Category Archives: Beginner’s Guide

Beginners Guide Part 4: Know Your Spending Habits Really Well

Hopefully by now you’ve figured out what you want, are taking advantage of limited time offers, and are accruing points in lots of accounts.

But how do you ensure that you’re earning the most points possible on your everyday purchases? If you have over a dozen credit cards like myself, you’re likely in a position of having so many credit cards that you don’t know which one earns you the most points.

If that sounds like you…don’t worry! As with everything in the points world (and most things in life), a little learning can go a long way.

First I need to make the distinction between getting cards for the sign-up bonus and getting cards to keep. For casual travelers, most cards are NOT worth keeping beyond the first year (after which you’ll generally have to pay the yearly fee). In this case the goal should be to get the card, meet the minimum spend requirement and earn the bonus, and put it away until you cancel it before getting hit with the fee.

Other cards are worth holding on to for everyday purchases, like for gas, groceries, restaurants, or travel. Different cards have different bonus categories, and some are clear choices over others for certain purchases, but for beginners the choice may not be so obvious.

If you’re trying to meet a minimum spend requirement on one or more cards, make those a priority. It’s much more important to earn your minimum spend bonus than it is to maximize points on each individual purchase, because sign up bonuses are the easiest and fastest way to build your mileage and point balances.

Everyday spend is a different animal. I think the most effective way to explain this is to go over some of the popular cards and the best uses for them. Keep in mind that everyone has their own preferences and goals, so these can vary from person to person. Also note that if you feel like more of an expert you can just skip directly to The Frequent Miler’s trick to earn 5 points per dollar on every purchase (although this trick may not work anymore).

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: This card seems to be almost everyone’s go-to card. It earns 2x points on food and travel, which many would agree are  two of the best things in the world. This card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s perfect for travel abroad. These points are very flexible as Chase has many transfer partners. Also remember that you receive a 7% dividend on the points you earn every year, so you effectively earn 2.14 points on many purchases. This card has a $95 annual fee.

Chase Freedom Card: This card has rotating quarterly categories for which you earn 5x points on the first $1,500 in purchases per quarter. Categories vary from restaurants, gas, groceries, airfare, hotel, and retailers like Best Buy and Amazon and more. Earning 5x is as good as you can get on any card, so use the Freedom card for anything within the bonus categories each quarter, but only up to the $1,500 limit. This card is also valuable if you have a Chase checking account because of the Chase Exclusives program (see my analysis), which gives you 10 points per purchase plus a 10% bonus on the purchase price. For example, a $1 purchase would net 1 point from the purchase itself, plus the 10 point bonus, plus 1 more point as part of the 10% bonus (they round up). That’s 12x on that purchase! This means this card is good for most small purchases.

Amex Premier Rewards Gold  (Amex PRG) Card: This card offers 3x points on airfare and 2x on gas and groceries. It’s a very attractive card since most people have spend in those categories, but it carries a hefty $175 yearly fee. For most casual travelers this card is not worth it, but if you have a lot of airfare purchases you should definitely consider it. The 2x on gas and groceries is a great benefit, but alone are not worth the $175 fee in my opinion. Amex has lots of transfer partners, so keep that in mind as well.

SPG Amex Card: This card is valuable for a several reasons. SPG points are known to be the most valuable points currency because of their dozens of airline partners and potential redemption value at SPG hotels. Aside from the no-brainer of using it at SPG hotels, it’s hard to say what other purchases you should make on this card since it really does depend on what you value. I personally value these points highly because I have status with SPG and because it gives me the option to get American Airlines points, which I wouldn’t otherwise have with my Amex and Chase cards. The yearly fee is also a reasonable $65. I know many people that use this card for spend on all non-travel and non-food purchases.

Airline/Hotel Co-branded Cards (i.e. Chase United Card, Barclays US Airways Mastercard, Citi American Airlines Cards, Citi Hilton Reserve, etc.): Co-branded credit cards are usually only good for frequent travelers of a particular airline or hotel. You get quite a few benefits from airline cards including priority check-in, boarding, free checked bags, and more, plus usually 2x points on purchases on that particular airline. For hotels you can get free internet, breakfast, or even status, among other benefits. The 2x for airlines itself isn’t that great since the Chase Sapphire gives 2.14x and the Amex PRG gives 3x, but still might be worthwhile for the other benefits.

