Points for Business Travelers is a new weekly series aimed at helping business travelers maximize miles and points without a lot of effort. Have a suggestion or question? Email roadwarriorette @ gmail.com.
There are about one million credit cards available, all with different hooks. Cash back, bonus points, airline affiliations, charitable giving, and more. If you are looking for the easiest, fastest way to get points, the answer is credit card bonuses.
(Note: Before you start applying for credit cards, check your credit score and credit report. If you plan to utilize credit card sign-up bonuses as part of your strategy, make sure your report is accurate and your score is as high as it can be.)
The strategy. I’m not going to tell you which card to get—there are tons of blogs that do that already. What I will say is that you need to be strategic about it and look for the card that aligns with your goals. For example, if you are saving up points for an international first class trip, the Southwest Chase card is not for you (since Southwest does not fly internationally). But if you want the Companion Pass, it’s a great card! If most of your travel is in the car, you want a card that gives bonus points for gas. If you have lots of airline points, you may want to diversify—look into a card tied to a hotel, or get a non-specific card like the Chase Sapphire.
Sign up bonuses. Bonuses are the best way to easily get lots of points very quickly. They almost always have corresponding spend requirements, so watch those carefully. (I didn’t realize there was a minimum spend for my first reward card, and so didn’t get the bonus. So it does happen!) However, even if a spend sounds like a lot ($2k or $3k in a few months), it can be attainable if you plan for it. We have transferred all of our spending to credit cards—bills, groceries, gas, etc., so that we can maximize the number of points we get. With the Southwest Chase cards we had to spend $4k in 3 months, which we easily did. Read more of this article »