The mantra of ThePointsOfLife is Living Doesn’t Have to Suck because it doesn’t. The first step from my book Everyone’s Advice Is Wrong . . . Including Mine is Enjoy #ThePointsOfLife where I provide an overview of the limitless possibilities of points travel and demonstrate how traveling opens your eyes to new opportunities leaving your cubicle life with much to be desired.
Even though I tell everyone about how easy it is to accumulate points, nobody follows the Points101 guide or comes up with reasons why the points game is not worth their time. Then they fly first class for the first time for next to nothing and are finally believers, posting pics of candy buffets.
Here are the top 5 misnomers about earning and redeeming points:
1. I will ruin my credit.
“I thought that if you apply for credit cards your credit score goes down.”
This is true and false. When you apply for a credit card, the bank pulls your credit to make sure that you are not a bum. That reduces your credit score by 1-2 points because a credit inquiry is warning other lenders that you are asking for credit, increasing the chances that you may default.
But! When you do apply for the card and you meet the minimum spend in order to get the sign up bonus, say $3000 in 3 months, and you pay off the balance in full, the banks will see that you are indeed more responsible than when you first applied, and your credit score may actually go up.
I have applied for dozens of cards and I still maintain a healthy credit score.
2. I will end up in credit card debt.
If you are irresponsible or cannot manage your finances then this is true. But, if this is the case, chances are your credit is already bad to begin with, placing you out of the points game. So long as you do not change your spending habits in order to meet minimum spends, this will never be the case.
Furthermore, if you do end up in credit card debt, then it’s points game over for you because now banks see that your debt to credit ratio is poor, leading to a lower credit score, leading to denials.
3. I have to spend thousands upon thousands to get points.
This is the most annoying myth by far. If this was the case, then only rich people would participate in the game or everyone would end up ruining their credit or going broke trying to participate. And, why would rich people waste their time trying to accumulate points when they are already rich?
The points game was created for those with budget constraints that want to see the world today. Then when they complete Part II of the book, they hopefully will be on their way to financial security allowing them more opportunities to travel. In any event, I would have to become obscenely wealthy to say no to free.
4. There is no flight availability.
This is the easiest excuse to make. “Why should I spend all my time applying for cards, tracking offers, meeting minimum spends for points that have blackout dates.”
The concept of blackout dates is dated. There is no such thing. Points trip planning requires creativity and a knowledge of flight routes, alliances, and redemption rules. Fortunately, you can just ask me if you are stuck with a mountain of points and do not know how to redeem them.
5. I have to be a mad scientist to figure it all out.
Initially, it is overwhelming to starts the points game process. But if you follow the simple instructions in Points101 and ask questions, you will slowly but surely learn the game and travel the world for free.