Ever since frequent mileage clubs, award clubs and loyalty clubs have been around I have been a member (of quite a few). Almost every place has points to be earned. When you think of things this way, it changes your way spending. Some people believe it is more hassle than it is worth, I believe it depends on the level of earning, or the approach on collecting them. I think it is worth it! This is a game, and I enjoy playing it. Collecting points, miles and incentives gets easier, when there are people out there giving you step by step directions (like me). This blog post is a little insight of collecting points, miles or incentives.
A major organizing tool is to go buy a composition book (on sale right now for $.50) and keep track of what programs you have. Make a page for each reward club/sky mileage. Try to keep your login info the same with all programs, this helps to remember and login easier . In this composition book keep track of miles/points you are supposed to earn. You want to make sure you are credited for the correct points. Once you have your book, spend a day signing up for accounts. Here are a few I think everyone should have: United,Delta, US Air, American, Lifemiles (Avianca), Marriott, Hilton Honors,Starbucks, your local grocery store and pharmacy. There are more, but these are the basics. Sometimes these sites will run specials to buy miles or points, but you must have the account for at least 12 days ahead to participate. If you are all signed up, you can jump on the opportunity when the deals become available.
Once you have set up your accounts, make goals for yourself. Decide what it is you want to do with your points/miles. You can save points to pay for travel, hotel stays, purchase big-ticket items, magazine subscriptions, free coffee treats and many more. Several friends lately have asked to pick my brain about going to Europe in a year. This can be done for cheap or free with points/miles (blog post about that coming soon) with the right planning.
If you have an idea of what you want to do get with your points/miles, then direct focus on earning points to get it. You can by all means earn points for other things simultaneously, this is getting more bang for your buck! My favorite is to use my sky mileage card at the store to buy gift cards, I usually get 2-5 times the gas rewards points with my grocery store loyalty card. I can build these points to get a $1 off per gallon and the store gas station. I use the gift cards to make purchases online and take advantage of online points/miles to be earned.
Most airlines have a sky mall to earn miles. Go to the airline of your choice, this is generally the one you want to earn the most miles on, and access the “earn miles” screen. Here you will find how you can earn miles on car rentals, hotels,financial services, and shopping of course. The sky malls have hundreds of partnered retail stores in which you can earn miles for every dollar spent. If you use a credit card with point/mile capabilities then you earn double. If you have bought gift cards at the grocery store with your point/mile earning credit card and used the gift card to earn miles with your purchase then you earn triple the rewards. Almost everything you buy can earn points somewhere. Even buying a car. If you have time to think before you purchase you can choose the most rewarding way to make purchases.
What it boils down to is points/miles equal money. If you play the game right you can earn it for free.Just think about purchases before or ask someone (like me) for advice. I enjoy helping people especially with travel, points/miles and saving money.