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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 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 amextravel.com.
  • 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
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
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.