Point Me to First Class with Devon Gimbel, MD | Strategy, Transferable Points, and Card-Canceling Mistakes: Listener Q&A

52. Strategy, Transferable Points, and Card-Canceling Mistakes: Listener Q&A

Feb 26, 2024

In this episode, I’m answering questions from listeners just like you. We’re covering a wide range of topics like rewards cards and points earning and redeeming strategies, and I’m giving you a host of recommendations for navigating the world of award travel.

What do you do with cards once you’ve had them for a while and you’ve already earned the welcome bonus? How many cards is too many for you? What strategy will allow you to accumulate millions of points over one year? What is the best transferable points currency for your strategy? What is the best way to get to Japan using points? These are just some of the questions I’m covering today.

Tune in this week to get your questions about the points travel world answered. I’m discussing specific cards, points currencies, and strategies that will help you achieve your points travel goals, as well as covering some redemption opportunities and cards that will help you leverage the money you’re already spending.


To be the first to know when my Points Made Easy course reopens for enrollment, join the waitlist here!


What You’ll Learn from this Episode: 

  • How to evaluate the rewards cards that you accrue and hold in your portfolio.

  •  Why you might decide to keep a card long-term, even if it has a high annual fee.

  •  One huge card cancellation mistake you need to avoid.

  •  Why accumulating millions of points is possible, as long as you have a strategy.

  •  The easiest and fastest ways to earn points.

  •  How to come up with a points strategy that is appropriate for your needs and resources.

  •  Some strong points earning cards that don’t have an annual fee.


Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

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.

Welcome back to the podcast everybody. Today's episode is going to be a little different from our usual episodes because instead of taking a deep dive into one specific points or award travel topic, or bringing on a guest to interview, this is going to be a your questions answered podcast episode.

I get a lot of questions about rewards cards, points earning, and redeeming strategies, and just my general recommendations when it comes to all sorts of things award travel. Today I'm going to be answering some of the most recent questions that I've been receiving. We're going to be covering a range of questions today. So there should be something for everyone in this episode. Let's go ahead and dive in.

The first question that I got asked recently was what do you do with cards once you've had them for a year and have already earned the welcome bonus? For example, the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. So the way that I think about the credit cards that I have and the credit cards that I hold is that especially if you are going to be in this hobby for a while, chances are that you are going to be accruing new rewards cards. Over time, you're going to have more than just a few. 

So first of all, I just think it's a great practice once a year, I tend to do this either in December or January is sort of my reset for the upcoming year to evaluate every single card that you currently have in your credit card portfolio. Because the short answer is that for every card, whether it's one that you've only had for a year or that you've carried for a couple of years, one thing that you're going to want to do is just fundamentally decide is this a card that you want to keep or not. 

If the answer is no, you actually have a couple of different options. So you can outright cancel a card, or you can do what's called a product change where you basically take a card that you have that you don't want to hang on to for the long run and then you can change it into a different type of rewards credit card offered by the same bank or issuer. Oftentimes the reason for doing this is that you can change it to a credit card that has a much lower annual fee. 

So the first thing that I think about in terms of what do I do with cards that I've had for at least a year is I want to make sure that I'm getting value out of all my cards. So in order to make this decision about am I going to keep this or am I not going to keep it then what I do is I take a look at each one of my individual rewards cards, and I evaluate them. 

The types of things that I'm looking for out of my different cards are, first of all, I always check and see what is the annual fee on every individual card in terms of just how much money is it going to cost for me to keep this card account open if I want to? Then I look at things like how useful has this card been for me in terms of my points earning, and how useful do I expect this card to be for me, especially in the upcoming year or 12 months in terms of how many points can I reasonably expect to be able to earn from this card based on its ongoing bonus categories. 

If it has bonus categories that really align with areas that I tend to have high spend or where I'm expecting to have some high spend in the upcoming year, then that's a really good reason for me to hang on to a particular card. 

I also like to look at what are the non-points earning benefits that this card carries. There are cards that you're going to get for very different reasons. Cards are going to perform different functions for you within your credit card portfolio. So I don't think that it's mandatory that every single card that I carry on a long term basis, even ones that have an annual fee. To me, it's not mandatory that every single one of those cards has a lot of spend that I put on it on an ongoing basis. But there has to be a compelling reason to keep a card.

So if it's not a card that I'm holding on to and putting in my wallet, that I'm grabbing regularly to put spend on, it's got to offer me something different and something better. So examples of that are you may have a rewards card that gives you a non-points earning benefit like lounge access. 

This can be incredibly beneficial for you, again, depending on what card it is what your travel patterns are. If you live in an area where the airport that you tend to travel out of a lot or travel through a lot has a really great lounge and you have a credit card that gives you access to that lounge. That could be reason enough on its own for you to maintain that credit card account even if it's not a card that you expect to put a lot of spend on over the course of a couple of months or a year. 

Another kind of non-points earning benefit that I like to look at with cards, and this becomes more relevant, of course, as you have more and more cards is that there are certain cards, like the one that this listener asked about specifically the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. There are certain cards within the points currencies that act is what I like to call it anchor cards, meaning that if you have one of these type of cards, it allows you to access the transfer partners of that points currency. 

So in this example, if someone has the Chase Ink Business Preferred, that card in and of itself is going to allow somebody who also has some of the cashback Chase cards like the Chase Freedom Flex or the Chase Freedom Unlimited or one of the other Chase Ink Business cards, like the Chase Ink Business Unlimited or Chase Ink Business Cash card.

Those all by themselves are cashback earning cards. But if you have an anchor card, like the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, then you can actually use these cashback cards as points earning cards. 

So like I said, there's a lot of different functions that a specific points earning card or rewards card can play in your portfolio. But part of what you want to evaluate is what is the specific function that I expect this card to play for me over the next year? If you can't come up with anything, that's a really good indication that maybe you don't want to hang on to this card for the long run. That would be a good reason to consider either product changing it or outright canceling a card. 

But here's the one thing that you don't want to do. You do not want to cancel a rewards card that you've held for less than 12 months. Do not get a rewards card, put the minimum spend that's required on in order for you to earn the welcome bonus, and then cancel that card after three months or six months or nine or 10 months. 

This is a very, very fast way for you to compromise your relationship with that credit card issuer. None of these banks want people to sign up for their cards solely to earn the welcome bonus and then cancel a card, especially if it's one of the premium credit cards that does carry a significant annual fee. So first things first, don't ever, ever, ever cancel a rewards credit card that you've held for less than 12 months. 

But once you have held that card for 12 months or longer, that is a great time for you to evaluate what is this card? What has it done for me? What do I expect it to continue doing for me within my credit card portfolio? If it's no longer worth it for you to hold on to that card, then you still have options open to you in terms of either product changing or canceling the card at that time. 

