Accumulating travel rewards as a real estate investor can be exciting. With careful timing of your purchases, you’ll find that your travel rewards can add up quickly. Tracking these travel rewards can be just as important as earning these rewards. If you don’t set up the systems to track your points, it is easy to get overwhelmed or miss out on some of their value.
It may seem time-consuming to track your travel rewards points, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking the time to set up a few simple systems can allow you to maximize the value of your points without any slipping through the cracks.
Start by Opening Rewards Accounts
The first thing you should do is open rewards accounts. Open a rewards account at all major airlines and hotels that you have an interest in working with. Most airlines and hotels offer their own rewards program based on your number of stays or flights that can complement the rewards you earn through credit cards.
A few programs to consider include:
- The AAdvantage program by American Airlines
- The MileagePlus program by United Airlines
- The Rapid Rewards program by Southwest
- The Hilton Honors program
- The Marriott Bonvoy program
Of course, you’ll need to determine which rewards programs will bring you value. It will vary based on the regions you travel to and your preferred accommodations. If you love a regional airline, then check out their rewards program as well.
Sign up for Award Wallet
Award Wallet is the most efficient way to track your credit card rewards points. After taking the time to add your credit cards and rewards programs to your account, it will require minimal effort to track your points. You’ll simply have to log into Award Wallet to get an overview of the travel rewards you have available at any given time.
Award Wallet is a tool that can help to keep your miles and points organized. The program will let you know when your point balances change and before your points expire. Award Wallet has the ability to track over 600 rewards programs and over 500,000 people trust Award Wallet to keep track of their rewards for them.
To sign up, you’ll simply need to provide an email and create a password. Once the account is created, you’ll add your credit cards to the site and it will take over the tracking from there.
Award Wallet replaces the need for a homemade spreadsheet to track your points. With less hassle and automated notifications about your points, it is an amazingly convenient way to track your points. However, only the basic version of Award Wallet is free. The premium version offers more features at a price.
The Spreadsheet Option
If you choose to avoid Award Wallet for any reason, then you should create a spreadsheet to track your reward points. You’ll need to include all of the important information about your credit cards. Here’s what you should include:
- The card name.
- The date you were approved for the card.
- The minimum spending amount.
- The deadline for the minimum spending amount.
- The annual fee.
- The perks offered by the card and if they have expiration dates.
- The date you cancel the card.
The problem with a spreadsheet is that you will need to update it regularly. Plus, it is easier to miss out on expiring points if you miss an alert from your credit card. But, it can be an effective way to track your credit cards if you maintain the spreadsheet on a regular basis.
Do Travel Rewards Points Expire?
Yes, some travel reward points do expire. The terms of the expiration will vary based on the program you are working with.
The best way to avoid lost rewards is to use them before they expire. In some cases, you might be able to ask for an extension on the expiration but that doesn’t always pan out. A good way to avoid any expired points is to use a service like Award Wallet that will alert you before any points are set to expire. This will give you the time you need to make plans and use those points.
How to Maximize Point Values
As you accumulate more travel rewards points, you’ll want to maximize their redemption value. Typically, travel redemptions are more valuable than other types of redemptions such as cash or gift cards. However, the best value for each reward program varies slightly. You’ll need to check into what your card offers before you can determine the best value.
Another thing to be aware of is that the best strategies for redemption change regularly. As rewards programs evolve over time, so do the best redemption strategies. A good place to find out the most recent information on FlyerTalk, a community of frequent fliers that share their best tips.
The Bottom Line
As you start your travel rewards adventure as a real estate investor, you already have an advantage. With big projects that may require heavy spending, you have the perfect opportunity to amass thousands of travel rewards points that can take you around the world.
In the end, the best way to maximize your travel rewards is to track them efficiently and use them before they expire. Create a system that works for you and stick to it. You might be surprised at just how far your travel rewards can take you.