- Select the Right Credit Card
This may sound easy (or maybe not) but it is important to select a card that fits your spending habits and financial situation. Start by looking through your bank statements and/or current credit card statements to see what categories you are spending at the most (i.e. Restaurants, Travel, Retail, etc). Once your spending profile is mapped out, look for cards with the right mix of sign up bonuses and long term earning potential… This is where we come in!
- Sign up for Dining Rewards Programs
If you can earn extra points doing nothing extra, why not? Dining rewards programs are a great way to do so. Every time you dine at a restaurant you earn additional point to those on your credit credit card. For instance, if I dine out with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, I will earn 2 UltimateRewards points per dollar + 5 American Airlines miles per dollar.
- American Airlines Dining Program Signup: American Airlines Dining Program Signup
- United Airline Dining Program Signup: United Airline Sining Program Signup
- Shop Through Shopping Portals
Shopping online can be quite rewarding. For instance if I use Chase’s UltimateRewards shopping portal and click through to J.Crew, I will earn an extra 6 points per dollar. Keep in mind, the shopping portals are just links to the same company store websites that you use everyday. There is no change in your shopping experience, just more points!
- Spend Points Efficiently
This part of the strategy can take some patience, but can save you tons of points and money. At a bare minimum you should never use your points for less than what you can buy travel from the site (i.e. Chase 1.2 points per dollar of travel). If the credit card you have allows for point transfers to partners, this is typically where you see you best value. For instance, if I transfer points from American Express to British Airways, I can buy short haul flight from NY to Chicago for just 8,000 miles per flight. This is the equivalent of getting 16 cents (or 16x points) back per dollar on all purchases.