6 Ways You’re Leaving Points on the Table

Most people in this hobby are pretty good about finding ways to earn points and miles. We sometimes do crazy things to earn points and other times we lose out because we didn’t take enough risks. For one reason or another, we miss out on point-earning opportunities because we’re off chasing big fish. Don’t miss out on easy points and miles. Here are 6 ways you may be leaving points on the table:

  1. Not meeting credit card spending requirements. This one is pretty obvious, right? Wrong. There are people who just don’t make it a priority to meet credit card spending requirements. “I couldn’t find $5,000 worth of spending so I just didn’t earn the points.” There are zero excuses for not meeting credit card spending requirements. You don’t have to get into debt to do it and if you still can’t swing it, you shouldn’t apply for a rewards credit card. This is the single worst way possible to lose out on miles.
  1. Not taking advantage of category bonuses. Using the wrong credit card is pretty much one of the worse ways you could be leaving points on the table. We all spend money at gas stations, grocery stores, and office supply stores, right? There’s no reason to earn just 1 point per $1 spent in these categories. Credit cards like the Premier Rewards Gold Card, Hilton HHonors Surpass, and Ink Business Preferred are just a few that offer at least 1 extra point on spending with these merchants. When you have a credit card that offers category bonuses, you really should make the most of it by channeling appropriate purchases to maximize your rewards.
  1. Not using shopping portals. Clicking through shopping portals is an easy way to generate bonus points with little effort. That’s why you should always use them when shopping online. I’ve earned anything from 1 – 30 extra points per $1 spent by clicking through shopping portals. Don’t leave miles on the table: Take this easy step to maximize your online purchases.
  1. Not registering your card with a dining rewards program. Nearly every rewards program (airlines and hotels alike) partners with a dining rewards network to pay out bonus points on restaurant spending. This is in addition to restaurant category bonuses you can earn from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It’s one of those point-earning activities you don’t even have to think about. Just register your credit card with the program of your choice and you’ll automatically earn bonus points every time you swipe your card.
  1. Not adding an authorized user. Many credit cards offer bonus points when you add an authorized user. We’re talking the easiest 5,000 points you’ve ever earned! Not only do you get this bonus after they make a purchase, but you can keep earning rewards when your authorized user continues using the card. This can be a great option for a spouse or (responsible) child. But I would only do this if you trust the other person not to go overboard. If you don’t feel comfortable handing a credit card over to another person, then simply add them to the card, swipe the card to earn the bonus, then remove them from the account. Or keep them, which can help build credit.
  1. Not paying attention to annual spending bonuses. One of the best ways to get the most out of a rewards credit card is to earn annual spending bonuses. Tons of credit cards offer anything from bonus miles to free nights and elite status for $2,500 – $60,000 worth of annual spending. Most of us can manage annual spending within that range. It’s a matter of paying attention to those bonuses and taking the time to channel spending to the appropriate cards. We all have living expenses but not using them towards earning the most rewards possible is the worst way possible to lose out on points.

I want to hear from you: What are some of the ways you’ve lost out on rewards by not taking advantage of the above resources?

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal is a travel hacker and travel rewards expert who earns over 1.5 million miles every year. When she’s not contributing to Frugal Travel Guy, she publishes her own points and miles blog, PointChaser.com. You can connect…
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Apply Now

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