A Common Credit Card Points and Miles Misconception


We have noticed a common credit card points/miles misconception among beginners.  Many people think it is about getting that perfect credit card and putting all your spending on that card. That is a great first step. But that is what it is. A first step. With that strategy, you can probably get a free trip every now and then. If you really want to travel for free more often, like every year or a couple of times a year, you need to repeat that step over and over again.


Getting One Credit Card

Let’s say you follow our advice and get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card. Those  60K Ultimate Rewards can get you some amazing free travel. Your thoughts are to continue spending on that card. If you spent about $2,000 a month on it, and assuming your average points earned on it are 2 points per dollar spent, you would earn about 48K at the end of the year. (The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card earns 5x on travel booked in the Chase Portal, 3x for dining and online grocery shopping and streaming services, 2x on travel, and 1x on all other purchases.) At the end of your first year, you would have about 110,000 points. That could certainly get you domestic flights, a flight to Europe, and/or a few nights in a hotel.

The following year, you would have about 50,000 points without another signup bonus. This is probably enough for a couple of domestic flights or some hotel nights.


Getting Several Cards Each Year

Now let’s try it by getting a few cards each year. Again, we got the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and got a 60K signup bonus. Then we referred our spouse to the same card and got a 20K referral bonus. Our spouse then got the 60K signup bonus too. We now have 140K+ worth of Ultimate Rewards. That took us about 6 months to meet our minimum spending on both cards.

We want to use our points to transfer to Hyatt for some amazing hotel nights, so maybe we will get an airline credit card next. The United Quest Card has a great bonus of 80,000 miles, so we apply for that. Then we refer our spouse to the same card and get a referral bonus of 10,000 miles. They get the 80,000 miles, too, and we now have 170,000 United miles. (We will actually earn more than that because of our spending. Just keeping it simple for this example, though.)

At the end of this year, we earned over 300K points for the year. We can do a ton of traveling with that!



Now we just continue that every year. Believe me, there are so many credit cards to apply for. I have earned over 6 million points during the last four years and have never run out of cards to apply for. And I continue with a credit card score of about 830. Putting your normal spending on a credit card to get points/mile for free travel will not ruin your credit score. That is just a credit card myth!


Bottom Line

There is no right or wrong way to earn and use credit card points and miles. I just wanted to clear up a common credit card points/miles misconception that you will earn enough points to take amazing vacations each year with just one credit card. If you want to travel for nearly free repeatedly, plan on signing up for new cards a few times a year.

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  1. D says:

    Do you cancel your cards once youve received the sign on bonuses? Or, when do you get rid of cards? When do you stop using a card and start using a new one? I’m imagining eventually having like 20 open credit cards if I never cancel them!

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