Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to Start Earning Travel Points and Rewards

If you've never owned or used a credit card, they can sound pretty confusing at first. But, it's pretty straightforward if you know how to use them the right way. In doing so, you can travel for free. So I'm here to explain how to start earning travel points and rewards with a credit card.

Choose a Travel Rewards Card

First things first, if you do not have a travel rewards card, it's time to get one. If you have a good line of credit, it's usually fairly easy to become approved for a card with great rewards. Nerd Wallet offers a great comparison for rewards cards, with tons of user reviews to help you choose. Most cards have an annual fee, with the first years waived, but some, like the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card offers rewards with no annual or international transaction fees. While other cards earn more points per dollar, this card is still great and even more affordable for future travelers.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card for the reasons below:
  • rewards are very versatile when it comes to what to spend them on
  • receive double rewards on every purchase
  • offers a generous line of credit
  • great sign up bonus
  • points do not expire
  • low annual fee. 
This card may not be the best for everyone, but I found it to be one of the best for myself to earn travel rewards. 


If you do not have the credit score or income needed to be approved from one of the cards above, don't fret. Visit your bank and ask about the cards they offer just to start building your credit. Once you use your card for about 6 - 12 months responsibly, your credit should have improved, making it easier to get approved for a travel rewards card when you apply. If you still cannot get approved, it may be an issue of your annual income that determines your application.

Now, lets move on how to actually use your card to receive the best rewards.

How to Use a Travel Rewards Card

Like any other credit card, you are given a line of credit to spend that you must pay back on a monthly basis, or fees will be charged. Many people like to use credit cards only on purchases they cannot afford at the time, and pay it back in increments, or only pay the minimum. But, if you want to earn rewards, and essentially travel for free, this is not the way to use your card. If it takes you longer than a month to pay back what you've purchased, you will have to pay interest on top of what you spend, losing you money. Instead, use your card as you would your debit card. 
  1. Pay with your travel rewards card on all purchases you regularly make with your debit card (gas, food, rent, bills, entertainment, etc...) 
      • Many credit cards have even partnered with certain stores to help you earn even more points when you shop.
  2. Check your balance very regularly to make sure you are not going overboard & actually have the money you are spending.
  3. Pay off your rewards card balance at the end of each month, making sure none of your purchases will accrue interest.
  4. Repeat each month.
And when it's time to book a trip, always try to book through your card service to get even better discounts while earning points.

Earning rewards is not hard, and it will only be a matter of time before you start earning tons of travel points!
Since you will be spending and earning points off of purchases you would already be making,
regardless of your card, you will essentially be traveling for free.

Have you started racking up travel rewards?
Let me know what card you decided to go with and why in the comments below!

❀ Riah


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