Today, I’m joined by two guests, Dr. Kathy Zhang and her husband Jake Jansen. This is the first time I’ve had a points travel partnership on the show, and they’re an amazing example of what’s possible when two people come together to maximize their points. They experienced some difficulty in the early days, but now they have a two-player points game that’s creating some wonderful travel opportunities.
Kathy is a hospice and palliative care physician, as well as a hypnotist and life coach who has recently gotten into the points hobby. Her husband Jake is a physical therapist with a passion for travel, and he’s loving the way points have enhanced his and Kathy’s travel experiences, so they’re here to share their experience with all of you.
Tune in this week to discover what a two-player points strategy looks like in practice. Kathy is sharing how she first became interested in points, how she showed her husband Jake why he should get involved, and they’re discussing why they decided to join my program, despite already redeeming their first luxury points trip.
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: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. Today's a very special day because I am joined by not one but two guests today. I'm here with Dr. Kathy Jean and her husband, Jake. Welcome both of you. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. Can you go ahead and just give a quick introduction to both of yourselves?
Kathy: Sure. So I'm Kathy. I am a hospice and palliative care physician. I used to be a hospitalist. I'm also a life coach, a hypnotist, and kind of newly into the points hobby game courtesy of you, your Facebook group, your course. It's been really, really fun. So yeah, we're really excited to be here.
Devon: And I'm Jake Jansen. I'm a physical therapist. Kathy and I have been married for a few years now. we like to travel a lot. so this point system has been a great way to enhance our travel experience. So we thought we'd like to share our experience with everybody.
Devon: I am so glad, Jake, that you did decide to join us today. As I've said, this is the first time that I have had a partnership on the podcast. the reason I'm so excited about this is because you guys, at least it sounds like, had, in the beginning, a little bit of a situation that I think a lot of people encounter when they do you have a partner and they're first getting into point, which is that it doesn't sound like you both were on the exact same page and jumped straight headfirst into points together. that's what I really wanted to hear about your story today.
So I remember Kathy had sent me this message a little while ago saying that one of the things that was part of her points experience was having a reluctant husband who became a willing and engaged P2, which stands for partner two or player two in the points game. I read that and I thought yeah, I think a lot of people are going to be able to relate to this.
so I wanted to hear from both of you. Can you take me back to it sounds like Kathy, you're the first one who kind of got into this whole points hobby. But tell me how that came to be. I would then love to hear from you, Jake. Like, what were your thoughts when you first heard about this idea from Kathy?
Kathy: Yeah. So I like had one credit card for like, I don't know, a decade, which I think was the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I'd been accumulating points, but it was the only credit card that I had. so then at some point, I was like well, maybe I should look more into this. someone sent me your Facebook group. I joined and I was like whoa, there's a whole world of things that I could do with these points.
I remember bringing it up to Jake. I was like oh, you know, maybe we could learn how to do this and do it together. We could have these experiences, etc. he was kind of like oh, cool. Sure. But not really like yeah, let's do it. then basically, I ended up, we were going on a trip to Italy, April of this year, a few months ago. I was able to book us business class flights on Emirates to Milan, which is like a really great flight.
I think we both had such a great experience that he came back and like on his own accord. I didn't even mention anything to him. He was like I signed up for two credit cards. I'm going to get these bonuses. I think it was just tying theory to a tangible experience that was like hey, this is what we can actually do with it. Rather than being like, you know one day we could fly business class. that sounds nice, but having the actual experience, I think made a big difference.
Jake: Yeah, I think, for me, my credit background from college, I had taken on some credit card debt. so I tried to simplify credit history and everything else. so I only had one card, and it was just a credit card that invested back into a retirement account. I think, for me, the reluctance was why change a system that's working? I think it was just a simple system.
we were already traveling, and we're already having those experiences. So I didn't feel like the need to change. I also thought that adding credit cards would alter my credit score in a negative way, and I think one of your courses, one of your actual courses, addressed that. once I then opened up my two credit cards, it went up quite a bit.
