Learn how to leverage credit card rewards to make your dream vacation a reality.

Start Visualizing your Dream Vacation

I want you to close your eyes and picture yourself sipping a cocktail in a coconut on a beautiful beach in Bali, or exploring a new big city – all without emptying your bank account. How does that make you feel?

Do you think it sounds too good to be true? Or do you think it’s possible?

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With the right credit card rewards strategy, that dream vacation could become a reality this year. By leveraging the power of points and miles, we are unlocking some amazing getaways for pennies on the dollar.

How To Earn Points Rapidly

The foundation of any successful credit card rewards strategy is earning points rapidly and efficiently. The first step is to apply for a travel credit card that aligns with your spending habits and travel goals. There are cards geared towards airline miles, hotel points, or flexible travel credits.

Obviously, to get those free flights and nights at hotels, you need to do some spending. I know it may sound counterintuitive but prioritize putting your everyday spending on your credit card.

Things like groceries, gas, subscriptions or even rent can help you earn points rapidly. That’s why you should research travel credit cards with hefty welcome bonuses that align with your spending habits and travel goals.

Maintaining a Good Credit Score

With the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, you can EARN 3 FREE NIGHT AWARDS after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. To meet that bonus, we use that credit card for most purchases if possible.

This can be a dangerous game, most people know to pay off their balance in full every month to maintain a good credit score. But they miss this extremely important component – 30% of your credit score is made up of credit utilization.

So, if you have a lower total credit limit which is the maximum amount you can charge to your credit cards, for example, $1,000, you’ll want to be careful of how much spending you do on credit.

So sticking with the example, if you have a total credit limit of $1,000, stick to spending $300 on credit or below, otherwise your credit score might get dinged.

Generally speaking, the lower your credit utilization ratio is, the better. The rule of thumb recommendation is to keep your credit utilization below 30%.

What if you have a low credit limit?

If you fall into this category of having a lower total credit limit, it might sound impossible to get that welcome bonus without dinging your credit score but of course, we have a little workaround for you that can help you out in the long run.

If you’re just a person who often spends on their credit card, this is for you too. Many people who have the financial capability to pay off their credit cards just do it when they get an email saying it’s time to pay up or let AutoPay handle the payment at the due date. as you now know, if they spend a lot on their credit card that month and it goes above the 30% credit utilization ratio, that can negatively affect their credit score, even if they pay in full and on time.

If you do end up using more of your credit limit, you can pay off some or all of the balance before the statement closing date – which is different than the due date, so be careful! This way, the balance reported to the credit bureaus is lower, keeping your utilization rate down and maintaining or getting some good reports on that credit report card.

Choosing the right credit card for your needs

Once you have the right card in your wallet, the real work begins – using it for every possible purchase. We like to maximize points earned by making new travel credit cards with welcome bonuses the default payment method for all bills, subscriptions, and everyday purchases like gas, groceries, dining out, boba, if you know you already know… honestly those points will start racking up quicker than you think.

The key here is to make that travel rewards card your go-to payment method for all purchases. By treating it as a points-earning lifestyle rather than just an occasional tool, you’ll be earning points at a rapid clip. And those points will form the foundation for funding your getaway this year.

Once you meet the minimum spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus, those sign-up bonuses can instantly supercharge your points balance with tens of thousands of points after a few months of strategic spending. You’ll have a seriously sizable chunk of points to kick-start your travel fund.

Now, you might also be asking yourself, “after I get that travel bonus, what do I do with that card?”

This is where you need some strategy because the card will still earn points and miles even after you get the welcome bonus. Knowing what card to use at checkout will help you maximize the points received to dollars spent.

For example, some cards earn 3x points on travel and dining purchases. So by putting your travel expenses and restaurant bills on this card, you’ll rapidly accumulate rewards points that can be transferred to over a dozen hotel and airline partners, which we’ll talk about more in depth.

Understanding Your Points: Fixed-Value vs Transferable Points

Fixed-Value Points

Fixed-value points have a set redemption rate, usually around 1 cent per point when redeemed for travel through your credit card’s portal. So for example, booking directly through Amex or Chase’s travel portal. These are simple and straightforward, but don’t always offer the best value. The normies do this, which is alright, but we’re priceless.

Transferable Points

Straight up, transferable points are more valuable but also much more complex. These points can be transferred to partnering hotel and airline loyalty programs, often at favorable ratios.

