(KGTV) -- Summertime is fast approaching, and San Diego families are trying to figure out how to afford a vacation.
Many people don’t realize the travel gold mine already sitting in their wallets.
According to a new survey from JD Power, a third of people don’t understand their credit card benefits, causing many to miss out on the perks. 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt talked to two professionals, known for helping people maximize their credit card and loyalty points.
“There are lots of options out there” according to David Fleming, known professionally as “The Miles Guy.” “You don't just have to buy a ticket. If you're smart, you can get a ticket for free.”
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Fleming travels the world on loyalty points. He says if you spend a dollar, you should earn a point. He says the easiest way to get started is to sign up for airline and hotel loyalty programs. “It does not have to break the bank. I've traveled the world and have been lucky enough to sit in business and first much of the time,” says Fleming.
“A ticket might cost a thousand dollars, but you can get the same ticket for 25 thousand points. It's a no brainer.”
Owen Beiny is the founder of thepointspartner.com. He has mastered the art of earning credit card points, without racking up debt.
He says you should consider points as currency. You buy at one rate and sell at another.
“The easiest way to get into the points game is to get a new credit card with a huge sign up bonus”, says Beiny.
“Get this new credit card, spend $3,000 in three months, you'll get 50 thousand sign up bonus points. That is the easiest way to get into the game.” But Beiny warns, building points requires financial responsibility.
“Credit cards are not for everyone. You should be paying off your cards every month. If you're not, you shouldn't be in this game. But if you are paying your bill on time, there is an astronomical amount of points, which convert to money for travel, or if you're shopping every month. That's what this is all about.”
Beiny says it’s important to understand which credit card will work best for you. Consider your finances, your credit score, your lifestyle, and those annual credit card fees.
“There is no such thing as a bad credit card, there is such a thing as a bad credit card for you. If you don't earn that much money, having a platinum card is not the right card for you. People always ask me the best card or hotel loyalty program. That depends on your lifestyle. Where are you flying? Hubs? Airlines? How much are you spending every month? How many points can we get?”
Brett Moss is an avid traveler. He visits exotic places with his family by earning points on purchases he would normally make in his everyday life. “You can accumulate 30 thousand points like that, if you have an Amex card and you're charging your groceries and your gas.”
He uses loyalty programs like Marriot Bonvoy and American Airlines. He also has his favorite days to book flights.
“If you book on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, it’s always going to be better. They have more inventory on those days.”
But Moss cautions when booking international travel. Some airports such as London’s Heathrow impose taxes and fees to go through that hub.