How To Collect More Travel Points
From airline programs to credit cards, are you collecting all of the points you can to get you to your next destination?
Collecting points is easy and imperative for gaining upgrades and free tips (or hotel rooms). It’s always free to sign up for the many programs available, and you should ALWAYS make sure you are signed up/collecting points for every flight or hotel you book. Why wouldn’t you, it’s like leaving money behind, and we want to get some bonuses from our travel, yes? Before we launch into some of our favorites, make sure you:
- Are following the King of Airmiles – The Points Guy – who breaks down gaming the points system better than anyone in the business
- Are signed up for Points.com, which can track all of your airline points in one place (and occasionally trade between programs)
So let’s continue onto the rest…
Never take a flight without registering to collect airline miles for it. Literally every airline has one, it’s easy to sign up online, and they often group with their partners airlines (i.e. One World, Star Alliance). As we mention above, don’t worry about having too many programs, just sign them into Points.com to reference and track them all. You can work towards free flights, upgrades, online shopping (Cathay Pacific has a surprisingly big online store) and more! Pair with points you collect on your credit card reward miles and you are well on your way to somewhere fabulous.
Websites like Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz, etc. offer points systems too so make sure you take that extra minute to make an account on their websites before booking. Sure, the points aren’t huge on these OTA websites, but $20 here or there could prove helpful (*though they won’t apply credits to everything). However, if you do book hotels often, Hotel.com adds up very quickly, and you get a free night for every 10 nights booked, you get a night free, not to mention they often offer special rates for members. And while there have certainly been big changes in the last year, some hotel brands offer a lot for loyalty, like Marriott Rewards.
Ditto above. Most of the larger rental chains like Enterprise and Budget Car rentals offer points programs, and if you are a frequent renter (like a flier) then you can achieve higher status with special deals and bonuses. The OTA websites mentioned above will often credit you points too, it’s just not as much, but you can certainly double up!
Don’t go too crazy with racking up the cards, it is still a slippery slope. However, you should always use credit cards to book travel for insurance purposes, benefits, and yes, points! By using cards helpful for travel benefits, as well as your airline points number, you are laughing (especially as many of these have hefty sign up bonuses)! Many of these do have annual fees, and hight APR, but assuming you are paying them off right away, they can be a huge help (keep in mind there can be some differences depending on personal vs business cards). Some of the most popular cards for travel include:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve (Current offer: 50,000 points. Double points on travel and dining. They have their own internal travel booking system for flights, hotels, cars to use points towards)
- American Express Platinum (Current offer: 60,000 points. Personalized travel assistance. They also have their own internal travel booking system for flights, hotels, cars to use points towards)
- Bank of America Premium Rewards (Current offer: 50,000 points)
Author: Carrie Mitchell
Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)