How Do You Get Started?
These are the basic steps you need to follow to get started earning miles and points towards that dream First or Business class flight you always wanted:
- Take a step back and make sure you have the discipline to have a credit card and not have a high balance
- Pick a credit card that revolves around what you spend the most on. Look at who has the highest bonus points for signing up and then minimum spend amount to get the bonus. You can have more than one credit card if your credit score allows for it
- Use that credit card at EVERY opportunity. If you can pay with a credit card, please do EVERY time. The only time it will not make sense is if there would be an additional fee for using the credit card
- Research the flight you want to take and find out how many points or miles you will need. From there, plan your attack on how you will be able to accumulate the points
- After you have accumulated the points you need, book your flight and enjoy!
You need to be careful when deciding on whether to take the credit card points journey. First, you need to have enough discipline to ensure you will not be running a high balance and just making the minimum payments every month. You will lose the value of your travel if you end up paying all these interest charges.
Its ok if at this point in time the credit card journey is not for you. During this time you can build your credit and finances and then come back to it when it best fits you. In the meantime, learn from my tips and tricks and then once you are ready to start your journey, you will be a seasoned pro!
Which Credit Card Should I Choose?
I will keep a list of the best credit card offers here.
One of the many factors you should look at when picking a credit card would be the bonus points. Many cards offer bonus points for purchases on travel, restaurants and entertainment. These are the categories where I spend most of my money. I don’t like credit cards which don’t have bonus points or only give you bonus points if you spend on travel for a specific airline which limits you a lot.
One of the big factors I also look into are the bonus points you get when you sign up for a credit card and then meet the required spend. You must be aware of these bonus sign-up points because they change a lot throughout the year. For example, the British Airways Visa will have a sign-up bonus of 100,000 avios but then it can also only have a sign-up bonus of 50,000 avios. This a huge difference. So once you know which credit cards you are targeting, do some research and find out what kind of bonus points they have given out in the past and see if the current one meets it or not. If they have given out better bonus points in the past, hold off for a little bit until you see that bonus point offer return.
I’m not a fan of co-branded credit cards. For the example the American Airlines CitiCard. You only get bonus miles for travel that is booked only with American Airlines. Now, if you only fly American Airlines and nothing else, then this might make sense for you. But if you want options, I wouldn’t recommend a co-branded credit card.
My favorite credit cards are the ones that are not affiliated with any airlines but instead you are able to transfer points to the airline. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserved, you can transfer points for up to 8 airlines like United Airlines or Singapore Airlines. This allows you have to have a great deal of flexibility in your travel options which is great. This credit cards also offer the best bonus points per categories.
Research, Research, Research and Research!
So do you have a destination in mind? Once you do, then it’s time to research! You first want to figure out which airline would get you to your destination with the least amount of points or miles. Now, this takes some extensive research because of all the partner awards out there. For example, I booked a flight from Sydney to Tokyo using UnitedMileage points. Now, you would think United doesn’t fly from Sydney to Tokyo and you are correct they don’t. But they are part of the Star Alliance group and ANA which is a part of the group does fly there. So I was able to transfer points from my Chase Rewards account to United Airlines and then book the ANA flight. So again, there are many options out there and you will just have to research which one works the best for you.
Now The Best Part, Book Your Trip!
This is the best part of the experience. You did all that research. You accumulated all the points or miles you need by using credit cards and the bonus point offers. Its now time to book.
Some trips are easy to book. You simply go online and select your flight and your set! Others, not so much. Some take a couple of phone calls because they are not bookable online. For example, when I booked the Etihad Apartment using AA miles. I had to get the availability online and then make a couple of phone calls to get booked. But it was worth the work.
I will be detailing how I booked many of the best First and Business class products out there on my How To Book page.
Enjoy your flight that was booked with miles or points!