Points and miles can seem intimidating. There’s a lot to learn, and sometimes it seems like it’s impossible to ever use those hard-earned rewards.
If you’re willing to put in a bit of effort and can boost your earnings with a rewards credit card, points and miles can be extremely rewarding. Think international first and business class and five-star hotels.
Even if you just want to dip your toes in the water, you can easily earn enough points and miles to cover domestic travel.
See Business Insider’s list of the best rewards credit cards »
You’ve probably seen articles about seemingly average middle-class Americans using points and miles to go on trips that seem impossible — flying international business class to Australia, diving in the Maldives, or spending a week at a ski resort in Aspen — and you may wonder how you could do the same.
It’s easier than you think, and it doesn’t require spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s all about maximizing the spending you do complete with the right rewards credit cards, and getting familiar with the best ways to redeem rewards for travel.
Here are eight steps to get you started on your miles and points journey.
Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It’s important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
1. Decide what your priorities are
How many times do you travel each year? Do you want to add more travel, replace a trip that you usually take with something a bit more extravagant, or simply save some money on trips that you’d be taking anyway? Are you hoping to use points and miles to offset the cost of flights, hotels, rental cars, activities, or something else? (Flights and hotels tend to offer the best value, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.) All of these are important considerations to plan your strategy.
2. Do some research
Once you know where you want to go, find out what airlines fly there, what hotels exist, and how much their respective loyalty programs charge to redeem award flights or hotel stays. That will help you figure out which credit cards are the best fit for your needs.
Also, check out travel blogs to find out whether there are any specific issues you need to be aware of — for example, does the airline you want to book on only make first-class seats available seven days before departure? Does the hotel you’re eyeing require that you stay at least four nights to be able to make a reservation with points? These are good things to know before you start accumulating points that may be more difficult to use than you’d hoped.
3. Choose one or more credit cards …read more
Source:: Business Insider