Newbie here - Poor old College Student

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Rakuten06, May 9, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Rakuten06

    Rakuten06 Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    197
    Status Points:
    255
    Hello,

    I just recently joined the forums here and I'm a poor college student. However, I recently entered the world of traveling by miles/points by taking the first step to redeeming 4k points from Amtrak Guest Rewards for a free train ride home from Washington, DC to my hometown in Vermont. I loved traveling and always want to travel but I can't afford the trips because my money is going towards college or bills and I don't have a job because I'm a full-time student. Yet with all of those, my urge to travel is still strong especially when tomorrow is my first day of the summer vacation!

    I had a points.com account (registered recently) and I saw a trade offer of 1k Amtrak Guest Rewards for 1k IHG Rewards Club + $10 trading fee. I did not register for IHG yet, but I am curious about your opinions if it is worth starting out my saving days by registering for an additional program and accepting that trade?
     
  2. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes Received:
    2,161
    Status Points:
    1,200
    Welcome to MP. FWIW, if you could use airline and/or hotel branded CCs to pay those tuition and book fees, you'd be "earning as you're learning". ;)
     
    Kevinwou91 and Newscience like this.
  3. Rakuten06

    Rakuten06 Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    197
    Status Points:
    255
    Haha, understood. However, I already had two credit cards (Discover card and the CapitalOne card) - Discover card the only CC with "Cashback bonus" while CapitalOne doesn't.
     
    Kevinwou91 and gregm like this.
  4. MX

    MX Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    4,805
    Status Points:
    2,545
    If you see any chance to ride Amtrak in the future, do not trade. Amtrak points are substantially more valuable than IHG. It won't hurt to join the IHG Rewards Club, in case you you happen to stay in their member hotels.

    Welcome to Milepoint!
     
    Kevinwou91 and Newscience like this.
  5. Rakuten06

    Rakuten06 Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    197
    Status Points:
    255
    When I am going to college for the start of the semester and coming home at the end of the semester in addition to the Thanksgiving week vacation, I always use Amtrak and as a result of it, I recently redeeming 4k Amtrak Guest Rewards to take a free train ride home for the first time in my life. Basically that is the first time I decided to trade points for rides in my life too. Basically the reason why I asked here because I would like to start collecting miles and points with a dream of going anywhere on a a trip (Like I said, I love to travel) outside the country on free or low-costs by trying to get more and more miles like Amtrak. Amtrak Guest Rewards is the only rewards program I am an active member of (I don't count Discover card) and I would like to give it a chance and try to expand into the other programs.
     
    Kevinwou91 and MX like this.
  6. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,486
    Likes Received:
    2,462
    Status Points:
    1,325
    I think you can apply for a CSP Card, that will give you Amtrak points...

    Guess you could be the go to guy for Pizza and Beer,

    Collect the cash first and always pay your bill in full.

    Put the college first, otherwise you could be a HOBO.

    BIG HEAD is much smarter than little head, life is not about desires, but reality.

    Many if us worked out way through school..and used a cup heart to warm out soup.
     
    Kevinwou91 likes this.
  7. Pizzaman
    Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    8,755
    Status Points:
    7,270
    One of the smart things you can do now is sign up for a number of loyalty programs. While there are some that will close your account for inactivity after a while a lot will just expire any points you have. In some cases (Hyatt, for example) you need 10 years enrolled in the program to qualify for lifetime status. So, joining now in case you have LOTS of travel later can help.

    And, if you sign up for some newsletters you may see some offers you want to take advantage of.
     
    Kevinwou91, Newscience and MX like this.
  8. MX

    MX Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    4,805
    Status Points:
    2,545
    Indeed you can get some decent rides out of Amtrak points. I recently got a free ride out west on 2K points in business class. With the IHG rewards, 4K points will get you exactly nothing (you'll need 4-5 times as much for a free night).
    As @satman40 mentioned earlier, you can get more Amtrak points by transferring from Chase Ultimate Rewards program and having a Chase Sapphire Preferred account.
     
    Kevinwou91 and Newscience like this.
  9. Max M

    Max M Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,639
    Likes Received:
    2,160
    Status Points:
    1,245
    If you have a lot of free time, including during the summer, then consider signing up with Bing Rewards. You can redeem earned points for your choice of frequent flyer miles, hotel points, gift cards, and lots of other various rewards.

    Points and miles partners including the following airlines and hotels: American Airlines AAdvantage, Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, Icelandair Saga Club, IHG Rewards Club, LifeMiles, US Airways Dividend Miles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Plus a couple of others that aren't airlines/hotels.

    The redemption of Bing Rewards points for miles is only 100 miles/points at a time, so it's not a ton of frequent flyer miles.

    However there are other redemption options including an Amazon Gift Card or a Tango Card that you can exchange for merchants such as Target and over 20 other merchants. Taking 3 minutes out of your day to max out your searches could translate into some free points, miles, or gift cards.

    Plus they're running a promo for the month of May: every Tuesday, they bump up the number of searches you can do double the number of searches to earn reward points.

    It's really an easy way to get free stuff.
     
    Kevinwou91, Newscience and Rakuten06 like this.
  10. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Messages:
    774
    Likes Received:
    912
    Status Points:
    795
    Absolutely not. We've seen some reliable techniques for "buying" IHG points for $.007 each, which makes $10 for 1k points a bad deal to start with. And unless you have some other sources of IHG points coming in and some specific ideas re: redeeming them, it probably doesn't make sense to start moving points around.

