(My) Eight Truths About Points, Miles & Credit Cards

(My) Eight Truths About Points, Miles & Credit Cards

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On Award Travel

Travel is not free. 

Contrary to what people may tell you, traveling on points and miles isn’t free. Forget about award taxes (even if you minimize them), simple things like taking public transportation from the airport costs something. But…

Traveling on points gives you opportunities you may otherwise not have.

This is why I use points and miles to travel. It allows me to see the world at a fraction (not free) of the cost it would otherwise.

It’s not about the journey, it’s about the destination. 

Sure, business and first class are really unique and experiences. Everytime I fly in a premium cabin (for miles and taxes) I feel really lucky. But if I didn’t have enough points or nothing was available, I’d still travel. I’ve flown economy and I’d sure as heck do it again.

We don’t control award space.

Sometimes the biggest challenge in booking an award ticket is securing open award space for your itinerary. The one thing I’ve learned after a few years and helping numerous clients is that we have no control over award space. Part of the learning curve here is learning the different trends but also realizing that we’re at the mercy of the airlines.

On Credit Cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is not the best credit card. 

The travel rewards/credit card space is really crowded. (Thanks for reading!) If you keep up with other blogs, the Chase Sapphire Preferred – and now Reserve – products get pushed a lot. They’re both excellent products. But it has to make sense for YOUNot for me or for anyone else. For YOU.

Never pay an annual fee.

To minimize extra expenses, you should always do what you can to avoid an annual fee. This can be done by earning statement credits or receiving retention offers. Many cards come with the first year fee free. Some, however, do not. And that’s okay. If you get enough benefit out of it, then it may be worth considering. 

Your credit score matters.

I’ve opened up a lot of cards in my lifetime, but I’ve always kept my credit score and report in check and in mind of my accounts. Your score and your credit health matter. Remember that credit utilization – the total amount of credit you’re using at any time across all your credit lines – and payment history, are the most important.

Debt happens.

Life happens. Part of life happening for some people is debt – credit card, or otherwise If you’re spending more than you have to earn a sign up bonus or earn extra points, then stop earning points. Right away. Switch to a debit card or cash until you’re in a better situation. Paying late fees and interest on credit card bills detracts from your rewards gained and makes your travel even less frugal.


Bottom Line

This post isn’t meant to dissuade you from credit cards, miles and points. It’s meant to give you a different perspective on points, miles and credit cards. These are not absolute truths – these are my truths.

– The Miner

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