How Do You do This?
This page was requested by a few co-workers recently, so here it is.
I’ll explain everything below the 3 cards, but if you don’t feel like reading that stuff now, and just want to get those cards and get started, here it is.
1. Get the Amex Gold Rewards Card.
2. Get the MBNA Best Western Mastercard. Update Sept 30/2016 It’s back!!!
3. Get the Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Card.
*****Update June 22/2016 4. Get the Chase Marriott Visa
There, if you don’t feel like reading any further right now, those will get you started, with the first one the best one and so on. As with any card pay off your balances in full every month to avoid the extra charges. If you are bad with credit you probably should not do this!
The way this is done is simple. I have been doing this for about 5 years now and my credit has gone up and down. Banks may tell you your credit will suffer if you apply for a certain amount of credit, but I know for a fact my credit is identical to 5 years ago when this all started. On average a new card every 4 -6 months.
Why be happy with free light bulbs from Canadian Tire or free burgers from Presidents Choice using their cards???
Seriously, that was me before. Did some research…fly and stay free now.
Things to consider first…
- Are you doing this just for yourself, just for you and a partner or for you and your family?
- Where do you want to fly and how often?
- Will hotel points be part of your credit card portfolio?
I have pages on how to convert your points to Avios/Aeroplan, how to set up accounts, what hotel cards to get etc. so I won’t go into those details on this page.
I’ll talk about the 3 “things to consider” instead.
- The best scenarios are if you are doing this with a partner and don’t have to fly kids around as well. It makes sense – you pool your points together and have more than double the amount a single person will have.
With the above 4 cards I mention you end up with 50,000 Amex points, 80,000 Best Western points, 50,000 Starpoints(refer partner) and 100,000 Marriott points. That takes 2 people a LONG way.
Now, if it is you and a partner with kids it’s the same amount of points but now you have to pay for kids flights/maybe an extra hotel room so the points don’t go as far.
If it is just you – 25,000 Amex points, 40,000 Best Western points, 20,000 Starpoints and 50,000 Marriott points. That will still get you far to start.
2. The best scenarios are if you are flying short to medium haul flights, because as you might expect they use up less points than longer flights. Let’s say it’s just you and a partner and you convert your Amex points to Avios. (see our Avios page)
So you convert 50,000 Amex points to Avios.
with those points you can at least 8 round trip short haul flights (9000 pts per flight) ie. Detroit – New York City No longer can you do this!
You can get 3 round trip medium haul flights (15,000 per flight) ie. Detroit – Dallas
You can get 2.5 longer haul flights (20,000 per flight) ie. Detroit – Miami
…and so on…
The more points you collect, obviously the more you can fly – there are plenty of cards out there!
3. The best scenarios are if you do collect hotel points as it makes the cost of your trips go down. We started with the Best Western Mastercard and haven’t looked back.
Now, you don’t always need to stay in hotels as we rent condos in Florida often, but having free hotel nights available is nice.
With the above 4 cards, ALL 4 could be used for hotel stays if you wanted. If you just drove to destinations there are many free nights there.
The Amex 25,000 points could be used as $250 towards hotels, the Best Western 40,000 points can be worth up to about $600 in stays but are valued lower, the 20,000 Starpoints are easily worth $600 but more like $1000 in stays. The Marriott points are worth at least $500 in hotel stays. You could easily have over 14 free hotel nights with those 4 cards.
Best bet would be use Amex points for flights, Best Western points for hotel stays, Starwood can go either way – that the best part of Starpoints! Marriott points are best used for hotel stays.
So that’s a brief start-up for people in Canada just getting into this like many of my co-workers – try it out – you will love it!