All right. Moving on to the next question. It's actually kind of two questions that I got asked that were very similar. So I'm going to read them both and kind of tell you how I think about this. So sort of part A of this question is how do you create a plan for yearly travel that does not include opening up credit cards frequently? Another person asked, how are people able to accumulate millions of points? Even with a P2 or a partner, it seems impossible. 

So here's one thing that I want you all to keep in mind. In terms of the ability to accumulate millions of points, it definitely is possible. Nobody does that by accident. Nobody just randomly opens up a few cards, and at the end of the year is like oh, wow, that's amazing. I have six and a half million points. So you can absolutely earn hundreds of thousands or even a million or more points a year, but you're going to have to do that deliberately with a strategy in place. 

Speaking to that kind of first part of the question, how do you create a plan for yearly travel that doesn't include opening up cards frequently? I think there are two things that I want to address about this. 

Number one is just being really clear about what does opening up credit cards frequently mean to you. I think for some of us, opening up cards frequently that might mean opening up more than two cards over the course of an entire year. For other people opening up cards frequently might feel like, I'm happy to open up four cards over the course of the year, but I don't want to open up a card every single month. 

So first of all, just being really clear about what feels like frequent to you in terms of the velocity or the pace that you're opening up rewards cards because chances are, that's not going to be identical from person to person. But for people who do want to be able to accumulate a substantial amount of points over time, and they don't want to always be opening up rewards cards, here's something that everybody needs to understand. 

That there are so many different ways that you can earn points and miles. However, the way that it's going to be the easiest way to earn the most amount of points for the dollars that you're spending in the shortest amount of time is going to be by opening up a new rewards card account and earning the welcome bonus on that card. 

Even though there are lots of different ways to earn points, earning a welcome bonus on a card is always going to be the easiest way to earn the most amount of points in the least amount of time for the least amount of spend relative to all of your other options. So you absolutely do not need to be opening up a new card every single month if you don't want to, or six or 10 cards on a yearly basis if you don't want to. But this is where, again, having a very deliberate strategy really comes into place. 

So first, you just need to figure out what is your comfort zone in terms of opening up new cards, in terms of the pace or the velocity. Then once you find that, then what you need to do is get really, really skilled at understanding what are all of the different points learning opportunities that are available. 

If you do not want to rely predominantly or solely on opening up new cards to earn your points, then you're going to have to create a strategic plan that incorporates some of these other points earning mechanisms so that you can be sure that you are going to be able to earn a good number of points for your expenses over the course of a couple months or a year or whatever your timeframe is.

The way that I think about this is that every single one of us has assets, right? You all know that I think of my expenses, I think of your expenses, as assets to be leveraged. So first of all, we all have those at our disposal. The other thing that we all have is we all have resources, okay? 

Some of us are going to have the resource of having a lot of time or energy or enthusiasm for learning all of the different ways that we can earn points or doing some of the more energy intensive methods to earn points. Some of us are not going to have that time that energy or just that inner enthusiasm as one of our resources. But some of us are going to have more resources just in terms of the level of expenses that we have. 

So I don't think that you need to have a million dollars of expenses in order to be able to earn a lot of points, and I also don't think that you need to be spending hours every single day learning about how to earn and redeem points. But I do think everybody has to figure out where on this spectrum of resources do you land. 

Do you have more time and energy resources or more resources in terms of expenses that you can leverage? Because once you understand that, you can start picking some points earning strategies, again, that fit your particular points personality and your particular resources better than just picking a lot of random strategies and trying to throw them together.

In terms of different ways that you can earn points. Again, I don't think that everybody needs to do every single one of these. But I do think it's important for you to begin the practice of trying to identify which one of these strategies has the likelihood to offer me the highest points return for the dollars I have to spend and the time that I want to invest in this and beginning to put together a plan that works for you to earn points at the rate and the pace that you want and that you're comfortable with. 

So as I already mentioned, of course, the new credit card welcome offers are always going to be the fastest way to earn the most amount of points for the least amount of spend. But let's put that aside and just assume that you are not always going to be working on a new credit card welcome bonus. I'm not always working on a new credit card welcome bonus. 

So in those in-between times, which for me is actually the majority of the time, I really need to utilize these other points earning mechanisms in order to really leverage my ability to earn more than one point for every dollar that I'm spending on my personal spend and my business spend. So those additional ways to earn points can look like optimizing your credit card bonus categories. 

This is where picking the right cards for you is so, so, so important. There's also things like shopping portals for your online purchases. You can earn referral bonuses for referring a friend or family member to one of the current rewards cards that you have. Then you get bonused with points when that person gets approved. 

You can also take advantage of transfer bonuses from banks to their loyalty partners. This is more coming into play when it comes to using and redeeming your points, but we see frequently the different transferable points currencies offering transfer bonuses where if you move points from your credit card account to a specific loyalty partner during that transfer bonus promotional period, you can get anywhere from a 15 to a 30 or 40% bonus on your points, which can really then decrease the number of points that you need for a specific redemption. 

Now another thing that I want to mention as a potential points earning opportunity that can enable you to earn a significant number of points is there are always opportunities to purchase points. Now, of course, this is actually spending money in exchange for getting a certain amount of points. But this can make sense in certain circumstances. 

The way that I look at this is unlike just leveraging your regular expenses where  you're going to spend money on groceries no matter what, but you can also earn points for that spend. Purchasing points is you're actually spending money in exchange for a certain number of points. So this is more like getting points on sale, not just getting points for the money that you're going to be spending anyway. 

This is not what I would consider to be a beginner type of strategy. But purchasing points can actually be tremendously beneficial, especially if this is a program that otherwise will be very, very hard for you to earn points within. 

And if you're pretty comfortable and familiar with understanding where some of the great uses of certain types of points where you can essentially, like I said, get what would be an economy redemption or a business or first class redemption at a huge quote unquote sale off of the cash price of a ticket if you understand how to leverage purchasing points, especially when programs are offering bonuses or promotions. So you can purchase points at a discount from the regular purchase price. 

Now for those of you who are curious about how someone could potentially earn a lot of points, I want you to check out episode number 42 of the podcast. This was a guest interview that I did with Erin Casey, and it was all about points earning for solo points players. 

So for those of you who do not have a partner or a P2 where you're combining your points earning powers, please do not think that you don't have any opportunity. I want you to go back listen to episode number 42, hear how Erin very strategically was able to earn over a million points as a solo points earner. So if you can get any ideas from that episode that would work well for you. 

All right, the next question that I got is what are the highlights of each of the major transferable points currencies. So as you're probably aware if you've been listening to this podcast for a little while, there are five major transferable points currencies, that at least if you're based in the US or you have access to the US based credit cards, that you can get rewards cards in. So there's American Express, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Bilt. Each of these are totally separate credit card issuer that has one to many different points earning cards that you can get.

Now, I think that it is really, really beneficial for almost everybody in the award travel game to have access to at least one transferable points currency. I don't actually think that one of them is the best one or better than any others. But having access to at least one major transferable points currency is going to give you so many more options when it comes to not only earning a lot of points for the money that you're already spending, but then also a lot of options for how you can potentially use those points. 

