What Is Your Rewards Card Strategy for 2023?

Make your next big family vacation affordable with points.

A lot of people are nervous about using credit cards and trying to earn rewards points, but if you have decent credit and are even a little organized, using points can save you large sums of money and allow you to have wonderful experiences that you may not necessarily be able to afford otherwise, especially if you have a large family.

If you’re a beginner, check out our guide for how to travel with rewards points.

But it works best if you have a strategy! We decided we wanted to take a vacation to Disney World this year, so we planned our 2022 strategy around that trip, and now we get to use our points! Here’s how we did it:

Both my husband and I applied online for a Southwest Rapid Rewards card, and we used that for the bulk of our day to day expenses throughout the year. This worked really well, since the card was offering a better-than-normal bonus of 100,000 points. Right now, it’s offering 50,000 but keep an eye on it – these bonuses sometimes change throughout the year.

We were also able to earn companion passes for this year – meaning that one person of our choice could fly free with us whenever we flew. So we each added one child as our companion. Southwest has no blackout dates and we can cancel or change our flights for free if we need to, which is a really great benefit when we consider that we’re coordinating 8 people’s flights!

If you don’t want to fly Southwest, American Airlines is a great alternative for earning airline points that you can use to travel. Barclays Aviator AAdvantage Card often offers a really easy-to-earn bonus card (you only need to pay the annual fee and make one purchase!) and when combined with this Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select®  card, you can earn a lot of points!

In addition to airline points, we needed to cover our hotel stay, so we went with Bank of America’s travel rewards card, which was offering a larger-than-normal bonus at the time. This one was new to us, but it is nice because it is super flexible. The points act as a statement credit for any travel expense. We each got the card and used it enough to earn our bonus – $500 toward travel expenses for each of us. That will cover our hotel rooms in Disney. Again, keep an eye out for these promotional bonuses as they do occur at different times throughout the year.

For hotels, we also really like the MARRIOTT BONVOY BOUNDLESS™ CARD  for it’s benefits and CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED®  for it’s options. Points go far with both of these cards.

Finally, the big expense of Disney tickets. At no less than $109 per person per day, Disney really adds up when you have a large family! So this year, we got the Disney® Premier Visa® Card to offset the price of tickets. This earn us a bonus of $300 to be used at Disney, which will cover a couple days worth of tickets and the annual fee is less than $50, netting us $250 each for a total of $500 toward our Disney World tickets for our family.

For pretty much any vacation, rewards cards can be a tool for spending less on your trip. Make sure to spend only what you normally would and pay off your bills by the due date, and the benefits will be significant. If you don’t have a strategy yet for this year, check out our list of favorite cards and make one!

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