What You Need to Know About Airline Miles & Points:

Isn’t it time you started reaping the rewards of your travels? Shouldn’t you be able to travel the world for free without spending so money? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you should most definitely learn a great deal more about airlines points and miles. After all, they’re going to give you the ability to travel the globe without needing to spend too much out of pocket. This beginner’s guide is specifically designed for people who are interested in points and miles, but don’t know much about them.

Buckle your seat belt. It is time to dig in and sell your miles!

Getting Started

First and foremost, you need to actually become a member. There are plenty of loyalty programs out there and you’ll definitely want to use them to your benefit. A lot of people believe that it is best to sign up for as many loyalty programs as possible. This isn’t actually true. Instead, you should attempt to focus on one or two programs. This is generally best. After all, you should never bite off more than you can chew. So, which program is going to be best for you? Well, it really depends on a handful of factors. First, you should consider the airlines in your area.

Which airline are you more likely to use in the future? If you live in an area that is primarily served by United Airlines, you should definitely sign up for the MileagePlus program. After all, you’re going to be using United Airlines more often. Do you stay at Hilton hotels on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, you should definitely get signed up with the Honors program. This combination will ensure that you’re able to accumulate the maximum amount of miles and points from your regular activities.

You can easily find a list of loyalty programs by searching online. Find out which programs are going to benefit you the most and go from there. Don’t even bother signing up for programs with companies that you’re probably never going to use. Otherwise, you’re just going to be receiving a whole bunch of spam emails and letters for nothing.

A Mileage Manager Can Help

Once you’ve signed up for a loyalty program, you’ll want to begin earning points as quickly as possible. With this in mind, you should find a way to manage your mileage and your points. One of the best ways to do this is by signing up for an online mileage manager. There are plenty of them out there and they’ll definitely prove to be immensely beneficial in the long run. This type of online platform will make it very easy for you to keep track of your miles and points. This is very important when you’re trying to manage points that you’re earning from multiple programs.

There are plenty of them to choose from. Some of the most popular include Points.com, Tripit and Award Wallet. Be sure to experiment a little bit with each of these programs until you find the one that you prefer the most.

Sign Up For A Credit Card

If you’re willing to take a little risk, you should definitely sign up for a credit card. Credit cards offer a handful of benefits for people who are trying to accumulate points very quickly. First and foremost, you’re going to receive a big sign-up bonus. The only problem here is that getting a credit card might be tough. After all, the approval process is going to depend heavily on your FICO scores. If you have poor credit, there is a good chance that you’re going to have trouble on your hands. With this in mind, you should definitely improve your credit score before attempting to sign up. You can check your score online for free. You’ll definitely want to do that before moving forward.

You should also take the time to analyze the points that you’re going to receive from the credit cards in question. After all, your entire goal is to make as many points and miles as possible. Therefore, you should definitely do your research and make sure that you get the card that offers the biggest bonus. This includes a great sign-up bonus and excellent points from there. There are plenty of great cards to sign up for. Some of the best include the American Express Platinum Card, Chase’s Sapphire Preferred, and the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card.

Be sure to check them out for yourself to find out whether or not one of these will be a good choice for you.

Using Your Credit Cards Wisely

To obtain the maximum points, it is downright vital to use your credit cards correctly. If you get too haphazard with them, there is a good chance that you’re going to get yourself into trouble financially. The good news is that shielding yourself won’t be too tough. First, you should make sure that you’re putting large expenses on your cards. Just remember to never overdo it. It is vital to ensure that you’re going to be able to pay off the balance at the end of the month. If you do not, it will end up defeating the purpose. The interest will probably eliminate the points that you’ve earned.

You should avoid using cash. However, you have to be wise about your credit card usage. There are some instances when the merchant is going to charge more than 3% fee. If this is the case, you should avoid using the card. Stick with cash. Attempting to find out which credit card is going to be best for each purchase can be difficult. This is even tougher because some charges actually offer different point values based on what you’re buying and when.

