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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
I received our “super-newbie question of the week” from TPG reader Jessica, via Facebook:
“I’m interested in getting a credit card for miles and points, but I’m not sure which one to choose. My main question is, how do you use the miles and points? Do they automatically come off your account when you pay, or do you have to call in?”
Finding and using your miles and points is far easier. Once you choose, apply for, and get a credit card – such as the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, which has a current sign-up bonus of 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership – and you hit your minimum spend (in this case, that $3,000), those miles will automatically show up in your American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer account.
Be aware that when you get any co-branded credit card, if you don’t already have an account with that loyalty program, an account will be created for you. You’re the sole owner of that account, and the miles and points you earn through your credit card belong to you. Even down the line, if you choose to close a loyalty program’s credit card, the account, miles and points will still be yours to keep.
It’s a little trickier when you get bank credit cards from Chase and American Express, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which earns Ultimate Rewards points) or the The Platinum Card from American Express (which earns Membership Rewards). If you close these types of credit cards, you lose access to the points you earned, because they sit in central Chase and American Express accounts. The best course of action before closing out these cards, then, is to either transfer the points to a new credit card, or simply redeem them.
In general, it’s easy to use your points and miles from a credit card, as they go directly into an account that you can access – the key is learning how to leverage your points and miles once you have them. I welcome you to The Points Guy, and encourage you to read our Beginner’s Guide. Before you know it, you’re going to be a points and miles ninja like the rest of us!
If you have other questions, feel free to tweet me at @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Points Guy Assessment: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.