June 25, 2024
8 Savvy Tips About Using Your Credit Card and Travel Points


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Chasing your points?

Seniors are very good at using their points on credit cards and other perks they might get. In fact, seniors will use these well over other generations. Seniors know which cards have the greatest points for what purchases.

Many seniors keep this information on their phones. 

For example, going to the grocery store means I will use my Chase® card as it gives me more points than my American Express® Sky Miles for the purchase of groceries. 

I will then keep a monthly total of my points and how they add up.

Why do companies offer points for customer loyalty?

Companies offer points for customer loyalty to encourage repeat business and build stronger relationships with their customers. Here are some of the key benefits for companies:

  • Increased Sales: Encouraging Repeat Business: Loyalty programs incentivize customers to make more purchases by rewarding them with points that can be redeemed for discounts, free items, or other perks.
  • Customer Retention: It's generally cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new ones. By rewarding loyalty, companies can discourage customers from switching to competitors and keep them coming back for more.
  • Valuable Customer Data: Loyalty programs often require customers to sign up with their contact information and purchasing history. This data allows companies to better understand their customer base, personalize marketing campaigns, and develop targeted promotions.
  • Enhanced Customer Relationships: Loyalty programs can help create a sense of community and exclusivity for customers. Feeling valued by a company can lead to increased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
  • Promoting New Products: Loyalty points can be used to promote new products. Companies can offer bonus points for purchasing new items, encouraging customers to try out new offerings without feeling like they’re taking a risk. 
  • Cost-Effective Marketing: Loyalty programs can be a cost-effective marketing tool. The cost of awarding points is typically lower than traditional advertising methods. Moreover, loyal customers are more likely to engage with marketing campaigns and respond positively to promotions. 
  • Creating Competitive Advantage: In industries with high competition, a strong loyalty program can serve as a significant competitive advantage. Customers are more likely to stick with brands that offer tangible rewards for their loyalty.


Companies Will Change Their Policies

So, companies are changing their policies and they have a right to do so. You have no say. 

Recently, we have all seen how one airline company changed their “Medallion” program leaving many medallion members without benefits.  In fact, they were no longer able to use any perks they were accustomed to. 

This allows this airline to lower its liability and contain the problem if everyone who was a medallion member used their perks all at once. 

To add insult to injury, the credit card company attached to this airline just raised their annual fees and seniors can no longer afford the card.  If they cancel, they will lose their airline points. Their annual fees are increased to $350-$695 a year.  Are the perks worth this money? Maybe, if you use them consistently.  

But this company does have a card offer with no annual fee and you can keep your points if you decide to go that route. You can also keep your card number. You just have to know to ask for it. 

Let’s go back to the Airlines.  If you decide to use your “miles”, you may find that the points for the very same flights have increased several thousand points above the cost. 

For example, I recently wanted to fly to Seattle. The flight was $220.  But when I returned to the Airline site and asked to use cash + miles, all of a sudden it was now 35,000 points which is equivalent to $350. 

Most conversions from points to dollars is 1 cent per point.  But in this case, by raising the points (because I was actually USING them!), it is now 7/10 of a penny. Or another way to look at it is… it costs $130 more dollars points to use the rewards program.

On top of this, the miles + cash are only available on certain flights. 

PRO TIP: Never check out flights on your computer before first going to your “Incognito window” in the upper right corner. Then look at your flights.  Write down the flights you want. 

Then go to the website and select those flights. 

If you do not do this, you may find that once you shop for flights and then go back to look for them again, they have increased by 200%!  Once the airline company has your IP address they may increase rates knowing you are interested in their travel options. 

Some of us seniors will even have our children look up flights "incognito" as they get special offers seniors don’t see.  We will find and book the best offers this way!

TIPS on how to get and use your points

  1. Don’t buy points. They are extremely expensive. 
  2. Your reward points are about to expire. If you cancel a credit card you will lose your points so use them before you cancel.
  3. Travel redemptions you want are available. If you focus on earning airline miles or hotel points so you can redeem rewards for travel, finding the award space or free nights you want is another reason to redeem right away.
  4. Never cancel your card because of high annual fees until you call the company.  They will give you several options.  Say no to the first options as they usually have second options that are much better. 
  5. You found a special offer. Sometimes rewards programs extend special offers that are hard to pass up.
  6. You’re ready to splurge. Sign up for a card that gives you a lot of points if you spend X number of dollars within a certain time. Remember 100,000 points is worth $1000.  Just make sure you are going to use those 100,000 points.
  7. If using your points to travel, go to the credit card’s travel center and purchase through them. You may get more “bang for your points” by using their travel agency vs going straight to the airlines, hotels, and rental car places. But always compare. 
  8. If you’re a member of Costco, don’t forget their travel center. It offers great deals. 
  9. And remember to always ask about a senior discount. I recently booked a hotel and the SENIOR DISCOUNT rate was actually $50 HIGHER than the website offer!  So be wise and beware. 

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  • About the Author

    Hi, I'm Suzanne. My passion is creating working knowledge to well-informed, well-prepared seniors and their families so they may enjoy the later years with health, wealth, and happiness, I've helped over 10,000 patients, seniors and their famlies like yourselves do just that through my courses, eBooks, the Senior Freedom Club™, and in my physician assistant medical practice.


    This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that has been read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution. Nor does this material constitute a provider-patient relationship between the reader and the author.