Maximizing Your Points And Miles This Holiday Season 0

With the holidays just around the corner, most people have some big spending and possible big travel plans in mind. With that much spending on the cards, how do you maximize your points and miles earning from the coming holiday period?

Double Dip with Airline Shopping Portals

One of the best ways to earn additional points and miles for your Holiday spending is to shop via airline shopping portals. Almost every major airline has its shopping portal that allows you to earn miles when shopping at major retailers. To get the most out of airline portals, you need to follow three steps.

Step One: Determine which portal to use.

Let’s assume you are looking for a few nights stay at a Holiday Inn over the holiday period when visiting family. Head over to a site like evreward.com, and search for Holiday Inn. The site will return a result Showing you how many miles you will earn by going through each airline portal.

In this case, the most lucrative option is to go through the AA portal which Earns you 3X per dollar.

Step Two: Make Your booking

The next step is to log in to your AA shopping portal account or create an account then log in. You can then make your required reservation at the Holiday Inn Site, via the AA shopping portal.

Step Three Pay with the Right Card!

The final step is to pay with the right credit card. If you are collecting Credit card points, you can pay with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn 2X per dollar or even the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to earn 3X per dollar, since the purchase at the hotel will code as travel. An alternative is if you are an IHG aficionado, is to pay with your IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card to earn 10X per dollar.

The Math:

For that sake of this example, let’s assume the stay cost $200 and was booked through the AA shopping portal.

Paying with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card:

  • From the AA shopping portal: Earn 600 AA miles (3X $200)
  • From Your actual Hotel Stay: earn 2,000 points for your stay- you earn 10X per dollar
  • From your CSP: earn 400 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (2X for travel booking)

Paying with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Card:

  • From the AA shopping portal: Earn 600 AA miles (3X $200)
  • From Your actual Hotel Stay: earn 2,000 points for your stay- you earn 10X per dollar
  • From your IHG: earn a further 2,000 points (the card earns 10X per dollar for spending at IHG properties)

The credit card you would use to pay will depend on your overall travel rewards strategy, whichever card that you opt to use, try and choose one that balances the highest rate of return as well as helping you reach your travel goals.

Once caveat with shopping through portals, and third-party sites is you may want to double check the T&Cs since in some cases you will be ineligible to earn hotel elite status tier points when booking through a third party.

What about Presents!

In the above example, we were talking about a hotel stay, but what if you are buying goods, for instance, an item form Bloomingdale’s. Step one and step two are identical head over to evereward.com to determine your best portal and then go through the portal to make your purchase.

In this case, it is a tie between Alaska and AA, going through both portals will earn you 6X miles per dollar spent. Arguably you are better off going through the Alaska portal their miles have a higher value than AA miles.

Image Alaska

Choosing the right card to pay with can be a little more complicated, and require some “Out of the box” thinking. Most cards (even premium one) will earn 1X point per dollar, so you may want to look at a cashback earning card. In this situation, your best option would be going for the Chase Freedom® Card, which currently has department stores as a 5% quarterly bonus category, and Online purchases at Bloomingdale’s qualify.

By activating this quarters bonus, you will earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 of spending at department stores, wholes sale clubs, and Chase Pay payment. If you maximize your purchases, you will earn $75 of cash back. If you hold a fee-paying Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred®, you can then convert your cashback to Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1cent=1point. Maximizing your earning (by spending $1,500) with the Chase Freedom® at Bloomingdale’s would yield the following:

  • Airline miles: 9,000 Alaska or AA miles depending on which shopping portal you go through.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 7,500 points when you convert your $75 cash back to points.

Meet Minimum Spend To Earn a Bonus

If you have been saving up for the holiday period, and are going to make some substantial purchases, why pay with a debit card, when you can put your spending on a credit card. To help meet the minimum spend requirements to receive a welcome bonus. For instance, getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, and putting on your holiday spend on it, means you will probably go some way towards meeting the $4,000 minimum spend requirement. Meeting the minimum spend triggers a 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus, which according to our valuation is worth a minimum of $1,000 of value.

Final Thoughts

Whenever you have some big spending coming up, it is imperative that you plan properly to maximize your earning potential, and the holiday season is no different. With some planning and forethought every time you make a payment whether it be a cup of coffee or the deposit on a car, you should be getting the best value.

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