My past few posts have all been focused on how we scored free tickets to many places around the world. With these posts, I’ve shared which credit card points I used to help me book the trips. I also shared this post:
As a suggestion and request, I was asked to share how we choose our strategies in building up points, and when it comes down to it, which credit cards to use that allow us to maximize our points-earning potential.
So I decided to create a series of posts that will include my strategies to get started, my favorite credit cards, along with tips from other friends how they maximize their points earnings. But wait…
“But what if I don’t use a credit card to earn points?”
Many of the folks I come across with tell me they don’t use credit cards. They mainly use cash, checks, or their debit cards for their expenses, bills, mortgage, rent, utilities, etc. Anything wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with that.
But if you want to travel and take advantage of programs that will allow you to travel for nearly free, my gateway has been the credit cards that earn me points that I could use towards our travels. The idea here is “you might as well make your payments work for you by earning points.”
“I only have one credit card and that’s all I need”
We’ve also come across with those who tell me that I only need one credit card. I also hear them say, “having two or more credit cards will lower my credit score” – a very valid concern. When Nancy and I first started earning points for traveling, we used to just carry one or two credit cards. What were they? We had a Discover card and American Express Costco Card. That’s it. We’d get the yearly cash back check from Discover and Costco, and we were happy with it.
But, as I started to investigate ways to earn points, I learned that there was a whole different world of miles and points earning credit cards out there. And since then, we must’ve opened over 15 credit cards (if not more) between me and Nancy.
If you are not earning points or earning just 1 point per dollar
I also hear this a lot. “I have a credit card but I don’t earn points or cash back.” Or some would tell me, “My credit card only earns one point for every dollar I spend.” Again, I was just like this not too long ago. I had the same set of cards that didn’t really do much for my points earning potential. My thinking these days, if I had to choose which card do I use before I make a purchase, I’ll choose the one that will benefit me the most by giving me the most points. I heard somebody once said:
“If you’re not earning points on your purchases or you’re only earning one point for every dollar you spend, consider looking for a card that would give you more points-earning opportunities.”
My 4 simple strategies in earning credit card points for travel
Good question. In 2018, I used nearly two million points and booked 8 trips (click here). Insane!!! Does that mean that I actually flew and traveled a lot to earn those airline miles and hotel points? The answer is NO. So I’ll share with you ways you could earn to help you build up your points and miles for future travels.
a. Sign-up bonus – many would wonder, how the heck to do people earn thousands to millions of points? Or what’s the quickest way of earning points? Open up credit cards that offer sign up bonus. So there are card offers from as low as 10,000 points, and I’ve seen other offers up to 100,000 points (or more). There are things that you have to meet before earning those points, and one of them is meeting the required minimum spend. Meaning, before the creditor awards you all the points, you have to do something in return which is use the credit card and meet a certain spend threshold.
b. Focused or targeted spend – I’m not sure if those are the right words to use. But what I mean by focused or targeted spend is using the right credit card for certain expenses. For instance, we have certain cards that we use specifically for dining, for travel, for groceries, for gas, for office supplies, for utilities, and for all other expenses. Every credit card has a purpose, a unique perk or feature – so we make sure to keep those in mind.
c. Referrals – It’s very clear that we’re passionate about our travels, how our points have taken to many different places. Thankfully, that passion had allowed us to encourage our friends, family, readers, and followers to also begin to travel for nearly free. Many have used the links I post on my blog entries or from my Facebook posts. I am not exactly sponsored by these credit card companies. I’m not asked to promote these cards. I’m just a customer who is extremely happy with the benefits I’ve learned from using these credit cards.
So if and when you use my referral link, and if you apply, get approved, and once you meet the required spend, I am rewarded with bonus points by referring you. You get all of the bonus points you were promised (nothing is taken away from you). The banks do not tell me if you applied using my link. It remains confidential – so the only way I would know is if you tell me that you applied through my link.
So to all of you who have used my link in the past, and those who will use them in the future, thank you for your support. By the way, referral links do change. So if you’re about to apply, please feel free to send me a message so I can send you the latest referral link.
d. Special Credit Card Offers – There are credit cards out there that would provide special offers during the year. The offer could be in a form of a cash back or additional points. Some of these promotions are offered every quarter and my next post post will give you examples of these special card offers.
You don’t need to be frequent flier to begin earning lots of miles and points
For now, I would like to close with that thought. Gone are the days when one could only earn travel points simply by flying a lot or by doing multiple hotel night stays. The 4 simple strategies I listed above are the ones that got me and my family traveling around the world. Many of my friends who are in this travel hacking game started with similar strategies as well. Stay tuned for my next post, I will share with you which credit cards we use for our different expenses, and the different sign up bonus offers available.
Got any questions, just ask.