If you collect miles and points by using your credit cards, knowing what cards to use for each type of purchase will maximize the points you’ll earn. However, making sure you have the right card with you at all times and staying up to date on the current bonus categories is a lot of work. If you’re the type of person who, like me, wants to maximize earnings on every purchase, you might need to carry at least 3-4 cards with you at all times. If you’re someone who, like Sharon, just wants to have one card for all of your purchases, you’ll want to make sure the care you are using is good for the majority of the things you buy. Looking at the cards that I have in my wallet compared to what cards Sharon carries can give you a glimpse into two different strategies for earning points and miles.
Visiting a Disney theme park is expensive. There aren’t many discounts available so you want to try to maximize the amount of points you get back on the money you’re going to be spending anyway. I was at Disneyland yesterday and was reminded of an easy way to get extra points. I’m really mad at myself that I didn’t think of it right away.
“Why are you visiting Ireland?”
This was a real conversation Sharon had with the immigration agent when we visited Dublin last year. My questioning was asked how long we were staying, which was about 8 hours before flying to London.
Traveling on points and miles opens up options you never had before. This includes scheduling in stops at places just to visit for a little while, or just for lunch. We do have a short list of places that we’ll go out of our way, a little bit, just for a meal.
I’m a big fan of National Car Rental’s Emerald Aisle program. I’ve been a member for 20 years now (Ugh, Really? 20 years?) For all that time and for all those rentals, I’ve never earned a single rental credit with National. I’ve earned frequent flyer miles for my rentals instead. For my travels, I just don’t rent cars often enough so it would take me forever to earn a free rental day.
National gives you 1 rental credit for each rental. If you rent a car for more than a week, you can earn extra credits. Here’s a breakdown of the earning for longer rentals since this information isn’t easily found on National’s website. It took some digging and I’m not surprised they want to keep this a secret:
Several hotel credit cards give you a free night at one of their establishments every year when you pay the annual fee. The cool thing is this free night benefit is often is worth more than the cost of keeping the credit card, doesn’t require you to spend a certain amount of money on the card, and doesn’t require you to have any points in your account. It’s simply a totally a free night, including tax.
It makes sense to try to get the most value out of the free night and I’ve read articles listing the places around the world where you can get the most expensive room. I decided instead of that approach, I’d look at a place many people travel to each year. Walt Disney World (WDW). If you can stretch your vacation one more day by using a free night, that could be very valuable to you and your family.
Here are the Marriott hotels in the WDW area where you can use your free night:
I’ve written plenty about how I earn credit card points and airline miles, but gathering all those points and miles is meaningless unless you do something with them. We saved points for several years and managed to take an once in a lifetime trip. We could have taken this trip by flying in coach on the cheapest tickets available but why would you want an amazing trip to be ordinary?
….and no, I didn’t actually pay $25,000 for the trip.
Here’s the details of the best trip I ever planned (with some help).
I previously wrote about the winter promotions for IHG and Hilton. But with all of the Hurricane Irma excitement, I missed out on the promos that Starwood and Marriott announced this past week. Now that things are getting back to normal, I’m checking to see if any of these are valuable. As always, if you think you might be eligible for any promotion, it pays to register even if you don’t take advantage of it. Otherwise you might forget or miss out on the registration date.
Here are the details for each promotion: