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Today we’re meeting another TPG reader who has begun working toward a travel goal she’s set for herself in 2018. Over the first two weeks of January we’ve already met…

  • Heather P., who’s planning to open her first travel rewards credit card in 2018.
  • Bryan O., who’s working toward an around-the-world award on Singapore.
  • Kim C., who wants to use points and miles to book her honeymoon.

And now we’re pleased to introduce Tiff H., who’s just getting started in the world of points and miles. (This quote has been lightly edited for clarity.)

My goal is to book my first award ticket. I’ve never paid any attention to rewards programs before this year, but now I can’t wait. I got my first passport and I want to become a stamp collector, and not a philatelist!!  

We couldn’t agree more — it’s better to be a traveler collecting passport stamps than a philatelist studying postage stamps (and yes, we had to look up “philatelist”). The best thing about points and miles is that you can use them to take trips you couldn’t afford otherwise, and meet folks and experience cultures that you’d never see without going.

Of course, the first step to booking a flight with travel rewards is earning those travel rewards, and you can quickly bank plenty of points or miles with a single credit card bonus. There are plenty of options to choose from, though one card that we’ve long advocated as a great choice for beginners is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. With flexible Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to both airlines and hotels, travel perks like primary car rental coverage and a reasonable $95 annual fee — which is even waived the first year — it’s a solid starter card that you can also keep for the long term.

Chase sapphire preferred amex everyday card
The Amex EveryDay and Chase Sapphire Preferred are two great options if you’re working toward booking a first award flight.

Or if you’re more interested in the travel partners of American Express’ Membership Rewards program, you might consider a card like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, which earns a 20% point bonus each time you make more than 20 transactions in a billing cycle, and lets you transfer points to airline partners like Delta, British Airways and Singapore Airlines.

But once you’ve earned enough points to book an award flight, it’s important to learn the best ways to maximize those points. If you’ve already got a specific trip in mind, check out our many destination guides such as “Your Points and Miles Guide to Rome, Italy” or “Your Points and Miles Guide to Sydney, Australia,” just to name a few. And if you’re not sure where to go or how best to use your welcome bonus, we’ve got you covered too with stories like “5 Best Ways to Use 60,000 Membership Rewards Points” and “Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards for Maximum Value.”

So we’re looking forward to seeing what flight Tiff decides to book with her points and miles, and what stamp she’ll end up with in her passport first — with hopefully many more to come.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.