How to Get Started with Travel Miles and Rewards

Whether you like to travel to family-friendly destinations with a lot of entertainment, peaceful outdoor retreats, or you’re a globetrotter, you might want to figure out how you can start using travel miles and rewards along the way. 

How to Get Started with Travel Miles and Rewards
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There are a lot of websites that will help you hack your way to earning more miles, points, and rewards, but it’s a little confusing to get started. 

The following are some of the main and most fundamental things you need to know. 

An Overview

When you use credit cards with rewards programs strategically, you’re spending money you would otherwise, but you’re also getting something back in return. You’re getting points and miles that you can put toward travel. 

Many rewards cards also have other benefits like purchase protection and trip insurance. 

The most important thing you always have to remember is that you shouldn’t get yourself into debt to earn miles, rewards, or cashback. You should only spend on these cards what you can afford to pay back in full every month. 

Don’t ever let yourself get in a difficult financial situation because you’re trying to earn rewards with your card. 

Understanding Miles and Points

Miles and points are a currency that you might earn in different ways. For example, if you use your card to make an everyday purchase, you can accrue miles or rewards. You can also earn them depending on the card when you travel. 

If you have a card that earns miles, you can use them to book flights. You can use hotel points to book accommodations, and then sometimes, you can use cards directly for travel. This means you can use your credit card points and redeem them through an online portal. These points can work similarly to cash. 

You might also redeem points through a statement credit. 

Earning Miles and Points

One of the fastest, easiest ways to earn miles or points, depending on the type of card you have, is through welcome or sign-up bonuses. When a card has a sign-up bonus, if you meet specific criteria you’ll get an additional amount of points. Usually, you have to spend a particular amount within a few months after opening the card. 

You can quickly jumpstart your earnings of points or miles. 

Another way to earn rewards is through your everyday spending. 

Some cards reward you the same way across the board no matter what you spend on. Others have certain categories where you can earn more rewards. For example, you might have a card that rewards you when you use it to pay for dining or groceries. 

When you’re choosing a card, it’s essential to look for one that’s in line with your spending habits. 

You can earn money when you buy through shopping portals. Rather than shopping online directly with a retailer, you go to an airline’s shopping portal. You’re then directed to the retailer’s site, but because you used the portal, you get a bonus. 

If you have a branded card from a hotel chain or airline, you’ll accrue the most points or miles when you spend with that brand. 

What’s the Best Way to Get Started?

Once you have an overview of how rewards cards work, you need to do some research. You want to think about how you spend money, your budget, and how you’re most likely to benefit from rewards. If you don’t fly a lot, you might want a cash-back card or a card that earns you hotel points. 

On the other hand, if you travel frequently, you might want a card co-branded with an airline

Give yourself a crash course on some of the key terms. For example, you’ll want to learn about different terms relating to redemption, awards, and categories that are relevant to the card you choose. 

You’ll need to sign up for the airline or hotel reward program if relevant to the card you’re choosing. This is separate from the card. 

To qualify for the best cards that truly do have value and allow you to earn rewards relatively quickly, you usually need excellent credit. 

You could find that you should have several cards that you rotate using in different situations, each of which earns miles or points differently. Then, you can maximize those earnings in the best way for you. 

Finally, don’t overlook the other perks of these cards, like complimentary companion tickets if it’s an airline card or free checked bags. 

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