How to earn more travel rewards without getting a new card
Cathleen McCarthy is a journalist whose articles on travel, commerce and consumer topics have appeared in dozens of publications. She writes "Cashing In," a weekly column about credit card rewards programs, for CreditCards.com
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Dear Cashing In,
my wife lost her job last year, we didn't want to cancel our vacation so we
combined our points and miles to get as much as possible for free. She still
had the 30,000 miles from signing up for the US Airways MasterCard, which
helped a lot, but it's amazing how many bonus miles we found out there. This
year we're doing the same thing, including hoarding rewards for my business
travel. Outside of opening new credit cards and "maximizing spend" (which we prefer
to avoid right now), where can we find the best bonus points? -- Max
thing you should do is check for current promotions and try to book your
reservations to take advantage of them. Your US Airways MasterCard has a couple
on offer, not as sweet as the sign-up bonus but every bit helps. For one thing,
you can get 250 bonus miles for every reservation you make using that card, but
you have to book your travel by Oct. 31 and travel by Dec. 31, 2013.
through July 31, 2013, you can also get a 50 percent bonus on US Airways' Dividend Miles by registering with the US Airways promotion site and using your
Dividend Miles number when you book hotels or rental cars from one of US
on top of the deals they're offering through the end of the year on rental cars
and hotels. US Airways has 70 hotel partners, including Starwood, Marriott,
Hilton, Wyndham, Best Western and InterContinental. With the 50 percent boost, Marriott
Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest members earn 3 miles per $1 instead of the
usual 2 miles per $1 on qualifying stays this summer. Hilton HHonors members
earn 1.5 miles per dollar instead of 1 mile per dollar this way.
partners with nine different car rental operations and all are offering
deals that will boost your miles and get you discounts. Spend $200 on a car
from Budget, for example, and you get up
to 30 percent off ($60) by using the code BCD #Y145002. You also earn up to 6
miles for every dollar you spend. So for a $140 spend, you could get 840 miles,
plus another 420 as the 50 percent bonus.
course, this pales in comparison to the miles you could get by signing up for a
new credit card. I feel it's my duty to point out that since US Airways is in
the process of merging with American Airlines -- as I'm sure you've heard -- your
credit card is going to turn into an AAdvantage card no matter what you do. If
I were you, I'd be proactive, apply for an AAdvantage card now and pocket the
bonus miles that come with the card while the two airlines are still separate
entities. Your Dividend card will vanish eventually anyway, but you'll end up
with enough miles to cover one round-trip vacation fare, as long as you stay in
the United States.
Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard may be too rich for your blood
right now, with an annual fee of $450, but it offers a 30,000 mile sign-up
bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, plus 10,000
elite-qualifying miles each year you spend $40,000. You can get 25,000 regular
miles by spending $750 in the first four months with the garden-variety AAdvantage
Visa or American Express. They each have a $50 annual fee, waived the first
year. That's a pretty easy score, even on a budget.
See related: How will the airline merger affect my US Airways miles?,
American, US Airways merger could launch credit card battle, Can I get more rewards by using my hotel's app?
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Published: May 21, 2013