While there are mistakes to be made, there is no one right way of doing points. My guest this week knows this from firsthand experience. After she had found her feet in the world of points, she took a risk by deviating away from Chase’s points ecosystem and started exploring other options in the points space, and she has tons of insights to share about this decision.
Today, I’m joined by Dr. Azra Khan Salahuddin. Azra is a cancer rehab specialist in Indianapolis who started her points journey in earnest in June 2022. She’d had points-earning cards before then, and while she’s kicking herself for missing out on earning amazing rewards over those years, how she’s turned that around to maximize her points potential is a story everyone listening can learn from.
Tune in this week to discover the pros and cons of taking a step back from Chase’s ecosystem, so you can apply for more cards than Chase’s 5/24 rule (link) allows. We’re discussing what to consider when applying for new cards, the problem with running into FOMO on your points journey, and how to decide what’s best for you based on the travel you want to experience.
Welcome to Point Me to First Class, the only show for employed professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are looking to optimize their higher-than-average expenses to travel the world. I'm your host, Devon Gimbel, and I believe that your expenses are your greatest untapped asset if you know how to leverage them. Ready to dive into the world of credit card points and miles so you can travel more, travel better, and travel often? Let's get started.
Devon: Welcome back to the podcast everybody. Today I am so excited to welcome another guest to the podcast today. I'm joined by Dr. Azra Khan Salahuddin, and we are going to be talking about a whole host of different things about points travel. So first, let me welcome you, Azra, to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Dr. Salahuddin: First, thank you so much for having me. I am so, so, so excited to be here, Devon. I've been following your podcast since the beginning. I'm a huge, huge fan. Anytime I drag anyone into the points conversation, I'm always bringing up your podcast and always recommending it. I'm just like fangirling here. I'm so excited to be here. So thank you. Thank you. I have been doing cancer rehab. I'm a cancer rehab doctor, a physiatrist at the Indianapolis VA. Other than that, just started the points journey around June last year.
Devon: I want to hear all about how you got started in your points journey in earnest in June. But I happen to know, because you did send me a message about this, that June was not the first time you ever had a point earning card. So can you actually back us all the way up back to the beginning, and tell me about your very first rewards card? Then catch me up about what happened in between when you got that and then when you actually did decide to start doing this in earnest last year.
Dr. Salahuddin: Yeah, every time I think about it, I'm just kicking myself about how we missed out on so many points. But ever since I've been married, I mean very early on, maybe even a decade ago. I don't know. Like so long ago, we had an Amazon Prime card. That's really been our primary card for almost everything. I mean, in between maybe a couple of store cards here and there, like Kohl's or something. But really the Amazon Prime card was for everything.
We thought we were doing really well. Every time I went into my cart, and there was a choice to pay with points, and I got to get my item for free. It was just so very exciting. So that was our only experience with point cards. So I was not raised here. I was born in Canada. But I traveled all over, was raised internationally, and didn't really come back to stay here until I was married in around 2005.
So most of my knowledge about how things run here comes from my husband. Every time there was a good deal in the store, and I'd be like why don't we open one of these cards? We're going to get a great deal. His philosophy or what he had learned and what he was passing on to me was that opening too many credit cards ruins your credit score. So I took this as absolute truth, which he did too. So we really, other than that Amazon Prime card and a couple one or two cards here and there, that was it.
Then in 2016, I'm part of this Facebook group called Physician Moms Group. You might have heard of. But basically there was some chatter about this great travel credit card that had some amazing signup bonus going on at that point. It was the Sapphire card. So that's all I knew. That's all I heard. Somehow, I didn't really understand how, but somehow it was really great for travel. This was a very limited time deal. It was 2016. It was a time when it was crazy high signup bonus, and everyone was just really excited about it.
It was like we really, really need to get on this. So I somehow did some research and convinced my husband that this was supposedly a really great card to sign up for. We saw that there's this big number for the signup bonus. That was it. We signed up for it.
