Beating The System: Travel      Points Pointers      With Brian Kelly, The Points Guy
The Agenda  Earning  Redeeming  Q&AFor more information go to http://thepointsguy.com
The Basics: What Are Points?Mile$ vs. Point$-Airlines-Hotels-Credit Cards
Earning: Credit CardsCredit Card Gravy Train  -Sign-up bonuses up to 100,000 points  -Category spending bonuses  -Redempti...
A Note On Your CreditUnderstanding your credit score  -Payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history,  new credi...
Earning: Sign-Up BonusesUp to 100,000 points per card  -My haul last year: eight credit cards, over 650,000 pointsKnow you...
Earning: Spending BonusesNever settle for 1 point per dollar spentPopular category bonuses: airfare, gas, groceries,dining...
Credit Card Points 101Not all point credit cards were created equal! - Transferable   points -   Fixed-value points -   Ai...
Earning: Transferable PointsFlexibility, flexibility, flexibility!  Sharing points with family/friendsTransfer partners = ...
Earning: Transferable Points            ProgramsTransfer partners: Delta, Aeroplan, British Airways, VirginAtlantic, Virgi...
Earning: Fixed-Value PointsEasiest to understandLeast valuable: generally 1 point = 1 centExamples: Capital One No Hassle ...
Earning: Airline and Hotel Credit              CardsGenerally not transferableExchange flexibility for perks like: priorit...
Best Cards on the MarketChase: Sapphire Preferred  -Key benefits: 2x points on dining and travel, 50,000-point sign-up bon...
Other Ways To EarnFlyingShoppingDiningPromotions and Bonuses
Earning: FlyingStill a great way to earn, generally 1 mile per mileflownClass of service bonusesElite Bonuses: can help ac...
Earning: ShoppingNever go directly to a retailer’s web siteAlmost every airline and credit card points program has anonlin...
Earning: DiningAirlines and hotels have affiliated Dining Networks:another way to diversify and “double dip”Link every car...
Earning: Promotions and Giveaways  Social Media    -As simple as “liking” an airline or hotel property on    Facebook    -...
Earning: When Does It Make Sense          To Buy Miles? Generally never Exceptions:   -Promotions such as US Airways miles...
Earning Points TakeawayYour strategy is specific to YOU and your needsFlexibility is the most important thingDiversify: do...
Redeeming 101The usual frustrating scenario: you have the pointsbut can’t use them for what you want.Airlines have terribl...
Redeeming: Types of Airline Awards  Saver Awards    -Lowest redemption levels    -Available to partner airlines  Standard/...
Redeeming: Finding Award          AvailabilityStar Alliance: United, US Airways, Air Canada, etc.   -United.com pulls up t...
Redeeming: Other ToolsExpertFlyer.com: Paid service for finding both award seatand upgrade availability on many airlines.C...
Redeeming: Hotel PointsDon’t forget about hotels!Often more valuable than airline milesLots of places to save money like E...
Redeeming: Starwood Preferred            GuestOne of the strongest programsMost valuable points, for me ~3 cents eachFifth...
Redeeming: Hyatt Gold Passport Maximum hotel free night redemption: 22,000 points Lucrative promotions Associated credit c...
Redeeming: Reduced Price Awards Priority Club IHG:    -Point Breaks: rotating list of hotels requiring only 5,000 points f...
Redeeming: CarsHertz: Free rental daysNational: Choice of carsAvis: Airline bonusesEnterprise: Just launched new points pr...
The TakeawaysPut together the points strategy that works for you  -Research programs that will get you where you want to g...
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New York Times Travel Show Presentation

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New York Times Travel Show Presentation

  1. 1. Beating The System: Travel Points Pointers With Brian Kelly, The Points Guy
  2. 2. The Agenda Earning Redeeming Q&AFor more information go to http://thepointsguy.com
  3. 3. The Basics: What Are Points?Mile$ vs. Point$-Airlines-Hotels-Credit Cards
  4. 4. Earning: Credit CardsCredit Card Gravy Train -Sign-up bonuses up to 100,000 points -Category spending bonuses -Redemption bonuses
  5. 5. A Note On Your CreditUnderstanding your credit score -Payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, types of credit -2-5 point temporary hit per applicationStrategy -Start with good credit -Pay off balances or interest rates negate points value -Multiple cards: issuers, business and personal, family and friends -Be cautious before applying for a mortgage!
  6. 6. Earning: Sign-Up BonusesUp to 100,000 points per card -My haul last year: eight credit cards, over 650,000 pointsKnow your spend requirements -Anywhere from first purchase to $10,000 in four monthsTargeted offers: the only junk mail I like receiving!
  7. 7. Earning: Spending BonusesNever settle for 1 point per dollar spentPopular category bonuses: airfare, gas, groceries,dining, wireless service, business marketing,individual airline/hotel spend on co-branded cardsSpend threshold bonuses: points, elite status, elitemiles, companion tickets
  8. 8. Credit Card Points 101Not all point credit cards were created equal! - Transferable points - Fixed-value points - Airline miles & hotel points
  9. 9. Earning: Transferable PointsFlexibility, flexibility, flexibility! Sharing points with family/friendsTransfer partners = options Don’t forget about partners of partnersDon’t put all of your points in one basket
  10. 10. Earning: Transferable Points ProgramsTransfer partners: Delta, Aeroplan, British Airways, VirginAtlantic, Virgin America, JetBlue, Aeromexico, El Al, Flying Blue,ANA, Singapore, Frontier, Hilton, Starwood, Best Western,Choice Hotels, Priority Club, etc.- Transfer bonusesTransfer partners: United, British Airways, Korean Air,Southwest, Marriott, Hyatt, Priority Club, Amtrak.
