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Beating The System: Travel Points Pointers With Brian Kelly, The Points Guy.

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Presentation on theme: "Beating The System: Travel Points Pointers With Brian Kelly, The Points Guy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beating The System: Travel Points Pointers With Brian Kelly, The Points Guy

2  Earning  Redeeming  Q & A For more information go to The Agenda

3  Mile$ vs. Point$ -Airlines -Hotels -Credit Cards The Basics: What Are Points?

4  Credit Card Gravy Train -Sign-up bonuses up to 100,000 points -Category spending bonuses -Redemption bonuses Earning: Credit Cards

5  Understanding your credit score -Payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, types of credit -2-5 point temporary hit per application  Strategy -Start with good credit -Pay off balances or interest rates negate points value -Multiple cards: issuers, business and personal, family and friends -Be cautious before applying for a mortgage! A Note On Your Credit

6  Up to 100,000 points per card -My haul last year: eight credit cards, over 650,000 points  Know your spend requirements -Anywhere from first purchase to $10,000 in four months  Targeted offers: the only junk mail I like receiving! Earning: Sign-Up Bonuses

7  Never settle for 1 point per dollar spent  Popular category bonuses: airfare, gas, groceries, dining, wireless service, business marketing, individual airline/hotel spend on co-branded cards  Spend threshold bonuses: points, elite status, elite miles, companion tickets Earning: Spending Bonuses

8  Not all point credit cards were created equal! Credit Card Points 101 -Transferable points -Fixed-value points -Airline miles & hotel points

9  Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility!  Sharing points with family/friends  Transfer partners = options  Don’t forget about partners of partners  Don’t put all of your points in one basket Earning: Transferable Points

10  Transfer partners: Delta, Aeroplan, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, JetBlue, Aeromexico, El Al, Flying Blue, ANA, Singapore, Frontier, Hilton, Starwood, Best Western, Choice Hotels, Priority Club, etc. - Transfer bonuses  Transfer partners: United, British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, Marriott, Hyatt, Priority Club, Amtrak. Earning: Transferable Points Programs

11  Easiest to understand  Least valuable: generally 1 point = 1 cent  Examples: Capital One No Hassle Rewards  Best for: -Families with non-flexible travel schedules -Domestic flights -Earning elite status  NOT for: International premium class travelers Earning: Fixed-Value Points

12  Generally not transferable  Exchange flexibility for perks like: priority check in, free checked bags  Examples: -Delta and Starwood American Express cards -United MileagePlus Explorer card -Hyatt Visa from Chase -Citi American AAdvantage cards Earning: Airline and Hotel Credit Cards

13  Chase: Sapphire Preferred -Key benefits: 2x points on dining and travel, 50,000-point sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction fees  American Express: Premier Rewards Gold Card -Key benefits: 3x airfare, 2x gas and groceries, 25,000-point sign-up bonus, 15,000-points bonus at $30,000 spend  Capital One: Venture Card -2 points per dollar on everything, no foreign transaction fees, probably best fixed-value points card out there. Wait for 100,000 sign-up bonus  Starwood Preferred Guest American Express -Best co-branded, 25,000-point sign-up bonus, multiple transfer partners, elite status with $30,000 spend Best Cards on the Market

14  Flying  Shopping  Dining  Promotions and Bonuses Other Ways To Earn

15  Still a great way to earn, generally 1 mile per mile flown  Class of service bonuses  Elite Bonuses: can help accrue miles over twice as quickly. Map out your travel for the year. Earning: Flying

16  Never go directly to a retailer’s web site  Almost every airline and credit card points program has an online shopping portal. -Example: Skysmilesshopping.com for Delta  Spend bonuses  EVReward.com: Great for checking bonus offers at specific retailers Earning: Shopping

17  Airlines and hotels have affiliated Dining Networks: another way to diversify and “double dip”  Link every card you have to one  Earn 3x points as a regular member, 5x as a VIP  Great way to keep miles active Earning: Dining

18  Social Media -As simple as “liking” an airline or hotel property on Facebook -Tweeting an airline or hotel -Ex. I got 3000 SPG points for liking the Sheraton Madison on Facebook. I value that at $90.  Pay attention to blogs for promos -Have a goal in mind, pay attention to your specific programs, and have fun—especially when you’re not spending money! Earning: Promotions and Giveaways

19  Generally never  Exceptions: -Promotions such as US Airways miles sales at 1.45 cents apiece -To top up for a specific award -Transfer promos Earning: When Does It Make Sense To Buy Miles?

20  Your strategy is specific to YOU and your needs  Flexibility is the most important thing  Diversify: don’t put all your points and miles in one basket Earning Points Takeaway

21  The usual frustrating scenario: you have the points but can’t use them for what you want.  Airlines have terrible technology for searching, especially partners and alliances Redeeming 101

22  Saver Awards -Lowest redemption levels -Available to partner airlines  Standard/ Peak Awards -Can only be booked in one’s own frequent flyer program -Higher points requirements -Sometimes only available to elite flyers Redeeming: Types of Airline Awards

23  Star Alliance: United, US Airways, Air Canada, etc. -United.com pulls up two columns: Saver and Standard  SkyTeam: Delta, Air France/KLM, Korean Air, etc. -Delta.com is broken -AirFrance.us: Sign up for Flying Blue  Oneworld: American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, etc. -AA.com only shows you American and Alaska, adding Qantas and BA this spring -Qantas.com pulls in most partner awards Redeeming: Finding Award Availability

24  ExpertFlyer.com: Paid service for finding both award seat and upgrade availability on many airlines.  Call your airline: After you research, call in with exact flights, routes and dates. Be nice.  Keep track of your miles using AwardWallet.  Tip: Have a goal in mind. This makes the work worth it. Once you master searching for awards, you’ll get places you never thought possible. Redeeming: Other Tools

25  Don’t forget about hotels!  Often more valuable than airline miles  Lots of places to save money like Europe  Choose your programs with your goals and needs in mind Redeeming: Hotel Points

26  One of the strongest programs  Most valuable points, for me ~3 cents each  Fifth night free, automatic 20% savings  Cash & Points option  Great airline transfer partners and ratios: 20,000 SPG points  25,000 airline miles  Great associated credit card: SPG Amex Redeeming: Starwood Preferred Guest

27  Maximum hotel free night redemption: 22,000 points  Lucrative promotions  Associated credit card: Chase Hyatt Visa -One of best sign-up bonuses on the market -2 free nights at any Hyatt -$75 annual fee Redeeming: Hyatt Gold Passport

28  Priority Club IHG: -Point Breaks: rotating list of hotels requiring only 5,000 points for free nights  Marriott Rewards: Pointsavers  Hilton HHonors: -Pointsretchers -Points & Money  Always do the math: Sometimes it makes more sense to pay for a room than to use points Redeeming: Reduced Price Awards

29  Hertz: Free rental days  National: Choice of cars  Avis: Airline bonuses  Enterprise: Just launched new points program Redeeming: Cars

30  Put together the points strategy that works for you -Research programs that will get you where you want to go -Clarify your goals: coach/first class, international/domestic  Diversify your points  Share your experiences -Forums like FlyerTalk and Milepoint -I learn from my readers’ comments  Pay attention to the news and promos and visit ThePointsGuy.com The Takeaways


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