Travel Hacking: 2 Main Points & Miles Types Explained (Part 1 of 4)

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There is currently an amazing offer of 25,000 free RBC Rewards Points we’ve already told you about, and it truly is one of the best offers of the year in the Canadian Travel Hacking world. So here are more details.

Flytrippers’ main goal is to find great limited-time flight deals, often at over 50% off. However, we think that if you like travel deals, you’ll love free travel too. So that is why we have launched a Travel Hacking section on our blog.

This great offer was supposed to end April 30th, but was extended until May 31st and with this deal, you get 25,000 RBC Rewards Points completely free. That’s worth a minimum of $250, but it could even be much more. That’s why we both got the card ourselves. You can read more details in our article about the RBC Avion Visa.

Today, we’ll quickly explain what you could do with these Points & Miles. By the way, Points and Miles are two terms that mean the exact same thing and are used interchangeably.

It is Part 1 of 4, so it really gives you an overview of the 2 main types of Points & Miles.

Parts 2 & 3 will give you more details about each of the 2 main Points types. Finally this all leads up to Part 4 to give you specific examples of how you can use the 25,000 RBC Points that you can currently get for free with the aforementioned offer.




The goal here is to help you understand the complex world of Travel Hacking Points and how they work.

How Points Work

Before I get to the 2 main types of Points, let’s start with the basics. There are 2 main elements involved in Travel Hacking: Earning and Burning.

Both are very complex: accumulating Points (earning) is quite tricky but using Points (burning) can be even more complicated when you want to maximize the value of your hard-earned Points.

Earning

There are 2 main ways to earn Points & Miles to get free travel:

  • earning Points thanks to credit card signup bonuses
  • earning Points by using your credit card as often as possible

Unless you are a very big spender, the fastest way to earn Points will definitely be with the credit card signup bonuses. That part we’ve covered quite a bit already in our 10 Rules About Travel Hacking Credit Cards and Best Credit Cards in Canada articles. And in terms of maximizing your earning on everyday purchases, we have great pro tips coming soon on the blog.

Burning

There are 2 main types of uses and redemptions for Points to get free travel:

  • completely free hotel nights (no taxes to pay)
  • completely (or almost) free flights (taxes/surcharges to pay, but not always)

Which one should you choose? Well that really depends on what type of traveler you are. We will be posting an article to help you plan your Travel Hacking strategy based on your travel goals soon, but know that the two types of points we are getting to cover both hotels and flights. Using Points for anything other than those two often gives you a lot less value and is not recommended at all.

Types of Points

Finally here is the most important part to understand, the 2 main types of Points in the Travel Hacking world:

  • Fixed Value Points (variable amount of Points required for free travel)
  • Variable Value Points (fixed amount of Points required for free travel)

Since it’s never simple it the world of Travel Hacking, there is another twist: many Points are hybrid points (or flexible points, again: same thing). Those Points can therefore be used with either a fixed value or a variable value.

Like our favorite Points currency (AMEX Rewards), the RBC Rewards program is a hybrid program, so the 25,000 RBC Rewards Points your Signup Bonus gives you are worth anywhere from $250 (1.0¢ / point) to even over $500 (2.0¢ / point), depending on how you decide to use them. You have the choice, you have both options.

If you are flexible, you can get much more value out of your Points if you use them wisely and maximize them (variable value)… but at the very least, it’s a $250 travel credit applied to any travel expense, if you don’t want to complicate your life (fixed value).

The fixed value method is much simpler, but also much less rewarding… like anything else in the travel world, the simpler and more convenient you want it to be, the less you’ll get for your money. That’s normal. Convenience has a price, as always.

Bottom Line

So here’s the overview, these are the 2 main types of Points. We will drill down on both next week, with A LOT more details.

Any questions?

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