Travel Hacking: 2 Main Points & Miles Types Explained (Part 1 of 4)

We’ve updated our monthly Credit Card ranking and there are great offers in the Canadian Travel Hacking world, as is always the case. So here are more details about the basics.

Flytrippers’ main goal is to find great limited-time flight deals, often at over 50% off. However, we think that if you like travel deals, you’ll love free travel too. So that is why we have launched a Travel Hacking section on our blog.

There will be much more free content to come and we want to help you learn all about Travel Hacking on your own, but we also have a new Travel Hacking Club for those who want a step-by-step easy way to get started and get $1,000 in free travel this year. In both cases, we assume you are financially responsible, if not, stick to the flight deals and the many tricks in our Travel Tips section: the Travel Hacking section is not for you.

Today, we’ll quickly explain what you could do with all the free Points & Miles you can easily earn. By the way, Points and Miles are two terms that mean the exact same thing and are used interchangeably.

It is Part 1 of 4, so it really gives you an overview of the 2 main types of Points & Miles.

Parts 2 & 3 will give you more details about each of the 2 main Points types. Finally this all leads up to Part 4 to learn how to maximize the return to get more out of your Points.

The goal here is to help you understand the complex world of Travel Hacking Points and how they work.

How Points Work

Before I get to the 2 main types of Points, let’s start with the basics. There are 2 main elements involved in Travel Hacking: Earning and Burning.

Both are very complex: accumulating Points (earning) is quite tricky but using Points (burning) can be even more complicated when you want to maximize the value of your hard-earned Points.

Earning

There are 2 main ways to earn Points & Miles to get free travel:

  • earning Points thanks to credit card signup bonuses
  • earning Points by using your credit card as often as possible

Unless you are a very big spender, the fastest way to earn Points will definitely be with the credit card signup bonuses. That part we’ve covered quite a bit already in our 10 Rules About Travel Hacking Credit Cards and Best Credit Cards in Canada pages. And in terms of maximizing your earning on everyday purchases, we have great pro tips coming soon on the blog.

Burning

There are 2 main types of uses and redemptions for Points to get free travel:

  • completely free hotel nights (no taxes to pay)
  • completely (or almost) free flights (taxes/surcharges to pay, but not always)

Which one should you choose? Well that really depends on what type of traveler you are. We will be posting an article to help you plan your Travel Hacking strategy based on your travel goals soon, but know that the two types of points we are getting to cover both hotels and flights. Using Points for anything other than those two often gives you a lot less value and is not recommended at all.

Types of Points

Finally here is the most important part to understand, the 2 main types of Points in the Travel Hacking world:

Since it’s never simple it the world of Travel Hacking, there is another twist: many Points are hybrid points (or flexible points, again: same thing). Those Points can therefore be used with either a fixed value or a variable value.

If you are flexible, you can get much more value out of your Points if you use them wisely and maximize them (variable value)… but at the very least, the fixed value Points give you a travel credit applied to any travel expense, if you don’t want to get into all the complicated stuff (fixed value).

The fixed value method is much simpler, but also much less rewarding… like anything else in the travel world, the simpler and more convenient you want it to be, the less you’ll get for your money. That’s normal. Convenience has a price, as always.

Bottom Line

So here’s the overview, these are the 2 main types of Points. You can now read Part 2: How Fixed Value Points Work.

Any questions?

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about travelling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself, he aims to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveller, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to Travel Hacking... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 41/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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