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Welcome newcomers to points-earning!

If you’ve made it to this page, then you’re interested in learning the basics of the points world so you can utilize the vast amount of travel benefits available through it.

Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ll give you the information, tools, and strategies to begin your successful career as a points collector.

We recommend you start at Part 1 and work your way through in order to fully understand how the points world works. There is a lot to know before you even open your first new credit card!

If you’re already have some knowledge and are looking for specific tips, see the pages below to get exactly what you need. We highly recommend visiting the credit score page and the section on setting travel goals to become a well-versed points strategist.

Beginner’s Guide to Points

  1. How Collecting Miles & Points Has Dramatically Affected Us
  2. So, What’s the Catch, Millers?
  3. Credit Cards & Credit Scores Explained
  4. How Loyalty Programs Work and Why You Should Have Already Joined
  5. Beginners Guide to Miles & Points
  6. Get Started by Setting Your Travel Goals
  7. Sign Up to a Loyalty Program
  8. Staying Organized Amongst the Madness
  9. Signing Up for Your First Credit Cards: Additional Tips
  10. Don’t Cancel Your Card Too Soon and Make Sure You’re Spending the Minimum Amount
  11. Upgrade Your Earnings: How to Earn the Most Miles
  12. Upgrade Your Redemptions: How to Redeem for the Best Value
  13. Must See” Travel & Points Resources

Bonus:  Upgraded Points Series: An Extensive Guide to Online Travel Resources

A 30-Second Basic Lesson

Points are a currency earned when you utilize certain business services with a credit card or open a loyalty account open with them. The more you spend on goods or services, the more points you will earn.

Usually, earning points or simply owning a credit card will give you access to an increasing level of benefits that can be used to enhance your travel experience.

Once you’ve collected a certain number of points, you can use them to book travel, make shopping purchases, or pay off some of your statements if necessary.

Here at Upgraded Points, we focus on the travel aspect of points redemption, because in our opinion it’s the most exciting!

Note: We want to express that we promote good finances here at Upgraded Points. If you need help creating budgets or managing your money, please check out some popular personal finance blogs!

For the Busier Person: The Express Guide

We recognize that not everyone has the time to spend reading this extensive guide and researching everything there is to know about points. For those people, we put together an express guide to help you get started.

Hopefully, these guides will open up some opportunities for the busy business person or parent. They’ll save you hours of research and get you earning points immediately.

Check back soon to see what else we’ve created! We plan on adding some guides specificallyfor American Express cardholders, business owners, and more. If you have any ideas please let us know.

If You Don’t Know, Ask!

It’s sometimes hard to wrap your head around everything that’s possible to do in the points world. If you’re ever unsure, please feel free to contact us!

We’re happy to help answer any questions, and bringing us your questions will help us provide higher value content to you in the future.

Ultimately, we want you to learn about points so you can get out there and enjoy traveling the world!

Those who have traveled know that your first trip is always the most life-changing, but each new trip is just as exciting as the last…if not more!

Part 1 – How Collecting Miles & Points Has Dramatically Affected Us >>

Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Newbies Featured Image: pockygallery/Shutterstock
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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FAQ

Where can I find good credit card offers? How do I get the best credit card?
To find a new card, you can search around the potential credit cards here on our site. You may find something you like, and if not you’ll at least get an idea of what’s out there.

We use our model families and their estimated spending levels to find the card with the greatest value. Just match your spending level with theirs to get an idea of how much your points will be worth!

The Card Match Tool is also a great place to look around. It helps determine which companies have pre-approved offers for you.

Getting the best deal for you will depend on your goals. We suggest reading through our guide to figure those out.

You can also sign up for targeted offers and work on building your credit score to make sure you’re getting the best deals!

How do I apply for a credit card?
Applying is easy. Simply find the card you want and click the “Apply Now” link. Next you will be asked to fill out some personal information.

Do not worry, it is completely safe to do so. You’ll be either instantly approved (if your credit is good enough) or you will go into a pending status.

From the pending status, you will be contacted to be told whether you were approved or denied, and you may be able to find out why.

Typically, your status will depend on your current credit score, so managing that is very important.

Is there a credit score guide available?
We have a comprehensive guide to managing your credit score here.

What should I do to prepare for entering the credit card points world? What do I need to begin traveling the world?
Great question! First, you’ll need to get a passport to travel internationally. If you already have a passport but it’s about to expire, then you’ll need to get it renewed.

Some of you may be interested in programs that help you get through the airport more easily. These include Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, and CLEAR Security.

These programs can make life less stressful by helping you speed through security or customs before and after a long trip.

Something else you may want to consider is reading up on credit card fraud. Having this knowledge will help you protect yourself if you’re new to credit, or remind you if you haven’t thought about it in a while.