When it comes to stretching your points as far as possible, transferable currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points offer the most bang for your buck.

By transferring to the right partners and leveraging sweet spot redemption rates, you can get outsized value from your points—we’re talking international first class flights or overwater bungalow resorts for a fraction of the retail cost.

Transferable points can unlock tremendous value, but only if you understand how to maximize them. Doing your research on transfer partners and redemption sweet spots is crucial. For example, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles are a favorite for booking Singapore’s own premium cabins at a relative bargain.

Or you could transfer flexible bank points to Hyatt and redeem just 30,000 points for a night at a luxury Park Hyatt resort that would normally cost over $1,000.

No matter which type of points you earn, be sure to study up on the specific program rules, transfer partners, and redemption sweet spots. The points travel-hacking community is a wealth of knowledge on extracting maximum value.

Where to transfer your Credit Card Points?

Flying United Airlines Using Chase Ultimate Rewards

I know some people have beef with United, but if you don’t and if you want to fly United using Chase ultimate rewards points, you’re going to want to take note here and transfer them to:

  • Air Canada,
  • Singapore Airlines
  • United Airlines.

Flying United Airlines Using Capital one points

If you want to fly using Capital One points, transfer your points to:

  • Air Canada
  • Avianca
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Air Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines.

Flying United Airlines Using Amex Membership Rewards Points

If you want to fly using Amex membership rewards points, transfer to:

  • Air Canada
  • ANA
  • Avianca
  • Singapore Airlines

Flying United Airlines Using Amex Citi ThankYou Points

If you want to fly using Citi ThankYou points, transfer to:

  • Avianca
  • EVA Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines

Flying American Airlines Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Transfer your points to:

  • British Airways
  • Iberia Airlines

Flying American Airlines Using Capital One Points

Transfer your points to:

  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • Finnair
  • Qantas

Flying American Airlines Using Amex Membership Reward Points

Transfer your points to:

  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • Iberia
  • Qantas.

Flying American Airlines Using Citi ThankYou Points

Transfer your points to:

  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways

Flying Delta Using Chase Ultimate Rewards

Transfer your points to:

  • KLM / Air France
  • Virgin Atlantic

Flying Delta Using Capital One Points

Transfer your points to:

  • AeroMexico
  • Etihad
  • KLM / Air France
  • Virgin Atlantic.

Flying Delta Using Amex Membership Reward Points

Transfer your points to:

  • Delta
  • Etihad
  • KLM / Air France
  • Virgin Atlantic

Flying Delta Using Citi ThankYou Points

Transfer your points to:

  • AeroMexico
  • Etihad
  • KLM / Air France
  • Virgin Atlantic

How to earn Hotel Rewards

Just like with flights, travel credit cards have partnered with hotels too. It works almost in the same way in that you could book directly through the credit card portal – but it’s not that much of a deal. Or you can transfer the points to a hotel partner and get some crazy points redemptions.

So if you want to use points instead of all cash staying in a hotel, I’m going to share American Express, Chase, Capital One hotel transfer partners to get the most of your points.

  • If you have American Express membership rewards points, you can instantly transfer points to Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy (which I personally love).
  • If you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can instantly transfer points to Hyatt and IHG Hotels and Resorts. You can also transfer to Marriott Bonvoy, but it will take 1-2 days.
  • If you have Capital One points, you can transfer points to ALL-Accor Live Limitless which will take a little less than 48 hours, or instantly transfer points to Choice Privileges or Wyndham Rewards.
  • If you have Citi ThankYou points, you can instantly transfer points to ALL-Accor Live Limitless, Choice Privileges, or Wyndham Rewards.
  • If you have Bilt with Wells Fargo, you can instantly transfer points to IHG Hotels or Hyatt.

Quick Recap

  • Start by earning points rapidly on a travel rewards credit card tailored to your spending habits.
  • Use that card for all your purchases to supercharge your earnings.
  • Understand the different types of points you’ve accumulated – whether they’re fixed-value, transferable to partners, or a hybrid currency.
  • Maximize your redemptions by transferring points to airline and hotel partners to unlock incredible value.

At the end of the day, travel rewards are a means to an end – experiencing the world’s cultures, natural wonders, and making priceless memories with loved ones. Used responsibly, points and miles provide a pathway to affordable luxury and unforgettable adventures. So start planning that bucket-list trip. With the right credit card strategy, the journey of a lifetime could be closer than you think. Safe travels!

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