So here’s the lesson: most of the credit cards you sign up for should be purely for the sign-up bonus. If you’re a frequent traveler of a particular airline or hotel chain, you should consider holding on to the co-branded card because of other benefits it will provide you, but be mindful of the yearly fees. In general, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is good for international and everyday purchases, the Freedom is good for small purchases when used with the Chase Exclusives Program or for bonus category purchases, and the SPG Amex is good if you want flexibility in transferring to various airlines.

I know this post doesn’t really give solid advice towards one card or another, but that’s the nature of the points game. You have to determine what you value and make all your decisions based on that. Hopefully this will give beginners some direction on which cards are useful.

Part 1: Starting Out – REALLY Know What You Want

Part 2: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Timing

Part 3: It’s Good to Diversify…Usually

Part 4: Know Your Spending Habits Really Well

Part 5: If an Amazing Offer Comes Around, Don’t Wait!

Part 6: There are LOTS of Ways to Earn Points

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Beginners Guide Part 3: It’s Good to Diversify…Usually

Once you’ve figured out what you want and you’ve learned how important is to take advantage of limited time offers, it’s time to strategize about your points. There are many different options on where to keep your points, depending on what your goals are.

In many cases, the easiest and best place to start are with non-loyalty Amex or Chase credit cards (i.e. not a Hilton Amex card or a United Chase card, but rather a Amex Gold or Chase Sapphire Preferred). The reason for this is because you will have more flexibility with these points than if all your points went to just one hotel or one airline.

For example, American Express has an extensive transfer partner network (Chase has good partners as well). This is the reason Amex points are so valuable – you can use them for airfare or hotels with many different partners. Does Hilton have a property in the perfect location for your next trip? You can transfer your points there. Maybe there’s an InterContinental that better suits your needs…so transfer your points to Priority Club instead. Or maybe the hotels are so cheap you don’t want to waste your points on them – cool, transfer your points to one of the many airline partners to get a free ticket instead.

Flexibility is the name of the game with Amex and Chase.

Airfare

In some cases it’s easier or better to transfer points from one of these banks than the other. For example, if you’re planning on flying to Korea, Chase may be your better option. Chase is partners with Korean Airlines, which can obviously get you there, but they are also partners with United Airlines. Since United is part of the Star Alliance, you can use their points to book on almost every carrier in the Star Alliance (and the list of airlines is extensive), including Asiana and several other airlines that fly to Korea.

It’s important to note that Amex has three Star Alliance transfer partners, but for various reasons it can benefit you to book via Chase and United to save on fees (this is a detailed topic for another time, so just trust me here for now).

But (you knew one was coming), there are several important airlines that you cannot transfer to via Amex and Chase. Most notably, American Airlines and US Airways, two of the major airlines in the US. So how do you know whether to sign up for credit cards of these airlines versus bank ones, or from what airline to book your trip?

Instead of me answering this question, I can direct you to an article that’s already answered this exact question better than I probably ever could. TravelByPoints did a guest post at UsingMiles in which he summarized the cheapest way to get to wherever you want to go if you’re using miles from an American carrier (American Air, Delta, United, US Air). I use this chart for reference all the time, and it should be useful to everyone out there that doesn’t have these award charts memorized.

Hotels

Hotel points can be a little simpler. If you know where you’re going, you can easily find out what hotels are there. Determine the best way to get points to the account of whatever hotel you choose, and you’re pretty much done. But there are some tricks!

The most notable of these tricks is for Hilton Points. You’d be hard pressed to find a Hilton credit card that gives you more than, say, 50K HHonors points. BUT you’ll find 50K+ Amex point offers around all the time. The transfer ratio from Amex to Hilton is 1:1. So what’s the point of getting the Amex? The trick: Transfer those 50K Amex points to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio. Then, transfer those 50K Virgin Atlantic points to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. Those 50K Amex points just became 100K Hilton points. So in almost all cases, if you want to accrue Hilton points, get Amex/Virgin Atlantic points!

It’s very hard to get Starwood points, which are extremely valuable, at a good transfer rate. In fact you can’t even transfer from Chase. Amex’s transfer rate is pretty bad, and even the transfer bonuses are not worth it on the rare occasion they have them. Instead, I suggest signing up for the Amex SPG card. It’s a great card for everyday spend, and SPG has an amazing benefit where you can transfer your SPG points to a huge list of airlines at a 1:1 ratio. Even better, for every 20K SPG points you transfer to an airline, they’ll throw in another 5K! So say you needed 100K points for an airfare redemption on Japan Airlines. Transfer 80K SPG points and you’re there!

