How to Rack Up Points for Travel

Points Point Points

I’m a bit obsessed with points, I admit it. But if you like to travel you should be too.

You might have heard about rewards programs or credit cards that award points for using them. You can later redeem these points in exchange for travel, gift cards, discounts, upgrades, you name it!

In my case I try to travel at the lowest cost possible (without compromising the quality of my trip) so I went ahead and did some research and found a credit card that offered 50,000 points as a sign in bonus and an additional 5,000 points for giving a copy of the card for someone to use ( I gave a copy to my husband).

How much is 55,000 points worth in dollars? It’s $687.50 [55,000 x 0.0125 = $687.50] that you can use towards travel. In addition to this, every purchase that you make categorized under travel, gets double the points. Same thing if you go to any restaurant. Any restaurant.

What’s considered travel (and awards you 2x the points)?

  • Airlines
  • Hotels / Motels / Timeshares / Campgrounds
  • Car rental agencies /Taxi / Uber / Lyft
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies / Discount travel sites
  • Busses / Ferrys / Tolls / Bridges / Parking
  • Meter Maids

What’s considered dining (and awards you 2x the points)?

  • Fine Dining
  • Fast Food
  • Food Trucks
  • ANY Restaurant

How to qualify for the Sign-up bonus of up to 55,000 points

The terms to get this sign in bonus state that you must spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of owning the card. Don’t be scared by this amount. Let me tell you that I’m a very budget conscious person and my intention wasn’t to rack up debt in order to reach the $4,000 goal during the first 3 months. So what I did was use my credit card to pay for things I already needed to pay for every month. So I started using my credit card to pay for almost everything.

Instead of paying from my bank account, check or ATM, I used my credit card to pay the following things:

  1. Car payment
  2. Phone bill
  3. Electrical bill
  4. Netflix / HBO bill
  5. Student loan
  6. Restaurants/ Fast foods
  7. Groceries
  8. Gas
  9. Entertainment (movie rentals, movie theaters, cocktails)
  10. Ipsy / Birchbox monthly subscription
  11. Miscellaneous expenses (birthday gifts, online shopping, Airbnb)
  12. My income taxes (it was April and the IRS offered the option of paying by credit card)

As you can see these are things that I already needed to pay for, so by using my card and paying everything off every month, I’m not getting into unnecessary debt. I wasn’t able to pay my mortgage with a credit card (that would’ve been awesome) and I wasn’t able to pay the water utility bill. Can’t win them all. But you get the idea.

There are other ways to accumulate points for travel and here are a few suggestions:

  1. Unexpected Expenses- Flat tire? Water heater bust? Vet visit? Pay with your credit card.
  2. Special events– I had to travel for my sister’s wedding. Plane tickets and other expenses all went to the card. (Double points for travel).
  3. Taxes– In my case it was tax season and the IRS allows you to pay with a credit card.
  4. Student Loans– Call and ask if you can pay with a credit card. Mine does.
  5. Party, get together or family dinner?– Offer to buy the supplies and make sure everyone gives you their part in cash. This way you get the points and you pay the balance off.
  6. Going out to dinner with friends? If you trust your friends enough, explain how you are accumulating points and how you’d like to use your card to pay. They can give you their part in cash. (Double points in any restaurant)
  7. Giftcards– Let’s say you go grocery shopping at X store. Buy a gift card and use it in the future. You always need groceries.
  8. Friends or family travel– Be very careful with this one. I have only done it with select people. Offer to purchase the tickets using your card but ONLY if they have the cash to give you right away. (Double points for travel).
  9. Ultimate Rewards- Chase has an exclusive online portal called Ultimate Rewards where you can buy plane tickets, hotels, rent cars and redeem points. In addition they have a list of stores. If you click on these stores you will be redirected to their site and if you make a purchase you get extra points for your purchases. 5 points per every dollar spent at Sephora? Yes, please! Here are a few examples:


  10. Promotions- sign up for Chase Sapphire email promotions. Right now they have a “Refer-a-Friend” where if I refer a person who applies for a card, we both get 10,000 points. So if you’re interested in joining let me know so I can refer you and we can both get 10,000 extra points.

Remember You Don’t Need Unnecessary Debt

Work with a budget, setup travel and deal alerts and take advantage of all the tools out there to help make the best of your money without compromising the quality of your trip. I hope this post was able to give you ideas on how to accumulate points on your credit card without affecting your finances and the courage to go for it! Let me know what you think in the comments section below!


Refer-a-Friend Promotion:

Right now, Chase Sapphire has a “Refer-a-Friend” promotion where if I refer a person who applies for a card, we both get 10,000 points (That’s $125 for travel). So if you’re interested in applying, please let me know so I can refer you and that way we can both get 10,000 extra points!

Questions? Shoot me an email!

Check out how I traveled to London for free using points here.


Buckingham Palace in London

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