Cabernet Sauvignon and steak- classic credit card pairings -intro to travel hacking

Rewards credit cards account for four-fifths of all credit card spending.  Within the rewards category you generally see two types of reward redemption "cash back" and "travel".  Travel is further broken down into two categories; airline and hotel.  While cash back is generally the most popular form of reward benefits - travel and the associated points earned by these card are more fun to talk about!

Thus while cash back cards are the most popular type of reward cards the real "cab-steak" pairing (meaning the most popular and classic pairing) would be credit card travel reward points and airline miles.

Many major credit card companies have relationships with Airlines.  This relationship allows credit card reward points to be transferred  and combined with airline miles.  A lot of times credit card points are more valuable when transferred and spent through an air line reward program (we will get into specific strategies in later articles but for now just get comfortable with the concept of transferring points from your credit card to your airline reward program).  Here is a brief list of who works with who:


  • Southwest
  • United
  • British Airways


  • JetBlue
  • Delta
  • British Airways


  • American Airlines

The easiest way to keep track which rewards points are transferable to different airlines is by using this great tool created by the Mad Fientist.  At the top of the tool select the airline program you are apart of then the tool automatically filters which credit cards points are transferable to that airline.

Here is an another tool that helps you keep track of what credit card company works with which airline.  It goes a step further and lets you know which airline reward miles are transferable with one another meaning Chase points are transferable to United and United is part of Star Alliance so their points can be transferred to i.e Air Canada.  Enter the reward program that you belong to and where you want to fly to- the tool will let you know how many travel points you need to fly to your final destination and will also recommend credit cards that can help you get to your final destination.  Now the tool has some limitations.  Many of the recommended credit cards are cryptically hidden and a big part of that is due to the Card Act which requires credit card companies to be responsible for assuring correct information is advertised to the public (thanks seriously, while some of the Card Act might seem like an overarching regulation it stoped credit card companies from being able to raise APR % without giving proper notice to consumers .....and folks as a friendly reminder please use credit cards responsibly)

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