So it's kind of when you see what happens and when you have, like Kathy said, the experience of going into this business class, they have a lounge on the plane. It's very exciting. That was a nice upgrade from what we would have had to do anyway.
Devon: Yeah, I think that so many people are going to be able to relate to what you said. I think a lot of us have come into this hobby with different backgrounds, just in terms of things that we were taught about credit cards growing up, things that we were taught about money growing up, or not taught. A lot of us had no financial education growing up, or had only been taught things about finances and credit card in terms of things that we should be worried about, that we should protect ourselves against.
so I think that it's incredibly relatable to especially have had an experience in the past where you had some debt and were very deliberate about creating a financial life for yourself that was a lot more simpler, a lot easier. having this one specific credit card, like you said, that was actually giving you rewards in the forms of being able to contribute some of those rewards to a retirement account.
So one of the things that I think people can take away just from the beginning of your story is that it's not like doing things a different way is wrong or bad whatsoever, right? It sounds like you guys had a lot of things on track. You had a financial system that was working for you.
then you kind of heard well, maybe there are additional things that we can do with credit cards. Maybe not that what we're doing is bad or wrong, but for your goals, for your priorities, that points could actually add to your life and not be a thing that creates either more confusion and more complication, and certainly nothing that's going to harm you financially.
So Kathy, you said that you've actually been walking around with this Chase Sapphire Reserve card for about a decade, which as many people probably familiar with this podcast and that card know, that is a phenomenal points earning card. That's a card that I think a lot of us end up getting or consider getting, either that or sort of the sister card to that in the Chase ecosystem, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
So you've been having this card for ten years. Do you happen to remember this whole time you just kind of been using that as your single card, how many points did you have on that card when you first kind of came into this world of realizing oh, wow, maybe I can start doing some really interesting things with these points?
Kathy: Yeah, it's so funny because I think now I look back and I'm like oh my God, I wasted all that time. But it's not a waste, obviously. We're going to continue earning points as long as we live and as long as we spend money. I think over maybe ten years I had 800,000 points, which I thought was a really good thing. But then I'm like oh wait, that's ten years. Those points could have been a lot different.
I think a lot of times when it comes to points, we think of like scarcity, right? It's like oh, I didn't get 4x on this purchase, I only got 1x, or my P2, my partner, only got like 1x instead of getting 5x, and that sort of thing. it feels very, in a way to our nervous system, I talk about this a lot because of my clients and hypnosis and all these things that are unconscious. It feels scary, and it feels fearful. it puts our nervous system into this state where like oh my God, I have to do this.
I think we call it the points game, which is great because it helps gamify things. But it's also a double edged sword because like game implies winning or losing, right? So then it's like oh well, if I don't get all the points that I can, if I don't maximize this purchase, then there's something wrong. I think that's something to be mindful of too.
Devon: Yeah, I think that's such a great point. You know, I actually just recorded another podcast episode that I think by the time this conversation that we're having together airs, the podcast episode that I'm referring to will have probably just come out a week or two prior.
one of the things that I was talking about when I was reflecting on the conversation, it was a solo episode that I was just doing on my own, was sort of this trajectory that a lot of us take when it comes to points going from the first stage where most of us don't even know points exist. We don't know how they work. So for us, it's not a net negative or net positive, right? It's just something that we're not even aware of. So it can't even really create any sort of impact in our life whatsoever.
usually, then what happens is that once we decide to get into, like you said, this game or this hobby, I think it's this nearly universal experience where one of the first things that happens isn't so much that we think look forward and say oh wow, look at all the as potential moving forward or looking at all of these amazing things that I may be able to do with points this year or next year or the year after. I don't know if this is just a way that most human brains work. I don't know if this is just a commonality to people who tend to really love getting involved in these more sort of like puzzle type activities.
Because I think what happens is instead of, like I said, looking forward and saying oh, this is so great, we have this almost reflexive reaction where we think oh, my gosh. Look at everything that's been wasted, right? Like instead we look backwards and say oh, my gosh, look at all this time I haven't known about this. Or you think about the money you spent in the last year or the last ten years, and you think oh my gosh. If I knew then what I know now, how many more points could I have had? Or how many different travel experiences could I have had?