However, no clue on how to use this card or what the advantages were. The worst thing is that I saw that there was this big number for a signup bonus, but it's not read the rest of it, which is you have to spend a certain amount in a certain amount of time. Then I never ended up earning that signup bonus. We really almost never used that card for years. It was in our pocket. We had it, but that was it.
Devon: I just want to jump in here. Thank you for sharing that portion of your story. I just really want to normalize it because I think this is actually how so many of us start our points journey. I don't know that many people. Maybe that's changing now because there's so much more information on the internet. There are so many more podcasts and Facebook groups where people can come in at a very entry level and kind of skip some of these “beginner mistakes” that I think a lot of us who've been doing this for a few years, like we made all of these mistakes. We went through the trial and error.
I just, again, really want to normalize that, that is the experience of so many of us. I was just kind of laughing in the background because I have to tell you, I had done almost the same exact thing. I remember. I have this distinct memory of being in residency, my husband and I were married. We were both doing our postgraduate training in Boston where there are fairly cold winters. I distinctly remember he really needed a new winter coat at some point. Like the one he'd had for many, many, many years was just not going to cut it anymore.
I remember going to the Macy's in the holiday period in Boston and doing the same exact thing. Finding a coat that was going to be great for him. It was definitely an investment for us because we had no money. We were residents. Going up to check out and being told oh, if you open a Macy's card, you're going to get X percent off your first purchase, which was this investment coat for him. We were like done. That is such a savings, you know?
Dr. Salahuddin: That’s how they get you.
Devon: We did the same exact thing. Exactly. We have had store credit cards. Now, for us it’s been a number of years since that has been the case. But I think so many people have that part of the journey. So I just want to reiterate that I think for a lot of us, that actually is the first step. The first step is getting some card and then subsequently learning oh wait, I can actually do a little bit better than that.
So I think it's so important for us that I love sharing these stories, kind of looking back and laughing about the things that we have in common, but at no point do I ever want someone to feel like oh my gosh. I made a mistake. That was a wrong mistake, right? Or I made a really bad decision. Because I think this is how we learn about just this whole entire game in this hobby and how to do better.
As you were telling your story about getting your first Chase Sapphire card, I was also relating to that because I won't go a lot into my background, but I basically grew up being told that credit cards were really bad. That they could get you into a lot of debt. I also had, again, no money. So it was sort of like there's no point in having a credit card. I don’t have any money to spend anyway. So it just seemed very irrelevant to me for the majority of my life.
When I was in training, it was my fellowship year. So this is in 2011, I was 30 years old. I had never had a credit card in my name. Because, again, I'd always been taught that credit cards are just bad and dangerous. I had already had tons of student loans. I had enough debt carrying around. I didn't really feel like I needed to invite any more in.
At that time, my husband said you really should get a credit card in your own name just for the purposes of just building credit, establishing credit. You never even have to use it. I was a cash only person. He actually did the research and said, “Oh, there's this card called the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It's got these great travel benefits.”
Again, I don't know why that mattered to us at the time. Like we couldn't go anywhere. We had no time. We had no money. But it was like, “Hey, here's this great card. Can I sign you up for this card so you at least have one credit card?” I was like sure, that's fine. You can get it for me. I'm never going to use it. So I think it was the same exact thing where I got this card as a fellow. I actually don't even know if I earn the signup bonus. I'm fairly certain the answer is no. I just had this card tucked in my wallet literally just for emergencies.
I continued to use cash to pay for things for probably at least two or three more years. So, again, for those of you out there who feel like you're just getting into this game or you're opening up your wallet, and you're realizing oh, I have rewards cards, and I haven't been using them a certain way. Or I didn't know to make a minimum spend requirement to earn a welcome bonus. I don't think that's a problem. You can always start exactly where you are and continue building on that knowledge.