    Since you're just starting out, I encourage you to make a point of 1) collecting points for things/travel you're doing anyway, 2) consolidating air travel (if any) onto one or two carriers, and 3) not taking on any additional spending just to get points. Don't worry so much about consolidating hotel stays/points - if you're paying for stays with you own money, you're better off going for price (use priceline!) rather than points. And unless you have the means to pay off credit card bills every month, I would stay away from credit cards. If nothing else, they may tempt you to spend more than you otherwise would, which is a net lose.

    If you insist on getting into the credit card game, you might first consider a(nother) cash back card. Cash is useful even in small increments, without the quantization problems of most mile and point awards (don't have 12.5k UA points? No one-way ticket for you.). There may indeed be more value to be had from the airline and hotel cards, but there's extra risk and complexity there, too. A cash back card is simple.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
    Kevinwou91 and Newscience like this.
  11. Rakuten06

    Rakuten06 Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    197
    Status Points:
    255
    Thank you for the responses! for Max M, I know that is not much like you said, but I think that's a fantastic way to start saving up with Bing Rewards, so I'll sign up and start doing that.

    Traveltoomuch, maybe that can be one of the good ideas for using Bing Rewards (That would satisfy your #3) to starting out? I don't have air travel (last time I flew is 2009 to Costa Rica with my friends in the freshman year of my undergraduate school for Spring Break) and I tend to rely on Amtrak for coming to college and coming home. Like I said, I only have two credit cards and I am still paying off the credit card bills every month. I think that would be enough with two credit cards (CapitalOne and Discover) for a 23-year-old graduate student like myself, hehehe...
     
    Kevinwou91 likes this.
  12. Rakuten06

    Rakuten06 Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    197
    Status Points:
    255
    Sorry for bumping this thread, but I have one more question to ask... I'm wondering about what traveltoomuch said about hotels, so... my question is: Is it all right to use the points for hotel stays to stay in the United States only while the points will be mainly used for flights inside the country and out abroad the country in addition to paying for hotels with my own money in some of the countries I want to visit (for example, Burgundy region in France which I don't need to stay in a big-name hotel, but to visit a old-fashioned French bed and breakfast or something similar to that). What do you think of that concept?
     
    Kevinwou91 likes this.
  13. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    670
    Status Points:
    670
    Use your points and miles any way you wish to. They are YOUR points! The only wrong way to use them is to not use them at all and let them expire.
     
  14. Pizzaman
    Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    8,755
    Status Points:
    7,270
    What moongoddess said! I like to get a certain value for my points, but there's nothing wrong with burning them whenever you want/need to.
     
  15. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Messages:
    774
    Likes Received:
    912
    Status Points:
    795
    There's nothing wrong with using hotel points domestically. I do it all the time. When cash hotel rates seem unusually high, I consider using points, whether at home or abroad. (Written from a perfectly ordinary category-4 Hilton outside the US, where I'm using points.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
    Kevinwou91 and Newscience like this.
  16. Rakuten06

    Rakuten06 Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    197
    Status Points:
    255
    Cheers for the replies, I went ahead and registered for the IHG Rewards Club due to a free survey which I simply answered the questions and got 500 points in return. I know it's not much, but it's a starting point considering that the points won't expire at all, and when I checked Points.com... a trade offer of 1k Amtrak Guest Rewards for 1k IHG Rewards Club + $10 trading fee I posted here went away, oh well...

    In return, I saw another trade offer which I will get 1k Delta Air Miles for giving up 2k Amtrak Guest Rewards + $20 trading fee, no thanks... I tend to live in either Washington, DC or in my hometown (In my hometown I rely on Amtrak more because a nearest international airport is 2-3 hours away) and I don't think Delta will be a beneficial rewards program for me if I want to fly to France for a week-long vacation.
     
    Kevinwou91 likes this.
  17. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    670
    Status Points:
    670
    It pains me to defend Delta Skymiles - but they can be used to book flights with KLM and Air France, not just Delta. So they're not useless (even if I prefer other programs to Dlta's).
     
    Kevinwou91, Newscience and WilliamQ like this.
  18. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,499
    Likes Received:
    14,270
    Status Points:
    10,675
    Delta SkyMiles do not expire from inactivities too.
    Couple that with SPG Crossover Rewards, good deal.
    I just signed up for SPG with the World MasterCard promo
    - 1 qualified stay with World MasterCard to get SPG Preferred Gold status.
     
    Kevinwou91 and Newscience like this.
  19. marianparlors

    marianparlors New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status Points:
    10
    You have to reap what you saw.. Endure every single moment of success in order to be contented. Best wishes for your potential career.
     
  20. howtofreetravel

    howtofreetravel Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    27
    Status Points:
    80
    Get into the credit card and next time you can do this on a plane for free
     
  21. cardinalkid

    cardinalkid Active Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status Points:
    95
    Simply put, my recommendation is to learn about credit, how to build and maintain credit, and then use that credit to earn points/miles.
     
  22. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,694
    Likes Received:
    45,079
    Status Points:
    16,475
    Many of the folks on Milepoint were "poor old college students" at one time! One difference is that you can get some great travel-related advice here, but always remember to take it all under consideration, as to what will work best for you. The best of luck to you in your career! :)
     
    MX likes this.

Share This Page