Alright Noobs, I can feel your excitement about starting to travel and acquiring points. Your mind is going a mile a minute trying to process all this info and figuring out where to go first. Let me help ya out here and give you a basic guideline to get started.
1. SET A GOAL
This will help you push through the research and up front tasks. For instance, my goals for next year are to acquire 1 million miles, travel first class to Hawaii and Europe, and fly to see my folks at least twice.
2. KNOW YOUR CREDIT
You can get a free credit report at Credit Sesame. No credit card required!
3. FIND REWARDS PROGRAMS
It’s free to sign up for these programs and they often email special deals to their members. You want to sign up for these programs before you apply for their credit card, because if not, they will create an account for you and it’s a more tedious process.
Keep it simple starting off and focus on the major players:
4. APPLY FOR CARDS
Start small and ease into it. Never be rash when applying for credit cards. Always make sure that the card’s spend can be attained (nothing worse than wasted miles). There are many cards out there today and each of them are different. Choose wisely, young grasshopper. Here are a few of my must haves:
More hot credit card deals can be found on my Sick deals page.
5. USE YOUR CARDS
There are many ways to use your cards to earn points. Most rewards programs have shopping portals and dining programs. I use these for things that I was going to purchase anyway, regardless of earning points. My thought is “a dollar spent that doesn’t earn a mile/point is a wasted dollar”. You are really adding value to your daily spending habits. Everything that you can run through your credit card, DO IT! Of course, pay off your balances before the end of your billing cycle.
6. JOIN THE COMMUNITY
There is a very large group of us travel hackers out there. Most of us are thrilled to help noobs out. The two main forums out there are Flyertalk and Milepoint. Flyertalk is filled deep with years of knowledge and resources. However, it is not very user friendly and frankly the users can be dicks sometimes. Milepoint is much easier to use and hosts a friendly group of mile addicts. Since it is newer, there is less information, but it’s still a very good site. I think in a few years it will be the main forum for travel junkies.