Is $1,800 Worth of Miles for $90,000 per Month in Spending a Good Deal?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Brad, commented:

Why do I hardly hear mention of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card or Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card?  These cards earn 2X miles on every purchase, have no foreign transaction fees, and a small annual fee of $59 per year (waived the first year).  Plus, you don’t have to go through a travel portal to book travel.  I spend ~$90,000 per month on the Capital One® Spark® Miles for business purchases.  I suppose the only negative is Capital One miles can only be used for travel, but I actually like that.  Am I missing anything here?

With ~$90,000 per month in spending, reader Brad can earn lots of miles or points with any travel credit card.

Miles And Points Strategy
Folks Like Reader Brad Can Earn Lots of Extremely Valuable Flexible Points, Which Can Get You Unforgettable Travel Experiences, Including Singapore Airlines First Class Suites

He’s right about how easy it is to earn and redeem miles with cards like the Capital One Venture and Capital One Spark Miles.  For example, Brad earns ~180,000 miles per month ($90,000 in spending X 2 miles per $1) with his Capital One cards.  He can use these miles to offset $1,800 in travel purchases without worrying about blackout dates, award charts, travel partners, or transfer ratios!

But some folks, including the team at Million Mile Secrets, enjoy spending the time figuring out how to get maximum value for the points they earn.

For example, team member Keith transferred ~180,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore Airlines to book 2 First Class Suites tickets.  Paying cash for the same seats would have cost ~$15,000, so the value of the transferable points was huge!

The best credit card is the one that helps you achieve your travel goals!  But I’ll share how folks like reader Brad can decide on a miles & points earning strategy!

3 Strategies to Earn Miles & Points

Link:   What Are Your Favorite Ways to Use Miles and Points?

There’s no right or wrong way to earn and redeem miles & points.  Because everyone has different travel goals.  This means folks also have their own miles & points credit card strategies.

Others, like me, take advantage of lucrative sign-up bonuses by applying for lots of cards.  While others, like Brad, prefer to keep it simple with 1 or 2 cards.

Miles And Points Strategy
Emily and I Love to Earn Valuable Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses to Help Us Get Big Travel With Small Money

Just to compare, I’ll share 3 miles & points strategies to show the rewards Brad can earn with $90,000 in monthly spending.  Keep in mind, some folks use a combination of these strategies to boost their miles & points balances!

1.   Earn Flexible Points for Big Travel With Small Money

Link:   Beginner’s Guide to Using Flexible Points for Big Travel With Small Money

Link:   The Trick to Travel Flexibility: Transferable Points

You get travel flexibility earning transferable points with programs like:

These programs give you the opportunity to transfer points to terrific travel partners when you’re ready to book travel.  And you’ll often get excellent value for your points.  That’s key for folks looking to get Big Travel with Small Money!

For example, you can transfer 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to book an award night at the Park Hyatt New York, which often costs $1,000+ per night if you pay cash.  Reader Brad would have to redeem ~100,000 Venture miles to offset the cost of a similar stay.

Miles And Points Strategy
Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Can Give You the Chance to Book Luxurious Award Stays at Hotels Like the Park Hyatt New York Where Nights Cost ~$1,000+

Plus, many cards earning transferable points have fantastic sign-up bonuses, bonus spending categories, and other perks.

For example, with the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  The sign-up bonus is worth at least $1,000 when you redeem points for travel through the Chase travel portal.  And I’ve found prices through the Chase travel portal match other booking sites.

This card also gives you the option to transfer points to travel partners for more value.  Team member Keith likes to transfer points to United Airlines for last-minute award flights, which would otherwise cost a lot of money if he paid cash.

Other benefits of the Ink Business Preferred include:

Miles And Points Strategy
Some Travel Cards, Like the Ink Business Preferred, Have Extra Perks Like Automatic Cell Phone Insurance

Depending on reader Brad’s business expenses, he could potentially earn lots of points if any of his $90,000 in monthly spending qualifies for the 3X bonus categories.  Just paying a monthly phone bill can earn him more points than he currently gets with a Capital One card.

Keep in mind, this card is impacted by Chase’s tougher application rules.  So if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (with the exception of certain small business cards), it’s unlikely you’ll get approved.

2.   Stay Loyal & Earn Airline Miles or Hotel Points With 1 or 2 Programs

Some folks don’t want to bother with earning transferable points.  But they still want to earn miles & points to get Big Travel!

If you’re a loyal customer of a certain airline or hotel program, you can get their credit card to earn miles or points.

Miles And Points Strategy
Reward Your Loyalty by Spending on a Card That Earns You Points With Your Favorite Airline or Hotel Program

For example, if you often stay at IHG hotels you can do well by earning points with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card.

With this card, you can earn 80,000 IHG points when you sign-up and spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.   And this card is NOT impacted by the Chase “5/24” rule!

You’ll also get:

  • IHG Platinum elite status (free upgrades, priority check-in, and elite rollover nights)
  • A free night at any IHG hotel worldwide each year of card membership
  • 5X IHG points for every $1 you spend at IHG hotels
  • 2X IHG points per $1 you spend at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations
  • 1X IHG point per $1 you spend on everything else
  • 10% rebate on redeemed points (up to 100,000 IHG points a year)
  • NO foreign transaction fees

The card has a $49 annual fee, which is waived the first year.

Because reader Brad spends $90,000 per month, he could earn more than 1,000,000 IHG points in a calendar year assuming all of his spending is in non-bonus categories.  That’s enough for 16 award nights at the InterContinental Paris – Le Grand, which costs 60,000 IHG points per night.

Miles And Points Strategy
Making Purchases With Your Chase IHG Card Can Earn You Valuable Points to Redeem for Free Stays at Hotels Like the InterContinental Paris – Le Grand!

Of course, you can choose the card for your favorite airline or hotel chain to earn more of their miles or points!

3.   Keep It Simple With Straightforward Rewards

Link:   Do You Know the Difference Between Capital One Spark Miles Cards?

Link:   How Do Barclaycard Arrival Miles Redemptions Work?

Link:   Which Capital One Venture Card Is Right for You?

Folks looking for a hassle-free way to earn points with only one credit card can do well with a simple rewards programs.  Reader Brad likes the benefits he gets with the Capital One Venture and Capital One® Spark Miles cards.  Because you don’t have to spend time finding award seats or logging into a travel portal.

And for big spenders like Brad who consistently earn ~$1,800 worth of travel every month, these cards can be a great option!

Miles And Points Strategy
Earning Easy-to-Redeem Miles With Capital One Cards Can Put a Smile on Everyone’s Face

Besides Capital One, you can also consider other similar simple rewards programs with cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

You can redeem Arrival miles for travel purchaseslike Airbnb stays, taxi rides, and flights with NO blackout dates.

Simply book your travel as you would with any credit card, and then erase the purchase once it’s posted in your transaction history online.  One drawback is you must redeem at least 10,000 miles ($100) at a time.

Bottom Line

The best credit card and miles & points earning strategy is the one that helps you achieve your travel goals!

My preference is to earn transferable points with programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards.  Because you can get lots of value for your points.  And have flexible travel options!

But there’s nothing wrong with earning straightforward miles on cards like the Capital One Venture.  You can redeem miles to offset any travel purchase and don’t have to worry about transfer partners or award charts.  This program works well for reader Brad who earns $1,800 worth of free travel every month!

Do you have a strategy for earning miles & points?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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