So thank you for sharing sort of that portion of your story because I think it's so helpful for people to hear about that. But one thing that I know about you is that despite some of those first kind of hiccups and bumps that things are very different for you now. So at some point, something changed in terms of your knowledge about rewards, credit cards, or your interest in starting to get credit cards and earn points and use points. So catch us up to that part of the story. When did things start changing for you?
Dr. Salahuddin: It was another Facebook group, Mama Docs Travel. Somebody posted mentioning you and mentioning your group Point Me to First Class and saying, just super excited. Saying, “Thank you, Devon, and thank you to your group. Because of you, I was able to travel first class to.” I don't remember what international country it was, but it was pretty amazing. “We never would have imagined that we could do this for free on points because of you and what you've taught us.”
When I saw that, that was the key. Honestly, I wish I remember what post it was because really that was the one post that just changed everything. So I grew up internationally. We were expats in Saudi Arabia and living in Pakistan at one point. So we did a lot of traveling by plane ever since I was nine. As immigrant’s kids I mean obviously, we always traveled economy. That was normal for us.
You would see people turning left to the front of the plane, or you would pass by in the airports of the lounges, the business class lounges where they have the darkened windows and you can't even see inside. It’s like all shrouded in mystery. It was just like, you would see them, and you'd be awed and amazed. But even as a kid, it was like that's just a separate world. That's for the fancy businessmen and the really rich people.
That was never, I never even imagined that, that was possibly also our world. Like, it didn't even cross my mind at any point. So, for someone to say that for regular old Joe that traveling first class was a possibility without spending thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of just on one ticket, it just blew my mind. That was just amazing to me.
So that's when then I joined your group. Just the amount of information and the amount of figuring out what can actually be done. That just changed everything. That just changed everything.
Devon: Thank you so much for sharing that story. I really love hearings or your personal background, your personal experience. So when things changed for you, when you started to see, wait this thing is potentially possible, right? Maybe there's an additional part of this world that is open to a lot more people than we've been told or what you saw growing up. What was your next step at that point? How did you start making a plan? Or did you make a plan in terms of what credit cards you wanted? What did that look like for you?
Dr. Salahuddin: So this was roughly back in June of last year. So we were planning a trip, multiple families. So our family, my two kids, my brother and his new wife, and my parents, my elderly parents. My dad had always dreamed of going to Turkey. So we wanted to make it happen for him. So we were planning this big international trip in October.
So the first thing we did was to purchase the tickets. Now kind of understanding the benefit of this Sapphire Preferred card that had been like sitting in a drawer somewhere. We used that. Then kind of a rookie mistake, but we used that through the Chase portal to buy the tickets. That was awesome because all of a sudden we had all these points now. That was great. It felt awesome.
But then, also learning that because we never earned this well, first of all, enough time had passed. It was 2016 when we opened it, but even if it hadn't, we hadn't earned the sub. So we were still eligible to earn a new sub. So I learned that I could actually refer my husband to the CSP, get those referral points, and then he gets all those points from the signup bonus. Then after he got it that I could downgrade my card. Then we could do the same thing where he could refer me, we get those referral points again, and then we get another signup bonus. It was just like so amazing to learn this kind of thing.
So that was the first thing we did. We got him the Sapphire Preferred. Because he was getting that, and we had to wait until he could refer me, I opened the Chase Freedom Flex because they had a really great deal on gas and everything going on. It was like five times points on gas and then plus all the flexible categories. I think there's a bit of FOMO with like people having talked about I think the category right before that I had been like five times on Amazon. So, I was just like I really need to get this card.
So that's what we started off with. The next card for my husband was the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Then this is where then kind of the dream of what? It would be so awesome if we could upgrade my parents to business class, or if we could have access to lounges on this specific trip. So that's where then we came into deviating from the Chase 5/24.
So I had already read up a whole bunch. I knew that all the recommendations were for sticking to Chase while you're still under 5/24. However, because of this trip and because I wanted to try to earn enough transferable. Again, this is a little bit of like I didn't really know exactly what I was doing at that time. So in retrospect now, I know that this wouldn't have worked.
