Airmiles Travel Redemption

As soon as you start talking about points, miles and rewards I start tuning out….

Oh Wait, what were we talking about again?

Right points, rewards cards, and air miles travel redemption. So I’m all for great deals and cheap flights. In fact, it is the key motivator for taking short trips, mini breaks and/or going on weekend travel getaways.

I’ve read posts from fellow travel bloggers about collecting airline miles and hotel points from large credit card sign-up bonuses.

Some credit cards will give you 25,000, 50,000 even 100,000 points for signing-up and/or completing a certain amount of spending.

My TD (Toronto Dominion) Aeroplan card has a sign-up bonus of 25,000. After a bit of spending and collecting, I was able to add to that bonus and cash it all in for a free trip to New York City (not including fuel). Pretty straight forward. I like that.

Ok, so I can sign up for a few credit cards offering bonuses, however, both my mother and Gordana would cringe at the thought of me opening multiple credit cards. The downfall for people like me can be managing payments, due dates, spending requirements and account balances, which would have me paying late fees, interest, and accumulating debt.

For debt is like that old friend who never leaves your side and always has cash ready to lend you when you didn’t bring enough…even if you haven’t paid him back the money you borrowed last week. Such a great friend!

In order to prevent the latter from happening one travel blogger created a post using spreadsheets that help track your cards approval date, the minimum spending requirement, the date the minimum spending should be completed, the bonus, the credit limit, the annual fee…

Arghhh! it hurts, my head, it hurts. It’s like trying to do math in my head and quite frankly, if I ain’t got enough fingers and toes or a calculator then that type of mental math shit ain’t happening.

I need balance…and not just with my budget. 

So when in doubt I reach out to my good friend Danielle from the award-winning travel finance blog the Thought Card.

Danielle please, please, please help me here…

  • Why is it a good idea to incorporate points and miles into your saving strategy and mindset?

Earning and redeeming points and miles is a great way to spend less (or nothing at all) on travel. Use points and miles to either partially pay or completely pay for airfare, hotel, and other travel expenses.

Since I’m a budget conscious traveler, my points and miles strategy aligns with my travel goals. I focus primarily on credit card sign-up bonuses and long-term spending value. I frequently look for credit card promotions with extraordinary sign-up bonuses. The more points, the merrier! Once approved, all I have to do is meet the minimum spending requirement within a set amount of time.
For long-term spending value, I look for credit cards that have added features like 2x points per $1 spent, bonus categories, and online shopping portals.

I’ve recently been able to book round-trip tickets to Rome by redeeming 55,000 Delta SkyMiles. All I had to cover was the $75 USD tax. I’ve also booked numerous flights to Bermuda and Montreal for free through my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. For the more, check out the cheapest flight ever booked through points and miles. 

  • What are all the different ways you can collect points and miles and what can they be used for?

Ways To Earn Miles

  • Sign-up bonuses
  • Everyday spending
  • Bonus categories
  • Shopping portals
  • Dining programs
  • Referral bonuses
  • Airfare purchases
  • In-Flight purchases

Ways To Redeem 

  • Award travel
  • Apply towards travel
  • Buy gift cards
  • Upgrades
  • Car rentals and hotel stays
  • Bid on unique experiences
  • Statement credit
  • Donate to charity
  • Transfer points to another loyalty program
  • What is the best way to implement these points saving programs in an effective and stress-free way? I mean is spread sheets really the answer?

Keeping track of your points and miles is extremely important but also challenging. I’m not proud to share that I have two recent mistake stories where I’ve missed out on over 100,000 bonus points.
There are all sorts of mileage tracking apps like AwardWallet, Points.com and TripIt Pro. Yet a handy dandy spreadsheet can also be a viable option. It’s especially helpful if you have multiple credit cards.
If you decide to go with a spreadsheet, keep it simple. To keep track of sign-up bonuses, include the following:

  • Credit card name
  • Credit card date approved
  • Minimum spend requirement
  • Minimum spend deadline
  • Bonus amount and when points/miles will post
  • As a beginner what’s the best way to get started, what’s needed and what needs to be maintained? 

As a beginner, I would recommend getting started with a new credit card strategy by signing up for loyalty programs. They are all free.

Since I’m based out of New York City, I signed up for Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and JetBlue. This also applies to hotels. I usually stay at Hilton so I signed up for HHonors.
Next, set a goal for your rewards. Commit to where you’re you’ll go to next with your points and miles. Setting a goal will keep you focused and motivated. It’s also more rewarding when you have a plan!
Before you apply, check your credit score to make sure that you qualify. Lastly, pick a card with a waived annual fee, a sizable sign-up bonus (at least a round-trip flight), and solid long-term returns. Also, don’t forget to get a credit card with no transaction fees for international trips. Remember to earn and burn those miles!

Thank you, Danielle. 😉

She always manages to bring clarity to these type of things and what is clear to me is that collecting points is not for me or everyone.

It takes a lot of discipline and although I’ve gotten better with maintaining a zero balance on my credit card I think I would spiral outta control trying to keep track of what coming and going.

About Danielle: Danielle Desir is a Travel Finance Strategist that uses her financial background and knack for financial planning to encourage affording travel. On The Thought Card, Danielle shares planning strategies, saving tips, flight deals and even talks about her student loan repayment journey.
About the Thought Card. The Thought Card is a travel finance blog that specializes in affording travel and making it a financial priority in your life. The Thought Card shares travel planning and saving strategies, cheap flight deals and practical personal finance tips like how to pay off your student loan debt and save for

About Christopher:
Using the latest travel apps, technology, and gear, Christopher takes a city; sees the sights, tastes the food, smells the roses, hears the stories and feels the love...all in 48 hours. Then, using videography & editing, photography and writing he retelsl and shares those stories with his readers and viewers. Welcome to Rudderless Travel.
Read more about Christopher here: Being Rudderless With Christopher Rudder and here: Rudderless Travel gets nominated for the Leibster Award.

Disclaimer:
This blog uses affiliate links at no extra cost to you. We also accept sponsored posts but only if we feel the brand is a perfect fit with who we are or what we are posting. All opinions belong solely to the blog unless otherwise mentioned and never influenced by a third party ’cause that's how we fly. 

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