And I just want to name that because I think one, it is so common. I really think that this happens to the vast majority of people who do get into points. I think it's important to recognize it so that we can just be aware of it and then say okay, yes. Yes, it's true. If a lot of things, right? If so many things had been different, ten years ago, things would be different now. I don't really want to beat myself up about that.
I think that remembering that whenever we learn about something that can add a positive to our life, it is very natural to kind of look back and beat ourselves up or think about how we really missed a bunch of opportunities. that's fine. But I think it's also really nice to kind of ground ourselves in the moment and say okay. Now that I know about this, like how can it be a value add to my life?
Like how much time do I want to spend thinking about what could have been? I wish I had known about Google and Apple investing ten years ago. That would have been amazing. I didn't, and I had no money. So it wouldn't have mattered if I did because I wouldn't have been able to take advantage of it.
But at the same time that doesn't mean that then where we're standing at right now is a total and complete loss. So for you too one of the things that sounds like was one of your very first experiences is yes, you had this Chase points earning card that you'd been accumulating points on, kind of started to realize wow, I can use these points for travel. I can do something with these. you mentioned that one of the first things that you guys actually booked sort of in the realm of the whole points hobby and game were these business class flights on Emirates in April.
So tell me a little bit more just about what that experience was like for you. Because I think this is part of the fun of the game is hearing about what we can do with points and giving other people ideas about experiences that they might want to have. this is a flight that I have never taken. I've never flown Emirates. I've heard amazing things about so many different of their configurations, all these different aspects of what they offer. So I'd love to hear from both of you. What was that experience like from the beginning of when the you like checked in to the airport to actually taking this flight over to Milan?
Jake: Yeah, so it was we actually went into two lounges on that first flight. so we went into the Amex Platinum lounge, the Centurion lounge, I guess. that was great. then we went into the Emirates lounge. that was even, I think, a little bit better, right?
Kathy: Yeah. Like the Amex Centurion lounge at JFK has like this back kind of speakeasy that you have to walk into. it's dark and leather, and there's a bartender. So that was really cool to just be able to be like show up and just order a drink for free, essentially.
Jake: I think the lounge experience is something that we were able to do for a while with our travel. if you just travel, regular economy, and you're waiting in this big queue. That's one of the things that I don't like is waiting in queues. So to be able to wait in the lounge and relax and then they're like oh, it's time for your flight. Get ready.
It's just another way to enhance the travel experience because we both really like to travel together. we're going to do it anyway. So why not make it better? Then I think the flight itself was you go in sort of a separate line. you go in upstairs on the, it's an upstairs?
Kathy: Yeah, I think it was the airbus. So that's the double decker kind of. Our flight from the Emirates lounge actually didn't do this. But at JFK, there's one flight of the two red eyes that leave, like you can board directly from the lounge, which is like super cool I think to just be like, like drink your champagne and just walk on board. You know?
Jake: It definitely makes you feel a step up in a way. It's technically it was like a free thing because these are bonus points that were accumulating, that she had accumulated for this particular flight. I really enjoyed the flight. it was like a kid in the candy shop. You get in your own seat. Nobody hassles you about your overhead compartment. You can fit everything in. There's already a pillow and already a blanket for you.
I've been traveling since I was like five years old on flights. so this is one of the best experiences on a plane. I'm sure if we were to fly a private plane or something, that'd be even better, but we'll start here. then you know, we have our own screens, and we're watching movies. We decide oh, let's go check out this bar. It's just bizarre because I don't think there should be a bar on an airplane, but there is and it's fun. I mean we're not really big drinkers or anything, but we still had them mix us a drink, and we had our photo taken.
Kathy: He’s like do you want to take a photo? We're like hell yeah, we want to take a photo behind the bar.