Transfer Bonuses

One thing Amex is known for is having transfer bonuses. That means that for a limited amount of time they give a better transfer ratio to a particular transfer partner. For example, there’s currently a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios (the British Airways points program). So, say you needed 75K BA Avios for your award trip. Instead of transferring 75K Chase points, you can transfer just 54K Amex points using the transfer bonus and get 75.5K Avios. Good deal!

Thus far, there have been no transfer bonuses from Chase. If they ever do start doing it they would in my opinion become a stronger point program than Amex.

Other Tricks

If you want American Airlines flights or miles, you have two options. One is to sign up for American Airlines branded credit cards and accrue points from sign-up bonuses. If, however, your goal is to fly on American Airlines (or even a partner), you can do this using British Airways Avios. These two airlines are part of the OneWorld Alliance, which has several notable airline members. The Points Guy did a wonderful series on the best uses for Avios, and it’s worth checking out.

Earning US Airways miles is a little more difficult. Signing up for their credit card, as I did in my recent churn, is a quick way to earn some points. There is a more complicated way that will get the job done, but you’ll lose a few points along the way. You can transfer your Amex points to Air Canada Aeroplan (Air Canada’s point program), and then from there to US Airways at a 1: .85 ratio. You’ll lose some points, but if you’re in desperate need for some US Airways points, it can be done!

You can also buy US Airways miles during certain times of the year when they offer a 100% bonus on purchased miles. This can be beneficial if you use it for certain award redemptions as explained by The Points Guy, but in general is not a great deal.

The “Usually”

The reason the title ends with “…usually” is because this all depends on your travel pattern. If all you care about doing is going from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back for as cheap as possible in economy, then by all means hoard Amex points and transfer to BA Avios to get in on those 4,500 point one way short-haul redemptions on American Airlines. During a transfer bonus of 40%-50%, you can do this round trip for just 6-7K miles!

Or if all you care about is flying to Korea, maybe Chase/United points are what you want.

But in general, it’s good to diversify…usually.

Next up in the Beginner’s Guide series will be Part 4: Know Your Spending Habits Really Well. Look for this post in the coming days!

Beginner’s Guide to Points – A 6-Part Series

Part 1: Starting Out – REALLY Know What You Want

Part 2: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Timing

Part 3: It’s Good to Diversify…Usually

Part 4: Know Your Spending Habits Really Well

Part 5: If an Amazing Offer Comes Around, Don’t Wait!

Part 6: There are LOTS of Ways to Earn Points

Beginners Guide Part 2: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Timing

In life, they say that timing is everything. This definitely holds true in the points world, and examples abound. If you’re not on your toes, or if you’re not properly informed, you might not get the most “bang for your buck” on deals or opportunities with credit cards.

First of all, make sure your credit is in good standing. I cannot stress this enough. Quite simply, your gateway to nearly free travel is your credit score and how you manage your credit. There are thousands of people who travel using nothing but points they earned for free plus a little cash for taxes, but they would not be able to do so without solid credit scores and constant management of their credit.

It is also worth mentioning that no person I’ve come across or read about carries a balance on any credit card. They all pay off everything, every month. The reason for this is because carrying a balance poses some risk to the bank. The fact that you’re borrowing on credit means you’re willing to pay more (interest) in favor of waiting longer to pay, presumably because it would be easier to pay at a later time. NOT a good idea. You want the banks to think you’re a NO RISK person. That way, they’ll issue you more credit without having to think twice.

I’m not going to claim to be an expert on credit scores. The Points Guy has a great article on creating/improving your credit, and there are tons of other resources out there. Google is your friend!

So why does this really matter? Because when your credit is in good standing, you’ve paved the way to what people in the points game call “credit card churning.” Basically, it’s signing up for multiple credit cards at a time (usually 2-5) several times a year, but spaced out intelligently so that your credit score remains as high as possible, and for the sole purpose of earning lots and lots of points.

The magic number here is 3 months. After you apply for 3-5 credit cards in a single day, you should wait 3 months before applying again. There are multiple reasons for this. To start, I’ll quote The Points Guy who said it’s a good idea to do all applications in a single day “since credit inquiries are only reported once a day, which means none of the companies would know that I was applying cards with the other credit card companies, thus increasing my chance of getting approved with each.”

