Flights to see what airlines fly from Point A to Point B. You can see offers for cards and programs that could get you flights on one of those airlines. Build up enough flights and destinations and you could reap the rewards.
2.Note what destination you visit frequently
If you want to focus on an awards program for the airline you typically fly, do so and look for ways to get more points within that program.
3.Calculate points already acquired
Before applying for any new credit cards, online shopping programs, dining programs, etc., do an inventory of all the programs you already have points in. If you have the option of two airlines to get to your key destination, and you already have one-third of the needed miles in a frequent flyer account for that airline, you’re better to look for opportunities to earn more of those miles, vs. starting anew with the other airline. When surveying your rewards programs, also take note of exchange partners. For instance, the large card-issuing banks and several hotel programs allow you to transfer points into certain airline programs. If you can combine points from various programs, you may realize you’re closer to earning that award seat than you thought.
4.Watch for temporary bonus increases/ special deals
Like department stores offering sales, credit cards vary the number of bonus miles they offer for new sign-ups. Since you generally can’t apply for the same credit cards and get the sign-up bonuses repeatedly, it pays to apply only when you’re getting a good deal. Check mileage blogs for the latest deals each month.
5.Watch for promos on the cards you have
A good way to remember which cards to use for which purchases is to label the card.
Some programs offer ongoing promotions that last an entire year; if you’re going for one of these, keep an eye on the calendar. It’s always a better idea to start working toward such a large goal in spring than it is in late fall.
6.Watch for bigger rewards for bigger commitments
If you feel like you’re spending too much time applying for new cards, or if you worry about putting too many new accounts on your credit record, avoid smaller bonuses and look for cards that offer a large bonus for a large commitment.
7.If it’s all too much, consider scaling down to one all-purpose card
Maintaining multiple rewards accounts is not for everyone. If you have multiple frequent flyer accounts, a bank-based rewards account, and two hotel loyalty programs, you may be unable to keep up.
One solution is to nix them for a single cash-back card, since cash is accepted everywhere. Another option is a rewards card that offers the option to redeem points for travel on almost any airline via a branded portal.
Happy rewards gathering!