This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Ink Plus 

Every week, I get a ton of reader e-mail from people asking for advice on how to maximize their points earning, whether it’s for personal or business use, or both. Today, we’re launching a new Points Intervention series where I help individuals and small-business owners get their awards earning on track. It’s Time for an Intervention

This week, we’re launching a new series appropriately entitled “Points Intervention.” The truth is, even though I’m trying as hard as I can to share the points and miles gospel, there are still lots of people out there who don’t know how to earn and use points — exactly the kind of people who can benefit from an intervention. (If you know someone who needs a points intervention, please share your detailed story at

So, to kick off the series, I’m working with small-business expert Carissa Reiniger. She’s an author and speaker, and a whiz at helping small businesses grow — yet she herself admits that she’s terrible at maximizing miles and points. In fact, Carissa doesn’t even have a points-earning credit card. Let the intervention begin.

What’s the Story?

Carissa’s company, Silver Lining Limited, works with small businesses that bring in from $100,000 to $2 million annually to help them increase revenue and profits. Through a program called SLAP (Silver Lining Action Plan), the company sets a goal for the customer, makes a plan and supports them for a year while they implement the strategies that will help them reach their goal.

While Carissa is clearly very knowledgeable about helping companies grow, she hasn’t yet focused on her own behind-the-scenes operation by using her frequent travel and purchases to her best advantage.

points intervention

(Almost) No Travel Loyalty Programs

Carissa’s company is based in New York. Because she is originally from Canada and her partner is Australian, she travels to both countries many times a year, and flies within the US two to three times a month. In addition, because her business is currently expanding, Carissa frequently travels to Africa and the Middle East.

She does have Platinum status with American Airlines, but she has no enrollment or points earnings for car rentals or hotels, both of which she uses 50-plus times a year.

No Credit Cards, No Rewards

Carissa doesn’t have a credit card — she doesn’t even know what her American credit profile looks like, but she is eligible to get an American credit card through her company, which is good news. Meanwhile, she’s been using a Visa debit card for purchases, accruing no points or miles in the process. Spending hundreds of thousands annually for her personal and business expenses, Carissa is leaving tons of free trips, hotel stays and premium experiences on the table.

No Strategy — Where Do We Start?

After I heard all of this, I took a deep breath. People like Carissa make me realize there is still much work to be done in spreading the wisdom of points and miles strategy. So where do we start?

My advice to Carissa is simple: Get a credit card. To start building her credit score, I recommend that she start with just one card from one of the big banks, such as American Express or Chase, which is currently offering a 60,000-point bonus with the Ink Plus Business card after you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months. If you’re just starting out like Carissa, I’d spend some time learning the basics about credit cards and points earning.

The good news is that it’s really easy to get a credit card in America if your business has an employer identification number (EIN). And with credit card sign-up bonuses the highest they’ve ever been, now is the time for Carissa to get started.

What’s Next?

Look out for the next video in this series where I give Carissa tips on what airlines are best for her personal and business travel. If you or your small business need a Points Intervention, email

Episode 2: Maximizing Your Miles
Episode 3: Choosing the Best Transferable Points Program
Episode 4: Personal vs. Business Credit Card
Episode 5: Maximizing Hotel Stays

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.