This post was sponsored by Chase IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, but all opinions are my own.
Credit card offers constantly arrive in the mail, offering everything from sign-up bonuses to waived first-year fees, to double points for the first month. These days, credit cards provide benefits for almost any of your favorite travel brands, and rewards come in all shapes and sizes: cash back, airline miles, hotel status, and membership points. The bad news? Most people don’t use their rewards card to its full potential. The good news? You don’t have to be one of them. Read on to learn how you can get the most out of your travel rewards credit card.
Commit to one card.
How many rewards credit cards to do you have? If you have to count, you probably have too many. The first step is to decide which category (e.g., air travel, hotel, etc.) is most important to you. When maximizing the benefits from your rewards card, identify where you spend the most money while traveling and which perks matter most to you. Trust me—having one card will help you earn more points faster. Even though I am a frequent flyer, I use my travel rewards card for hotel benefits more often than air travel. I can count on room upgrades and free nights more often than I can a free flight, which saves me money over time.
Use the card more.
To earn even more points, use your card as much as you can. I’m not suggesting that you go on a shopping spree just to earn points, but use your rewards card in place of your debit card. Be sure to pay off your balance every month to avoid incurring high-interest charges. With rewards cards, the key is to not spread out your spending! Otherwise, you will never be able to accumulate enough points to make the card worth your while. The more you use your card, the more points you’ll earn, so purchase with your card as often as you can while staying financially savvy.
Know your benefits.
Of course your rewards card will provide you with ways to earn points at an accelerated rate, but don’t overlook the additional benefits that come with your travel rewards card. You may recall from my travel posts that I am a loyal member of the IHG® Rewards Club program. Therefore, my travel card of choice is the Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. It not only gives me 10 points for every dollar I spend while staying at IHG® properties, it also awards me Platinum Elite Member status. This benefit includes room upgrades, late check-out, complimentary breakfast, and many other perks free of charge, so I get more from my stay simply by using that card. Beyond the hotel benefits, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card also gives me a credit for TSA Pre√® and Global Entry, which comes in handy for a frequent traveler like myself!
Be strategic about using your points.
To get the most out of your travel rewards card, plan how you will use all the points you earn. Are you going to apply your points to discounted rates on hotel stays here and there, or save them up for free nights on a big vacation?
My husband and I just got back from Alaska for his daughter’s high school graduation. Because we’d saved points to use on our trip, we were able to stay at the Crowne Plaza Anchorage for an extra night and enjoy our family time longer. We travel often, so we tend to use our points on free nights at select hotels throughout the year. Because the Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card gives you the fourth night free during rewards stays of four or more nights, we plan to save up our points this year and use them for a free stay instead.
My number one recommendation for getting the most out of your travel rewards card? Travel more! Get out there and do more of what you love—maybe even use your points to take that dream vacation you’ve been putting off for years! You’ll never regret taking the time to see more of the world, and an excellent travel rewards credit card will help you earn benefits for making lasting memories with your loved ones. What’s not to love?