So I think it is really helpful for you to have just a general working idea of kind of what are some of the pros or cons or some of the benefits or drawbacks of each of the major transferable points currencies. So I'm going to go through these five right now and just tell you kind of my general impressions of these points currencies and where I think some of their strengths and some of their not so strengths lie. 

So in terms of American Express, when I think of Amex as a points currency, I think it has a couple of really great opportunities and a couple of really great strengths. First of all, I think it is a points currency where it's relatively easy to earn a lot of points, more so than some of the other points currencies. There's a couple of reasons for this. 

First of all, American Express has a great menu of different points earning cards that you can get both personal cards and business cards that earn their transferable points currency, the Amex Membership Rewards Points. So not only do you have a lot of different cards that you can pick from and that you can accumulate over time. But especially compared to a lot of the other transferable points currencies, American Express cards tend to have really, really fantastic welcome offers. 

Now one of the things I don't love about Amex is that their public offer for a lot of their cards. So, say you just go straight to the American Express website, and you're comparing different points are in cards that you can get. Oftentimes, the welcome offer that you will see just on the public Amex website is not actually the best offer that's available to you. 

So I don't like that Amex sometimes makes it hard for a general consumer to quickly identify that there may actually be much better welcome offers out there for the same exact card. But I do like that American Express offers really high bonuses for a lot of their cards. 

The other thing that I really like about American Express is that beyond just getting their new cards to earn the welcome bonus and beyond just having access to a really nice menu of cards that have great bonus categories, American Express also makes it very easy for you to earn a lot of points specifically for your online shopping through their online shopping portal Rakuten. 

I've talked extensively about Rakuten in the past. I love it. I feel like basically every quarter, which is when Rakuten points transfer from your Rakuten account to your Amex account. Every quarter, I feel like I earned the equivalent of a welcome bonus basically in Amex points just from my Rakuten shopping. So for anybody who is in the Amex points ecosystem, I think it's a huge missed opportunity if you do any online shopping to not be leveraging Rakuten. 

Now, another thing that I really like about American Express is, I mentioned this. Not only do they have personal and business Amex Membership Rewards points earning cards, but their personal cards and their business cards are just really, really strong in terms of the bonus categories they offer and some of the unique benefits that they offer. 

I also really like that American Express tends to have pretty frequent transfer bonuses to their partners. So opportunities where if you move your American Express points out of your Amex account and to specific, usually airline, transfer partners, you can take advantage of transfer bonuses. This is where you can really amplify the value of your points. So that's just one of many things that I like about American Express. 

I also think they are very, very strong, particularly for international airline award flights. So if you're someone who either already flies internationally or where international travel, especially international premium cabin travel, is on your wish list. I think there's so many fantastic opportunities to use American Express points for really, really great international airline flights. 

Now let's move on to Chase. Chase, I think, is probably the most user friendly or beginner friendly points system. I think this is the points currency that I and a lot of other points educators usually recommend for most people to get started with when they are brand new to award travel. 

I think that Chase has just a very intuitive system in terms of the credit cards they offer and how to use their points. They also have some of the strictest rules in terms of people being eligible to get more of the Chase credit cards as time goes on. So for a lot of reasons, I think that Chase is a great sort of entry level beginner point system for people who are just starting in this hobby of award travel. 

Similar to Amex, I think that Chase has a great combination of personal and business cards, especially some of the no fee cards. They offer no fee personal cards and no annual fee business cards that have either a very, very strong welcome bonus and/or very, very strong ability to earn points in an ongoing sustainable way. 

I think that it's really important, especially for people who overtime may begin to accrue multiple credit cards. I think it's really important to be mindful of strategically adding in no annual fee credit cards to your credit card portfolio because I don't think any of us really wants to walk around paying thousands and thousands of dollars on an annual basis just for our cards in terms of their annual fees. So that I like that Chase has some really strong, no annual fee points earning cards. 

Now, I think of all of the different points kind of ecosystems, Chase probably has the most rewards cards to choose from. This includes the cards that earn the transferable Ultimate Rewards points, but they also offer a ton of different airline and hotel cobranded cards. So I think just from an overall perspective of options available to you, Chase has so many amazing points and miles rewards cards that you can theoretically add to your credit card portfolio. 

In terms of their transfer partners, I think Chase has a really, really good mix of transfer partners. They have domestic airlines and international airlines that you can transfer your Chase points to. They also have hotels that are really strong in terms of being able to get a lot of value out of your points. A particular favorite of mine and a lot of people in the world travel world is Hyatt. 

Hyatt is a hotel loyalty program that up until recently, the only way that you could transfer points to Hyatt was from Chase. Now since Bilt has come into the transferable points currency arena, you can transfer Bilt points over to Hyatt as well. But I think just in terms of an overall card portfolio, Chase offers so many points earning credit cards, especially compared to Bilt. That if Hyatt is on your radar, I think definitely having Chase points gives you an enormous leg up in terms of being able to earn very, very useful points for transferring over to Hyatt. 

So let's move on to Capital One. Capital One and Citi, I kind of think of them as I don’t know sort of like sister point systems. I think they have a lot of things in common. I don't see them as being so separate from one another that most people honestly would benefit necessarily from having both of those points currencies, but I think that they both have some really great attributes to them. 

In terms of Capital One, I think, especially for people who have been in the points and miles world for a number of years, I think Capital One definitely earns the award for the most improved points currency. I think over time the cards that they have offered that allow you to earn points have become so, so much better. I think the options that are available for redeeming Capital One points have also expanded dramatically over the last couple of years. 

But when I think about Capital One, I think one of the areas that it really excels in is I think it's a fantastic points currency for people who really value simplicity.  There are some people who are going to get into this hobby. Again, just because of their natural enthusiasm or what they want to get out of this hobby, they don't really have a problem managing multiple different points currencies or multiple different rewards cards. That's actually a fun thing for them. 

But that's not everybody. I think that there are some people who are really missing out on some of the benefits that points travel can afford them simply because I think sometimes there is an idea that this is either going to be incredibly complex or not worth it. 

I think Capital One really has proven that you can take a very straightforward, very simplistic approach to points earning and still earn a lot of points and get a ton of value out of them. When I talk about Capital One as a strength being its simplicity is that even though it has fewer points earning cards than American Express or Chase, it has a really straightforward points earning structure. 

Capital One makes it easier than any other points currency, at least in my opinion, to share or combine points. You do not have to be married to someone or share the same household address or be an authorized user on their card or vice versa to share Capital One points with someone. Capital One just lets you combine or transfer points to any other Capital One user. So I think this is a very user-friendly point system from that perspective.

I really like that Capital One offers multiple cards that have just a baseline two points for every dollar earned structure. Like I said, this is great for people who value simplicity, who don't want to have seven different rewards cards in their wallet with stickers on them or labels on them are an app to track and tell you which one to use for gas or which one to use for groceries.  

