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MissTiger91
LSU Fan
Behind enemy lines in Mississippi
Member since Oct 2010
429 posts

How to win at the points game?
How do normal people win at the travel points game? Here's my situation:

1) I have a Capital One Venture card. I've had it for several years so no more great points bonuses. Our family's monthly spending is approx. $4000, so that's roughly 8000 points. It takes roughly 50,000 points to cover a $500 plane ticket

2) My closest airport is Jackson, MS. I usually fly whatever airline is cheapest. We take at least 1 trip a year requiring airfare and 2-3 other trips a year that require a hotel for a few nights.

3) I'm a member of Hilton, Holiday Inn and Hyatt loyalty programs and have a few thousand points on each (less than 20,000 each).

So..... how do I start getting free shit? Should I stick with just one airline and one hotel? It seems like Hyatt has the best points per night value. I just booked a summer vacation to NYC and the only freebie was one of our 3 plane tickets. I had 80,000 Cap One points to start with. I realize when I get back from the trip, I'll be able to "erase" some of the charges with the remaining points.

TL;DR... How do non-OT Ballers travel and maximize points?


tduecen
New York Yankees Fan
Member since Nov 2006
144562 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
Helps if you have a job that requires a lot of travel. Or if your just able to travel a lot in general.


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71
Golfer
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2005
72879 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
The only way you'll accumulate enough points to make a dent is if you start churning cards to get the signup bonuses. Unfortunately, you don't travel enough to get status and have elite member bonus points with stays or spend enough to get a heap of points.


MissTiger91
LSU Fan
Behind enemy lines in Mississippi
Member since Oct 2010
429 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

Unfortunately, you don't travel enough to get status and have elite member bonus points with stays or spend enough to get a heap of points.


That's what I was afraid you would say. So are there any tips I should take advantage of? I know a few years ago your Hilton stays could be credited as BOTH Hilton points and Delta points, but of course they stopped that program. Is there something similar though?


Golfer
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2005
72879 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
Your best bet is to strategically churn through cards between you and your spouse since you spend enough to achieve promotional sign up bonuses.


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32
baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
10209 posts
 Online 

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

So are there any tips I should take advantage of?


If you don't travel for work, don't make over $2ook a year, or don't have a small business you own with a card then CC points can be very overrated honestly. You have to play the points game HARD and as said continually get sign up bonus's. IMO not worth it.

In your situation, honestly I'd look at one of the hotel cards. Hilton for example gives you a free night a year, instant Gold status, and they have things like buy 3 nights get a 4th night free. It may not be THE BEST deal out there, but IMO if you can get 3-4 nights of hotels free a year that's better then waiting every 2-3 years for a plane ticket.


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
25138 posts
 Online 

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

Our family's monthly spending is approx. $4000, so that's roughly 8000 points. It takes roughly 50,000 points to cover a $500 plane ticket


So in 6-7 months you can pay for a $500 ticket. That's pretty good IMO. I generally use my points every 2 or 3 years to pay for 2 tix to Europe and then accumulate points for the next 2 or 3 years and then we go to europe again.

I just used points to buy 2 plane tix DFW to Portland, Portland to San Fran and San Fran to DFW plus 5 nights airbnb accommodation and it cost me zero with 120,000 points.

I follow The Points Guy blog and he has a lot of good info such as some cards and some airlines have more valuable points than others.
This post was edited on 6/18 at 10:51 am


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30
fatboydave
LSU Fan
Fat boy land
Member since Aug 2004
12772 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
Check out the credit card thread on the money board. Good info there.


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jsquardjj
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2009
982 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
I would recommend starting off by getting at least two new credit cards each with 50k bonuses. (The chase cards are some of my favorites) Right there you will have 100k in bonus, and another 24k points off of the 12k you spend in 3 months.

Then, you can use the 124k to book trips through the chase ultimate rewards portal which gives you 1.5 per point. So your 124k suddenly = $1,860 in tickets or hotels. That should be good for two free tickets to Europe and a few nights at a hotel.

When the cards come up to the one year mark (and an annual fee) cancel them and repeat with two more cards.


baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
10209 posts
 Online 

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

When the cards come up to the one year mark (and an annual fee) cancel them and repeat with two more cards.


Everyone always acts like its just this easy to cancel them, but there's only so many cards you can do this with right? I mean I'm talking maybe 6-8?


MissTiger91
LSU Fan
Behind enemy lines in Mississippi
Member since Oct 2010
429 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

When the cards come up to the one year mark (and an annual fee) cancel them and repeat with two more cards.


But aren't you dinging your credit with cards that don't have a long credit history? I guess you would need to weigh that against the points benefits.


baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
10209 posts
 Online 

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

But aren't you dinging your credit with cards that don't have a long credit history? I guess you would need to weigh that against the points benefits.