But at that time, I was thinking if I earn enough transferable points that can transfer to Turkish Airlines, which would be Citi points or Capital One, that maybe if there's a chance for an upgrade, we can transfer those points over and get a business class upgrade from my parents. Because they've never flown in business class ever. I thought that that would be super, super awesome. So we did. We deliberately deviated from that. I got the Venture X and then the next for my husband was getting this Citi Premiere, I think.
Devon: Let me just pause you there because I think this is such a great point to dig into a little bit deeper. So when you first started getting your rewards credit cards, you did what I think a lot of us at least consider doing and what a lot of the conventional wisdom out there in the points world, including wisdom that I try to impart on people is, if you want Chase cards, do start there. Start in that points ecosystem maybe before you get a lot of at least personal cards in other points ecosystems.
Specifically, again, because of this very restrictive rule that Chase has, the Chase 5/24 rule. Which I've gone into more detail about on a prior podcast episode. So we're not going to tease apart the rule together today, but I think this important point is a really great one to dive into a little bit deeper, which is that once you know that different banks, they all have rules around their own credit cards and who is eligible for what cards and how many you can get or what rate you can be approved for cards. But we do normally focus on the Chase 5/24 rule because it is one of the more restrictive ones.
Just because Chase has this rule, and just because conventional wisdom is use up all your slots that you can first on the Chase cards that you want doesn't actually mean that that is going to be the best decision for every single person out there. I think one of my philosophies about points is that there's no one right way to do this. But what I think is helpful is to understand some of the rules and the constraints are in place so that you can actually make an educated decision for yourself about whether or not you want to adhere to those rules.
So the fact that you obviously, at this point, we're very aware of the Chase 5/24 rule. You had cards in the Chase ecosystem, but you made that deliberate decision to deviate from Chase 5/24. To know that if you started opening up personal credit cards in other points ecosystems, that was going to impact your ability to potentially be approved for more Chase cards down the line.
I'm really curious to hear more about when you were making that decision. You mentioned some of the potential pros that led you to make that decision. What were some of the cons that you also considered at the time about reasons maybe why not to do that? Why did you ultimately still decide okay, we're going to take a step away from Chase, at least for a little bit?
Dr. Salahuddin: As far as the cons, honestly, at that point I think I was still a little ignorant. So I was just going based off of like every single points page or group or blog or anything that you go on. Absolutely 100% of, the almost 100% of the time, the recommendation is if you're under 5/24, don't get blinded by the fancy cards and FOMO. Just kind of focus and stay with the Chase cards.
I will say as far as the Citi one, that one was probably unnecessary. But at that time, I didn't know. I was kind of going for a certain goal. So it's okay, but the Venture X, I will tell you I do not regret that one even one second. That is such an amazing card. I love it so much. The fact that well, number one, let me just write off you get two points for all kind of everyday purchases. But other than that, not only do you get access to all those priority pass lounges, and I think it's like Plaza Premium lounges or, so a whole set of lounges internationally, which is what we were trying to start doing more of was international travel.
But I like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum for authorized users or to get other people into your lounges, it's just so much extra money. Venture X it was for free. You can add, I don't even know how many. Up to three, up to five. I don't know. It was some crazy number of free authorized users that you can add. Each one of them, including yourself, can bring two guests into the lounge for free. It was fantastic.
We're ready a family of four. Then with my parents, that's six people. So I just added my husband on as an authorized user. Now all of a sudden, we can bring in an extra four people. So we went to all the lounges. I mean, even in the small like within Turkey, some of the smaller cities that we flew in between and then definitely the huge, massive one in Istanbul.
That was just mind blowing. That was like the first like insanely beautiful and crazy lounge that we have ever been to. That was the one like we were able to take my parents to that. There's like places for laying down and places for sitting and food all over the place. Just fancy. There's showers and great clean bathrooms. I mean, it's just everything. It was just so awesome. Even after that, all the other flights that we did throughout that trip, we were able to use those lounges. I think it was completely and totally worth it.
