It’s almost Valentines Day, which means the biggest eye roll of the year is upon us, whether you’re in a relationship or not. Dinners which cost one thing any other day cost 3x on this day alone, and the same could be said for flowers, chocolates and every other non creative way of showing affection. Sorry, lovebirds – it’s just true.
Of all the topics you might encounter on this commercially viable day, there’s one that is genuinely useful: talking about getting more travel out of life together. The catch with that conversation, at least for couples, is that it will often involve a few awkward encounters along the lines of credit and teamwork. It’s time to have those awkward conversations.
Love is love and couples who play the points game together have so much more fun than those where only one person is involved. Aside from the moral support and conversation starters, it’s about the ability to earn 2x points by having both people sign up for a card, or divide and conquer credit cards and other loyalty perks to create an amazing suite of benefits and a stable of points.
Basically, one person playing the points game and signing up for cards so that two people can travel just doesn’t get you very far, but each person playing their part, referring each other for cards and maximizing their travel rewards can be a game changer.
If your partner doesn’t have strong footing in the world of credit, don’t hate – be supportive. Credit is simply a function of reliability over time, and the sooner you help them get on the right footing, or start over, the better. Keep it simple, start slow and share in the process so that you can both crush it one day.
Learn about ways to transfer bad debt, or start again simply with secured credit cards to get a foot into the game and be there for the other person the whole way. No egos, no superiority, it’s all a journey.
People think of earning points and credit card bonuses to unlock travel is convoluted, but it’s just simply not. The best way to start this conversation is to ask each other a simple question…
what’s the bucket list trip we want to take, how do we want to get there and how do we want to stay?
Points which don’t work to get you to your dream destination are almost useless, and so are others that can’t cover the style you’re aiming for. Once you have a finite idea, it’s time to drill down.
Start with that finite concept of the “where, when and how” and then research together. This is where the concept of earning “flexible” points currencies may first enter your radar. It rarely makes sense to do the majority of your points earning with just one currency, when the possibility of earning points which can then be converted into that currency, or 15-20 other ones can be done.
This also helps for people without much flexibility in travel dates, since it exponentially grows your chances of finding something you can take advantage of, on your desired dates.
Read as: it’s often better to earn Amex, Citi, Chase, Capital One Points, rather than just points from one airline or hotel, since points from those banks can generally be converted into a variety of airline or hotel loyalty programs.
The one exception is kick-starting the adventure.
Airline and hotel credit cards tend to offer much more lucrative bonuses than bank credit cards, so if both people were to sign up for say… a credit card that unlocks 2 nights in a stunning five star hotel, you’d have 4 nights of five star luxury to prove that this “works”, and let that gateway drug inspire the rest.
One, Two Punches Work Best
Particularly if one of you is skeptical of the whole points turning into amazing vacations thing, it’s great to secure an early win ASAP. That’s where doubling up on airline or hotel credit cards, in tandem with a transferable points card tends to be a great combo.
Let’s say the goal is Europe.
Getting three cards each could unlock an extraordinary vacation, if you time it right.
A card like the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card has a welcome bonus of 100,000 points right now, which means if two people each got the card, you’d have 200,000 SkyMiles between you. That could be enough for two round trip business class tickets to Europe during a SkyMiles Flash Sale.
If economy is cool, it could be enough to get each person round trip 3X! during a SkyMiles Flash Sale.
If you then each added the amazing World of Hyatt Credit Card 50,000 Point Bonus, or the IHG Premier Rewards Card 140,000 Point Bonus, you’d have 100,000 Hyatt Points, which is enough for 4 nights at a stunning Andaz or even Park Hyatt five star hotel, or if you went the IHG route, you’d have enough for four nights or more at a top Intercontinental property.
You’d also want to grab a long time flexible earning card, like an Amex Gold, Capital One Venture, Chase Sapphire Preferred or something higher end, with really strong earning that can be transferred to airlines or hotels. Amex Platinum is a great contender, thanks to at least 18 big travel benefits and 5X on things like airfare purchases, amongst others…
Basically, mix really strong limited time welcome bonuses with really great long time earning cards, which are chock full of benefits and then book something… fast!
There’s nothing worse than crossing signals with your significant other on a big trip. Talking about travel details such as the cabins, styles and hotel types you like to stay in-in advance of the trip leads to so many strong conversations that transcend the “what shall we do for vacation” bit.
You may just elevate your valentines day small talk to medium talk, or higher…
Starting with the “where” is just the tip of the iceberg in discovering more about each other through travel, with things like boutique or big hotel, tourism central, or low key neighborhood and so forth. And yeah, the whole Rose or Brut conversation is always fun, since your points unlocked a dreamy cabin for next to nothing.
If all these conversations send your relationship into a downward spiral, perhaps take it as a sign that the person across the other side of the table doesn’t share your interests? It’s easy to deal with someone offering their own political or social views, but someone who doesn’t love travel as much as they love you? That’s just not ok…
Do you and your partner play the points game together?