Yes but its very minor, like 5-15 points. I'm not a pro in this, but if your credit is over 740 is not going to affect you anyway.


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
3963 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

But aren't you dinging your credit with cards that don't have a long credit history? I guess you would need to weigh that against the points benefits.


No. There's a minor hit in the short term, but it's beneficial in the long term. More accounts, even if canceled, are better.

Go to the churning reddit and read the wiki if you want to start learning.

LINK



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20
cajunbuck
LSU Fan
R-KANSAS
Member since Sep 2017
895 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
I'm pretty much in the same boat as OP. i got a venture card to pay for our vacation and some bills etc to take advantage of the 60k bonus and am sitting on about 67k. Just went ahead and got the southwest rapid rewards card for another 60k bonus and will also have about 67k on that one. i don't plan on using it as much as i do the venture, but it will certainly get plane tickets for our vaca may 2020 or just an impromptu getaway. either way, i wish id have started years ago


kciDAtaE
Member since Apr 2017
4997 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
Simple - Need to stick with all one card. Everything towards Marriott or United. Don’t spread it around


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11
jsquardjj
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2009
982 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
No, it’s not too bad. They look at the average age of your total account history. I have two credit cards, one that I got when I was 18 and another a few years later that I keep open and have never closed (I only use them about once a year and they have no fees). That and things like house notes will keep the average age of your account history just fine.

I burn at least 2 cards a year and stay around 800.

Another quick tip that worked for me unexpectedly recently: I got the chase sapphire reserve in April of 2018. It has a steep $450 annual fee that is due after the first month, but you also get $300 in statement credits for travel each year, $100 towards global entry, and at the time, they were offering a 100k bonus. So I got my big bonus and my $300 credit a few months after opening. Well, the next $300 of statement credits began in the 2019 calendar year instead of your card opening date, so I was able to get another $300 in January/February. I cancelled the card in April of this year to avoid the next $450 annual hit, and they didn’t take away my $300 for 2019. I was really surprised. This means I basically got $600 in travel reimbursement plus the 100k (which equal to $1500 using chase rewards portal).

It seems like a glitch that could be corrected quickly, but it was a great card to have for 12 months.


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VABuckeye
Ohio State Fan
Oak Hill, VA
Member since Dec 2007
24460 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

Everyone always acts like its just this easy to cancel them, but there's only so many cards you can do this with right? I mean I'm talking maybe 6-8?


Credit score isn’t the issue. The issue is that credit card companies have taken action against churners by limiting the number of cards they’ll issue in a certain time period. The Chase 5/24 rule is an example as are the changes Amex made a few years ago. These rules will only get tighter over time.
This post was edited on 6/19 at 12:33 pm


LSUDbrous90
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since Dec 2011
982 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

If you don't travel for work, don't make over $2ook a year, or don't have a small business you own with a card then CC points can be very overrated honestly. You have to play the points game HARD and as said continually get sign up bonus's. IMO not worth it.


What? THis is not true at all. I travel some/not much for work, don't make half of 200k, and dont own a small business. I open a new card (almost always Chase) on average every two months. In a little over two years I have 1 million Chase points, 200k Hilton, and 100k United. 1) Get Chase card 2) Hit the spend limit to get the signup bonus 3) Rinse and repeat. Its 100% worth the 10 minutes it takes to apply for a new card every two months. Unless you spend an arse load of money every month then you will never acquire enough points by keeping just one card.


baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
10209 posts
 Online 

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

What? THis is not true at all. I travel some/not much for work, don't make half of 200k, and dont own a small business. I open a new card (almost always Chase) on average every two months. In a little over two years I have 1 million Chase points, 200k Hilton, and 100k United. 1) Get Chase card 2) Hit the spend limit to get the signup bonus 3) Rinse and repeat. Its 100% worth the 10 minutes it takes to apply for a new card every two months. Unless you spend an arse load of money every month then you will never acquire enough points by keeping just one card.


Admittedly I’m not great at this, but I don’t see how your math adds up at all. You have 1.3 mil points when cards maybe average 80k sign up bonus, how many Chase cards did you go through? There’s not that many. And Hilton? There’s what, 2? So you spent at least $40,000 on your Hilton Card?

I’m not saying you are wrong, please educate us?

And again, there’s only so many cards and you only get the sign up bonus once. So you’ve burned through Chase basically for life.

I’m still not seeing how you get to 1.3 mil points in 2 years without spending a LOT.


MissTiger91
LSU Fan
Behind enemy lines in Mississippi
Member since Oct 2010
429 posts

re: How to win at the points game?
quote:

got the southwest rapid rewards card for another 60k bonus


I did this as well and life was good. Until Southwest pulled out of Jackson Sometimes the cost savings was worth driving the 3 hours to NOLA (even getting a room if needed), but more often than not, it sucked having to drive all that way home after being away.


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