Take Advantage Of Online Portals

There is a pretty good chance that you’re going to be shopping online at some point in the future. If this is the case, you should definitely use this opportunity to obtain more points. All you have to do is use an online shopping portal or two. This means that you will not be visiting the retailer’s website directly. Instead, you will be visiting the site through a portal. As long as you choose a safe portal, there will be no risks to worry about. When you use an online portal, you’ll be transported to the retailer’s website. Then, you’ll be able to earn a certain amount of points for each dollar that you spend. This is a great way to earn more points.

You’re going to be shopping online anyway. Why shouldn’t you use a portal and obtain additional points along the way? The risks are slim to none. In general, you should stick with an online shopping portal that is provided by a reputable source. For instance, Chase bank has their own online shopping portal. Be sure to stick with safe portals to ensure that you do not fall prey to some of the scammers out there.

Don’t Ignore Dining Programs

Are you the type of individual who loves dining out? This is definitely a good thing. You’ll be happy to know that you can actually get rewards for your dining experiences. There are dining programs that are going to give you the ability to earn additional points when you eat out. This is a good way to earn points in two different ways. First and foremost, you’re going to earn points for being a member of the program. At the same time, you’ll earn additional points when you pay using your credit card. This is a great way to double up your points and accumulate them even quicker.

There are plenty of ways to find good dining programs out there. Be sure to check out the top hotel chains and airlines. There is a pretty good chance that they’ll offer a dining program that sparks your interest. Attempting to choose a good dining rewards program won’t be too tough. Just make sure that you find a reward program that includes your favorite restaurants. This will ensure that you’re able to get the most out of your time and money. You’ll also need to use a card that is going to offer bonus rewards for your restaurant expenses.

Link the card to your dining rewards account. Do your research a little bit here to find out which dining rewards program and credit card combination is going to work best.

Keep An Eye Out For New Deals

The truth of the matter is that deals are constantly coming and going. One month, you’ll receive a lot of rewards for spending two nights at a motel. The next month, you won’t receive as many points. Therefore, you have to be eager to jump. You need to take advantage of these rewards before they disappear. With this being said, you need to keep an eye out for new deals. They’re coming and going all of the time. There are certain websites that can help you keep track of the latest deals. You should also try using Google News and other similar search engines.

Be sure to actively pursue the latest deals. They’re not going to last long and they’ll ensure that you’re able to earn the maximum amount of points in the shortest period of time.

Become An Elite Member

Your goal is to earn as many points as possible. This is time consuming. You need to be patient and work your way up. Another thing to remember is that your status within the program will make a big difference. As you continue earning points, your status will climb higher and higher. If you collect enough points during a certain period of time, you will actually become an elite member. This is definitely a good thing. Elite members are going to receive big benefits. For instance, you’re going to gain access to far better customer service. And, you’ll have the opportunity to gain more upgrades. More importantly, you’re going to get additional bonuses for the miles and points that you earn.

Remember that each program is different. While it is called elite status in this article, the name might change depending on the program that you’re utilizing. Take the American AAdvantage program as an example. This one doesn’t actually have an elite level. Instead, you will find Gold, Platinum, Executive Platinum, and Platinum Pro. The names of the status levels are different for pretty much every single program out there.

Either way, it is always in your best interest to get to the highest level possible. This will ensure that you can earn a whole lot of points in a short period of time.

Redeem Your Rewards

Eventually, you’re going to earn enough miles and points to get the rewards that you’re after. Believe it or not, redeeming your travel rewards will be tougher than you might imagine. It isn’t so straightforward. Therefore, you will need to dive deeper into the rewards programs that you’re going using. You have to find out how much your points are going to be worth. You need to get the highest redemption value for your points. Otherwise, you’re going to be using too many points for too few rewards.

Getting as many cents for your miles will make a huge difference in the long run. This will ensure that you’re able to stretch your miles and get more for them. Do your research and make sure your miles are worth as much as possible.

Plan Ahead

Finally, you need to make sure that you’re planning ahead. What do you intend to do with your miles? Do you have a specific goal in mind? If not, you should set one as quickly as possible. It might be getting a free trip to a destination. Or, it might be accumulating a specific number of points. Either way, you need to have goals. And, you need to stick with the plan until you’re able to accomplish your goals. Planning ahead and having your goals in mind will make a big difference in the long run. Set your goals and go from there.