Beginners Series

What Is the Best Credit Card for a First Time Applicant?

April 20, 2014

TPG reader Kashif tweeted me to ask: “@thepointsguy I’m turning 18 this week and I’m thinking of signing up for a credit card that I could pay off. What’s your suggestion for the best points card for a first-timer?” Happy 18th birthday, Kashif! Before you choose any card, I’d suggest checking your credit score for free […]

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Benefits and Costs of Adding Additional Cardholders on Credit Cards

April 9, 2014

Readers often ask me about the perks and downsides of adding cardholders to existing credit card accounts, and I’ve explored the answers in posts like:  What Are the Effects of Adding an Additional Cardholder? Should I Make My Fiance An Additional Cardholder on my Chase Sapphire Preferred? Are You Eligible For a Sign Up Bonus […]

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Attaining Airline Elite Status Series: The Basics and Why People Mileage Run

October 26, 2011

This is an installment in my Maximizing Elite Status series. Articles include; The Basics and Why People Mileage Run, Using ITA Matrix to Find Cheap Flights, How Much is Elite Status Worth?, Comparing Top Tier Status, Comparing Mid-Tier Status, Comparing Low Level Status, How to Get Elite Miles Without Flying, Understanding Elite Status Bump Thresholds, The Lowdown on Soft Landings, How to Cope with Losing […]

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My Ranking of Airline Frequent Flyer Programs

October 24, 2011

All airline miles were not created equal. And while some programs are clearly better than others, the only thing that matters is how much value you get from your frequent flyer program. For example, if your preferred airport is only serviced by American – you may value your AAdvantage miles much more than any others. […]

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Video Blog Post: When Should I Cancel My Credit Card?

October 17, 2011

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is, “When do I cancel my credit cards?” I filmed a short video while recently at the Andaz West Hollywood to answer this question, however I’ll recap my thoughts below for those who don’t feel like watching. (Pardon the background music in the video – […]

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Sunday Reader Question: How Can You Spend Your Way to Airline and Hotel Elite Status?

October 9, 2011

Savvy TPG reader thegasguru asks: “I’d like to see a post on how to “spend” your way to status in various programs. Can the very top tier status be obtained without ever stepping foot on the plane or in the hotel? If not, what’s the highest you can go via spend only” These days, its […]

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Using for Award Availability

October 6, 2011

Airline websites are notoriously horrible for award searches – especially when it comes to partner availability. Even ANA’s site, which is revered as possibly the most accurate search engine for Star Alliance availability, has a frustrating and time-consuming interface that only searches simple routes day-by-day. While not perfect, I religiously use to identify accurate […]

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New Beginner’s Guide Resource Page

September 22, 2011

I preach about miles and points pretty much wherever I go. Whether it’s the grocery store clerk who comments on my nifty Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Canadian immigration official who this week grilled me on my “so called job as a blogger,” I feel like I’m talking about points all the time. And that’s […]

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Maximizing Stopovers, Transfers and Open Jaw Ticketing on American Airlines Awards

June 30, 2011

This is the fourth installment in the series. See also Delta, British Airways and US Airways. To come: Continental, United and Air Canada. American Airlines was the first US legacy carrier to institute one-way awards and when that happened, they greatly scaled back the flexibility of awards when it came to stopovers. As the saying goes, as […]

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Reminder – Join a Mileage or Points Dining Program

June 29, 2011

I’ve gotten a bunch of new credit cards recently (thanks to some amazing sign-up bonuses) and it dawned on me the other day that I hadn’t registered them all to a dining program. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Rewards Network is a company that will automatically give you miles […]

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Maximizing Stopovers, Transfers and Open Jaw Ticketing on US Airways Awards

June 16, 2011

(This post is focused on maximizing US Airways awards. Future posts will focus on American, Delta, United/Continental, Air Canada and British Airways. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment below or email me). US Airways is a Star Alliance member, which means you can redeem your miles on all 26 other Star […]

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How to Use the ANA Award Tool to Search Star Alliance Award Availability

June 9, 2011

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is one of Japan’s premier airlines and a Star Alliance member. While many of you will never set foot on an ANA plane, you should be a member of their frequent flyer program, Mileage Club, because it allows you access to near perfect Star Alliance award availability. This means you can search […]

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Understanding How Your Credit Score Works

June 1, 2011

One of the easiest way to accrue a ton of miles is through credit card sign-ups. In fact, this year has been a banner year with the 100,000 mile British Airways deal (expired), 100,000 point Amex Platinum Card (expired), 75,000 AA cards (active) and 50,000 point Sapphire Preferred card (active). All it takes is a […]

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Understanding How Credit Card Travel Rewards Work

May 23, 2011

Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.  This is the first post of a new series designed to help beginners understand the points and miles world. I’ve created a new category “Beginners Series”, with that hopes that if someone stumbles upon this site, they’ll […]

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Avoiding Foreign Transaction Fees on Points and Miles Earning Credit Cards

March 28, 2011

If you aren’t already aware, many credit card issuers charge ridiculous foreign transaction fees on every purchase you make on your credit card outside of the USA. In fact, you may even be charged this fee from within the US if the merchant processing the charge is based outside of the States. These fees – […]

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