8 Tricks for Earning More Travel Reward Points
Here at Credit Liftoff, it’s no secret that we love credit card rewards.
And of course, we’re not alone. Credit card experts of all stripes have their favorite ways to maximize returns on their spending.
When it comes to earning more travel reward points specifically, there’s more to do than just choosing a top travel credit card or one that offers solid credit card travel insurance. Today, that’s what we’re here to discuss.
What are some of the top tricks for earning more travel reward points? How can you save money on your next business trip, or make that next vacation come more quickly?
Read on for eight useful tips for squeezing every last travel reward point out of your credit cards!
1. Pay attention to sign-up bonuses
Nowadays, many credit card companies offer attractive sign-up bonuses to entice new customers to choose them over the competition.
Each of these cards offers a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles (or “points”) after spending $3,000 within three months. This equals a pretty substantial sum of money, more than enough for a round-trip flight to many destinations!
The two previously mentioned cards are fine options, but by no means are they the only travel cards with significant sign-up bonuses. If and when you decide to open up a new credit card, be sure to consider this angle.
2. Use your credit card for recurring expenses
For whatever reason, many people out there associate credit cards with paying for one-off expenses. They might use a credit card to pay for a nice dinner, but when they go to the grocery store, they’ll pay with a debit or in cash.
Simply put, this is a shortsighted way of going about things. In fact, there are many cards out there that reward consumers specifically for making regular, recurring purchases.
For example, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card offers 3% cash back on groceries with no annual fee. Of course, this is a cash back card and not really a travel card per se, but you can still use that cash back to make travel-related purchases!
By using credit cards to make as many of your recurring purchases as possible, you’ll be well on your way to accumulating some serious travel reward points. Just be sure to pay off your statements in full every month!
3. Take advantage of credit card referral programs
Do you have any travel credit cards that you truly love? If so, there’s probably a good chance that your friends will love them too!
What’s more, many credit cards nowadays offer significant bonuses when you refer a friend to open an account. For example, some great referral bonuses are offered by the Southwest Airlines family of credit cards. By referring friends to open Southwest accounts, you can earn up to 50,000 bonus miles each and every year!
Simply put, you and your friends are already likely to open up multiple credit card accounts over the course of time. Why not use referral programs to make it more beneficial across the board?
4. Add authorized users
In a recent article addressing the appropriate age to obtain one’s first credit card, we discussed the possibility of adding authorized users to credit accounts. But did you know that there could be more benefits than simply building a loved one’s credit history?
Nowadays, many credit cards actually offer bonuses for adding authorized users to existing accounts. Sometimes these bonuses appear automatically, and other times they kick in after a certain amount has been spent by the new user.
Either way, as long as you trust whomever you’re authorizing to share your account, this is one of the top tricks for earning more travel reward points!
5. Consider airline credit cards
It’s no secret that there’s an incredible variety of travel reward cards out there, and not all of them are affiliated with specific airlines. If you value flexibility, you might be tempted to choose a non-affiliated travel card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Capital One Venture card.
Does this sound like you? If so, we encourage you to at least think twice!
Although airline-specific credit cards often offer more rigid reward systems, the rewards that they do offer are often especially lucrative. If you’re a frequent flyer of a specific airline, we highly recommend investigating what sorts of travel reward their credit card could offer you.
6. Put purchases on your card and have friends pay you back
Imagine that you’re out to dinner with a handful of friends. Even at a moderately priced restaurant, a small group can easily equal a large bill!
Before offering to pay in cash or splitting the bill into parts, consider paying for everything with your credit card.
“What? Are you crazy?” We know what you might be thinking. But hear us out.
Depending on the credit card that you’re using, you could easily be receiving three travel miles or more per dollar spent on dining. Those miles quickly add up when paying off large bills!
Of course, this method only works if your friends quickly and reliably pay you back. That said, it’s certainly worth considering!
7. Always opt into bonus categories
Many credit cards with particularly high reward rates require you to opt into quarterly rewards categories. This only takes a few minutes a few times per year, but surprisingly many cardholders neglect to do it.
By making sure to always opt into bonus categories, you can easily increase your returns from 1% to 5% on many purchases. Talk about a simple trick for earning more travel reward points!
Stated simply, “churning” is the process of frequently opening and closing new credit card accounts in order to take advantage of sign-up bonuses. It’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy that requires a lot of time and attention, and for most consumers, it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth.
That said, dedicated churners can accumulate some serious travel reward points! Learn more about how churning works by checking out a helpful guide at this link.
Tricks for Earning More Travel Reward Points: Final Thoughts
We hope that this article provided some interesting food for thought in terms of ways to earn more travel reward points.
By using credit cards intelligently, your next trip across the country or across the world could come much sooner than you think. Best of luck, and bon voyage!