PART 3: HOW TO REDEEM YOUR POINTS
Transfer Points If Needed
If your credit card is an airline card you're ready to roll, but if your card is a flexible points card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you'll likely need to transfer your points to one of their airline partners.
This is easy to do on the points program's website. You'll log in, choose where to transfer, submit your loyalty program member number that you want to transfer to, select the number of points to transfer and submit.
Most partners transfer almost instantly, while a few take up to 24 hours. When transferring your points, make sure you have your travel plans set before submitting, because these types of transfers are irreversible. Once you transfer your points to an airline partner, the points stay there.
I often instantly transfer points from Chase to British Airways in order to book flights, but I always make sure that the flight I want to book is available using miles before submitting the transfer.
Book Online or Call
With most airline programs, you are able to book directly on their website. It should be just like booking a flight with money, but instead, the valuations will be in miles.
When booking through a partner airline you may have to call to make a booking. For instance, Alaska Airlines is a partner of British Airways, but Alaska flights are not bookable on British Airways' website. When you make these types of bookings you have to call and have one of British Airways agents book the flight for you. It adds a step to the process but is very simple. Plus in this case, you get to talk to someone with a cool accent...
Look For Valuable Redemptions
Remember that all points and miles are not valued equally. If you're going to be transferring points and have a few options for airlines to use, make sure you choose the one that charges the lowest redemption rate for the flight you'll be taking.
To find award redemption rates for different airlines, I use a free search tool called AwardHacker. You can also simply Google search something like: "Alaska Airlines Award Chart". You can do this for each airline that has a flight until you find the best option.
Keep in mind that some airline loyalty programs have "peak" and "off-peak" reward flight prices, so you will pay different amounts of miles for flights at different times of the year. Other programs have different levels of point redemptions that are only available on some dates such as an American Airlines "MileSAAver" flight or a Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away" flight. These are redemptions that are lower mile values than the average redemption.
Just try your best to get the lowest possible redemption rate so that your miles will go farther and you can get more bang for your buck, or in this case for your mile.
You now have the basic skills to begin taking amazing vacation after amazing vacation, while spending little to no money on flights or hotels. Now that you know what's possible and all the travel doors that have opened you'll want to continue traveling using credit cards.
Just like you learned earlier in this course, you'll want to have a strategy for applying to new credit cards. At a maximum, you can apply for new cards every 3 months. I would only do this if you are actually going to be able to spend the points as fast as you earn them because things are always changing in this game.
You don't want to be holding miles and points for long periods of time because occasionally there are devaluations in certain programs.
Sometimes, certain credit cards will have increased bonuses for a limited amount of time. When you see an increased bonus that gives you more value than you'd normally get, you may want to jump on it while you can.
I once got the American Express Platinum credit card with an increased introductory bonus and earned 100k points! Then on top of that, earned a 35% bonus on those points through a promotion when I transferred to British Airways. All in all, I came out with enough points from one credit card bonus to fly round trip to Hawaii more than 5 times!
That's some pretty insane value just for signing up for a credit card...
I'm excited that you can now travel as I do! It makes life much more exciting when you have the means to see the world. Whether you want to travel around our beautiful country or see every country in the world, you now have the freedom to do so as you please!
Join our private Facebook group - It's a community of points travelers
Inside our private Facebook group, you can ask travel points questions when they come up, ask others for travel recommendations, and meet people with similar travel interests to you. We'll also be around to answer questions that may pop up.
The group is private, so once you click join, you can expect to be added within a day or two. I try to check every evening but occasionally forget... Oops
Thanks for joining us and taking the 1-2-3 TRAVEL 4 FREE course!
See you around the world!