Jake: Behind the bar, okay. Yeah. Why not? Yeah, really fun. I think just all the small irritations that make travel a headache you don't have to deal with. In fact, it makes the flying experience, you don't realize you're taking off. You don't realize your landing in the same way as when you're flying coach. I think it was just a nice way to take an ordinary experience that we're going to do anyway, make it better. then you're like oh, well we can accumulate these points and make this happen more often in every flight if we're.
I think a lot of the things that come across in your course, we're going to make these spend anyway. So can we find a way to get 3x or 4x? Can we find a way to bonus out? When is it good to get a new card? When is it good to just hold off on a deal and maybe not use the points. So, I think there's a lot that we got out of the course that then can really enhance or experience traveling.
Kathy: Yeah. Now like when I say engaged, like now he'll just like show up and peek his head through my office door and be like hey, do you need to spend $1,000 at Valentino? Because there's 25,000 or 50,000 points. I was was like I don't think so. he's like you sure? Like jokingly because we don't actually need to, but I think just that kind of level of engagement, which I'd really hoped for at the beginning but I wasn't seeing signs of it until he actually got to have that experience.
I think I've seen like in the group, like some people are like oh just jokingly like if they're not on board, just put them in economy. Like yeah that's a joke. maybe some people are serious about it. But it's just like even the subconscious thought in our head triggers some kind of reaction in our body, and you're potentially robbing your partner, yourself, of like your best opportunity to get them on board, which is to have this great experience.
Devon: I agree with you on all of those different things. I think that being able to book a trip where they really don't have to do anything, right. They don't have to learn all of the math of this stuff, or they don't have to learn how you can actually transfer points out of, for instance, your Chase account to an Emirates account. They don't have to learn any of that, but they actually get to have that experience with you.
I think so often then partners do say this was amazing. Just to be able to share this together. This was really incredible. so I'm personally not an advocate, yeah, of sending the partner or spouse back to economy, unless that's their preference. It's not my preference. My partner has never begged to fly economy when we have the ability to use points to fly business.
But the funny thing about that too is at least, I mean the way that I think about it, is that you actually probably spent less out of pocket to fly your partner in business with you in terms of the actual cash cost of what you had to pay then if you were to just book yourself on points in business and say okay, partner. We're going to book you round trip in economy. That actually cost so much more money out of pocket then the cash copay that you have to pay for the taxes or the fees on a business class ticket.
so I'm not sure at this point, if you remember back from when you did originally booked this trip, but do you ballpark remember for the two of you about how many points it cost for you to book those business class flights on Emirates? Then what you did end up having to pay out of pocket for the taxes and fees for those two tickets?
Kathy: It was probably 65,000 points per person. then fees wasn't a lot, it was like maybe less than 200 per person.
Devon: Yeah. So, to me, this is actually like one of the biggest selling points personally for using points, especially for international business class, is not just is it usually just a really lovely experience when you're actually on the plane. But out of pocket, it's almost always cheaper than if you were to just book yourself on economy.
So not even talking about the amazing experience you can have. I think when you do have the points that you can spend, and especially when you learn how to leverage them and which areas of points actually offer tremendous value. this is such a good example of that, flying business class on this. It's called a Fifth Freedom flight from New York to Milan on Emirates is such an amazing value for points.
I just keep thinking about how Kathy you were saying that before y'all had booked this trip you had been using your Chase Sapphire Reserve card for years, and you had about 800,000 points on it. So even booking this trip, two of you business class on a flight from the states over to Italy, it's not like you guys wiped out your entire points balance in that one trip. You actually use just a fraction of your overall points and then still had a lot of Chase points left in your Chase account, even when you came back from that trip.
Kathy: That cash price of that Emirates flight was like I think 6,000, 6,500 or something like that. now that I know how to use the points, I used 130,000 points for the two of us for a trip in April. then we just came back from a trip to London and Amsterdam. We flew Virgin over to Heathrow. I used I think about 150,000 points. I just checked my balance yesterday for Chase, and I still have 750,000 points. So it's just like now that you know, it just stacks up. So it just kind of replenishes itself. It's pretty cool.