Even now, even within the United States. Luckily, we've still had chances to use it. My husband, when he's been traveling, he traveled to Europe with his brother. He traveled to Miami with the kids and his brother and his brother's kids. They were able to utilize those. So I do not regret the Venture X even once.
Actually the second one that I did after the Venture X which was not Chase, I think I'm just looking at this and realizing like a lot of my life choices are based off of FOMO. Just listening to everybody talking about going to Staples and Office Depot and getting those gift cards for five times points. Then it's like I need to get in on this. So that was the next one.
But after that, and I timed it so that it was before Black Friday. So Black Friday, I do tons and tons and tons of online shopping. I mean, I do so throughout the year, but Black Friday definitely. We've used Rakuten for yours. Even back when it was still, I think it was called Ebates before that. So we've used it forever.
It was great getting free money back. But then, again, just seeing all the posts about what people were able to do, how many points that are able to get with their Amex cards on Rakuten was just. So I kind of timed it for that reason getting the Amex Gold end of October so that I could get the points through Rakuten, and I did. It was awesome.
Again, that's another one that I absolutely do not regret. We eat out a lot. Four times points at every single restaurant. Fantastic. Then just the amount of points that I've been able to get through Rakuten is, it's phenomenal. Love it. Love that card so much.
Devon: I think that's why I really wanted to bring you on and have this conversation with you is because I think sometimes what can happen in the points world is that because there are sort of lines of conventional wisdom, we can start getting very reductionist about this whole thing. Be like well, there's only one way to do this, right? Like we all need to start with Chase. We all need to get the same cards. Like you were talking about, I don't want to miss out on my ability to do a certain thing that I hear other people talking about online.
Then you just kind of go on autopilot. Of course, I'm not saying that's wrong. I personally have a lot of Chase cards. I love Chase points. I also don't think there's just one right way for everybody to do everything. So for you to be able to come and share your story about yeah, I know about Chase 5/24. I got a couple Chase cards and then I deliberately started getting some personal cards outside of the Chase ecosystem knowing that that was going to affect my Chase 5/24 score and potentially impair my ability to get Chase credit cards for a certain period of time.
I really wanted you to be able to share that story so that people who are kind of on the fence right now about thinking about well, how big a deal is this Chase 5/24? Because I think people can also start getting so concerned about it that they almost get like scared to start making decisions about well, I don't want to apply for anything because I don't know what the best card for me is. I don't want to end up hurting myself as far as Chase is concerned with the 5/24 status.
So the thing that I hear from your story that I think is so useful for people to take away from this is that, again, once you kind of know some of these basic rules and regulations, looking at it from the perspective of does this actually make sense for me, right? Does following this rule or adhering to this rule make a lot of sense for what I want to get out of travel or the points currency systems that I actually think are going to be the most useful for me?
Hearing about some of your priorities and some of your values that you wanted the ability to take your family and multiple family members into lounges and really seeing that guess what? Chase is not the end all be all of everything in the points world. There are some other credit cards that offer better benefits than a specific Chase card can or maybe a specific American Express card can.
So using your priorities as the reason for deviating away from Chase so that you could get the Capital One Venture X card that gave you amazing lounge access that actually really mattered to your family. Identifying like what you said about wanting to be able to benefit from earning points for your online shopping through Rakuten, which is an online shopping portal that is affiliated with American Express. Having that be the reason why you deviated away from Chase and wanted to get one of these American Express points earning cards.
I think, again, I'm sorry if I'm being so repetitive. But I think this is such an important point to make that there is no one right way to do points. I think when you understand what are your priorities or your values at any sort of given moment and aligning your decisions with getting credit cards or making decisions then allow you to fulfill those priorities and honor those values, that, to me, is the best way, is the right way to do points.
So I think it's always really interesting, especially for me to have conversations with people who we might have some overlap in the cards that we have, but that we didn't do things exactly the same way. So I think it's really, really helpful, especially for people who listen to this podcast, and are still trying to get their feet under them about what do I want to do next? Or what is the next kind of best move for me within this whole points world?
