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Step 1: Set Your Travel Goals

The 1st step to getting started with collecting miles and points involves making some fun choices.

Where & How Do You Want to Travel?
Where & How Do You Want to Travel?

A mistake many folks say they regret making when they started collecting points was jumping right in and not setting goals or determining a strategy to reach them. This can leave you with lots of points in different accounts that can’t be used to their full potential.

Also, it’s MUCH easier to find flights you can book with miles if you plan a year in advance. So it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

You can still find good deals only 3 to 4 months in advance, but it may require more flexibility.  For instance, you may have to leave the US on Wednesday instead of a Friday.  Here are some questions that only you can answer:

  • Are you mostly interested in traveling within the US or internationally?  Do you want to visit a beach destination, a big city, etc.?
  • Do you prefer fancy hotels or budget hotels where you can stretch your miles?
  • How many people will be traveling with you?  Are you part of a family of 4 or more, or is it just you and a companion?
  • How often do you want to travel?
  • Which destinations appeal to you?

For domestic flights, the best way to get Big Travel with Small Money is with the Southwest Companion Pass.

I also like collecting Hyatt and Hilton hotel points for my hotel stays because it’s easier to use the points I earn.

You can earn points with airline and hotel branded credit cards.  Or you can earn bank points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards points and AMEX Membership Rewards points which gives you the ability to transfer to airline AND hotel partners.

If you need a little travel inspiration, check out our Trip Reports which include trips to Hawaii, Europe, Asia, and more, for ideas on places to visit and step-by-step instructions on how you can use your points to get there!

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I want to fly within the US and to Barcelona from Nashville.

I would like to travel to Europe and South America!

Interested in traveling domestically and internationally this year.