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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 intervention@thepointsguy.com.)

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 intervention@thepointsguy.com.

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 Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

LIMITED TIME OFFER. Aside from the 100,000 points welcome bonus (available until 8/8/18), Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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