For folks who just want to have a very straightforward approach to points earning, I think Capital One is a fantastic points currency ecosystem for that. Not only do they have some really, really solid cards that, again, just earn a straight two points for every dollar spent, they also offer some really, really wonderful cashback cards that can function as points are in cards in combination with a transferable points earning card. 

So you can have one, just one, of the transferable points earning cards, like one of the Venture cards. Then you can have one of the cashback cards, for example, the Saver Rewards card. That Saver Rewards card has amazing points earning. It gets four times points on dining, entertainment, and streaming services, and three times points at grocery stores. 

So for people who want to have a very simple credit card portfolio, you can have the Capital One Saver Rewards card and the Capital One Venture Card or one of the Venture cards, and you're going to be earning two, three, or four times points on all of your personal spend with just two cards. I think that that is a really, really huge benefit that honestly a lot of the other transferable points currencies cannot compete with. 

Now when it comes to using points, Capital One does not have any domestic airline transfer partners. So if you're someone who really values domestic travel or where a lot of your travel goals and priorities have to do with domestic airlines, then Capital One is not going to be a great fit for you. Really where they shine is in their international airline partners. 

For a long time, I think one of their most unique airline partners was Turkish Airlines. That was an airline that neither Chase or American Express points, at least currently, transfer to. So it was a huge benefit to be able to access Turkish Airlines with Capital One points. 

Now, at the time that I'm recording this episode, Turkish Airlines has unfortunately announced a devaluation of their award chart meaning they're going to start charging more points for flights than they have been in the past. That stinks, right? That is not great for consumers. But even at the new award chart that they're going to be operating off of, I still think that Turkish Airlines holds a lot of value, especially for international travel. 

So I think Capital One, again, still has a lot of great features to it. Especially if you are someone who already has potentially Chase points earning cards or Amex points earning cards. I think if you have more than one points currency, Capital One is a really fantastic sort of support points system. Again, if you already have Chase or Amex.

They have so many different transfer partners that are in common. But, again, based on what your spend is, some of the Capital One cards actually offer you the ability to earn more points at a faster rate for certain categories of spend than you're going to find over at Chase or Amex. So I really like to use Capital One cards in conjunction with other points currency cards as part of an overall expanded credit card portfolio. 

Now in terms of Citi, I mentioned that I think about Citi and Capital One very similarly. They have a lot of their transfer partners in common. I also think about Citi as not necessarily a solo points currency for most people. I think that Citi is a great kind of support points ecosystem, or it can be also a really good first points currency for people who expect that over time, they may eventually get into Chase, or they may eventually get into Amex points. 

Now Citi has, I think, fewer options in terms of transferable points earning cards than some of the other points currencies. For example, they currently don't have any transferable points earning business credit cards, which I personally think is a weakness especially for folks who do have businesses and want to leverage that spend in order to earn points. 

But I think Citi, again, for someone who wants a very streamlined approach, for someone who maybe is just getting into points or miles and wants to start with a very, very easy credit card portfolio, I think Citi offers that in terms of one particular kind of points earning duo.

That is the Citi Double Cash card. which is a no annual fee card, paired with the Citi Premier card, which is a transferable points earning card but has a relatively low annual fee of only $95 a year. Just these two points earning cards put together. Again, the Citi Double Cash card is a cashback earning card unless you also have the Citi Premier card. 

But assuming you have those two cards together, between those two cards, you're going to be able to earn three times points on groceries, dining, gas, hotels, and airfare with the Citi Premier card, also with no foreign transaction fee. Then the Citi Double Cash Back Card is going to allow you to earn two times points on all of your other spend. 

So this is kind of similar to that points earning duo that I told you about the Capital One offers. Citi offers just this really nice, relatively low fee, kind of duo of cards that are going to allow you to earn two or three times points on all of your spend. So for people, again, who aren't yet maybe really ambitious in terms of wanting to carry a lot of different points earning cards, I think Citi is a really great entry level kind of currency to get your feet wet. Okay. 

Now finally, the last of the five major transferable points earning cards is Bilt. This is, compared to all of the other points currency ecosystem, sort of the new kid on the block. I think Bilt has really taken the transferable points earning world by storm over the last year or two. What makes Bilt so special is that right now, they only have one point earning card that's offered. So this is not like Chase or Amex where you could potentially hold five or 10 different points earning cards from that points ecosystem.

Bilt only has one card, but it's a very special card because allows you to earn points for paying rent. It is hands down the easiest way to earn points for what can be some people's largest recurring expense. 

The other really unique thing about Bilt is that they, at least recently, have completely blown all of the other transferable points currencies out of the water when it comes to being very, very generous with the transfer bonuses that they offer. 

Earlier in the episode, I had commented that being able to leverage a transfer bonus from your credit card bank or your credit card issuer over to one of their airline or hotel loyalty programs oftentimes will allow you to get anywhere from a 15 to 30, maybe even a 40% bonus, which traditionally had been seen as high. 

That was up until Bilt came onto the scene because Bill has offered transfer bonuses recently anywhere between 100 and 150%. That is astronomical. So especially, again, for people who are renters, even though I think a lot of people can benefit from the Bilt card, but especially if you are a renter. To be able to earn those points and then potentially take advantage of a 100% or 150% bonus transfer to some of their different transfer partners is just astronomical. 

Speaking of their transfer partners, actually Bilt has the strongest menu of transfer partners of all the transferable points currencies just in terms of the domestic airlines, the international airlines, and the hotels they give you access to. It is the only points currency that's going to give you access to American Airlines of those five major transferable points currencies that I mentioned. 

But it also will give you access to United Airlines and hotels like Hyatt. There is no other transferable points currency that's going to allow you to transfer points to American, United, Hyatt, and additionally, other airlines. So because of that, I think that Bilt has an incredible menu of transfer partners.

I just think the biggest downside right now is just simply the lack of cards offered by Bilt. It is my hope that over time, they've had such an enormously positive response to their credit card program. I hope that they kind of take as the other points currencies example that consumers really like having more than one option to earn points from a specific credit card issuer. 

So my hope is that Bilt continues to expand its rewards card portfolio over time, starts to offer some business credit cards. I have long said that I think if they figure out how to crack the code on people being able to use their rewards credit card in order to make mortgage payments, so not just rent payments but mortgage payments, I think that they would grab such an enormous market share of the rewards card world. So I have high hopes for Bilt. But even as it is right now, this is a very, very strong points earning currency. 

All right, we are going to shift gears now. I'm going to move on to the next question, which is somebody asked what is the best way for occasional family travelers, in this case two adults and two kids, to get airport lounge access? Their specific hub is Boston. They say, if that matters, and this does matters. 

