In this section, I will show you how I was able to save quite a bit of money on my travel. The strategy revolves around signing up for credit card bonuses, using the right card combination for spending, and transferring the points to high yield airline mileage programs for award tickets. This should only be done if you:
- ARE NOT BUYING A HOUSE OR APPLYING FOR A LOAN IN THE NEAR FUTURE
- HAVE NO CREDIT CARD DEBTS
- ALWAYS PAY YOUR MONTHLY CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS ON TIME
Now, familiarize yourself with airline alliances. Figure out which airline alliances your home base airlines are in. There are three major alliances: STAR ALLIANCE, SKYTEAM, and ONEWORLD. Often times, you can use very little International Airline miles to book American Domestic award tickets if they are in the SAME ALLIANCES. There are a lot of sweet spots.
Next, we have to use the right credit card points program that allows you to transfer the points to your desired airline. These are the major rewards program that allows you to transfer the points.
- STARWOOD/MARRIOTT POINTS (Formerly SPG, now Marriott Points)
- AMERICAN EXPRESS MEMBERSHIP REWARD POINTS (MR)
- CHASE ULTIMATE REWARD POINTS (UR)
- CITI THANKYOU POINTS (TY)
- AIRLINE BRANDED CREDIT CARDS
Each programs have pros and cons. Some have more airline partners than others. Some programs will also allows you to earn points much faster than others via sign up bonus and category spending. In general, always start off applying with CHASE since they have a strict rule limiting you to 5 cards over a period of two years. We will go into details later on the best combinations.