Devon: Yeah, and I think that this is one of those areas that it's so important for people as they're learning about points to really begin to understand is when you start kind of coming to the redemption side of things where you've been earning your points. You've been stacking them up, and it's time to start using them is that there is such a huge opportunity when you really, really learn how to maximize the value to get not, again, just like one trip every couple of years from your points.
But, to me, it's actually a little bit mind boggling that the difference now you can get from your points where if all you've ever done before, all you've ever known that you can do with your points is redeem them straight through your credit card portal. I'm thinking, again, about Chase.
Where if you log on to your Chase account even with 800,000 points, which is a ton of points in Chase, if you were to only use those points straight through the travel portal, that would be the equivalent of being able to book about $12,000 worth in travel, which is a huge number, right? I think a lot of us would love to just have $12,000 worth of travel we don't have to pay for.
I really want to highlight this part of your experience is that when you book these Emirates flights, like you said, they were pricing out for two people one way at about $12,000 or $13,000 total, but you didn't have to use 800,000 Chase points to get $12,000 or $13,000 of value. You used 130,000 Chase points.
I really want to drive this point home because I think so many people really have this idea about points that number one, it's going to take me ten years to earn 800,000 points even when I'm trying and I know what I'm doing. once I've done that, that'll be great for one trip. It’s actually the complete opposite. That you can earn so many points faster, again, when you have just a few strategies under your belt, but especially when it comes to the redeeming points.
Sure you can spend 800,000 points and get $12,000 worth of value. Or you can spend 130,000 points and get $12,000 worth of value and still have, like you said, hundreds of thousands of points left over for the next trip.
one of the things I'm really curious to hear from you. I think this timing is really interesting that you had booked this first real points trip for yourself in April. then I know when you enrolled in the last round of Points Made Easy, the online course, that was enrolling towards the end of May of this year. So you'd already had this big success using your points.
I'm really curious what made you think about it. What made you actually decide to go ahead and join Points Made Easy when you're in the position of already having had this one really great points win?
Kathy: Yeah, it's a great question. So I was only really able to get that flight for us because I was like driving myself wild trying to do it on my own, right. Like I was like I'm gonna, and I'm a millennial. I'm okay with technology and things like that. But it was so hard because I just kept coming up against dead ends. we were trying to be like okay, we need a flight soon so we can book the rest of our trip.
then thank goodness for the people in your group. I posted something, and they literally just like screen shot. they're like how about this time? How about this time? How about this flight? I was like okay, great. Done. Thank you. so I realized that like without that, we never would have had that experience.
so then when we came back, and I, again, floated the idea of the course because I'd kind of floated it previously, and he wasn't so hot on it. Jake, you were like yeah, let's do it.
Jake: Well, you also were like I can't keep putting this much effort into figuring this out. There has to be an easier way. I think, for whatever reason, I think the way she had put it I think just made me feel like we should do this course. I think it seemed like from her research, which I know she always researches things really well, that we would get a lot of value out of it.
I knew really early on that I would get a lot of value out of it because of the level of detail. I said the math doesn't lie. You can take a few minutes to do some of the math and realize what you're getting for your value. you can see the growth of your points. you can compare oh, what was I getting for my Fidelity Investment account versus what am I getting when I take a $6,000 business class that we got for free? So I think that comparison is really powerful.
Kathy: Yeah, and I think just it was one of those things just like appeal to the type of person that your partner is and the way that they think. then I think also, just with subconscious communication is just like when I talk with my clients about is like how can we just put something out there without expectation, right? Like how do we have our own backs if, let's say, we really want our P2 to be invested, and they're kind of just like meh.
Like do we just be like oh, I just wish you could change and start to get frustrated and overwhelmed? Or do we say like you know what? Okay. That's okay. I can't control everyone. I can't control the world. I can maybe influence them, but I can control how I go about things or how I react to certain things and how I'm going to move forward with this thing, with or without their participation.
