(Video) Sunday Reader Question: How Can Senior Citizens Maximize Points to Save Money on Travel?

by on April 8, 2012 · 16 comments

in Sunday Reader Questions

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This week’s reader question comes from the only TPG reader who has never used the internet- my grandmother. I wrote yesterday how I used some SkyMiles to take a last minute trip to visit her and I’ve slowly but surely explained to her what I do since she had never heard of the word “blogger” before. When I told her that I had to go film this week’s video blog post, she asked if I’d answer her question, and once you see her you’ll realize you could never say no to her! So here she goes making her big video debut on the internet…

For those who can’t view the video:

Question: How can senior citizens take advantage of miles and points to save money on travel?

Many senior citizens, especially those who are retired and have been financially responsible, are especially well positioned to take advantage of miles and points for free travel because they have great credit and lots of time to actually use the miles and points.While I don’t expect my 89 year old grandmother to become a points expert, she did even say, “Well why am I getting nothing back from my plain old Visa card if you get to travel around the world?” My point exactly! Even if you don’t want travel rewards, you should still be getting cash back and I outlined my thoughts on best cash-back cards in this post.

The key considerations are the same for senior citizens as they are with anyone else:
1) Put as many monthly expenditures as possible on a points-earning credit card
2) Don’t bite off more than you can chew in terms of minimum spend requirements for credit cards
3) Accrue points in transferable programs like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards so you have lots of options when it comes time to redeem. When choosing airline programs, make sure you pick programs that align with your needs – for example don’t focus on building Southwest points if your goal is to go to Europe in business class.
4) Don’t get buried in annual fees – there are many cards on the market with first year annual fees waived. You can always downgrade or cancel a card before the fee comes due – check out this post for more info on when to cancel a credit card.
5) There’s more to this game than just credit cards! Link your cards to dining programs and shop through portals. Check out this post for more info on maximizing your miles and points through ways other than credit card sign-ups.

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.

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  • luvcruises

    Brian I love your blog and read it every day. I really love when you talk about your grandmother. I was lucky enough to have my grandmother in my life until I was 45. Cherish the time with her. Grandmothers are special. You can tell she thinks you are special too. Keep up the good work. I wont be at the NJ FT University at the end of the month as I am using miles to visit our son in AKL. Got two RT J class from EWR-AKL and a 3 day stopover in Japan on the way home. Two vacations in one for 120K each and about $98. each in taxes.

  • sfobuddy

    Awesome post. I agree I read your blog everyday and have kicked a few to the curb…
    However, are you planning to share your thoughts on the bmi business? I have 140,000 miles with them and I’m wondering if I need to get rid of them now!

  • Tahsir Ahsan

    hey brian,
    I’m really happy that you’re spending time with your grandma. Like others said, you should cherish every moment with family. I woke up today and found out my Grandpa died. The worst part is that im in LA and he’s halfway around the world in Bangladesh.

    It really makes me feel better seeing you post about redeeming miles to see family because you’re doing the right thing!

  • PJ

    I would not be surprised Grandma can pull out those goodies from cards with one single purchase or very low SPEND: such as Chase United Explorer, Chase Hyatt, Chase Freedom , Citi Dividend, Southwest etc etc. one penny per points is so so yesterday

  • Jamison

    nice video blog about your grandmother! glad you’re doing the right thing and getting her a computer to read your blog daily ;)

  • Shayna

    Brian, I have your next weeks Sunday reader question: Why aren’t you married already, your pretty much the cutest thing ever.

    I have the girl for you… she loves to travel and lives in Hawaii!

    No really… let me play match maker!

  • AKold

    I loved your grandmother’s reaction when you mentioned the first class tickets were only $10 in fees, haha!

    Get her an iPad! It’s great to read blogs on and easy for senior citizens to use! Buy it through an online shopping portal ;)

  • Asdfasdfasd

    If your grandma flies FinnAir she can get run over by a reindeer, js lol

  • thepointsguy


  • thepointsguy

    Haha I’m too busy traveling to get married!

  • thepointsguy

    She doesnt want to both at age 89, but maybe an iPod will work

  • thepointsguy

    or give her my old one when I get the new one (through a portal, obviously).. not a bad idea!

  • Aeroman

    Is this a new reader to the site?
    a girl? really?
    I was always told this before my man put a ring on it. (it is legal in my country)

  • Charles Clarke

    You forgot to mention one of the best techniques for her: have her grandson analyze her spend, sign her up for really good cards and set up the automatic payments for her. :-)

  • Jetstream

    Sorry to hear that. Best wishes…

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