Earning Miles and Points

This is a brief overview of how we earn miles and points. For more details, please read our Comprehensive Guide To Award Travel For Beginners.

Earning Miles and Points

First of all, some miles and points are more valuable than others.

The main ways we earn points are:

  1. Welcome bonuses.  Depending on the airline, hotel, or bank credit card, welcome bonuses are usually anywhere from 40,000-100,000 miles or points.  It is important to know that not all points are equal, so just because a bonus of 100,000 is offered, it may not necessarily be a great deal.
  2. Everyday spending. Seems obvious, but we put everything on a credit card. It is also important to know which cards have category bonuses.  For example, my Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns 3 points per dollar at restaurants, while several other cards only get 1 point per dollar. It may not sound like a big deal, but extra points per dollar add up quicker than you think.
  3. Shopping portals. Several airlines and Chase Ultimate Rewards have online shopping portals. All you have to do is log in and then make your purchase through the portal the same way you would if you were shopping online. For example, you can shop at Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nike. There are hundreds of retailers.  When you make purchases via a shopping portal, you’ll earn anywhere from 1-30 bonus points per dollar. This can really add up.

Out of these 3 things, welcome bonuses yield the most points by far.

Each month, we update the current offers page with the credit cards we feel have the best offers and benefits. You can see which cards we feel are best in each of these categories:

  • Overall top credit card choice
  • Top cards for everyday spending
  • Best premium travel cards
  • Top business credit cards
  • Best airline co-branded cards
  • Best hotel co-branded cards

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