I think it's so helpful to hear of how you made decisions along the way, and to also acknowledge and recognize, again, it doesn't have to be done perfectly, right? Like, we can laugh about some of the mistakes that we made. We can laugh about the areas that we were a little bit ignorant about at one point and to still show everybody that that is not going to doom you in any way. You can still have amazing.
Dr. Salahuddin: You can still recover.
Devon: Absolutely, yeah. We can always recover from things. So it's really incredible for me to hear that you talk about really doing this points thing or really getting started in earnest as of just a little over a year ago, right? To hear that between you and your husband, the portfolio of credit cards that you guys have already managed to create between the two of you and the experiences that you've already gotten from some of your credit cards.
If you're willing to share, do you have just a ballpark idea as well about how many points have you all been able to earn so that other people who, again, are kind of in this phase of their journey where they're starting to bring on credit cards, they're starting to meet welcome bonuses. These are always helpful for people to have an idea about oh, what was someone else able to do in terms of points earnings so that they have that as a benchmark? Is that something that you're willing to talk about? About how many points do you think your family has earned over the last year with these different products?
Dr. Salahuddin: Sure. I think for Chase between the two of us, I think we have close to 500,000. Somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000. Venture X I think is closer to 150,000. Citi is close to whatever the signup bonus is. I can't remember exactly. I think it was roughly 80,000 maybe. I can't tell you how much I love Rakuten. It has close to 350,000.
I mean, that really just boosted because if you think about it, I mean, we were using Venture X for all of our everyday expenses because it was two times points. Even despite that, we were still only sitting at roughly, and I got it end of end of October last year. So it's almost a year, and we're sitting at roughly 150,000 points. Whereas I got the Amex Gold after that. I just added an Amex Business Blue Plus just like the beginning of June. So it's been three months. Already, we're at 350,000 points compared to 150,000 for Venture X. So truly, Rakuten has just made it so easy to rack up those points very, very easy.
Devon: I agree with you that it's such a great opportunity. I think this is so incredible, again, just to hear someone's real experience that in the past year between welcome bonuses and then being strategic about using cards that enable you to earn more than one point for every dollar you're spending that you've been able to amass almost a million points combined between all of your different points currencies, which.
Dr. Salahuddin: Oh wow. I didn't even think of it that way. That's awesome.
Devon: Which, to me, sounds pretty darn good. I think that that's really amazing without doing anything.
Dr. Salahuddin: First time I'm a millionaire.
Devon: Yeah, it counts. I'm telling you doesn't matter. If it's points, money, whatever. You are a points millionaire.
Dr. Salahuddin: One thing you mentioned before is I just wanted to say as far as we were talking about anyone coming into this new and how there's definitely different ways of approaching it. Some people go straight for the Chase 5/24. Some people kind of deviate. All I would say to that is that if you're new, what I would recommend and what I did is just join a few like solid really good either Facebook groups or Instagram or podcasts or whatever about points travel. Especially someplace where you can ask questions and get answers or you can go through the questions other people have asked.
I would say just don't jump into a card immediately because sometimes there's a lot of nuances that you don't know about. Sometimes, for example, the online signup bonus for particular card is one thing, but if you get a referral from somebody else, there's a potential that it's a much larger signup bonus. Or timing wise or whatever it is.
But I think it's just really great to get all the information you can. If you feel bold enough to ask the question yourself, hey, this is what I'm thinking. This is where I'm at. I'm thinking of opening this card. Do you guys see any pros and cons to this? Get whatever, I'm not saying you have to listen to what everybody has to say, but at least get the information.
Then according to your family or where you guys are in life, your priorities, then you can make that informed decision and then go from there. But definitely, there's definitely a things in this points world, which is shiny card syndrome. You see everybody with like the best cards and these huge sign up bonuses and so on. Sometimes you just want to jump for it. It's just worth taking a few extra seconds to post your question or ask somebody who knows, and then figure out if that truly is what's best for you at that point.
