When you ask how to use credit card reward points you probably really want to know how to get the most from your rewards card. In fact, many people ask how they can make money with credit card rewards – the answer often comes in the form of maximizing special limited time offers to get yourself some free travel.
One of the keys to a successful miles and points strategy is taking advantage of limited time offers. Some of the best offers are only around for a couple weeks while others are known to re-appear like clockwork every couple months. You can spend a lot of time browsing through the forums on a place like FlyerTalk but I like to follow one or two big points blogs (like this one) in order to stay on top of the latest and greatest offers.
Once you’ve found that amazing limited time offer your next challenge will be figuring out how to maximize the benefits. Obviously it makes sense to apply for that card for yourself but if you’re married or manage your parents’ finances for example, you could also apply for cards for them too.
Applying for multiple cards is one of the best ways to take advantage of a limited time offer. Additionally, a lot of points and miles programs allow transfers within family members or members of the same household so combining the points should be relatively easy.
I don’t have any kids yet but I know that once I do, I will definitely look to leverage their credit once they’re old enough. Children can’t apply for cards until they’re 18 but they can be added as authorized users. This would come in handy with a card like the Chase Ink or Chase Bold that gives authorized users (employees) two free Lounge Club Passes. You could earn two extra free lounge passes each year for every child you add.
Many people want to make money with credit card rewards, and one way they do this is to apply for many cards and take advantage of different offers at once. In fact, one of the credit card myths that persists to this day is that you can only get a sign up bonus once. Often, that is not the case. In fact, there are lots of churnable cards out there where you can get a sign-up bonus again after a certain waiting period. This practice isn’t for beginners though since you’ll need to be able to explain your application activities to the banks.
The Alaska Visa card from Bank of America is a great example of a card that is churnable since I myself have applied for this card on two separate occasions and gotten the sign-up bonus both times. Many of the B of A cards can actually be churned every 90 days. When it comes to how to use credit card reward points to make money, this is one way.
Since US Airways and American Airlines are merging in 2015, the US Airways card is a great one to snag before it goes away. The card is churn-able but there are conflicting reports about whether you need to cancel your old one or not. I actually have one of these cards myself and I plan to get another before the end of the year.
Amex recently changed their sign-up bonus policy so that you can only get one sign-up bonus per card. In the past, you could apply for the same card after the account was closed for 12 months. This new policy essentially means that Amex cards are no longer churnable. But you can still apply for a personal and business version of cards like the Premier Rewards Gold and get two bonuses that way.
Lastly, you can earn multiple bonuses by applying for variations of cards within the same program. For example, you could get one bonus by applying for the Gold Delta Miles card and then another with the Platinum Delta Miles card.
Similar to Amex, Chase has some pretty strict rules when it comes to churning. You should generally wait 3 years from your application date before churning. But they also offer the widest variety of cards so it’s unlikely that you’ll ever run out of cards to apply for. I especially like to churn business cards like the Ink Plus or the Ink Bold with Chase since every time you start a new business you can apply for a new card and get the sign-up bonus again.
One thing that you’ll need to be aware of though is with a card like the Chase Marriott that offers a sign-up bonus and a free night you won’t get the free night the second time around. Since that free night is linked to your Marriott Rewards Membership, you will only get that part of the sign-up bonus once. But the points are still churnable.
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