Do you have friends who always seem to travel in style? It seems like every other week they’re jetting off to some exotic locale and staying in a luxury resort.
How do they do it? Chances are they’ve unlocked the secret of how to travel the world using miles and points.
If you’re among the 54% of Americans who don’t understand how different types of points and miles work, don’t worry. Keep reading below as we take the mystery out of hotel points, airline miles, and points valuations.
Main Types of Points and Miles
To make things as easy as possible, let’s break down miles and points into three basic categories.
Also known as “frequent flyer” rewards, these are miles you earn when you sign up with a particular airline. Popular programs include:
- United MileagePlus
- Delta SkyMiles
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- British Airways Executive Club
When you join an airline rewards program, you’ll accumulate miles or points based on the type of seat you book, the distance you travel, and the cost of the ticket. Points valuations vary quarterly, which you can learn more about here.
You can also sign up for an airline’s branded credit card and earn rewards with regular purchases.
If you enjoy staying with a certain hotel brand, sign up for their loyalty program. Marriot Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and Wyndham Rewards are among the most popular choices.
Hotel points work much the same as airline miles. You earn points via paid hotel stays or by using a branded credit card (or both). Rewards usually come in the form of free nights or discounted stays.
Credit Card Reward Points
For the most flexibility, sign up for a credit card that features transferrable travel reward points. Citi ThankYou, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and American Express Membership Rewards are all excellent options.
With each purchase, you earn points that you can redeem for cash back or gift cards. You can also transfer them to participating airline and hotel partners.
Tips for Using Miles and Points
If you’re just entering the world of travel rewards, make sure your credit score is in good order. To qualify for most rewards credit cards, you’ll need a credit score of at least 720.
Next, look for cards and programs that offer substantial welcome bonuses. Ideally, you should get at least 50,000 miles or points when you sign up.
Finally, remember to use your card for everyday purchases. If a card gives you four points for every dollar you spend on food, a $10 sandwich will earn you 40 rewards points. Over time, all those small purchases can add up to a free trip!
Get Out There & Travel the World
Don’t let your jet-setting friends have all the fun!
Use the guide above to help you find the best miles and points programs for your travel style. Then sit back, watch those points add up, and get ready to explore the world in style.
Now that you have a better understanding of points and miles, what’s next? Keep browsing our site for more great traveling and lifestyle advice.