Guides

The 4 Basics of Points and miles

MMMondayMemo

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The 4 Basics of Points.

Getting started with points and miles can be quite overwhelming, but if you’re just doing these 4 things… you’re way ahead of the game.

a man wearing a mask and sitting in an airplane

1) Pay your bills on time and in Full and maintain a creditkarma or creditsesame account to monitor your score

Keep your credit healthy and high! There aren’t any points out there worth paying interest and late fees over. Bar none. If you can’t do it…work on paying down your debts before even thinking of points.

You can read our credit score basics here.

a pie chart with text below with Crust in the background

2) Credit your travel

At the very least…join the loyalty programs of the airlines you fly, hotels you stay in, and even restaurants you frequent. Wherever there is a loyalty program…sign up for it. Use one email address that you’ve designated to receive all forms of promotional stuff from those places so you’re normal email doesn’t get bogged down.

an airplane parked at an airport

3) Spend on the right card

Spending on cards that give you bonus points for dining, travel, cellular bills, quarterly bonuses, etc can MULTIPLY IN GREAT NUMBER the amount of points you ultimately earn come year end. Look at the cards you have and see if you don’t earn bonus points in certain categories. If you don’t…consider changing where you spend your money.

Miles Credit Cards

4) Take advantage of shopping portals and dining programs

If you’re unfamiliar with shopping portals they are online portals whereby using their links to code your order you can earn a ton of bonus points. They are partnered with 100s of the most popular brands you already shop at like Gap, Saks 5th Avenue, Amazon, WalMart, the list goes on and on and one. You can choose to earn credit card points by using portals that earn Chase, Citi, Cap1, Amex points or your favorite airline miles. There are cashback portals if that’s your cup of tea as well. Regardless of what you choose…you’re missing on out earning a lot of points by not using a shopping portal.

The very best place to find which program is offering the most points is cashbackmonitor:

a screenshot of a website

Dining programs are constructed in a way that you simply add your credit card to a dining program and whenever you dine at affiliated restaurants, you earn extra points/miles on your purchases. Here’s a list of dining programs you should be using to earn bonus points.

There are many ways to get the most Power from your Points, but if you do these 3 things…you’ll be in a much better situation than most.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Affiliate LInk

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex®  and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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