Baskets full of Chef BoyArdee & Sardines

Baskets full of Chef BoyArdee & Sardines

Thinking of getting into the point-hacking world?

We get a TON of questions about whether we have spreadsheets or  flow-charts to help in deciding what card to get next, and

I’m here to tell you…

It’s not that complicated.

Instead of wondering what card to get next, and then what card to get after that, and then whether this card, or that card should be after that…

Here’s a simple decision process:

 
1) Do you have at least 50,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) and/or Membership Rewards (MR) points per person in your travel group?
 
If “no” –
 
Go get more UR or MR points through a signup bonus or a card that earns 1.5x to 10x on things you buy that earn UR/MR points.
 
If “yes” –
 
A) Keep watching for cash deals daily and re-up on “base points” until the answer is “no”. Then – repeat the steps for “no”
 
B) If you’re an overachiever and don’t have 50k points pp in Chase AND AMEX, go and get at least 50k in the one where you’re shy on points. (Don’t worry about signup bonuses. Just make sure they’re Chase or Amex cards that contribute to UR/MR, and have LONG-TERM EARNING POTENTIAL (ie 3x or 4x on gas/groceries, 5x on travel, 20x on shopping portals, 1.5x on non-bonused spend, 4x on advertising, or any category that that you spend a lot of money on etc.)
 
2) (This is independent of question 1)
When you want to plan a trip more than 4 months away – don’t deplete your base-stash of points to less than 50k points pp. Start watching that (or THOSE) destinations daily. In the meantime – Pick cards that have signup bonuses will get you there.
 
If you find a cash deal that meets the $120 rule – pay cash & save your points for a different trip!

That’s it!

 
Want to debate the aboe decision process to death or create a flow-chart for it? I’m in.  (You can find plenty of discussions in our Free Facebook Group: JGOOT Village.
 
Want to stray off and kill yourself analyzing other (Capital one, Barclay’s, Citi/BofA/Discover/WellsFargo) cards that require intricate knowledge of complicated transfer partners, and might have slightly higher signup bonuses, but much lower redemption values?
 
Feel free to check out forums like Award Travel 101, Flyer Talk, and Reddit – where thousands of savvy travelers who have binders full of credit cards and haven’t paid more than twenty bucks for a flight in the past ten yearswho love getting into the weeds on that crap.

But trust me…

It’s a very slippery slope between being a savvy shopper saving an average of 80% – and being a “coupon clipper” who spends the equivalent of a part-time job clipping coupons so they can say they saved 98% on a basket full of Chef BoyarDee & canned fish.