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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.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards