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Incredible first-class flights. Luxurious hotel rooms. Flights plus eight nights in Europe for two for under $800 out of pocket. Even if you’ve only been collecting points and miles for a couple of years, you probably have your own success stories to share of how you’re able to see the world for pennies on the dollar. And if you’re anything like me, you love to tell your friends and family about how much you travel, how little you pay to do so and how they can do it, too.

It’s thus infuriating when you go out to eat with those same individuals, those friends who are so quick to ask you about your most recent trip, those family members who longingly look at your vacation pictures, and they do the unthinkable: pull out a wad of cash (or a debit card) to pay for their portion of the bill.

(Momentary pause for everyone to shudder at the horror of this picture.)

If this mental image hits too close to home for you, then keep reading. It’s time to save your loved ones from squandering the chance to do what you do. Well, maybe not to the level of carrying 15+ cards in their wallets, but you get the picture.

TPG readers…your mission, should you choose to accept it, is as follows:

  1. Find at least one friend or family member in desperate need of help in this matter. The ideal subject is one who uses such phrases as, “Cash is king” or “My debit card is easier” or “I don’t travel enough to make opening a travel rewards credit card worthwhile.” These individuals need an intervention, and you’re perfectly suited to do so. (If you need help making the case, share my article on how much someone throws away in just a year by not using a credit card.)
  2. Have him/her/them open a single new travel rewards credit card. While there’s no single best card for everyone, there are several options that make great starter cards for those just getting into the business of earning points and miles. Have your loved one(s) select one of these cards to open and start using regularly, keeping in mind my Ten Commandments for Travel Rewards Credit Cards.
  3. Come back to share your success stories. Once these individuals have earned a sign-up bonus, have been weaned off paying with cash or their debit cards and have realized how simple (and lucrative) it is to use a travel rewards credit card, come back and tell us how you did it. You can either email your success story directly to me (nick.ewen@thepointsguy.com) or visit the TPG Lounge on Facebook and post your story using the #pointsintervention. We’ll feature several of these stories in an upcoming article later this year.
The Sapphire Preferred could be a good fit for many of your loved ones just getting started with points and miles. (Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

If you don’t know which card would be best for your friend in need, I’d recommend going with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This is what I always recommend as a perfect first card thanks to a variety of characteristics: waived annual fee in year one, large sign-up bonus, lucrative bonus categories and primary car rental coverage (to name a few). It’s worth noting that every one of my friends and family members who started with this card did one of two things after the first year: 1) Kept the card and paid the annual fee thanks to the value they got from the Ultimate Rewards program, or 2) Downgraded the card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited and applied separately for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If that isn’t a good fit, check out our 10 Best Starter Travel Rewards Cards of 2018 for additional inspiration.

Bottom Line

TPG readers are passionate advocates for earning and redeeming points and miles, but it can be difficult to convey this passion to loved ones in a way that results in concrete action on their part. This is why we’re throwing down the gauntlet and challenging you to save your friends and family members from their own worst instincts. Don’t let them pay cash. Don’t let them use debit cards. Unlock the world of possibilities by easing them into the world of travel rewards credit cards, and then come back and tell us all about it.

Featured photo by @nina_p_v via Twenty20

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.