The 4 Pillars of Becoming Exceptional at Miles & Points
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This time of year, folks are trying out new things. Or working on becoming better at what they are already doing! And you could be doing the same thing with your miles and points hobby!
So I’ve put together a list of the foundation principles for being exceptional at miles and points.
1. Diversify Your Points and Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit
The easiest way to stay flexible is with transferable points. There are 4 major flexible points programs:
With these points, you can book travel with a wide range of airlines and hotels. You’ll almost never be stuck without a travel option!
I like collecting as many different kinds of points as possible. So I’m always on the lookout for a great deal. I enjoy staying at Hyatt hotels. But if the US Bank Club Carlson Card has a great bonus, I will pick the low-hanging fruit.
Team member Jason doesn’t stay at a lot of Hilton hotels. But when his wife had an offer of 100,000 Hilton points to upgrade her AMEX Hilton card, they took advantage of the opportunity.
You’ll want to earn as many welcome bonuses as makes sense for your situation. And no matter who you are, there is a limit to the number of credit cards you can get. So do your best to strategically apply for cards when the bonus is high. Or apply for cards that meet your travel goals.
2. Be a Student, Not a Master
The rules, tricks, and loopholes are always changing. So don’t stop learning.
Pick a new travel goal. Find something to pursue that sparks your interest. Because students are curious and creative. And anything that forces you to learn more will be beneficial in the long run.
Maybe it’s something obscure, like trying to book an award flight to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, with Citi ThankYou’s new transfer partner.
The more fun your goal is, the better! Whatever it is, make sure it inspires you to learn more and reach out to others.
A great way to continue learning about miles and points is by signing-up for email newsletters, like ours. And if you don’t want to miss out on the latest deals or limited-time offers, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Be a Producer, Not Just a Consumer
If you’re only applying for personal credit cards, you’re missing out on a world of benefits. Because there are lots of small business credit cards with exceptional bonuses and perks.
If you have a successful business, it means you are producing something other people find valuable. And if you’re making something, you’ll most likely end up having lots of expenses. So it will be easier to meet large minimum spending requirements. And even after you’ve earned the bonus, you should be able to earn loads of points just by paying your bills!
Banks are getting stricter with their sign-up bonuses. And some banks are limiting how many cards you can have before you’ll get denied for a new account.
If you’re eligible, small business cards are invaluable. Because some business credit card accounts will not show up on your personal credit report. This is a great trick to avoid limits like the Chase “5/24” rule.
You don’t need to make millions in revenue to qualify as a small business. And you don’t necessarily need to already be making a profit if you’re just starting out.
Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan has a side business renting out rooms on Airbnb. And team member Jason has set-up businesses selling on eBay, doing freelance marketing work, and running a charity facial hair competition. Almost anything can be a business if you’re willing to put in the work!
Creativity can earn you piles of miles and points.
4. Don’t Hoard – Try Something New Instead
It’s tempting to collect as many points as you can. But if you only have 2 weeks of vacation a year, what are you going to do with all those points?
Miles and points are NOT an investment. Because they usually don’t go up in value. I recommend redeeming for Big Travel as often as you can.
Folks love miles and points because it gives them the opportunity to have new experiences they might not otherwise be able to afford. You can redeem your points for Cathay Pacific First Class, a much-needed family vacation, or whatever is most important to YOU.
And don’t forget, collecting miles and points takes time. Some of us in this hobby spend every waking moment obsessing over their miles and points strategy. But don’t let it take time away from other activities you enjoy!
It’s the time of year when lots of folks are thinking about self-improvement. But don’t forget your travel goals in the middle of your planning!
But most of all, have as much fun as possible with the new experiences miles and points provide.
What are your miles and points goals for the new year?
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! :)