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What Are Travel Points?

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

Want to start traveling the world at a fraction of the cost? Here's what you need to know; the basics of travel points!

When someone talks about earning and using travel points, it can seem complicated and scary if you’ve never heard of them. But travel points are just like anything else… They are as complicated as you want to make them! If you want to be able to take consistent trips with very low out-of-pocket costs, then you’re going to have to put more time and effort into the points game. If you just travel occasionally and you want a way to subsidize your travel costs with a low amount of effort, you can just get one good travel card and do all of your spending on it.

Travel points are just points earned from spending money on certain credit cards. You earn points based on the money you spend and you use the points to pay for travel!

Travel points are just points redeemed from spending money on a credit card. They are similar to cash back programs, but instead of crediting your statement balance and slightly lowering the amount of money you’re spending, travel points are saved specifically to be redeemed while travelling, an awesome thing if you’re looking to step up your vacation game!

Travel points actually include points and miles from credit cards, airlines, and hotels. Depending on the issuer, these points can vary but typically have a value of between 1 and 2 cents per point. While this may seem insignificant, carefully planning out your usage of credit cards can get you large chunks of points at once, which can result in you getting free flights or stays in no time!

One of the hardest parts of understanding travel points and the “points game” is getting used to the idea that you will probably open more than one credit card. If you grew up like I did, this was really scary because I learned that credit cards are bad. It is okay to have one credit card, but then you have to be really careful about how much you put on it and you have to pay in full every month. The latter is very true and making mistakes in those areas can get you into a lot of trouble, (see my post about how to stay out of trouble with credit cards) but as long as you’re careful, the world won’t implode if you use more than one card.

Once you decide to start earning travel points, you need to sit down and decide how much you want to get out of the experience. Then you can decide what cards to get and what things you need to be careful of. I encourage you to know more about good cards to start with, and important things to know about travel cards! Read about how to get started with Travel Points with our Beginners Guide.

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