Our strategies for easily earning points for travel

To the point Here are our strategies for earning credit card travel rewards points with minimal effort and expense!

There are hundreds of different credit cards on the market to earn points for travel. When you have a lot of expenses, the travel points will follow by themselves, even without optimization and strategy.

In fact, if you have $100,000 in purchases per year, you can easily earn 100,000 Aeroplan Travel Points without any strategy.

However, how can you easily accumulate so many travel points when you don’t have a large volume of spending?

Here are some strategies to consider when optimizing purchases in the right categories on each credit card (restaurants, grocery stores, gas, travel, etc.)

  • the fewest credit card applications ;
  • the lowest annual fee ;
  • the minimum spending required.

This list is not exhaustive! Come and share your credit card travel point strategies in the Milesopedia Facebook community!

Travel points: the credit card sign-up bonus strategy

When you start venturing into the world of credit card rewards, you quickly realize that the most lucrative strategy is in credit card applications via sign-up bonuses.

For beginners, we recommend starting with one or two cards and then spacing out the requests for at least 6-9 months. Then, once you become more comfortable with credit card management, you can increase the number of credit card applications, and move them closer together over time.

Strategy for collecting Aeroplan points

Credit card Bonus Minimum expenses Rewards Annual fee Final collection of Aeroplan points
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Up to 30,000 Aeroplan points (first year) 6,000 during the first year 6,000 Aeroplan points minimum $139 36,000 points
American Express® Gold Rewards Card 60,000 Membership Rewards points
(= 60,000 Aeroplan points)
$1,000 per month x 12 months 12,000 Membership Rewards points minimum
(= 12,000 Aeroplan points)
(thanks to the $100 credit )
72,000 points
TOTAL 18 000 $ 18,000 Aeroplan points $ 289 108,000 points

This strategy earns 108,000 Aeroplan points.

You can earn Aeroplan Points for individual or group travel, depending on your destination. In a family, each parent could subscribe to the same cards and collect double the points!

Caroline found plenty of places to travel with 55,000 Aeroplan points! Then, I found many short getaways for 25,000 Aeroplan points or less!

Strategy to accumulate hotel points

Credit card Bonus Minimum expenses Rewards Annual fee Final harvest in points
Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy points $3,000 over 3 months 6,000 points $120 71,000 points
Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points $ 6,000 over 3 months 12,000 points $150 87,000 points
TOTAL 140,000 points $9,000 18,000 points $270 158,000 points

This strategy earns 158,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Strategy for earning travel points

For those who don’t like to be tied to a specific program, a travel points strategy can provide a lot of flexibility. In fact, many trips are more accessible with Reward Points.

The strategy for a family of two adults and two children: each parent could use these cards to pay for the family’s all-inclusive trip under the sun !

Voyage dans le sud en famille

Another example of a travel points strategy would be for a single person who would like to take a cruise to the Galapagos Islands.

Prices for week-long tours in the archipelago start at $3,000 with G Adventures. The cost of travel will be greatly reduced with this travel points strategy!

Croisière Galapagos

The long-term traveler's strategy

For a variety of reasons, many people prefer the strategy of arming themselves with a good portfolio, without too many cards, to keep for the long term.

The credit cards with the highest rewards rates often have an annual fee. Indeed, the annual fees may seem high, but they are all justified with the benefits provided.

There are also a number of offers available from American Express, which puts the annual fee into perspective! Over time, the American Express CobaltMD Card has become the best credit card for earning points for travel.

Then, as a paying strategy, I advise you to subscribe to credit cards in order to cover and optimize each category of expenses.

The long-term travel portfolio

Card Spending Category Return per dollar of purchase Welcome bonus Annual fee Other benefits
American Express Cobalt Card 5 Membership Rewards Points
5 Aeroplan points
or 6 Marriott Bonvoy points
15,000 Membership Rewards points $155,88 Mobile Device Insurance
Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card
  • Travel
  • Foreign currencies
  • Misc.
up to 3 points 40,000 points
(i.e. $400)
$ 150 (free the first year) No conversion fees
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
  • Misc.
  • Travel
up to 1.5 points 50,000 Aeroplan points $139

Free luggage

Preferred Aeroplan Award ticket rate

NEXUS membership discount

National Bank World Elite Mastercard
  • Travel
  • Misc.
  • Appliances
up to 2 points No welcome offer at the moment $ 150

Premium insurance

Up to $150 in annual credits

Access to the VIP Lounge

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card
  • Travel
  • Marriott Bonvoy Hotels
up to 5 points up to 75,000 points $150

Free night certificate

15 nights-Elite

*Gift cards for these businesses can be purchased at grocery or convenience stores for 5 points per dollar.

Illustrated example of the strategy

Here are some numbers to illustrate the return of this portfolio with a strategy aimed at the primary accumulation of Aeroplan points and other travel points.

It can be easily adapted for accumulation of Marriott Bonvoy points and other travel points.

Card Category Annual expenditures Points
American Express Cobalt Card Grocery store where American Express is accepted $1,500 7,500 points
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Groceries $3,000 4,500 points
American Express Cobalt Card Gas $1,000 3,000 points
American Express Cobalt Card Restaurants where American Express is accepted $500 2,500 points
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Restaurants $500 500 points
American Express Cobalt Card Uber Eats $700 3,500 points
American Express Cobalt Card Tim Hortons, Starbucks $500 2,500 points
Gift cards strategy Walmart $500 2,500 points
Gift cards strategy Amazon $1,000 5,000 points
Gift cards strategy SAQ/LCBO $500 2,500 points
Gift cards strategy Netflix $250 1,250 points
Gift cards strategy Cinema $500 2,500 points
Gift cards strategy Books and cultures $500 2,500 points
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Drugstores $300 300 points
Gift cards strategy Furniture (IKEA, Wayfair, etc.) $375 1,875 points
Gift cards strategy Minor renovation and maintenance $375 1,875 points
Gift cards strategy Clothing $1,000 5,000 points
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card Miscellaneous (other) $2,500 2,500 points
TOTAL $20,000 51,800 Aeroplan points

With this strategy, we can calculate the withdrawn values as follows:

For a total of around $2,200 in annual savings (the calculations were based on Milesopedia’s valuation and a monetary value was given to the benefits related to the credit cards in the portfolio).

For example, an individual’s annual expenses of $20,000 could generate a return of $2,200.

Once you add up the value of the rewards, the benefits provided versus the annual fees, they pay off… in a good way! Minus the annual fee of approximately $745, the annual saving is $1,455 (or 7.3% return).

When you don’t have many credit cards, the best strategy is to make sure you go out and optimize each purchase category. Therefore, the gift card strategy is essential to master.

As you can see, this travel points strategy yields a significantly lower return when you remove the sign-up bonuses from the equation.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

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