Devon: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I just do want to name. I am not a Virgo. But I don't know if this has to do with just my brain and the way that it works, but I am a very visual person. I am someone who actually loves organization. Like it makes me so happy. It makes me feel like my world is in order.
so when I was putting together the course, I think it just reflects those own neuroses on my part that I like things to be very linear, very logical. I really did want to make the course a step by step just easy way for people to go literally from the very beginning. You don't have to know anything about points other than that they hold tremendous potential value. you can start at the beginning, or you can jump in at any entry point in the lessons depending on where your experience is.
But I wanted it to really be this comprehensive and yet very concise way to just walk through how do you get the most out of your expenses to earn as many points as you can? Then how can you turn around, and like you said, Kathy, not be running up against a wall every single time you're looking to use those points.
I think it's one thing to have hundreds of thousands of points sitting in your account. There's probably a lot of us where we get a nice little dopamine hit from that, from being able to log on to our account and say oh, there's 500,000 Amex points, or there's 200,000 Capital One points, and that is part of the game.
But those points are useless if you don't do anything with them, right? None of us wants to die with 800 million Chase points in our account. The whole point is to earn them so that you can use them. But if you do not have a concise, easy process to follow to use them then I think one of two things happens.
You either don't use them because you get so frustrated that you don't actually end up finding anything that you want to book with them, and you're afraid to waste them, right. So you just continue to book things that are within your your cash budget for your travel. So either those points just sit there and never get used.
Or you do what I think is kind of the next best option, which is well, let me use the points for something, even if I know it's not a great value. I don't think there's anything wrong with using points through your credit card travel portal when you know all the options available to you, and that is the choice that you want to take.
But I think so many people, again, are sitting on hundreds of thousands of points, and they don't know where are these amazing opportunities to use 130,000 points for business class flights instead of having to spend all of these points I've accrued for one or two people to fly one time.
For you, Kathy and Jake, I'm really curious to hear because you all enrolled in the course, again, towards the end of May. so now, at the time of recording, we are in September. So you've had a couple of months now to really engage with the lessons that are inside of the course. You were able to attend the live calls and some of the hands on workshops that we do in the course.
I'm really curious to hear from you of where are you now in terms of your confidence earning and using points or what's different for you now a couple of months after having enrolled in the course.
Kathy: Yeah, so it's a great question because now I, because I am the one that tends to do most of the searches and that sort of thing. Now I'm just like oh yeah, I have a system, right? Like step one, step two, step three, step four. then once you have that system, you can repeat it regardless of what airline or whatever transfer partner you're looking at, wherever location you want to go.
it's just so much easier. it takes away that spinning out that you feel when you're like I have no idea what I'm doing. then you waste so much time. Time is money. Time is time that we could spend with our loved ones doing other things rather than trying to climb up a wall trying to get the best redemption for these points, right.
I think also what was really great about your course was having a third party to share and disseminate the information to your partner was really helpful too. There was one time where Jake was trying to use like a Amex offer to purchase something. I was like oh if you use Rakuten, you could like double up on points. he kind of just like I don't know what Rakuten is, and I don't want to use it and then just kind of shut it down.
that happens sometimes when you're in a partnership with someone, and there's power dynamics, or someone gets emotional, right. then later on he did the module on Rakuten. He's like oh,
Kathy: Laddering. then I was like well I kind of mentioned that like two days ago, but it's okay. That's fine.
Jake: Well, I think, for me, I feel that I know which credit cards to use when I'm at the grocery store. I pay attention to which cards are shopping cards at coffee shops and all of that. It's fun, I think, to do and see getting bonused out. I don't go quite as extreme as Kathy's gone where she'll go to Office Depot or Staples and get the gift cards and all of that. That's a level of hassle that I'm not willing to go for.
Kathy: But I am.
Jake: But she is. so I think realizing that we both have strengths to bring to the equation, and that the goal for us, and we communicated the goal for our points, is to enhance our travel experience. So one of us is not off making silly spends or something that the other deems is silly spends because we've already come to the table as having the same trajectory on how we use our points.