  11. 11. Earning: Fixed-Value PointsEasiest to understandLeast valuable: generally 1 point = 1 centExamples: Capital One No Hassle RewardsBest for: -Families with non-flexible travel schedules -Domestic flights -Earning elite statusNOT for: International premium class travelers
  12. 12. Earning: Airline and Hotel Credit CardsGenerally not transferableExchange flexibility for perks like: priority check in,free checked bagsExamples: -Delta and Starwood American Express cards -United MileagePlus Explorer card -Hyatt Visa from Chase -Citi American AAdvantage cards
  13. 13. Best Cards on the MarketChase: Sapphire Preferred -Key benefits: 2x points on dining and travel, 50,000-point sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction feesAmerican Express: Premier Rewards Gold Card -Key benefits: 3x airfare, 2x gas and groceries, 25,000-point sign-up bonus, 15,000-points bonus at $30,000 spendCapital One: Venture Card -2 points per dollar on everything, no foreign transaction fees, probably best fixed-value points card out there. Wait for 100,000 sign-up bonus Starwood Preferred Guest American Express -Best co-branded, 25,000-point sign-up bonus, multiple transfer partners, elite status with $30,000 spend
  14. 14. Other Ways To EarnFlyingShoppingDiningPromotions and Bonuses
  15. 15. Earning: FlyingStill a great way to earn, generally 1 mile per mileflownClass of service bonusesElite Bonuses: can help accrue miles over twice asquickly. Map out your travel for the year.
  16. 16. Earning: ShoppingNever go directly to a retailer’s web siteAlmost every airline and credit card points program has anonline shopping portal. -Example: Skysmilesshopping.com for DeltaSpend bonusesEVReward.com: Great for checking bonus offers at specificretailers
  17. 17. Earning: DiningAirlines and hotels have affiliated Dining Networks:another way to diversify and “double dip”Link every card you have to oneEarn 3x points as a regular member, 5x as a VIPGreat way to keep miles active
  18. 18. Earning: Promotions and Giveaways Social Media -As simple as “liking” an airline or hotel property on Facebook -Tweeting an airline or hotel -Ex. I got 3000 SPG points for liking the Sheraton Madison on Facebook. I value that at $90. Pay attention to blogs for promos -Have a goal in mind, pay attention to your specific programs, and have fun—especially when you’re not spending money!
  19. 19. Earning: When Does It Make Sense To Buy Miles? Generally never Exceptions: -Promotions such as US Airways miles sales at 1.45 cents apiece -To top up for a specific award -Transfer promos
  20. 20. Earning Points TakeawayYour strategy is specific to YOU and your needsFlexibility is the most important thingDiversify: don’t put all your points and miles in onebasket
  21. 21. Redeeming 101The usual frustrating scenario: you have the pointsbut can’t use them for what you want.Airlines have terrible technology for searching,especially partners and alliances
  22. 22. Redeeming: Types of Airline Awards Saver Awards -Lowest redemption levels -Available to partner airlines Standard/ Peak Awards -Can only be booked in one’s own frequent flyer program -Higher points requirements -Sometimes only available to elite flyers
  23. 23. Redeeming: Finding Award AvailabilityStar Alliance: United, US Airways, Air Canada, etc. -United.com pulls up two columns: Saver and StandardSkyTeam: Delta, Air France/KLM, Korean Air, etc. -Delta.com is broken -AirFrance.us: Sign up for Flying BlueOneworld: American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, etc. -AA.com only shows you American and Alaska, adding Qantas and BA this spring -Qantas.com pulls in most partner awards
  24. 24. Redeeming: Other ToolsExpertFlyer.com: Paid service for finding both award seatand upgrade availability on many airlines.Call your airline: After you research, call in with exactflights, routes and dates. Be nice.Keep track of your miles using AwardWallet.Tip: Have a goal in mind. This makes the work worth it.Once you master searching for awards, you’ll get placesyou never thought possible.
  25. 25. Redeeming: Hotel PointsDon’t forget about hotels!Often more valuable than airline milesLots of places to save money like EuropeChoose your programs with your goals and needs inmind
  26. 26. Redeeming: Starwood Preferred GuestOne of the strongest programsMost valuable points, for me ~3 cents eachFifth night free, automatic 20% savingsCash & Points optionGreat airline transfer partners and ratios: 20,000 SPG points 25,000 airline milesGreat associated credit card: SPG Amex
  27. 27. Redeeming: Hyatt Gold Passport Maximum hotel free night redemption: 22,000 points Lucrative promotions Associated credit card: Chase Hyatt Visa -One of best sign-up bonuses on the market -2 free nights at any Hyatt -$75 annual fee
  28. 28. Redeeming: Reduced Price Awards Priority Club IHG: -Point Breaks: rotating list of hotels requiring only 5,000 points for free nights Marriott Rewards: Pointsavers Hilton HHonors: -Pointsretchers -Points & Money Always do the math: Sometimes it makes more sense to pay for a room than to use points
  29. 29. Redeeming: CarsHertz: Free rental daysNational: Choice of carsAvis: Airline bonusesEnterprise: Just launched new points program
  30. 30. The TakeawaysPut together the points strategy that works for you -Research programs that will get you where you want to go -Clarify your goals: coach/first class, international/domesticDiversify your pointsShare your experiences -Forums like FlyerTalk and Milepoint -I learn from my readers’ commentsPay attention to the news and promos and visitThePointsGuy.com
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