While there are lots of really brainy and geeky content out there on how to use credit card points for travel, I would be taking a much simpler route to explain how this works.
In fact, places like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and a host of other developed nations constantly have lots of migrants who come in to build a new life here. And for many… or maybe a few of these individuals, the concept of credit cards and credit card points are pretty new to them.
I guess that’s a huge part of my focus group for this post. And if you happen to fall into this, do grab some refreshing drink to sip as I get into this.
What is a Credit Card?
For anyone who has lived here in America or some other developed nation for some time, the question of what a credit card is definitely sounds so basic. But really, you would be shocked to know the number of new entrants into America who have never used a credit card.
So, in very basic terms, let me get to explain what a credit card is.
You possibly have always been used to a debit card. That plastic or metal card which you got from your bank, and through which you make payment for purchased items in stores.
A credit card is also similar, except for a few differences. When you pay for goods or services using a debit card, the amount gets deducted from your bank account balance immediately. But with a credit card, the amount for the item is offset by the credit card company… I mean the company that issued the credit card.
There is however a big BUT…
The credit card company sends you a monthly statement which contains your purchase log for that month. And you are required to pay it up within a given time frame.
So, a credit card can be a great life saver… if you clear off your balance each month. This way you avoid been charged interest on the amount left unpaid.
Why Then Should I Get a Credit Card?
This would most likely be next question you want to ask since you have to pay up whatever you spend; otherwise, it could negatively affect your credit rating.
Well, aside from the many cons which could possibly come from getting a credit card, there are also several advantages to getting one… or maybe even more than one. And I am pretty sure these reasons could spur you to getting a credit card.
This is it: with credit card usage come rewards in the form of cash back, miles and points.
But for this post, I would be spending more on credit card points. How to use credit card points and especially how to use Credit card points for travel.
What Are Credit Card Points?
So, we have already seen what credit cards are. But what exactly are these credit card points?
Okay, credit card points refer to the reward you get from a credit card issuer when you make use of its credit card for making purchase. Although some use the term ‘credit card points’ as the generic name for all of the rewards that could be received from a credit card issuer.
To put it differently, credit card points are the rewards that you earn within the confines of a credit card’s reward system. And what this simply means is that each card issuer defines the value of its credit card points.
Meaning that 1000 Amex points may differ in its redemption value when compared to 1000 City Thankyou points.
That’s a pretty interesting one I must say.
How to Earn Credit Card Points
I already mentioned that the basic way to earn credit card points is by using your credit card to pay for your regular everyday expenses. And the more you make payments using your credit card, the higher the points you earn.
This like I said is the basic way. But there are a handful other ways to earn credit card points. These other methods include:
- Earn Credit card points through credit card signup bonus
How this works is simple. I guess it is just a super-intuitive strategy to get more freshers onboard these credit card companies.
So, aside from the regular $1 credit card spend which would mostly translate into one point for the credit card user, these card issuers also offer huge points for fresh signups.
These credit card signup bonus offers could be an offer of “get 50,000 points if you spend $1,000 within the first three months of receiving your credit card.”
That’s a typical credit card signup bonus up there!
- Earn Credit card points When you refer your friends
Another way to earn bonus credit points is by getting your friends, family and colleagues to signup for a credit card using your referral link. With this method, you could earn upwards of 5,000 credit points depending on the credit card issuer
- Earn bonus credit card points when you shop through the credit card rewards platform
I naturally would have just wanted to stop with the method above, but I felt this is also a valid method to earn bonus credit card points. Since there is usually an online shopping portal alongside the rewards program for most credit cards, you could grab some more points when you through this portal
How to redeem Credit card points for travel
So, you have finally signed up for a credit card, began using it for your every day purchase; or maybe you even qualified for the stash signup bonus. Whichever way, you have finally accumulated some good number of credit card points, and now is the time to redeem your credit card points for travelling purpose.
The big question now is how to go about converting those credit card points into “travel fare?”
Okay, let’s get into the easier method… which is to redeem your points through the credit card’s portal.
Using the Chase ultimate Rewards portal for instance, I have listed the steps to book a flight using your credit card points
Step 1: Sign into your account
Step 2: Click on ‘book travel’
Step 3: Search for the flights and pick one
Step 4: on the payment interface, select pay with points
And straight off you just booked a flight using your credit points
If you however love to go the other route which is a little trickier, that would involve transferring your credit card points to the airline. Once done, you go through the flight booking process.
There you have the basics on what credit cards are, how to earn points with these credit cards, and how to get ‘free’ flights using your accumulated points.
Let’s now get into some more specifics
How to use Amex points for flights
Using AmEx points for flights or for travel is a pretty much easy process. All you have to do is to follow the steps listed below
Step 1: Type Amextravel.com into your web browser and go ahead to search for the trip you want
Step 2: once step 1 is done, you should be at the checkout interface where you have the option of selecting either to “Use Only Points” or “use Points + Card”
Step 3: At this point, your credit card should be charged for the dollar amount
You should however be aware that to use AmEx points for flights, you must use a membership Rewards program enrolled card for payment.
How to Use Chase Sapphire Points
There are quite a number of ways to use Chase Sapphire points, but for this post, I am going to limit our consideration to how to use chase sapphire points for travel.
For this, you can choose to book travel through the Chase portal or transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.
According to the Chase official page, Chase sapphire preferred points for travel is redeemed at 1.25 cents per point while Sapphire Reserve is redeemed at 1.5 cents per point.
How to Use Citi Thankyou Points
When it comes to using Citi’s Thankyou points for travel, you can either choose to redeem your accrued points through Citi itself or by using an eligible airline program.
If you choose to make your air travel bookings through Citi, your Thankyou Points redeem for 1 cent per point. But if you choose to transfer your points to any of Citi’s partner airline, you could get up to 1.5 cents per Thankyou point redeemed.
How to use Bank of America Travel Rewards points
The Bank of America clearly states that Travel Credit is the best value for the points earned from using its credit cards. And to redeem your points, all you have to do is to follow the steps listed below:
Step 1: Sign into your digital banking account at bankofamerica.com
Step 2: Select your account
Step 3: Choose “Rewards”
Step 4: Select “Redeem Points”
How to Use Capital One Points for Flights
To use Capital One miles for flights doesn’t get any easier. With the Capital One miles or points that you have earned, you could possibly cover your entire travel purchases. And with several partner airlines, you could also choose to transfer your miles to these airlines for redemption.
To wrap up, let me give an answer to this very common FAQ
How Many Credit Points do You Need For a Plane Ticket?
There really aren’t a one cap fits all answer to this because the variety of factors involved in air travel would affect the number of credit points that you need for a plane ticket.
Factors such as the class of ticket, the origin and destination airports, and even the airline carrier you choose to go with, would influence the number of credit points needed for a plane ticket.