So for people who are occasional travelers, so you're not traveling frequently, either for business or for pleasure. I mean, when it comes to lounge access, there's a couple of different directions you can go. This is incredibly location dependent. Here is why I say that. 

Because when it comes to lounge access, especially for occasional family travelers, one of the things that I think is going to make a huge difference in the options available to you is what your home airport is or if there's an airport that you just very, very frequently transit through, like a very common destination airport.

If you're very frequently traveling to go see family so maybe it's not your home airport, but it's the airport that you're going to eventually be arriving in and then coming home from. Is that there are a couple of different premium rewards cards that have their own lounges. That if you hold this specific credit card, you're going to have access to their entire kind of suite of lounges, but these are very location dependent. I'm going to tell you what I mean by that.

So when I think about rewards credit cards that give you access to a very specific kind of range of lounges, I'm thinking about things like the Centurion lounges that you can access if you hold certain rewards cards from American Express. Chase has now been getting into the lounge game as well. So there are a couple of Chase lounges that you can access in different parts of the country if you are a holder of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Capital One also has their own lounges for holders of the Venture X or the Business Venture X card. 

Now I'm not going to go through the exhaustive list of where every single one of these are lounges are. It's something that's very easily googleable. But here's what's important to know is that if your home airport has an Amex Centurion lounge, a Chase lounge, or a Capital One lounge, I think that is reason enough to consider getting one of the specific cards that's going to give you access to that lounge.

Because even if you are just an occasional traveler, let's say that means you're going to travel twice a year, right? Having access to a lounge from just holding a credit card can make your travel so much more comfortable. 

So for the person who asked this question, they said that their home airport is Boston, if that matters. That does matter because Boston is one of the airports that Chase actually has a lounge. So just from holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can access that Chase lounge in Boston whenever you travel. 

So I think for those of you whose home airport or an airport that you frequent on the other end of your travels. If there is a credit card kind of hosted lounge at that airport, it is really, really beneficial to consider getting one of those credit cards. 

Now if you're like me and you live by one of the busiest airports in the entire world, and it has no amazing lounges, you are going to have to go in a different direction. So this may not actually be a great suggestion for someone who is an infrequent traveler. 

But if you are a more frequent traveler, one thing that you may want to consider in terms of having lounge access is getting a cobranded airline credit card that specifically gives you lounge access when you are flying that airline. So examples are things like American Airlines offers a card that gives you lounge access. United offers a card that gives you access to United lounges. Delta offers cards that give you access to Delta lounges. Again, when you are flying on that airline, but this can really come in handy if you travel frequently enough, especially on a specific airline. 

If you really, really want to have access to a lounge, here's what you're going to want to do is you look up the different or whatever specific sort of airlines specific credit card you're thinking of. Again, whether it's an American Airlines card or a Delta card or United card, and look at what the annual fee is for that card. 

Now, these cards do tend to carry pretty high annual fees, $500 or more. That can be a lot of money. But, again, if when you fly, if you almost only fly one specific airline, then it can be really nice to carry one of these cobranded lounge specific credit cards so that you have access to that lounge whenever you are flying. It won't just apply to your home airport. This will be any airport that you're flying to that has that specific airline’s lounge. So this can be worth it if you fly frequently enough that the cost of the annual fee of the card is justified for the number of times you're going to be able to visit the lounge. 

Now I actually have two specific airline cobranded lounge credit cards because of the amount of time that I travel, especially when I'm traveling with my family. These cards get me and my whole family into the lounges, and it doesn't matter what class of service we're flying. 

Which is really important because most of the time when my family and I, when we fly domestic or we fly what I kind of call local international, like we fly from the States to Mexico or the States to Caribbean, we're flying domestic economy or international economy. Having an airline co-branded lounge card means that you can still access that specific airlines lounge, even if you are flying economy, which is really great for us. 

So I have a united lounge card and an American Airlines lounge card because not only does O'Hare have no decent options for other lounges, but American and United both operate tons and tons of flights out of O'Hare. So when I am flying, especially domestically or close internationally, it's almost always on one of those two airlines. So for me, it's worth it to have those airline cobranded cards for lounge access. 

But for those of you who are not frequent fliers, that may not make sense. So what you can consider doing instead is just purchasing a day pass to a lounge. If you're going to be flying just one time a year or two times a year where it's not going to make sense for you to carry a higher annual fee card for lounge access, don't forget that a lot of these lounges will just let you purchase a single day pass for using the lounge.

That can sometimes be not only incredibly convenient, but also a significant cost savings over looking at some of these different especially premium level rewards travel cards where you may not actually need that level of card for the frequency that you're going to be traveling based on what your lounge options are. So those are some of my thoughts about what to do if you do want to have lounge access. It really depends, again, the frequency of your travel and where you are located geographically.

Okay, the next question, we are going to divert into a more specific question and somebody asks what is your strategy for getting points from groceries if you think you will max out the Amex Gold early in the year? So let me provide some context for this, and then answer in a way where even if you aren't asking this specific question about groceries, this may be a different situation for you. I'm still going to give you an approach that you can follow.

So, essentially what this person is talking about is that they have a rewards credit card, in this case the personal Amex Gold card. The personal Amex Gold card offers, one of their bonus categories is four times points on grocery spend, but there's a cap on that. So you get four times points on grocery spend, but up to $25,000 spent annually. So once you spend more than $25,000 on groceries in that year then your card is no longer going to earn four times points for grocery spend. It's just going to earn one times points. 

Now there are a couple of different rewards credit cards that offer bonus categories but they have a cap on the amount that you can spend in order to get that bonus category’s number of points. So this is not uncommon. 

So number one, make sure that you're familiar with the rewards cards that you currently have and whether or not that bonus categories have no limit on the number of points you can earn or if there is an annual limit on the amount of spend that you can earn the bonus category points for.

So in this case, for the personal Amex Gold card, if you anticipate spending more than $25,000 a year on grocery spend, there's a couple of different things that you can do. Okay, and again, this is for any rewards card that has a bonus category that has a cap on the spend you can put on it. For any situation like that, this, I think, is a great scenario in which if you do have a partner or a P2  that each individual person has their own credit card account for that type of card. 

So in this scenario, I have my own personal Amex Gold card and my husband has his own personal Amex Gold card because each one of those cards has that 25k limit or in four times points on groceries. So one approach, if you have a partner, is to make sure that you are not authorized users on just one, like on your partner's card of that, but you each have your own version of that card so that you each have access to that spend limit to get the bonus points. 

Now, if you don't have a partner, that's totally fine. Another approach that you can think about is just getting an additional rewards card that also bonuses that specific category. So it might not be the same exact number of bonus points, but if you max out the number of points you can earn on your first card it is nice to have another option available to you that also bonuses that category. 

So in this specific example of grocery spend, let's say you're a solo points earner and you max out the bonus that you can get the four times points on groceries on your Amex Gold card. This is where it can make a lot of sense to have another rewards card that also bonuses groceries. So an example of this is, like I said before, the Citi Premier card that earns three times points on groceries. 

