Get to the Points

Archive of columns by Summer Hull, who helps families navigate credit card rewards and points programs to maximize travel and saving.





Latest credit card news


 Get to the Points

Essential family packing guide for summer travel -- When you have multiple people in your traveling party, a solid packing strategy becomes essential. ... (See Family packing guide)

Active-duty military can get fees waived, special perks from rewards cards -- Some credit card issuers waive annual fees for active-duty military members, so it may be worth considering applying for some high-end travel rewards cards. ... (See Active-duty military credit card perks)

Honor mom with a points-fueled trip of a lifetime -- Instead of flowers and chocolates, consider surprising your mom with a trip she won’t forget using miles and points. ... (See Mom getaway)

Figure out what your points are worth before you redeem -- Knowing what a credit card point is worth can help you make an informed decision about which type of credit card points are best for redemption. ... (See Rewards points valuation)

Big changes, good and bad, coming to SPG AmEx cards -- For current SPG American Express cardholders, there are big changes coming as loyalty programs merge with Marriott later this summer. Some are good (yay, free night), some not so much ... (See SPG Amex card changes)

6 hotels with water parks you can book with points -- How hotel points can provide a place to sleep as well as provide entertainment with access to world-class pool complexes ... (See Hotels with water parks)

Airline, hotel rewards card trends to watch for -- Issuers are honing in on giving bigger bonuses to a select few, and reward those who continue to use their cards long after the welcome bonus has been achieved. ... (See Rewards card trends)

4 countries where you can stretch your hotel points -- The U.S. isn’t always where you can get the biggest bang for your points when it comes time to redeem. ... (See Hotel redemption deals)

When credit card annual fees are too high for your budget -- Steps to take when the annual fees you are paying for your rewards credit cards are simply too high for your budget. ... (See Annual fees)

Hotels you can book for 5,000 points per night or less -- Some hotels require 100,000 points per night, but armed with a little know-how, you can get some great deals for much less. ... (See Hotel reward deals)

5 least expensive airline award redemptions -- If you know where to look, airline awards can sometimes ring in at prices much, much lower than the ‘standard’ 12,500 miles each way. ... (See Lowest airline awards)

Russia World Cup travel reward deals limited, but still available -- If you want to use your miles and points to travel to the FIFA World Cup in Russia, it will take research, strategy and a little creativity. ... (See World Cup 2018 rewards deals)

Why you should book winter holiday trips now using miles, points -- To get maximum value for your rewards, it's best to book 11 months out for next year's winter vacation. ... (See Winter trip rewards tips)

The 3 types of rewards cards you must have in your wallet -- It can be tough to figure out which cards will be the best fit with your spending and lifestyle, but there are three main types you need in your wallet. ... (See Rewards cards)

Using miles to experience an authentic St. Patrick's Day in Ireland -- Rewards redemption tips for a genuine St. Paddy's Day celebration in Ireland. ... (See St. Patrick's Day in Ireland)

Redeeming miles, points for a 'free' spring break trip -- Redeeming rewards for a whole family during a peak travel time can present some unique challenges. ... (See Spring break)

Using miles and points for Valentine's Day getaways -- Put together a romantic getaway built for two using miles and points you have on your reward credit cards. ... (See Valentine's Day getaway ideas)

Act fast when bad weather crashes your vacation plans -- Trip-delay protections on your credit card can help when your flight is canceled or delayed. ... (See Trip cancellation)

Using points for a ski resort vacation -- You can get a tremendous return on using points for on-mountain hotels during ski season. ... (See Using rewards for ski vacation)

What is the Chase '5/24 rule' and how it works -- The Chase 5/24 rule can put the brakes on seasoned rewards card holders looking for a new deal. ... (See The Chase 5/24 rule)

Hot, new rewards cards to debut in 2018 -- Which rewards cards will be hot in the coming year, and which ones will be on their way out. ... (See Rewards cards 2018)

Maximize credit card rewards miles redemption with partner airlines -- On most award charts you will find "sweet spots" where a particular award is priced very competitively and offers a better value. ... (See Partner airlines)

How to give the gift of travel -- Giving the gift of trip or getaway takes care and planning so as not to spoil the surprise. If you're not sure the recipient's availability to travel, an airline or hotel gift card offers flexibility. ... (See How to give the gift of travel)

Don't let your annual rewards card's travel credits expire -- These annual perks are use-them-or-lose-them in nature, so it helps to know exactly when your card's calendar year resets. ... (See Travel credits)

5 fun ways to create holiday memories using miles, points -- The holiday season is not about how much you can buy, it is about memories you can make with your loved ones. These experiences build those memories – and they can be purchased with rewards points. ... (See 5 fun ways to create holiday memories using miles, points )

Credit card perks to consider when holiday shopping -- While racking up miles and points are great, they shouldn't come first when deciding which credit cards to use for holiday shopping purchases. ... (See Credit card perks)

Price protection ensures Black Friday's lowest prices now -- With price protection, you can skip the Black Friday madness. Shop now, and if your purchase gets a bigger discount later, your card will cover the difference. ... (See Price protection)

How everyday spending can charge up your rewards bank -- The less common or somewhat routine purchases you may not have thought of can make a difference in unlocking even more rewards ... (See Everyday spend)

Why carrying a balance on rewards cards is not a good idea -- Paying interest dilutes your rewards, so if you must carry a balance, find a low- or no-interest card and forgo those points and miles. ... (See Carrying a balance)

Why airline 'mileage millionaires' love gift cards -- Some frequent-flyer-mile fanatics run through more retailer, Visa and MasterCard gift cards than you can imagine using techniques that are totally legal, but probably still eyebrow-raising ... (See Gift cards)

Strategies for spouses doubling up on rewards cards -- There are times when a couple can really rack up the points if both apply for the same card, but it does take some additional strategy to play your collective cards right. ... (See Rewards card strategies for spouses)

Use miles, points for last-minute Northeast fall foliage trip -- If you know how to work your miles and points, you can actually still make a last-minute trip Northeast to check out the fall foliage. ... (See Fall foliage trip)

Scare up rewards miles, cash back on Halloween expenses -- Halloween is a perfect time to hone in on your miles and points-earning strategies ... (See Get to the Points)

Tips for football fans on maximizing hotel rewards points -- Avoid seasonal price hikes by cashing in hotel rewards for free stays ... (See Football and hotel points)

Extend your summer for last-minute beach trip on points -- Now that summer's peak season has passed, hotels and airfare deals abound ... (See Beach)

When it makes sense to charge kids' school, day care costs -- If a fee is assessing for using plastic, it's often better to find another way to pay ... (See Kids)

Ways to rack up points for last-minute, back-to-school shopping -- Offset school supply buys using airline shopping portals and more tips ... (See School)

Learn how to maximize card rewards for family fun, saving -- Family rewards expert Summer Hull recounts her free family summer fun ... (See Family)