I think I've made a small spreadsheet that has like our flight, all our different airline partners. at first I was like I only had a Delta membership and maybe a Jet Blue thing. Now I have like 20. That's a little bit of a hurdle to get over for people. I can see that being the tie up, not wanting to make those changes, not wanting to open new accounts and all of that. But anymore you're using your fingerprint as a password and all this kind of stuff. It's making it much simpler than it used to be.
So we want to use our points now for travel now. I think like you said that you don't want to die with 100,000 points in the bank. Why not use them? We said this just yesterday is like in ten years, flights are going to be more expensive anyway. Why not book them now when they're cheaper and get the experience while their legs are working? So.
Devon: Yeah, I think that's such a phenomenal perspective to have. it really also kind of touches on something that I think is true, not just of points, but probably everything in life, which is that it all changes, right. Like I kind of now have the perspective of having been in this game in this hobby for almost ten years now. there are certainly things that are very different than they were ten years ago in terms of what a certain type of flight costs in number of points. Yes, that has definitely gone up now compared to ten years ago.
we also have a lot of opportunities and options available to us in the points world that did not exist ten years ago. So I think it is kind of an area that is always undergoing change. But at the same time, like you said, the beauty of points is that they're really there to be used and enjoyed. I think, for me, one of my biggest goals is that I just think so many people, because they've never been taught, they've never been exposed to it, just aren't even aware of how much potential there is with points.
So I don't care at all how anyone chooses to use their points. If it's making them happy, I think that's amazing. I just think that it's so much better for people to understand that full range of the potential value of their points so that they can be getting as much out of them as they really want. I love hearing that you guys already have all of these plans together and all of these priorities about how you really want to take advantage of those points.
one of the things you said earlier that I really wanted to come back to is that, Jake, you had mentioned earlier at the beginning of this year that you just had your one kind of stable credit card that you use for everything that was not actually a points earning credit card. Kathy, you had your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I'm curious now, a couple of months after enrolling in the course, a couple of months after kind of getting your feet wet in this whole game. Do y'all have favorite rewards credit cards now? How many points earning cards combined are you guys actually carrying?
Kathy: With my podcast and my coaching business, I had opened a Inc Preferred or something like that last year, and I wasn't really using it much aside for business travel, which I think I was getting maybe 3x points on that. then this year, I opened an Amex Platinum. I just open an Amex Gold right before our trip because we had a big purchase. I wanted to get I think it was like 120,000 points. That was really awesome to be able to do. then you have a.
Jake: Amex Gold. then I have the Chase Preferred, and I have Business Unlimited, I think, the Inc.
Kathy: The Inc.
Jake: I like the Chase preferred for some of the travel and gas stations, that kind of thing. I like the Amex because of the grocery store and the coffee shop bonus and their interface on their website. Like shopping for little deals when they're like oh, if you spend the $100 here, you'll get 5,000 points. so I'm like cool, I could get my stepmom on a gift from this place, you know. So I think it's really pretty user friendly. I like it even more because of that. the two systems, the Amex and the Chase systems, seem to work pretty well for a lot of the flights that we look at and a lot of places that we want to go.
Kathy: I also product changed that Inc into a cash card so I could get the office supply in a 5x on the gift cards. I love going into Staples and getting my gift cards. I'm not going to lie. Yeah, I think I also have a Chase Freedom Unlimited, I want to say, for one and a half.
Oh, and I also got the Amex Blue Business preferred, I want to say, for 2x on business spend because I had a lot of miscellaneous categories that just we're just getting 1x. I was like well, okay how can I move that? I think the consultation that we had with you and also going through the course was really helpful to help us plan out how we're going to use our credit and points best.
Devon: Best. All right, last question before we wrap up today. Now that you all are experts in earning and using points and you have your points plan in place, I'm just really curious to hear from you what are some of your travel goals? What are some of your wishlist items when it comes to using all of those amazing points that you've been accruing? Where are you going, and what do you want to do with them?
