Forum Thread

Best way to learn to accumulate credit card points

BostonFern 34 10 May 15, 2016 at 02:49 AM in Travel

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I've heard people accumulate credit card points to buy flight tickets or lodging . I want to learn how to do this, as I want to travel more.

What is the best way to learn this system: reading a book, joining a forum...etc?



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check flyertalk website and go to the credit card forums. you will learn all you need to know.
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In order to accumulate points you have to spend money. That means getting a credit/charge card that offers points and then using it for everything/everyday.
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Quote from mikedaley View Post :
In order to accumulate points you have to spend money. That means getting a credit/charge card that offers points and then using it for everything/everyday.

Sign up bonuses rack up points faster than daily spending- though of course they all have spend requirements attached to the bonuses.

It really depends on what kinda points one needs/wants though.

If you live near a smaller airport where only 1 or 2 major airlines fly you'd want to focus on those and might be best starting with cobranded cards for those airlines.... (this is especially true if you have access to southwest and want domestic travel- in which case getting 2 of the SW cards and doing required spend plus a little will not only rack you up 110,000 miles, it'll get you a companion pass for almost 2 years so all tickets, even tickets bought with rewards miles, are 1/2 price for 2 people.

If you live near a bigger airport with many airline choices then a flexible currency like Chase UR or Amex MR would be better.... the trick here is knowing how/when/what order to get cards in.

Amex sign up bonuses are once per lifetime per card, so you want to wait for the "best" sign up offer....

Chase bonuses can be churned every 24 months- but they won't approve ANY non-co-branded card if you've opened 5 new accounts in the last 24 months....

So the trick if you want to apply for a BUNCH of cards in a short period (and can support the sign up required spending for it) is to grab all the chase cards you want first (Currently that'd probably be Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited).... and THEN grab the Amex cards with good signup bonuses... (PRG gold is the only one that's really worth it right now than I can think of... the signups for Green, Everyday, and Platinum are below their "great" offers right now)

Chase UR are the more valuable of the two- and also easier to rack up more points from spending because they have a lot more bonus categories that can get you 5x per dollar spent... but it's nice to have both since there's some transfer partners only offered by one or the other. Doing the 4 chase cards I mention requires something like 10-12k total spending, and you've have 140,000 UR points from sign up bonuses, and then another 10-40k UR from the required spend (depending how much of it you can fit into 5x categories)

Amex sign up for PRG Gold, Green, Everyday, and Platinum, if you get the best signups for each, would give you 200k MR for like 9k in spending plus another 9-27k depending on if your required spend is in bonus categories.

Citi also has a flexible reward point currency- but not much offered for domestic airlines, so they're generally the least valuable of the three.... and the fewest cards/signup bonuses too.

Technically SPG points are a flexible currency too, and the most valuable since they have the most transfer partners... but there's only 2 cards for it... and you missed the "best" sign up bonus (35k points per card) that ended in March.... it's only 25k each now and being Amex cards they're once per lifetime.... plus after the sign up bonus they're VERY slow to accumulate as other than staying at SPG properties all other earning is only 1x.

Note if you have a spouse you can EACH get all of the cards/sign up bonuses if you can support the required min spend.

So 2 people could rack up ~300k Chase UR and ~425k MR just from sign ups and required spend (which would be around 40k spending total)
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Last edited by Knightshade May 15, 2016 at 01:58 PM
check these blogs:

The frequent miler
inside flyer
the points guy
the points traveler
boarding area
tightwad traveler
points chaser
million mile secrets
mighty travel

Everybody is working for chase these days trying to sell their cards for them, Take that BS with a grain of salt but learn everything else you can from these blogs.
Good Luck

My additional 2 cents.:
Chase freedom is good because of 5% categories
Discover IT also has 5% categories. They don't talk much about discover but cash back to pay your bill after buying airfare is still pretty sweet,
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Last edited by Rockalittle June 22, 2016 at 02:18 PM
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FWIW unless you do so much spending you have more points than you can ever use, or your travel is so specific you can't ever get good value from points, you're always going to do better with points than cashback... even 5% cashback.
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On top of getting credit card signup bonuses, you can earn more points by normal shopping using shopping portals for everyday stuff. Here's a site that tracks the best rates
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