Also, credit issuers seem to care less about hard inquiries on your credit after the 90 day mark, making it easier to apply for more cards at that point. This also happens to have the added benefit of spreading out the minimum spend requirements and allowing you to take advantage of any limited time bonus offers.

I think it’s appropriate now to give you a step-by-step process of an actual credit card churn:

  1. Know your credit score.
  2. If you’re score is good enough, decide which credit cards will help you achieve your travel desires. See Part 1 for figuring out what you desire.
  3. Determine if you can meet the minimum spend requirements – This one is important.
  4. Apply.
  5. Travel for nearly free!

I’ve already covered Steps 1-2. Step 3 is extremely important because your churn would be useless if you can’t meet the spend requirements. Issuers of credit cards usually require you to spend a certain amount, say $5K, within a certain time period, say 3 months, in order to earn the special bonus points that you want. In recent years the trend has been increasing spend requirements, but luckily there are plenty of ways  to achieve them. Still, not everyone can sign up for 5 credit cards and drop $30K in spend in 3 months to earn all those points. If you can, awesome. If not, it’s time to get creative.

It’s worth noting that there are TONS of ways to meet your minimum spend requirements. Some of them are obvious, some less obvious, and some border on being unethical to some (while others think it’s fine). Much smarter people than I have written about this topic, so I’ll defer to their expertise here and here, while Frequent Miler has seemingly made a profession out of doing it here and here, and lots of other places. Oh, and Target seemingly made it easy for us a couple of weeks ago, which I wrote about here.

Now for a couple of other tips and tricks that will help you get started with your first churn.

CHASE – Has some of the absolute best offers, and very wide variety of cards, but it can be tough to get approved over and over again. To improve your odds, I recommend applying for only ONE chase card every 3 months. People have definitely been approved for more than one, but it’s usually one personal and one business. For best results, apply for a personal card first, then a business card after 3 months, then a personal card after 3 more months, etc. etc. to infinite. This will increase your odds drastically.

If you get denied, don’t give up! You can actually convince them to approve you by shifting credit from one card to a new one, or saying that you need the new card for whatever benefit it comes with (i.e. I said I wanted the Sapphire because it has no foreign transaction fees, which was important since I travel abroad a lot). They’ll work with you! Call them at 1-888-245-0625 for personal cards and 1-800-453-9719 for business cards.

Of course, there are no actual “rules” for applying for Chase cards. Like I mentioned, they’ll work with you. I applied for 3 Chase cards in 5 months and got approved for all 3, but had to call the reconsideration line for the last 2. It’s not advisable to do that, however, but what I mentioned above is a very good strategy for being approved consistently.

American Express – The other major source of lucrative credit card offers is from Amex. Thankfully, Amex is generally MUCH easier than Chase, though you can still have some difficulties. You can generally apply for multiple Amex cards in a day and get approved for all of them. You’ll be much better off if you can mix in some business cards with personal cards, and anything beyond 3 cards in a day is really pushing it. I recommend doing 2 cards max, and if possible do one business and one personal.

If you get denied, fear not! Amex also has a reconsideration line. Call 1-800-582-6471 for both personal and business cards, but go here first to confirm your application status.

Citi – Not nearly as many offers from Citi as the two above, but there are still some opportunities to be had. The trick with Citi is called the “two-browser trick” in which you can apply for two cards simultaneously for minimal credit impact and maximum approval chances. Million Mile Secrets has a detailed explanation of how to go about doing this.

Other – Everyone else includes the likes of Bank of America, US Bank, Barclay’s and the like. There are no real rules for these ones, so generally pick just one of these at a time. Options are limited anyway, so it’s doubtful you’d want more than one.

When you put it all together, You can potentially apply for a Chase card and two Amex cards today and have a business class ticket to Europe along with hotel stays for almost FREE after you hit those spend requirements. How? Glad you asked!

Churn Example

Chase Ink Bold Business Card- You’ll get a 50K points signup bonus. That’s a one-way business class trip to Europe on a Star Alliance carrier if you transfer the points to and book through United Airlines. Score!

Amex Mercedes Benz Platnium – Another 50K signup bonus. Transfer the points to Singapore Airlines for another Star Alliance business class flight back home. Score again!

