What's This All About???

What's This All About???

You may have seen the splashy, huge suites in airplanes filled with champagne and caviar around social media, and wondered how they made that happen.  Maybe you’re just tired of long flights and small seats.  Or you love traveling but are on a budget.  The solution to all of these issues is the world of travel points and miles.  With even a small effort, free and comfortable travel is easily within your grasp, from around the world to the next state over.  The key is to think about this now, and get points BEFORE you need them, because once you need them, it will be too late to get the points necessary for your trip and still secure the flight and hotel you want.

In my conversations with people about this, the most common response is, “I put all my charges on my existing 2% or airline card already!” This, however, is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing.  Sure, you earn a few hundred bucks a year, perhaps, maybe a few thousand miles.  That can’t really get you anywhere, let alone anywhere in style.  What you should be doing is opening up a credit card or two with great intro offers and accumulating hundreds of thousands of points with almost no effort.  You don’t have to go crazy – you could do one card a year and still come out ahead.  Just 2 or 3 and you can really get rolling.

But what about my credit score?” Another common worry is that your credit score will be impacted.  FALSE!  While you may potentially get a temporary ding due to an inquiry and new account, opening a card or two (or three or four) will barely move your credit score.  In fact, over time, as your accounts age, your score might even improve.  My own score is around 800, as is my wife’s, and we have both gone hard in this game for years.

These are the two biggest concerns I’ve heard from people I’ve talked to, but of course there may be more.  These are the two biggest concerns I’ve heard from people I’ve talked to, but of course there may be more.  Give me a shout if you have any specific concerns I haven’t addressed.  But, if you’re ready to learn more, let’s start!


If you’re ready to start supercharging your miles and points earning for all the free travel you could imagine, you’ll need to start with deciding if you have any specific travel goals, or if you’d just like to be able to take a bunch of trips for free in the future.  Next, decide if you’d like to try traveling in business or first, or want to take more flights in economy.  The choice is yours, but if you amass enough points, it ends up not being a choice you have to make often.  

Then, figure out what cards are right for your goals.  Take a look at the Cards page and you’ll get some great ideas to start.  I generally recommend you to build up transferable points – Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You Points, and Capital One miles, to name the big guys.  The advantage here is that, because they are transferable to many different airline and hotel programs, your flexibility is maximized versus being limited to one airline or hotel brand.  That said, there are definitely certain circumstances where an airline specific card is good.  Everybody is unique, so take these as a jumping off point, and feel free to give me a shout if you have some specific questions on this.

Once you’ve decided on your card, we get to the good stuff.  Apply, get approved, and start using it.  It is important not to live outside your means with a new credit card, spending just because you want the points.  Rather, you should spend what you would have spent without the card, but just on the card itself.  If the minimum spend is a bit daunting, you can always pull forward some expenses – prepay taxes, utilities, etc. to help you meet the spend with a certain card.  You obviously don’t want to do this all the time, but it helps in a pinch.

After you have met your spend, you’ll get the points, either in a few days (Amex) or after statement close (Chase, others).  Once you have them, start planning your travel!  If you’re just building up points though, it can be time to think about getting another card.  You don’t have to go crazy, but getting a few cards in your first year can be a really great way to get some serious points and act as a great base for future travels.  If you’re scared about tracking everything, check out my free tracker via Google Sheets that I use for all my cards.