Devon: Yeah, I think that's absolutely fantastic advice for everybody. Before we wrap up today, I'm just curious as kind of a final question that we can talk about is in terms of your very deliberate decision to deviate outside of Chase, has there been any point that you've regretted that decision? Or that you're starting to think that the impacts of getting outside of Chase and having your 5/24 score change because of that, would you change that decision now if you had to go back and redo it?
Dr. Salahuddin: I wouldn't change it. But I will say, and this is just for people who are thinking to deviate for something to think about. My husband, back in October last year, he opened the Southwest business card and the southwest personal card to aim for that companion pass by completing the signup bonuses by January 2023. So this way now we have a companion pass for one of the kids all through 2023 and all through 2024.
Now the plan is for me to do that this year so that we can get the second kid for free for all of 2024 and all of 2025, which means I will have to open a Chase business card and then personal card. I am at 4/24. So I have had to really be very careful this year about what I'm opening. I definitely have been restricted from opening Chase personal cards this year. So I have missed out on some things.
Do I regret it? Again, no. Like I said, I don't regret those two cards, the extra cards that I got. But I've had to be very mindful about where I'm opening, what I'm not opening. Since the last Chase card I opened in January this year, the only thing that I've opened since then has been like business cards.
You have to be a little careful. I think a lot of the Capital One business cards and maybe one or two others count towards 5/24. So had to be careful to avoid those. But basically, I've had to be very mindful and very careful to stay at 4/24 so that I can have the opportunity to try to earn that companion pass.
Devon: Yeah, and I thank you for adding that point. Because I think that, especially when it comes to kind of the longer term plan or the longer term strategy. If you're listening this podcast, you're probably interested in getting just maybe more than one rewards card and calling it a day.
So as you kind of look at being in this hobby for the long haul, I think one of the things that is so helpful is having at least a loose plan, a loose strategy about where are you going in terms of what are the cards that you are looking forward to getting. Again, all that based in your own priorities, your own values about what is going to serve you best and your travel plans best.
I personally am someone who sees planning as a wonderful thing. I know people have different relationships with making plans. But I think in the world of rewards cards, having a loose plan can be so helpful. Bringing that back down specifically into the Chase ecosystem, what you were mentioning about if you know that getting the Southwest companion pass is on your priority list for the year, incorporating that into your plan.
So knowing that even though you deviated outside of Chase for a little while, you still were mindful to at least preserve one of those Chase 5/24 slots knowing that you do want to go for the companion pass and all of the strategy involved in that. Again, I'm not going to go deep into the actual companion pass strategy on this episode because we'll do an entire devoted episode to that closer to the end of the year when this becomes much more relevant for your planning.
But I just wanted to reemphasize that point that you made. That it still is possible right, based on your plans, that deviating from Chase 5/24 is not going to absolutely torpedo any of your absolute travel priorities as long as you keep those in mind. So thank you so much for sharing that.
Azra, thank you for joining us today, for sharing your story. I was so excited to have you on so that I could learn from you as well. So thank you for your honesty and your transparency. I think so many people are going to listen to this episode and see parts of themselves in your story. So thank you for coming on and sharing your experience and your wisdom. I'm really excited to hear in the future about what you do with those million points that y'all have amassed and your continuing points journey. So thank you for joining me here today.
Dr. Salahuddin: Hey, thank you so much for having me, Devon. Thank you for all the information that you're putting out there and just helping us learn all about points and getting us started on this journey. It's awesome. Thank you.
Devon: Well, it's absolutely my pleasure because it allows me to have incredible conversations like this one, which is just so much fun for me. So thank you everybody who comes here every single week and listens to these stories. We will see you again back here next week with another story, another points topic to help you on your points journey. Have a great week everybody.
Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of Point Me to First Class. If you want more tips on turning your expenses into travel, visit pointmetofirstclass.com to learn more. See you next week.