Amex Starwood – Only a 30K signup bonus, but these are the most valuable points in the points world. How about the Sheraton Istanbul Maslak Hotel? This bonus will get you 4 nights there, and you’ll still have 2K points leftover! Wooohooo!

You just got a 5  day, 4 night, business class vacation to Istanbul, Turkey for nothing but good credit, smart use of credit card applications, and a few hundred dollars in taxes. Not bad!

But remember…timing is everything!

Your Room at the Sheraton Istanbul Maslak Hotel

Next up in the Beginner’s Guide series will be Part 3: It’s Good to Diversify…Usually. Look for this post in the coming days!

Beginner’s Guide to Points – A 6-Part Series

Part 1: Starting Out – REALLY Know What You Want

Part 2: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Timing

Part 3: It’s Good to Diversify…Usually

Part 4: Know Your Spending Habits Really Well

Part 5: If an Amazing Offer Comes Around, Don’t Wait!

Part 6: There are LOTS of Ways to Earn Points

Beginners Guide Part 1: Starting Out – REALLY Know What You Want

So you’ve just entered the points game, and you know enough to know the best way to accrue points quickly is through credit card sign up bonuses. You do a quick search of the most popular travel blogs and you pick Credit Card x, because that’s the one everyone seems to be talking about right now.

This seems like a pretty good strategy, and it definitely could be, but isn’t necessarily the best strategy. But wait…how do you know what the best strategy is? I’m glad you asked!

Basically, there is no one strategy. Yes it sounds cliche, but it happens to be true. Particularly with something as personal as travel plans, everyone has their own goals in terms of what they want to do. Maybe you want to have an amazing honeymoon next year and want to do an exotic beach location. Maybe you want to do a 3 week tour of Europe and hit up all the popular spots. Maybe you want to go visit your family back in India, or China, or Australia. Maybe your in-laws live in Canada, and you fly out there twice a year to keep the spouse happy. Literally endless possibilities for where you want your points to take you.

There is no question, then, that step one must be to know what you want. Knowing that you want a lot of points isn’t good enough. Knowing you want to be able to travel is getting closer, but still not good enough. Unfortunately, I’m a very good example of the latter scenario, which I quickly learned from and is a mistake I hope that no one else makes.

When I was first told about the existence of this points and travel blogging world, I was absolutely amazed. I was reading amazing blog posts about one guy who just flew to Singapore in Business Class and is staying at a super expensive hotel and was upgraded to a suite, and all using points and a few dollars in taxes. The next guy flew first class to Bora Bora to stay five nights in an over-water room that routinely costs $1000 a night, and of course all on points. I needed to get in on this!

So, I jumped on the first good credit card offer that came along to jump start my new-found passion for collecting points for travel. It didn’t take long, as the Southwest Airlines credit card became available for a 50K point bonus after the first purchase. This was extremely attractive to me because it was 50K points AND the card didn’t have a spend requirement…perfect!

I jumped on it immediately. Got approved immediately. Got the card and made my first purchase pretty quickly. Then I finally asked myself, “awesome…now what should I do with these points?”

I asked myself that question a bit too late, because as it turns out, I realized that I really don’t want Southwest Airlines points. I don’t really have much of an interest in domestic travel, and the locations Southwest flies from Southern California, where I live, are very un-interesting to me for a variety of reasons. “Crap,” is the first thought that came to mind.

“Okay, well at least Southwest was having a holiday sale on gift cards from their website,” I recall thinking. I remember I could get about $600 worth of Amazon gift cards, which to me is almost like cash, by using those 50K points. Not a bad consolation. But I looked at my account and my points hadn’t posted. What gives?

Long story short, it takes 6-8 weeks to get your points. By then, the holidays were over, and my 50K points were only worth $500 in gift cards. Still not terrible, but I wasted a credit card application, a credit card from Chase (which is an important bank that doesn’t just hand out credit cards), and got points that I really don’t want. I plain and simple messed up.

Even if all I knew was that I want to travel internationally, it would have helped me significantly. I could have gotten any “normal” airline’s credit card or any hotel’s credit card and been perfectly fine. But I didn’t REALLY know what I wanted.

My advice to you is this: sit down, decide where you want to go and what kind of trip do you want to have. Details are your friend (i.e. are you cool with economy or do you want business or first class?). You can get off to a very good start in the points game if you just take some time to figure out what you want.

