Rewards Points-A-Palooza Part 2 [Gal About Town: Fashion and Travel at Your Fingertips]

My, two weeks goes by fast! In my recent travels I had my first flight where there were two babies, one row apart, that didn’t even cry a bit during the 4.5 hour flight. It was truly a miracle to behold. I also received my millionth pat down by TSA for wearing a maxi dress, prompting me to remind all you ladies out there, if you don’t want to get that friendly with TSA, leave the loose fitting skirts and dresses for while on your trip, not during the flight.

I hope that you all enjoyed and learned something from Part 1 of the “Rewards Points-A-Palooza” series. Today we’ll go further into how to maximize your reward earnings. Just a reminder, these tips can be applied to almost any kid of rewards earnings, not just travel. Additionally, I often mention Intercontinental’s Priority Club, which we mainly use, as an example.  But many clubs use the same kinds of earning avenues as they do.

Shop: It is amazing just how many points one can earn just by going through your preferred company’s “business partners” to shop for the services and goods that you already need. Many times going through a partner can also actually give you a greater discount on top of earning rewards points. With the Priority Club we have quite a few different avenues we take for this. First is their Priority Club Dining program. With this you register ANY credit card (regardless of if it’s their visa or not) and you earn bonus points for dining at restaurants that are partnered with the program. Now, we don’t actually go out of our way to go to these restaurants, so we don’t earn a lot of points this way, but a point is a point, and we’ll take them wherever we can get them.

Second is their Priority Club Shopping “Mall”. It’s a website that, again, allows you to register any credit or debit card, and simply earn points for whatever partnered online store you shop at. You can find almost anything you’d need from their search menu, which not only shows which stores have what you are looking for, but also compares which is offering more points and discounts. Stores like Best Buy, Apple, Target, Sephora, and hundreds more help you earn anywhere between 2-20 bonus points per dollar spent.  Many of these places offer bonus points for certain periods, like Christmas or Mother’s Day where you can quadruple your points earnings. Being that we live far from family and have to ship presents we often do most of our Christmas Shopping through the site. And when these bonuses coincide with one of our credit card bonuses, we are easily earning thousands of points with just one purchase.  With this site, you can also earn points for ordering gift cards as well as some in-store purchases too. If you don’t want to pay for shipping or need an item quickly, many stores offer the ability to order a product online and then pick it up in the store. This is just another way to save time and money while earning points.

Lastly, we often use Priority Club partners for ordinary services or other forms of travel. When renting a car during travel, we usually go with Hertz, Avis, or Budget because they offer a discount and points to Priority Club members. (Now, I will say, this isn’t always beneficial. As an example, Hertz makes us pay an extra $13/day for both myself and my husband to be able to drive their car. This is ridiculous, and so if we know we’ll both need to drive, we turn elsewhere for a rental or just go through AAA.) Do you subscribe to Netflix? So do we, but we did it through the Priority Club and earned 3,000 points. Need to order flowers for Mother’s Day? FTD offers 1,000 points per order through Priority Club. From wine to electricity bills to newspaper subscriptions to Fedex, there’s a plethora of ways to earn points. Just make sure that whenever you go these avenues to remember to give them your membership number and keep track of who owes you points. No one’s perfect and glitches happen, if you keep track of where points should be coming from (and how many) it will be easier to recover them if something goes wrong.

Blogs: I know I often stress the importance of blogs for travel, and that’s because they truly make a difference.  Many people have started up blogs for frequent flyer and hotel rewards solely to share different rewards promotions that are going on. These sites have helped us earn a good bulk of our points. In fact, while I was bringing up one of my favorite travel blog sites, I found a new rewards promotion that will earn us a $50 pre-paid Mastercard for certain stays, up to $200. Taking 10 minutes a week to check the proper blogs really does make a huge difference, it can save money while actually helping you “earn” it too.

Some sites I go to include Flyer Talk and Frequent Flyer Bonuses. If you take half an hour of time, you can easily find several sites that will have tips, information, and instructions on current promotions that you don’t even know about. Most companies only email customers promotions that their statistics think the customer will benefit from, but often enough, this leaves out many other promotions-or earning levels- that would be perfect for you. Make sure you check ALL possible sites before registering for a certain promotion. Sometimes registering for one promotion will make you ineligible to register for a different one, which could have earned you more points or bonuses.  As always, taking a moment to compare and contrast promotions can make the difference of a free flight or stay. We’ve also noticed that from entering these extra promotions, we’ve received more emails from the company regarding even more promotions. Honestly, this investment of time is definitely worth the payoff.

These avenues combined will take no more than 2 hours total to get you registered, setup and started, but can save you thousands of dollars through the years.

I’ve already received many questions and thoughts in IRL about this blog series and rewards points. If you too have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section, and I will answer them in a future post.

Now Boldly Go!

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featured image credit: mr clearview