Track Your Rewards Before Applying for Travel Credit Cards

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

Before you begin applying for travel credit cards that are offering lucrative travel rewards, you need to create accounts with the various airline and hotel chains who offer the miles/points. You have to do this so you can track what you earn and effectively manage the rewards.

For example, before you begin applying for an American Airlines (AA) Citi credit card, you need to make an American Airlines online account. You’ll keep the AA account open forever, and it will be used to collect all of your AA miles (including any future miles earned). And for most of these companies, you’ll actually put your online account number on the related credit card application. This is what ties the credit card (and rewards/miles/points) to your specific account. This enables you to make credit card decisions while still maintaining the rewards for later use.

After you make these accounts, write down the username/password combinations somewhere and save it. You’ll probably forget some of these over time.

Airlines

Alaska Airlines

Airtran Airlines

American Airlines

British Airways

Delta Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

US Airways

Virgin America

Hotels

Club Carlson

Fairmont

Hilton

Hyatt

IHG Rewards Club

Marriott

Starwood

Wyndham

Please note that this list is not conclusive. There may be others that you come across and decide to apply for those awards. These are just most of the majors and should get you started.

Keeping Points Alive

The reason creating these accounts is so important is that you can accrue large amounts of miles/points over time. As I said above, these accounts are independent of your credit cards.

Think of it like this, the credit cards provide the miles or points, which are deposited into your loyalty accounts. You won’t keep all credit cards open forever, so they loyalty accounts allow you to maintain your rewards regardless of your decision to open, close, or maintain each credit card.

Most miles that are deposited into your account will be good for 18-24 months. You can extend the life of all points or miles by showing activity, like making a purchase, or redeeming your rewards.

There is one exception that you need to understand. There are different rules with points issued by banks such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi Thank You points. If you cancel your card that has a balance of these points, you will forfeit them forever.

In order to prevent that problem, you have 3 options:

  1. Use the points before you cancel the card
  2. Transfer to another card/account issued by the same bank (usually another card you own or a spouse/relative).
  3. Transfer to another account. (Most points can be transferred to other airlines/hotels and kept for later use.)

Summary

Before you begin accruing millions of miles to be used on your dream vacation, take some time to set up the proper accounts and processes.

You’ll thank me later when you’re traveling the world for next to nothing.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

User Generated Content Disclosure: Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

9
Leave a Reply

avatar
4 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
Kevin PayneMarredCheeseBrianJacobAnneli Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

MarredCheese
Guest
MarredCheese

Why do you eventually close credit cards? Do they have annual fees? Otherwise, isn’t it better to leave them all open, credit-score-wise?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Award Wallet is pretty good for this.

Anneli
Guest
Anneli

Great advice! It’s so important to be organized every step of the way. You should see our endless Excel sheets! That’s one of the big things that we always harp on: keep track of everything, make sure you know when points are expiring, and have a contingency plan. Most places will let you keep your points that are about to expire by buying something as cheap as a $1 song from iTunes at their shopping portal! The point is, don’t let it get to that point 🙂 Thanks for sharing…

Kevin Payne
Guest
Kevin Payne

Anneli, I’ve been trying to work up a good excel spreadsheet to keep track of this stuff. Any chance you could email me a copy or at least a screen shot of yours? Thanks!

Dear Debt
Guest
Dear Debt

This is really great advice. Good to be organized on the front end, so it’s not a mess later.