WSVN– Ellen Marchman has been racking up points on her credit card since she was just 15 years old.
Ellen Marchman: “I wasn’t traveling that much but I’ve been able to save it and now I have almost a million miles.”
And she knows how to play her cards right when it comes to using miles for travel.
Ellen Marchman: “I save my miles and I use those for first class. A lot of people want to use them for smaller items, I save them for big hotels.”
Just this summer she used miles to pay for trips with her husband to Berlin and Barcelona, Spain.
Ellen Marchman: “We are able to stay in Barcelona for three nights at a five star hotel for free!”
Brian Kelly writes a popular blog called ThePointsGuy.com. He helps consumers get the most from their miles.
Brian Kelly: “The site really became just helping the masses understand this complicated world of miles and points and how you can make out like a bandit.”
Brian advises consumers to get a credit card that offers flexibility with points, instead of hotel and airline-affiliated cards.
Brian Kelly: “Don’t just double down on one airline or hotel. Get a credit card that will allow you to accrue points into a pool and then transfer them to multiple different partners. The biggest examples here are American Express membership rewards and chase ultimate rewards.”
Brian says you don’t have to be a frequent flyer to earn points, just a frequent spender. His advice, use your card for every purchase you make.
Brian Kelly: “Every time you spend you should get one mile or point for that expense.”
So how do you get the most value out of your miles when it comes to flights?
Brian Kelly: “I think generally the best value is redeeming for premium tickets for business or first class.”
Brian also suggests using your miles for last minute trips.
Brian Kelly: “Frequent flyer miles are incredibly valuable for last minute travel. They are a great insurance policy to have for family emergencies. Because last minute fares are through the roof, yet it’s the best time to use your miles.”
And don’t let your miles expire. It’s like losing free money.
Brian Kelly: “I use sites like awardwallet.com and tripit. They’ll track my miles and if any are about to expire, they’ll actually send you an email.”
Brian says the most important thing to remember is to pay off your credit card in full every month. And if you have a story idea for Money Monday, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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