Another example is the Chase Freedom Flex. That's a card that's not going to have a grocery bonus a year round, but oftentimes one of the four quarterly bonus categories that the Chase Freedom Flex offers does tend to be grocery stores. So for that specific quarter, you can get five times points on groceries with the Chase Freedom Flex card.

Another one of these kind of cashback cards that can function as a points earning card if you also have a transferable points earning card from the same issuer is the Capital One Saver card, and that also earns three times points on groceries. 

So, again, these answers are specific to this grocery example. But this can be expanded to other different bonus categories where oftentimes there's going to be more than one specific points earning card that does bonus a category. So this allows you to carry more than one rewards credit card that you have the option of pulling out either one of them depending on the type of points that you want to earn and also then you have a backup if you do max out or hit the cap on the number of points you can earn on an annual basis in a given bonus category. 

Then a third option is to always have at least one card in your credit card portfolio that bonuses non-category spend. So this can be something like the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Capital One Venture Card or the Citi Double Cash Back card. So those cards don't actually have a specific grocery bonus category. But if you have a great just I call them everything else cards. Like a card that's just going to earn you more than one point per dollar spent on everything else. 

That can also be a really nice fallback card if you do hit the cap of the number of points that you can earn in a given bonus category on one of your mainstay cards. You can always pull out one of these everything else cards and then use that for the remainder of the year to ensure that at least you're going to be earning more than one point for every dollar that you spend. So that can be really, really helpful. 

Okay, somebody's asking in terms of using points or travel planning, redeeming points, they say what is the best way to get to Japan without American Airlines miles. Now Japan has been one of the most highly requested destinations that I've been hearing about for at least the last year in terms of using points. There's a couple of different ways that you can get to Japan. 

Now this person is asking how do I do it without American Airlines miles, and the reason they're asking this is because American Airlines is an airline, again, that is kind of challenging to earn a lot of points on if you only have access to the transferable points earning points ecosystems that I've been talking about. Because currently, right now, the only transferable points currency that you can move points to American Airlines from is Bilt. Not everybody has the Bilt card. And even though there's a lot of great attributes to Bilt, it is kind of hard to earn a ton of points for all of your spend solely using the Bilt card.

What this question is also getting at is that right now, or at least traditionally, American Airlines has been a fantastic program for getting award flights Japan because one of their airline partners is JAL, Japan Airlines. So you're able to book award flights on Japan Airlines through American Airlines using American Airlines miles. 

But what if you don't have access to American Airlines miles? You have a couple of different options. So first of all, one of the beautiful things about airline alliances and airline partnerships is that oftentimes there's more than one way to be able to book a flight on a given airline. In this case, even if you don't have access to American Airlines miles, you can still book award flights on JAL to Japan. 

So one of the other ways that you can do that is just by leveraging a different JAL partner, like British Airways or Cathay Pacific. So if you have points that can transfer to BA, which a lot of points currencies do, or Cathay Pacific, and you can find JAL award flights on BA or Cathay Pacific, then you can book them that way. 

Now, another approach is that Japan actually has two incredibly well regarded airlines that are based in Japan. So not only is there Japan Airlines, but there's also ANA. So you can book a word flights through ama if you can't find award space on JAL or just don't have the points that are going to allow you to do that. 

Now ANA itself has an frequent flyer program that I think is not particularly beginner friendly. But the good news is that you can book ANA flights through some of their partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan or Virgin. Aeroplan and virgin or transfer partners have lots of different transferable points currencies. So that can be a really, really easy way to book flights on ANA to Japan, again, if you have points currencies that are going to transfer to Aeroplan or Virgin. 

Now a third option, let's say that you can't have access, or you can't find award availability on the international airlines that are based in Japan, JAL or ANA. Now a third option is that you can fly another international carrier that has a hub somewhere else in Asia and then just connect to Japan from there. 

So examples of this are Singapore Airlines. Singapore offers amazing award availability to members of its own frequent flyer program, and lots of the transferable points currencies transfer to Singapore Airlines. So if you can fly, and I'm assuming this is for folks who are based in the US, but if you can fly from one of the hubs in the US that Singapore Airlines services, you can fly from the US to Singapore, and then from Singapore to Japan. 

Now, that may be a little bit of geographic backtracking, especially if you're coming from the US, but, again, just in terms of the amount of award availability that Singapore releases and especially premium cabin availability, this can be a really, really great option for people. So please don't overlook that.

I know so many of us, of course, would prefer to take direct flights or prefer to take sort of the shortest flight possible in terms of miles or distance traveled or time traveled. But if you cannot find an option like that, please don't overlook an option like Singapore Airlines that is a fantastic flying experience, and, again, great award availability. 

You can also consider flying other carriers that have hubs in Asia and then connecting up to Japan from there. So examples can be flying on Cathay Pacific through their hub in Hong Kong. Flying EVA Airlines through Taipei. So which one of these is going to be best for you is going to depend on the points currencies that you have that are transfer partners of these various airlines. 

Most of all, just getting really comfortable searching for and finding award space. Because oftentimes, the awards that are available are going to determine which are the flights that you're going to have as options to book. So those, at least, are some thoughts about the best way to get started looking for award flights to Japan if you do not have American Airlines miles. 

Okay, speaking of other airline programs that are not always the easiest to leverage, someone asked how do you strategize points earning in more niche programs like American Airlines, Alaska, or Lufthansa. So first, let's talk about why you might want to earn points in niche programs. 

I consider a niche program essentially to just be one that you do not have wide access to from the transferable points currencies. So as I mentioned with American Airlines right now, the only transferable points currency that you're going to be able to move points over from to American Airlines is Bilt. In the case of Alaska Airlines, none of those five major transferable points currencies allow you to move points to Alaska, and the same thing is true of Lufthansa. 

So I think of these as niche programs, simply because it is not really, really easy to be able to access them by transferring points from your transferable points earning rewards cards. But there are reasons why you might really want to go out of your way to earn points in niche programs. 

One of them is that they oftentimes have better award availability to members of their own frequent flyer program. I'm thinking about this specifically with Lufthansa. Lufthansa is part of the Star Alliance. So you can book Lufthansa flights through other Star Alliance partners like Air Canada, Aeroplan, Avianca, or United, but Lufthansa saves so much more of its award space, especially premium cabin award space, for members of its own program. 

So you specifically need Lufthansa Miles and More miles in order to book flights directly through Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program. Again, you can't just move points from Chase or Amex or Capital One or Citi over to Lufthansa. You actually need to earn miles in their own program to be able to access that award availability. 

Now some of these niche programs also have really, really unique partner awards. So maybe you don't think that you're going to be flying on Alaska Airlines all that often, especially if you don't live in the Pacific Northwest or you don't frequently travel there. But Alaska Airlines has some really unique partner awards that you cannot otherwise book from other frequent flyer programs. So Alaska Airlines can be incredibly valuable, again, even if you don't actually think that you're going to be flying on Alaska flights. 

