10 New Years Resolutions for Miles and Points Addicts

Dec 31, 2010

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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!

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