Having points and miles is a great relief in case of an emergency! The other day my sisters conference-called me with a plea for me to travel from my home in L.A. to Nashville to help them move my parents across town. My parents are in their 70s and orchestrating the move has been a family task. And on top of that, my dad was just taken to the ER for reasons yet unknown. Fortunately, I’ve amassed tons of points on a couple of airlines so this last-minute trip is cheap & easy. Rather than spending $500+ on a roundtrip ticket, which I would have done if I didn’t have miles, I spent 25,000 American Airline frequent flyer miles, $7 in taxes and $75 for a last-minute ticketing fee. Thank goodness for my hobby collecting points and miles because I’m off to Nashville in the morning!
It’s Great to Have Choices
I had the choice of several airlines because I have enough points on American Airlines and I have Membership Reward points that can be transferred to several airlines. Even though I think the $75 fee on American Airlines is a ridiculous penalty, it was better than spending 40,000 miles on Delta but no fee, or using 24,000 miles on Southwest Airlines but leaving at 5:30 a.m.
Having these choices is relatively new to me. Before 2012, I was a dedicated American Airline frequent flyer using them nearly exclusively within the U.S. and often times abroad. Over the years I have flown with them, it has gotten more and more difficult to be able to use my frequent flyer miles for holiday travel and I discovered Southwest often has lots of availability. So, for the past few years I have worked to accrue miles on several airlines and sign up for credit cards that offer flexible points. I’ve learned a lot about which cards and airline frequent flyer programs have the best options.
My Favorite Cards I Use for Travel Rewards
I really love the Chase Ink Bold with a 50,000 sign up bonus. This card gives me 5 points per dollar spent on my cell phone bill, which adds up to a lot of points. I also love the Southwest Airline 50,000 sign up even though it has a fee of $69. But the Chase Sapphire card is my absolute favorite card because I like 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants and earning even more bonus points through Chase Sapphire’s shopping portal with hundreds of retailers like Lowes, Sears, Target, Walmart, etc. (Chase Ink Bold also has a shopping portal but for some reason it doesn’t function as well as the Sapphire site.) All of these cards require spending a certain amount of money on the cards before you get the sign up bonuses. You can read here for more information about how to start your credit card strategy to earn more points and miles.
It’s a Hobby that Comes in Handy and Pays Off
It does take some time to keep up with all the options available because they keep changing all the time. All I can say is thank goodness for my hobby collecting points and miles; they are great to spend on wonderful vacations but they can also come in handy in the case of an emergency.