Below is a very basic rundown of the different options you have, and what they’re good for. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it will hit some of the biggest players in the points game. Hopefully this will help you determine what kind of points you want to start collecting in order to reach your goals, whatever they may be.

Bank Credit Cards – Usually the most valuable because these points can be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel partners.

  • American Express – Transfer to Delta, Jet Blue, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Starwood Hotels, Hilton, Best Western, and MANY others.
  • Chase – Transfer to Southwest Airlines, United, Korean Airlines, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, and others.

Airline Cards – Valuable if you’re interested in flying and/or saving on flights. Note many of these can be transferred into by the above credit cards.

  • United – Arguably the best airline points there are. Has one of the best online award search engines. Access to Star Alliance airlines provides great access when flying to Asia in particular, but you can get nearly anywhere with United miles.
  • American – Not the best online search engine for awards. American miles are difficult to obtain via credit card sign-ups (Citi bank has a few cards). Has several good partners to get you around the globe, and some good off-peak reward redemptions.
  • US Airways – Terrible online search engine for award tickets; you will have to call in and talk to hard to deal with people. But, has some very valuable redemption options, like their off-peak awards. You can also buy points regularly for very cheap prices and get great value.
  • Delta – Their Sky Miles are commonly referred to as “Sky Pesos” because of how little the points can sometimes be worth. Still, good values can be found, like on a Business Class Round the World trip.
  • British Airways – The distance based award chart can sometimes drive you nuts, but can sometimes be an amazing value (for example West coast to Hawaii or very short flights). Frequently has transfer bonuses with partner American Express.
  • ANA – Also a very good rewards booking search engine, and lots of partners.

Hotel Cards – If you’re interested in free accomodations at nice hotels, there are plenty of options.

  • Hilton – Hilton has hotels everywhere in the world. Their points have lost some of their value recently, but there are still lots of good opportunities out there.
  • Starwood – Starwood points are valuable because of the “Cash and Points” option, which can provide tremendous value, particularly in Europe where rooms are expensive because the Euro is stronger than the dollar. Also, points can be transferred to almost any airline, with a bonus on top.
  • Hyatt – The ability to accrue points from Chase make this valuable, as there are a few hotels that charge $1000/night, but can be had for 22K points per night (sign up bonuses for chase can be 50K points or more, potentially giving you $2K+ in value!)
  • Priority Club – The best part about Priority Club are the “Point Break” hotels, a list of hotels that rotates every few months and offers reward nights for only 5K points. And yes, InterContinental hotels can definitely be found on this list!

Next up in the Beginner’s Guide series will be Part 2: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Timing. Look for this post in the coming days!

Beginner’s Guide to Points – A 6-Part Series

Part 1: Starting Out – REALLY Know What You Want

Part 2: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Timing

Part 3: It’s Good to Diversify…Usually

Part 4: Know Your Spending Habits Really Well

Part 5: If an Amazing Offer Comes Around, Don’t Wait!

Part 6: There are LOTS of Ways to Earn Points

Learning From My Mistakes and Successes

As is the case with most blogs that aim to teach, my goal is to help my readers learn and understand things that I personally did not understand at some point. At a time not very long ago, I was exactly who you are: someone who loves travel and who’s eyes have been opened to this new world of frequent flyer and credit card points that can allow us to travel for little or no cost. My goal is to help you achieve whatever your travel dreams are by bringing simple tips and tricks to you on a regular basis.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about learning, it’s that mistakes can often be as useful as successes. Since I’ve only started playing the points game recently, I can more or less chronicle what I did wrong and what I did right. I can recommend what might be  a better course of action than some of the well-known bloggers mention because, well, most of us just can’t start at the top.

And so I plan to write a 7 part series on how a true beginner, like I once was, can start earning, churning, and burning points with the best of ’em. I’ll discuss all the credit providers and touch on the main players in the frequent flyer world. And if there’s ever a question you have or something you’d like more information about, feel free to let us know – we’re here to help! No really, we are!

My new series will follow the below order, with Part 1 scheduled for the end of the week.

Beginner’s Guide to Points – A 6-Part Series

Part 1: Starting Out – REALLY Know What You Want

Part 2: Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Timing

Part 3: It’s Good to Diversify…Usually

Part 4: Know Your Spending Habits Really Well

Part 5: If an Amazing Offer Comes Around, Don’t Wait!

Part 6: There are LOTS of Ways to Earn Points

Cheers!