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Question: Do any of you use credit cards strictly for points and other travel benefits?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So, we are a no credit card family - cash only. However, 12 months from now, Gavin will be home for a gap year and we will have a live in dog sitter. Since I retire last June, we are planning for that to be our BIG travel year. We view it as the opportunity to start knocking places off that bucket list! I am considering getting a credit card this year and using it to buy gas, groceries, and our ski related costs, with the purpose of amassing miles/points to use during that travel year.

What do you all do as far as credit card points/miles? I'm a newbie in this category.

ski diva

Staff member
I charge pretty much everything just so I can get points. And yes, I use them for travel -- especially when I fly out West for Diva events. We use Capital One, and you can use your points for any airline, regardless of when you fly. The amount of points you expend just depends on the price of your ticket.
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Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I do. I also like getting the year end summary of everything I have spent. There are other benefits, trip insurance etc. with some cards.
Do your research and figure out what works best.


Angel Diva
Yep. Pretty much charge everything, pay it off each month, and amass whatever points for travel. Up until we got the Chase Sapphire (and thanks to everyone here who chimed in on my thread last year) we mainly booked the travel and lodging and then applied the points to one of the bills with the travel costs on it. Now that we have that card I will be checking on travel arrangements through them, as the points count for more if we do it through them.
Capital One no foreign transaction fee...... no annual fee either.... pay off every month so no finance charges.
YES! I pay them off at end of month but have Cards for Delta, United, Southwest. I had Capitol one but they put a mystery 50$ charge on my card and I had fight to get it removed..


Staff member
Yup, I have 2 cards one for personal and one for the business. All have points. Not the same set up here in Canada, but....Like Ski Diva I charge most of what I buy, pay if off every month. I even charged the lawyers fee for the house buy to it!!

I use them for air travel and car rentals mostly.
There's a lot of good info online about the best credit cards for points/travel. The Chase Sapphire reserve is considered the gold standard. But you have to work out whether the fees will make it worth it for you. Most of the good travel credit cards will charge fees.

We put everything on our Alaska Air cards. Last year we flew to French Polynesia for free, this year we flew to Japan, business class, for free, plus there are a bunch of other perks that work for us. I keep going back-and-forth about also getting the Chase Sapphire reserve but the Alaska card works so well for us. The Chase card includes airport lounge access which is a killer benefit.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Mom made me get a credit card right at 18 because of all my military adventure. I put major purchases and fuel purchases on mine. I then cash the points towards the next bill like once a year so its a nice small one for that month


Angel Diva
I’ve been using my cards for points for many years now. As long as you treat it like cash and pay it off every month it’s a good deal. Some companies charge you an annual fee, others don’t. Sometimes you can talk the fee off your bill, sometimes you can’t.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
We use cards almost exclusively too and then just pay them off in full each month. We have two cards we use... one gets us cash back (Amex), the other gets us miles with Southwest. Amex has no annual fee, Southwest card is $99.


Staff member
We don't travel that much, so I have the main Southwest card that I pay an annual fee for that gets me about 1 free flight (for 2 people) a year. We mostly fly Southwest when we fly, so that works out well. I put recurring automated payments on the Southwest card. For me, this is easier than dealing with a generic travel points card because the redemption process is totally seamless - the miles just show up in my Southwest account and I use them.

I also have a Chase Quicksilver card I use for day-to-day stuff that gets me 1.5% cash back on everything, which in practice amounts to $50 off my credit card bill every few months.

As others have noted, one of the big upsides of putting everything on cards (for me) is being able to look back and easily see what you're spending money on. I always lose track with cash.
Check your travel benefit. If you purchase travel on your card, you may have trip insurance. We were able to get a full refund on an $8K vacation that we cancelled due to illness. Said card has since reduced the benefit from $10K to $6K, so I am changing cards. We've also used the card car rental insurance benefit for damage to a rental car.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This is all great info. Thanks. I am deciding between the Chase Saphire and Capital One. They both have a $95 annual fee from what I can tell. @santacruz skier How did you get no annual fee for capital one or is that an introductory offer?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I just saw this The new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card ttps://www.wellsfargo.com/jump/credit-cards/propel-card/
I just don't see these two institutions in bed together?:crazy: then again it is Mercury Retrograde right now......

You can find cards that pay 5% back in major categories (gas/ groceries) maybe 1% other other purchases or cards that pay 2% for all categories, with no fee -- if your flying on a particular airline routinely then it may be worth it to pay a annual fee to get more perks.


Angel Diva
AMEX started losing out a few years ago. It was getting more common that smaller businesses would not accept AMEX because the fees they had to pay were too high. Losing the Costco contract to VISA probably hurt more than AMEX would like to admit.

My husband manages to keep track of the quarterly deals for a credit card offering 5% off specific categories like gas or groceries or travel expenses (plane fares, lodging, restaurants). We have one VISA card that offers 3% on every purchase to that's the one I use most often.
I also charge pretty much everything. I had had an American Airlines credit card for 25 years, but recently cancelled it and opened another one that had a bonus miles offer. I also got the Chase Sapphire card earlier in the year. Since I'm now traveling for business, I'm able to put more on the cards and get more miles. I've used the miles to buy tickets to go to Diva West every year.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
AMEX Skymiles----used for almost everything---accruing skymiles. It keeps it simple (KISS).

I'm sure there are better cards out there, but I'm too lazy/busy to research, change and like having 1 card to monitor. Downside is mostly in Czech Republic where we visit annually---and so many small merchants outside of Prague do not take AMEX. but then I use my rarely-used Visa.

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