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.