But what makes it challenging to strategize points earning in these niche programs, again, is that they are either not a transfer partner of any of the transferable points currencies, or they're not a transfer partner of more than one. So the sort of mainstay of why a lot of us collected the flexible or transferable points currency is a totally moot point here. So you're going to have to have a different strategy for which one of these niche programs you want to access. 

So I want to start off by saying that, again, a lot of these programs aren't ones that you necessarily are ever going to want or need. But if you do identify that one of these niche programs has an award that you really want to be able to book, this is where having a specific goal in mind is really, really important. Know what it is that you're saving for. Okay. Because once you know what it is that you're saving for, here's some approaches that you might want to consider in terms of strategizing your points earning for these more niche programs. 

Number one, this is where cobranded credit cards can really, really do a lot of the heavy lifting. Again, oftentimes, earning the welcome bonus on a new rewards card is going to be the fastest way to earn the highest number of points for the least amount of spend. That's very, very true for these niche programs. So there are cobranded American Airlines credit cards. There are cobranded Alaska Airlines credit cards, and there's a cobranded Lufthansa Miles and More credit cards. 

So that would be one place where I would start is looking at what are the cobranded credit cards that are available for these niche programs. Does it make sense for you to start signing up for one or more of them, specifically, in order to be able to earn those welcome bonuses to accrue a lot of that type of points or miles currency pretty quickly?

This is where also being really strategic about earning points through alternate means, like shopping portals for hotel bookings or for rental car services, can really come in handy. I know that no single kind of shopping event or no single hotel booking or no single rental car booking feels like it's going to earn you a ton of points, but if you know you specifically want to earn one of these niche kind of miles. If you only utilize that program shopping portal for all of your online shopping or you only utilize that programs hotel booking service for your hotel bookings, then over time you'll be surprised by how many points or miles you can earn in some of these niche programs. 

Now, these are also scenarios in which I think it can make a lot of sense to strategically purchase points, especially if there is a promotion or a bonus going on. I have purchased points within the American Airlines program and within the Lufthansa Miles and More program. Again, understanding that essentially what you're doing is buying eventual flights on sale. 

So this is not using points that you've earned for your everyday spend and then booking flights with it. It is being very strategic about understanding how much are you willing to pay to purchase points if you know that you are going to get two times or three times or more value from those points than what you're paying to purchase them. 

So, again, this is not something that I suggest as a beginner or an entry level type of strategy. But it can pay dividends, especially when you're dealing with a niche program. 

I have been able to book my family of four several times on business class flights from the US to Europe through Lufthansa Miles and More that otherwise you could not find on any of their partners. You can also book Lufthansa first class flights directly through Lufthansa Miles and More much, much more easily then through some of their partner programs. So, again, for very specific uses these niche programs can be really valuable, but you are going to have to have a very intentional strategy in order to earn enough points to be able to get some of those great redemptions. 

All right, this question that somebody asked that I think is a really, really good one to address because it's probably going to happen to all of us at some point. if we're really kind of engaged in this hobby. That is someone asked do you have any suggestions on how to deal with the fear of missing out? Missing out on card offers, entire points currencies, or the ability to leverage a specific points earning opportunity, like Rakuten, which is the online shopping portal that allows you to earn specifically American Express points for your online shopping. 

This is my take on it. I think the truth is that you always will be missing out, right? All of us are always going to be missing out on something. Like you said, on a specific card offer, on an entire points currency or more than one points currency, or on the ability to leverage a specific points earning opportunity. I think it can be really, really easy to read about how other people are earning or using points or to read about especially limited time promotions on credit card welcome offers or transfer bonuses and to not be able to take advantage of every single one of those. 

So I think the first thing to just kind of make peace with is the fact that we are all going to be missing out. But I don't necessarily think that that's a terrible thing. Like I think about when I walk into a grocery store, there is more food in that grocery store than I will ever be able to put in my cart or ever be able to eat in a week or ever be able to eat ever, right. It's not my personal experience that I walk into a grocery store, and I feel a tremendous sense of missing out. 

I walk into a grocery store, and I just know there's going to be some food in here that I'm not going to buy, for whatever reason. Personal preference, doesn't fit some of my dietary restrictions. I just don't like it, or I'm just not going to take it this week. Maybe I'll come back next week. 

But, again, I don't personally tend to experience a lot of emotional kind of distress over that because I see what I'm getting instead. I think the truth about credit card points and award travel, it can be the same, right? I think that when we're focused on what we're missing out on or we’re potentially missing out on, I think that what we're really missing just in that moment is seeing but wait a minute? What is actually available to me with points and miles?

A lot of times what it comes down to is reminding yourself that when you're really clear on your personal goals and priorities and the way that you're earning points and the way that you're using points is as aligned with your personal goals and priorities as possible, then I think it makes it a lot easier to not feel a lot of distress about what you are missing out on. 

Because if you're able to earn enough points to offset the cost of a trip, or you're able to earn enough points to fly on a specific airline product that just is really exciting to you. The truth is, there's going to be five other airlines that you will probably never fly, and that's okay. 

Because if you're getting the experiences that you want to get then I think it's so much easier to acknowledge none of us are going to have all of the experience. None of us are going to have all of the rewards cards. Even me. There's so many cards I don't have. There's so many amazing airlines I still haven't flown. I probably will never fly. I mean, would it be great to be able to do that? Yeah, but I also look at look at all of these amazing things that I just never would have had access to at all without the cards and the points that I do have. 

So my recommendation for you all is that if you do experience the fear of missing out, that's totally fine. Again, I think it's completely natural. But I think it helps to remind ourselves like, we will always be missing out on some things. But it's our jobs to make sure that we are working towards the goals that matter most to us so that we're not missing out on the thing that is the most important for us to do in terms of points earning or points redeeming. 

So I hope that that just gives you an alternate way to kind of look at that because I do think it's so common, especially when you're getting into this hobby, and you've spent more time reading about what other people have done in terms of the number of points they’ve been able to earn or the trips that they've been able to take. I think it's harder in that place to really kind of contend with a fear of missing out. 

So I think it's really great to always stay focused on like what are you in this hobby for? What do you want to get out of it? As you do start to accumulate these actual real lived travel experiences, to stay focused on those. Remember I've gotten out of this hobby the things that have been most important to me. It takes the sting out of that fear of missing out. 

All right, so here's the last question I'm going to answer today. If y'all love this type of episode, please know that you can always submit questions for another your questions answered podcast episode. I'm happy to do so many more of these. 

But the last question that we're going to cover today is one that somebody asked me, and I thought it'd be just interesting or helpful to be able to put on an episode like this because it's not specifically about strategy or about points currencies or about specific airlines. But someone asked me what is the biggest mistake that you have made in the points travel game? 

