During the last seven articles on the travel credit card we have discussed the types of cards their benefits and how to maximize the actual value of the cards thru bonus’ and every day “spend”. This article is a little different in this article we won’t actually be talking about specific credit cards but instead we will be talking about secondary ways to increase the points and miles you get on your dollars spent.
The two primary tools that Charlene and I use to build points other than our actual card spend are dining clubs and shopping portals.
I’m going to talk first about dining clubs. The three major airline in the U.S. have dining clubs. Because we put most of our effort behind gathering American Airlines miles we use Americans Dining Club but remember United and Delta also offer similar Clubs. The premise behind any Dining Club is simple, you sign up for the club and every time you dine out at a restaurant that is part of that airlines dining club you get extra points for dining at that restaurant. The point incentives for dining at these restaurants can add up quickly especially if you eat out a lot. American offers a 3X to 5X bonus air miles ( a 1.5 cent per mile reward) for every dollar spent at their dining club restaurant. So if we spend $100 on dinner at a restaurant that is a participating member of our airlines dining club we not only get the reward bonus for paying with our card of choice but we get added points per dollar with the airline whose travel club we belong to.
I chose the American Airlines Dining Club for two reasons. I fly American a lot, so I will use the points and the American Points have a higher value then either Delta or United. In order to join the American Airlines Dining Club I went to: https://aa.rewardsnetwork.com and signed up. One important step in the sign up is you have to list the credit card you will use. The dining club only lets you use one card and when you use that specific card at any American Airlines partnered restaurant your dining rewards will be automatically issued so you get your airline miles. I chose the Chase Saphire Reserve credit card as my credit card with the Dining Club because I get as much as 6 cents of travel assets for each dollar I spend on dining with that card.
$100 spent at a Dining Club affiliated Restaurant will yield the combination of the Dining Club reward and the use of my Chase Saphire Reserve Card reward for a total travel asset of ~ $13.5.
All of the major airlines have a dining club and they are an amazing tool to build air miles with the airline of your choice.
Shopping portals are a second way to build travel assets thru your everyday “spend”. Shopping Portals are designed to give incentives to individuals who shop online. If much of your shopping is done on line you will love this tool.
The best way to explain the shopping portal tool is an example. I love bass pro the cloths are perfect for travel light and wrinkle free so most of my clothing purchases are at Bass Pro. I like Bass Pro but I hate to shop, given the choice I will always shop on line. When I buy clothes I use American Airlines Shopping Portal at: https://www.aadvantageeshopping.com. When I sign into aadvantageeshopping.com I search for Bass Pro and the web site takes me to the Bass Pro purchase site. That act of signing in and selecting Bass Pro takes me thru the AAdvantage Shopping Portal and for using their Portal they award me 5 points per dollar spent while I am shopping on line during that session at Bass Pro.
I am aware of no credit card that gives you a really good reward for buying cloths so the 5 American Airlines points I get per dollar of purchase when I use their portal really helps. For purchases like this my fall back favorite card is the Barclay Advantage Plus card that gives me 2 cents for every dollar I spend. When I add my 2 cent Barclay Advantage Plus reward to my reward for using the AAdvantage shopping portal which is worth 7.5 cents (5 X shopping portal incentive X 1.5 cent value of American Airline miles) I now get a spend value of 9.5 cents for my clothing purchase.
Once you are thru the shopping portal and in the vendors site, such as Bass Pro, you can use the credit card that gives you the most bang for your buck on that site. As an example when I use the AAdvantage shopping portal to access Bass Pros site I will use my Barclay Advantage Plus card to pay so I get my 2 points for dollar spent.
Shopping portals offer a full array of vendors from Sear and J C Penny to odd balls like FTD. FTD is now offering a 20 point per dollar incentive what a great reason to get romanic and send flowers!
Short story, by using tools like dining clubs and shopping portals you can significantly impact your ability to maximize your travel rewards for every dollar you spend.
We average about $48,000 in total credit card spend each year based on that spend we can generate a minimum of $3600 a year in completely free travel assets.
That $3600 a year in travel assets does not include new credit card bonus’ and the hundreds of other advantages offered by our credit card such as free bags, upgrades, early boarding, hundreds of dollars in travel credits, use of air port lounges which offer free drinks, food, massages, and manicures, and an array of other valuable benefits.
As we go forward with Geezerswithpassports.com we will continue to talk about the best ways to use the travel credit card but we will also talk about how to stretch those travel assets to the hilt.
When you can fly from Miami to London for $169 one way and that can be purchased with free travel assets that you can build just from the money you already spend we hope you can see how you can use the Geezer travel tools to bridge the gap between your financial reality and your travel dreams.