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UPDATE: Few airlines continue to offer debit cards, severely limiting choices.

We can all (myself included) do more to become better points masters. Here are 10 quick tips to maximize your points in the new year.

1) Open up a points-earning checking account/ debit card. Most major airlines have them, like Continental, United, US Airways, Delta and American.

2) Open up a points earning credit card, preferably with a huge sign-on bonus. Like this 75,000100,000 Citi American card, 50,000 Aeroplan Amex,  or 45,000 Delta Gold American Express card.

3) Only shop through airline affiliated shopping malls. Same merchandise, so use a points earning credit  card to buy merchandise through the portal and you will be racking up miles

4) Join an airline or hotel I-Dine dining network. Points for meals- I’ve racked up massive amounts patronizing participating restaurants in NYC. You could be too, especially since they’ve been aggressively expanding their network.

5) Instead of pledging your loyalty to one specific airline, also open a flexible points account, like American Express Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest Amex. Protect yourself from putting all of your eggs, or miles, in the same basket.

6) Leverage hotel rewards. Many frequent flyers rely on their airline miles, but forget how much hotels can cost. Open up a hotel credit card, like the Hyatt Credit Card which gives two free nights at any Hyatt in the world (including super expensive Park Hyatt Paris Vendome) and instant Platinum status.

7) Use Ebates for cash back on purchases. More posts to come on this method of earning soon.

8) Track your miles and points! Don’t try to memorize all of your accounts and keep track of them separately- use an online tool like gomiles.com to help track promotions and balances. The service is free and secure, so it doesn’t make sense NOT to.

9) Join Flyertalk– an ultimate source of frequent flyer and loyalty program news. I have to admit, a lot of my information comes from FT. Becoming an active part of the community can only advance your point “skills”.

10) Okay this may be a little bit self serving, but sign up for The Points Guy Email Updates , follow me on Twitter, or use me to help advise on the best way to use your hard earned points and miles.  It doesn’t do you much good if you rack up a million miles, but don’t put them to good use!

I could go on with a bunch more tips, but then there would be no reason to continue reading this blog in 2011, so I’ll stop here. 🙂

Happy new year! Brazil is AMAZING – detailed trip report to come!

Chase Freedom®

It's a stellar Cash Back card on its own, but when paired with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom's 5x Category Bonuses let you rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, transferrable to partners or redeemable via the portal.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.49-24.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
0% for 15 months
Regular APR
15.49% - 24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.