I don't know about the single biggest one I've made because I think I've made all the same mistakes that I try to teach you all about so that maybe you don't have to make every single one of those. So kind of in no particular order, I have made again, so, so many different points mistakes.  

I think one of my first and best points mistakes was the very first time that I ever redeemed points. I had no idea anything about transfer partners, about airline alliances, about the value of points. We used points that we had been earning for three years. We used 250,000 Chase points with two round trip economy flights to Morocco. We had an amazing time. It’s still one of the favorite trips I've ever taken. Not my favorite flights that we've ever taken because now I could probably book us to round trip business class flights for way less than 250,000 points. 

But we did that because that's all I knew how to do at that point. I knew that I could use my Chase points to book a flight through Chase and not have to pay anything out of pocket. So that was a huge win for me at that point. But wiping out my entire Chase balance on some economy flights, not the best use of points that I could have had. 

So this is just a reminder that we all start somewhere. I think we've all used our points through whether it's the Chase travel portal or a different credit card travel portal. We could get so much more value from our points. You can still build amazing travel memories, even when you make a mistake like obliterating all of your points by booking them for really low value travel through the travel portal. 

Now, a very similar thing that one of the first times that I used points for a hotel stay was I used, again, my Chase points through the Chase travel portal. This was back in 2019, pre-pandemic. I didn't really know anything honestly about using transferable points currencies specifically for hotel stays at that point. I had been using all of my points for the prior four or five years specifically for international premium cabin flights. So I had a really, really good handle by that point on how to get a lot of value out of my points for airline travel, but I hadn't delved into the world yet of hotels. 

So my family, the four of us, we went to now one of my favorite Hyatt properties, the Andaz Mayakoba. We went there in December of 2019. Again, I had no experience transferring Chase points to Hyatt. So instead of doing that, booking a room for what would have been an amazing points price, I used about 350,000 Chase points to book a room through the Chase travel portal. So if I had just scooted those points over to Hyatt, I probably could have booked the same exact room for half as many points, but I didn't know that then. That's okay.  

Since 2019, we have earned hundreds of thousands, if not millions more Chase points, and we've used them for fantastic uses, including many Hyatt stays. So if you're someone who's ever used or completely obliterated your points balances by redeeming them for travel through just your credit card travel portal, that's not a terrible thing. It's great to learn how to get more value out of your points. But like I said, all of us start somewhere. So that is something that I've done, obviously more than once.

A points mistake I actually don't know if I made or not but I think it's entirely possible is that it's very likely that I never even earned the welcome bonus on the first rewards card that I got, which was the Chase Sapphire Preferred, because I got this back in 2012. Again, I knew nothing about points travel. I knew nothing about rewards travel whatsoever. 

So it's entirely possible that I signed up for this card and didn't even realize that if I put a certain amount of spend on it in the first three or four months, I would have earned a welcome bonus. I honestly didn't spend the time to go back to my credit card statements from 2012 to see if I got the welcome bonus or not, but it's entirely possible that I got a rewards card and never earned the welcome bonus on it. 

I have also completely lost points because they expired in a loyalty program. Now, a lot of frequent flyer programs now, especially post pandemic, have rules where if you have points or miles in that loyalty program, they never expire as long as your account is in good standing. So I don't want a lot of people to freak out when they hear this. Chances are if you do have points or miles in different places, they're not under threat of expiring whatsoever. This happens more often, again, with some of the smaller airline frequent flyer programs. 

So in this case, I had miles that were sitting in Lufthansa Miles and More. I had actually way, way, way back when SPG was still a rewards program before Marriott gobbled them up and cannibalized the program. You could transfer SPG points over to Lufthansa Miles and More. So I had done that, again, many, many years ago. But Lufthansa Miles and More is a program where if you do not use your miles, you can lose them. They can completely expire. 

There was the period, of course, during the pandemic, when I wasn't using those miles to fly anywhere. I was not doing an amazing job of tracking those because almost all of my other points and miles are sitting in programs where there is no expiration whatsoever. I missed that there was an expiration date on those miles. 

So I lost about 90,000 Lufthansa Miles and More miles just to them expiring. That was pretty disappointing. You can do a lot of great things with 90,000 Lufthansa Miles and More miles. So that was a big mistake on my part. It just really reminded me the importance of keeping tabs on where my miles and points are and knowing which are the programs where miles and points might expire? What are the types of activities that you can do in order to kind of reactivate that timeline?

So, again, I don't want a lot of you to hear this and think oh, my gosh, you're about to lose all of your points and miles somewhere. This is really uncommon and really specific to just a few of the airline loyalty programs. But it is a nice reminder that if you do have points or miles in a couple of different airlines or a couple different places, just familiarize yourself with what are the scenarios under which you might potentially lose those points or miles.

Because it really, really stinks, especially when you've gone through the effort of course to earn those or especially if they are in a niche program where it's not just a matter of replacing them or replenishing them from one of your transferable points accounts. 

So those are just a few of my mistakes. I'm sure if I sat here long enough, I could think of 100 more. But those are kind of the most common ones, the most obvious ones that I can think of. Now, we've already gone over an hour for this episode. So I'm not going to answer any more questions, even though I got so many incredible questions from listeners of the podcast and fans of the Point Me to First Class community. 

So here is what I want you to do. If you liked this episode and if you want to hear another one like it, first, you can go and check out the first Q&A or your questions answered episode that I ever did on the podcast, which is episode number 13. 

Now if you have a question that you would like to submit for a future your questions answered podcast episode, or if I briefly hit on a topic in today's episode that you'd really like for me to concentrate on and do an entire deep dive on that specific topic as its own podcast episode in the future, you can always send me your questions or your comments about the podcast to the email address [email protected] That's [email protected]

Finally, if you are someone who thinks that you would benefit from being able to ask me any points or miles question whenever you want and have me always be sure to answer it, then I want to invite you to join the waitlist for the Points Made Easy course. 

My Points Made Easy course is an online program that I only open up for new enrollment usually once or twice a year. One of the greatest features of it is the amount of personalized hands on support that you get from me inside of the program. One of the things that I like to do for all of my Points Made Easy course members is that there's an online question submission channel where you can type in any question that you have about credit cards, points travel, award travel, and I will answer all of your questions personally. I usually do it within one or two business days. 

So if you're somebody who really feels like you would benefit from a lot of personalized hands on support, and you like the idea of being able to get all of your points questions answered, then you're going to want to be sure to join me the next time that I open enrollment to the Points Made Easy course. So if you want to do that, it's very easy. You can jump on the waitlist now, which means that you will be sure to get any emails related to course enrollment in the future. 

You can do that very, very simply by going to www.pointmetofirstclass.com/pointsmadeeasy. That's www.pointmetofirstclass.com/pointsmadeeasy. All right everybody that is everything for this week. I hope you have a phenomenal week earning and using your points and miles, and I will see you again the same time, same place next week.

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.

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