Kathy: So we are planning a, for ourselves, a trip to Japan next year in the fall. So I'm trying to I think I messaged you. I was like I have a pipe dream that I want to fly a ANAs the Room, because I live in New York, from JFK to Haneda in Tokyo and that sort of thing, but it's pretty difficult.
So trying to fly Japan Airlines ANA to Japan. One of the big reasons also why I took this course is I really want to be able to give my parents, my immigrant parents, like the experience of being able to fly first class. Like they would never ever, ever pay for that themselves. Even when I tried to bring it up saying I can use the points. They're like no, save the points for yourself. So I would love to fly them on, like Qsuites or something like that where they can just lay flat, just drink as much as they want. They're older. I don't want them to have to do that in economy, for them to go back to China and see their family.
Jake: Yeah, I like just to be able to enhance our travel experience. I think for like what we did for this most recent trip to London was we flew business to London and then we flew economy to Amsterdam and then we took a hop over in Iceland for a night. So we kind of broke it up in a fun way. So I think it's just really about making our travel experience enhanced because travel, in general, can be pretty stressful.
if you can get to these lounges and relax for a little bit, if you can enjoy the flight and not have to worry about is my suitcase going to fit in the overhead compartment? I mean I think we want to be able to travel to some pretty far off places. it's nice to be able to stretch your legs out and watch a few movies.
I think we're going to continue to do more of that, like Kathy said, having that experience for our parents because just like I was a little bit reluctant to the whole points game at first, I think our parents are even more so reluctant. they'll go the easy way of using the Chase Rewards interface or any of that or just using it on hotels. But, like you said, they're using the points. So I think if we want them to have those experiences then we can do it for them. your courses really allowed us a way to do that for ourselves consistently going forward.
Devon: Yeah, I love those travel goals so much. I think that, listen, I'm the first person to say it's so much fun to travel business class internationally. I love it. I just think, again, like it's so much more comfortable. It's just really enjoyable. It still just shocks me that we even have the opportunity to use a bunch of points and then be able to take that kind of flight.
I also think that points can be even so much bigger than that. so hearing some of your goals, especially when it comes to spoiling your parents, I think so many of us can relate to that. So many of us can relate to there being people in our lives who we would love to help create certain experiences for. I know certainly for myself, points have given me such an opportunity to do that. So as much as, again, I personally get a kick out of flying business class, and I love it and it makes me super happy, it is so thrilling to be able to provide that experience to somebody else.
so I love that you guys were thinking about that in terms of your points bucket list, and that you're going to be able to have that experience of knowing that your parents got to have a trip that maybe they never would book for themselves. so I'm just really looking forward for you for both that travels that you two are going to take together in the future, but what you're going to be able to do with your points for your parents.
I want to thank you both so much for taking the time today to join me for this conversation and for sharing your experiences and your wisdom with everybody on the podcast. Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure to know both of you and to work with both of you. I cannot wait to follow up in a little while and hear about all of the other amazing things that you are going to be doing with your points and miles. Thank you guys for joining me today.
Kathy: Thank you so much.
Jake: Yeah, thanks a lot. This was great.
Hey there, you just heard about Kathy and Jake's experience inside the Points Made Easy course. if you can relate to their desire to do more with the points that you're earning, I want to invite you to join me inside the Points Made Easy course, my six month course that teaches you exactly how to maximize the number of points you earn for the money that you're already spending and how to turn those points into unforgettable travel experiences that save you thousands of dollars.
Points Made Easy only opens for new students a few times a year, and this will be the last time to join until next spring. doors for enrollment will be open from October 14 through October 21. So if you want 2024 to be the year that you go from points curious or points novice to earning and using your points like an expert, save your spot on the waitlist now.
Just go to www.pointmetofirstclass.com/pointsmadeeasy. That's www.pointmetofirstclass.com/pointsmadeeasy to join the waitlist so you can have first dibs at grabbing your spot inside Points Made Easy when the course opens for enrollment the last time this year on October 14.
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.