Maximize Frequent Flyer and Rewards Points

May 28, 2013

"I'm six-foot-seven, so I only fly first (class)," Kelly explains. "Those tickets are $5000 and up. I just flew to Brazil for $2.50 in first class."

Kelly says only about two-thirds of Americans use rewards programs. And of those, more than a quarter have let their points or miles expire without redeeming them.

He says, "So many people actually earn them but forget about them, and just let them expire, which is seriously, just like taking cash and throwing it in the trash cans. It's critical to maximize your miles and points."

Part of the problem is that the programs can be confusing. But Kelly has a Beginner's Guide on his site, full of free advice.

The first step is to join any rewards programs for which you might be eligible. Also, sign up for reward credit cards that let you transfer rewards points to places you can use -- like hotels or online shopping.

He says, "If you want to get lots of value out of your points, you need flexibility. I don't recommend putting all your eggs in one basket. Even if you fly one airline, it's really good to diversify your points, because if that airline doesn't have availability, you want other options."

Kelly warns that rewards credit cards tend to have high finance charges, so it's important to pay off your balance every month. And then, keep track of all those points you're earning.

He advises, "It does get overwhelming with so many credit cards, hotels, (and) airlines, so I use two different services, TripIt and AwardWallet . They both have free memberships. They track everything all in one spot, everything down to your Petco Pals program."

Once you've accumulated points, Brian has lots of tips on getting the most from your rewards, including shopping throught credit card shopping portals and using dining programs.

To check out Kelly's other great tips on getting the most about credit card rewards and frequent flyer miles, click here for The Points Guy website.
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