How to Realistically Select a Credit Card for Travel Points

Bonjour mes amies! Traveling is me. As une little fille, I always wanted to explore the world. I would read vintage travel magazines and flip the pages of Vogue, lusting over the elaborately dressed femmes adorned avec Louis Vuitton steamer trunks and handbags.

I knew that was the life that I was destined for.

Now that I am actively living and pursuing my childhood dreams, which call for last-minute flights to Paris, weekends in Dubai, and extended stays in South Africa.

One of the many “travel hacks” I use to be ready to jet set consistently is credit card miles.

Credit card miles “hacks” aren’t as simple as many are led to believe. Many factors contribute to getting the best miles and rewards. Excellent credit history, having earned over 100,000 “points” to redeem for one first-class flight, etc. If you’re interested in reading a more in-depth breakdown of finding credit cards to suit everyday needs, s’il vous plait, let me know below.

Maintenant, let’s discuss most things (because there’s more) using credit card reward points to travel.

Traveling via credit cards “saves” money on flights, hotels, and other travel-related expenses. I use the term “save” because you’re not saving if you’re spending, and you have to spend to earn points, but why not earn points on things that you spend money on anyway (that was a lot, I know.)

1. Choose the right credit card: Start by selecting a credit card that offers travel rewards and aligns with your travel preferences. Are you more interested in lodging or airlines because not every credit card will provide the maximum points for both. Look for cards that offer generous sign-up bonuses and credit cards that support your existing spending habits so you can earn points or miles on your everyday purchases.

If you’ve never traveled before, having a credit card that gives you 10x the points on travel-related purchases will not support your future endeavors. But, a credit card that provides 5x the points on gas or groceries (something you do now) will be more beneficial.

I strongly suggest applying for credit cards that cater to where you are today, not where you plan to be tomorrow.

2. Accumulate reward points: Make regular purchases using your credit card to accumulate reward points. Know where and how to gain the most points. Circling back to point one, certain credit cards offer more significant rewards in specific categories (dining, gas, groceries, etc.) Take advantage of these opportunities to earn points faster by knowing how best to use your credit card.

3. Be aware and read the fine print for any sign-up bonuses. Often the 50,000-100,000 signup bonuses are only redeemable if you spend a specified amount of money in a specific span of time. Realistically, can you financially spend $8,000 in four months to receive the signup bonus points? Oui, we all can spend, but are you able to pay off $8,000 in four months to ensure that you’re not chasing points but accruing debt?

4. Understand your rewards program: Familiarize yourself with the details of your credit card’s rewards program. Learn how to earn and redeem points, the value of points for different types of travel, and any restrictions or blackout dates that may apply.

5. Plan your travel: Once you’ve accumulated a significant number of reward points, start planning your trip. Determine your destination, travel dates, and the type of accommodations you prefer. It’s also helpful to have some flexibility in your travel plans, as it can increase your chances of finding available reward flights or hotel rooms.

Not every credit supports my last-minute travel nature, so before applying for credit cards, I always ensure that the card fits my impromptu nature.

6. Compare redemption options: Depending on your credit card rewards program, you may have various redemption options. For flights, you can often book directly through the credit card’s travel portal, transfer points to airline partners, or use points to cover specific travel expenses like baggage fees or seat upgrades. Similarly, for hotels, you can book through the credit card’s portal or transfer points to hotel partners.

Also, note redeeming rewards is not always the best option. Oftentimes for my last-minute flights to Paris, I earn more points by paying for a flight (thus acquiring points) versus redeeming existing points.

7. Understand the value of your points: Different credit card reward programs have varying point valuations. It’s essential to understand how much your points are worth when redeeming them for travel. Some programs have a fixed point value, while others may have variable values depending on the type of travel or time of booking.

Calculate the “value” of your points to ensure you’re getting the best deal (which is why I often pay for last-minute flights to Paris.)

8. Pay any additional fees: Sometimes, you may need to pay additional fees or taxes when booking travel with reward points. These fees can vary, so always read the long and boring terms and conditions and understand any out-of-pocket expenses you may need to cover for flights or lodging.

10. Maximize your rewards: While traveling, continue using your rewards credit card to earn points on your expenses during the trip. This will help you accumulate more rewards for future travels.

In closing, set reminders or alerts for any credit card reward points that are subject to expiration.

I do hope that these petite tips helped mes amies!

Ciao for now 💋


  1. London

    I agree! Sometimes I will purchase last minute flights and save my award points and miles for future travel. Even more so if I “need” the spend to solidify or reach a status milestone.

    • ElleXNC

      It is truly overwhelming!!! There are so many cards/redemptions/ways to earn points etc!

      • It’s such a game at this point, a game that you MUST stay on top off to get the best “deal.” It is exhausting 😭

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