Video: Master your bucket list with points

Meet a marathoner using credit card rewards to run in all 50 states


Your bucket list may contain goals like traveling to exotic places and running a marathon. If you plan wisely, you can be like Renee Manuel and accomplish those goals using your credit card points as currency.

Traveling to 50 states can be really expensive,” says Renee Manuel, who works in sales for Coursera in San Francisco. “But if I had the points, it’s something I didn’t have to worry about.”

With the dream of running a marathon in every U.S. state, Manuel’s goal could have cost tens of thousands of dollars. Instead, she planned strategically and has used her points to fund every trip so far.

You want to hit the ground running, too? Here are some tips for getting there:

1. Sign up for an airline card that can offer great deals on domestic flights, such as the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa. With Southwest, you can score some great roundtrip flights for less than 10,000 points and, if the marathon is postponed, you can always cancel without a penalty.

2. Next, consider a hotel credit card that has brands in the lower-priced categories. You’ll be more likely to find hotels even in smaller towns, and you’ll have to use fewer points per night.

3. Finally, book as far ahead of time as possible to avoid surge pricing as you get closer to the event. Since it takes months to train for a marathon, knowing the travel is already booked will give you an extra incentive to lace up those running shoes and get going.

“I’m not a great runner at all, so I feel like it’s something that makes me work hard,” Manuel says. “Having the points allows me the flexibility to do it.”

See related: Video: Use your credit card points for a haunted getaway, Video: How to save on a national park vacation, Airline card reviews, Hotel card reviews

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Updated: 02-18-2019