How to Earn Extra Points on the Road (and whenever)

Since we have embarked on our journey to travel the world for a year, it has become much harder to earn miles and points. Before we left the states, I had a system to generate thousands of points every single month. Now I do not have access to most pieces in that system, but do still have access to one. This system entails NW Buxx and Citi, which I have written about before. I recommend you check out those posts as I will reference some pieces of them in this post.

Why I like this system

Citi Thank You (TY) points is a points currency that has been growing on me recently, primarily because Singapore Airlines Krisflyer program has been growing on me (post to come soon). I also like them because they transfer to FlyingBlue (Air France and KLM). They have some other transfer partners that could be good depending on the redemption, but these two are my favorite.

How it works

I have two cards that can earn me ThankYou points: the Citi Prestige and the Citi Premier. I have been putting all of my spend while abroad on these two cards. The reason is because Citi allows you to call them and make payments using a debit card. A debit card that works for these payments is the NW Buxx debit card.

You can load a NW Buxx card with a Visa or Mastercard. Since flexible currencies are most valuable, I am loading them with a Chase card that earns 1 Ultimate Rewards (UR) point per dollar spent (Amex Membership Rewards points and SPG points, the other two flexible currencies, can only be earned on Amex credit cards and thus were out of the question). There is a fee to load these NW Buxx debit cards with a credit card. It costs $2 to load $200. Each time I do this, I earn 202 UR points. If you value UR points at exactly 1 cent a point (I value them closer to 2 cents each), then you still come out slightly ahead by doing this.

I soon plan on doing even better. My Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card recently had its annual fee of $95 charged. It has been a great credit card for me over the years, but now that I have a Chase Ink Business card that also allows me to transfer points to different loyalty programs, I no longer believe the fee of the card was worth it for me. I called the number on the back of my card and downgraded the card to Chase’s new Freedom Unlimited credit card. This card earns a flat 1.5 UR points per dollar spent on all purchases. Once I receive the card, I will begin using it to load my NW Buxx cards. This will earn me 303 UR points every time I use the card to charge the $202 ($200 for load and $2 for fee).

Earning points

With this method of paying off my Citi credit cards, let’s take a look at the points my Citi Premier and Citi Prestige are earning me. This will not take into account the $2 fee to load the NW Buxx card.

Citi Premier

4.5 points for travel including gas (3 TY points and 1.5 UR points)

3.5 points for dining and entertainment (2 TY points and 1.5 UR points)

2.5 points for all other spend (1 TY point and 1.5 UR points)

Citi Prestige

4.5 points for air travel and hotels (3 TY points and 1.5 UR points)

3.5 points for dining and entertainment (2 TY points and 1.5 UR points)

2.5 points for all other spend (1 TY point and 1.5 UR points)

As you see above, this method of paying my Citi credit cards will double the amount of points I would ordinarily earn from purchases that would only net me 1 point and will significantly boost the amount of points I will earn on other purchases as well.

I do value Chase UR points more than I value Citi TY points, but the opportunity to double dip if I pay with a Citi credit card is too great. If I had kept my Chase Sapphire Preferred, I would be able to earn 2 UR points on some purchases that I will now only earn 1.5 UR points on, but the 0.5 UR points is not worth more than 2 or 3 Citi TY points.

Conclusion

If you have a Citi card that earns TY points, I recommend you open a NW Buxx card (or a few) and start loading your Buxx card with a Chase UR point earning card to double dip and earn extra points. It’s not too much compared to the amounts I was able to earn while having a home base in Madison, but it’s still something and you should take advantage of everything you can!

Let me know if you have a system to earn some extra points while on the road. I would love to hear about it!

3 Comment

  1. Singh says: Reply

    Hi there. I am still not able to understand how it’s helping you to earn TKY pts. You use Chase to add money and get points and than pay off Citi using NW card. But how did you earn TKY pts in this. Plz help me understand. Thanks

    1. Pete says: Reply

      Hey Singh,

      I hope I can clear up some confusion! The beauty of Citi is that they allow you to pay off their credit cards with a debit card (NW Buxx in my case). I have shifted most of my spend to my Citi cards so I can have this ability to pay them off with a debit card. This essentially allows me to pay for every transaction with 2 credit cards.First with my Citi card directly and then with my Chase card indirectly by funding my NW Buxx cards to pay off the Citi card. This earns me more points than I normally would if I paid off my credit card from my bank account.

      If this still does not make sense please let me know. I’m here to help!

  2. Singh says: Reply

    Thanks Pete. Now I get it. I have been putting my bux charges on my prestige and I need to move away from that to a better card. Thanks for clarification.

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