A Guide to Using Credit Card Points to Travel

Chris Janese
3 min readMar 3, 2023

It is economical to travel the globe with points and miles. Knowing your travel objectives is the first thing to consider before determining what type of credit card point system is right for you. Some people travel frequently. Others prefer first class when they fly. There are points and miles to consider, depending on the card chosen. Airline miles, hotel points, and transferable points are the three categories of travel incentives. Much like stocks, cryptocurrencies, and bonds, they provide a way to fund experiences without spending cash. Whatever your travel objectives, a basic grasp of the incentives used is essential.

Every travel incentive currency has a different value, much like a nation’s money. While prices vary, many points and kilometers are worth around one penny each. Calculate the approximate financial worth of every promotional deal. While 100,000 points can seem like a lot, it all relies on the kind of points being offered.

AIRLINE MILES

Each airline has its own set of miles. In most cases, you cannot transfer airline miles straight from one airline to another. You often must sign up for a frequent flier account with an airline to accrue points. Entering your membership number on the reservation is how you earn points when you travel. Many airlines have their own co-branded credit cards, like the UnitedSM Explorer Card, which accrues United miles with each swipe. The miles you earn on a trip are determined by many variables, including the kind of seat you reserve, the distance traveled, and the ticket price. The most straightforward strategy to accrue frequent flier miles is using a credit card for retail and dining transactions and purchasing flights. You can then use your accrued points to book award travel with that airline and its partners.

HOTEL POINTS

The way hotel points operate is quite similar to air miles. Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors are two major hotel brands with their own loyalty programs. You earn hotel points by paying for hotel stays or using a co-branded hotel credit card for purchases. Each hotel chain provides extra points for using them in hotels, similar to airline credit cards, to encourage cardholder use. In over 7,000 partner hotels, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card may earn up to 17 points for every dollar spent.

Often, redeeming hotel points for an award night is the best use of those points. Several hotel companies provide complimentary nights to members to entice them to use their loyalty points there. While hotel points may often be transferred to flights, the transfer percentages are typically low.

TRANSFERABLE POINTS

The most versatile kind of travel rewards money is transferable points. The points have many uses since you may exchange them for gift cards, cash back, or transfers to certain airline partners. Transferable points, as opposed to airline miles and hotel points, are accrued using credit cards dedicated to the transferable point currency.

This article was originally published at chrisjanese.net.

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Chris Janese

Chris Janese is the dedicated CEO of The Green Room, an event services company based in Rancho Sante Fe. Visit: ChrisJanese.com