Living with credit

Emily’s list: Reward tracker edition

Emily Crone

Last week at a happy hour, a friend told me that she is traveling to Paris later this year and is dreading the purchase of an expensive flight. When my friends and I found out that she didn’t have a frequent flier credit card, we encouraged her to get one to help earn a free flight. There was some debate, however, about whether it’s better to get one for a specific airline or for one that has general miles that can be used anywhere.

Matt Kepnes, the blogger behind the popular travel blog, has been jetting around the world for five straight years. I’ve actually met him twice during that time. As long as I’ve been reading his blog, he has touted the benefits of frequent flier credit cards and actively works on earning frequent flier miles. Rewards tracker edition

I received the latest issue of his email newsletter this week, and had a little smile when I saw that airline credit cards were one of the topics. Matt recommend a site I’d never heard of before called, which helps you track your reward programs. I know this concept isn’t new, but the site does something I’ve never heard of before.’s homepage says, “Search flights in cash, miles and points. We recommend the best way to pay, so you save money and earn more rewards.” Yes, please! The site supports more than 300 airline reward programs, and it keeps track of all of your balances for you. It can tell you how much your miles are worth and warns you before they expire.

In his newsletter, Matt added this extra tip that you may find helpful:

“What I like to do when I call up whatever airline I have points with is to ask what their partners have available for flights. When using airlines that are part of the global international alliances (Oneworld, Star, Skyteam), you are allowed to use your frequent flier points with their partner airlines and, since not all redemption programs are the same, you can often get flights flying the same route for less miles.”

I’m excited to try! I feel like I’ll be far more likely to use my frequent flier miles if they are easy to track and if I can really see the value of them. Please keep reading for my list of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!

1. You may look at volunteering as a drain of income or time, but Cash Money Life explains why volunteering actually can teach you some very valuable skills.

2. From debt repayment to credit scores to interest rates, Blonde and Balanced shares her first house-hunting experience by the numbers.

3. Careful Cents offers her fourth installment on how to pay down debt faster, and she explains when you should and shouldn’t pause your investing and saving.

4. Travel eats up through money so fast it’s frightening. Well Heeled Blog lists 10 ways to handle your wanderlust when you’re low on money or time.

5. Newlyweds on a Budget discusses some of the various ways couples can communicate and stay on the same page about their finances.

6. Money Under 30 explains why the wisest and easiest way to handle your personal finances is to automate everything you can.

7. Sustainable Life blog recounts how severe his debt situation used to be and how his perspective has changed now that he doesn’t owe quite as much anymore.

8. Little Miss Moneybags lists things that make her feel smart about money, plus the things that would make her feel broke.

9. Minting Nickels explains how she and her family cut out their favorite expensive activity and replaced it with something fun enough that it isn’t a painful sacrifice.

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