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Should you get a travel credit card that earns points or miles?

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    Using travel credit cards can be a great way to leverage your spending and make the most of your lifestyle. One of the biggest advantages of using a travel credit card is the ability to earn rewards. They're often redeemable in various ways, such as travel experiences and cash back.

    Travel cards may offer rewards in the form of points or miles — so should you pick a card with one type of rewards over another?

    Credit card points vs. miles

    Points and miles are both rewards currencies that you can earn for using a credit card. Points are often considered a flexible form of rewards because they tend to be redeemable in various ways. Miles can be a versatile rewards currency, too, but they're usually valuable when redeemed for travel arrangements like flights.

    Chase Ultimate Rewards® is the name of the points program for many of Chase's rewards credit cards. You earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points by making purchases with Chase-branded rewards cards, including the Sapphire travel cardsFreedom cash back cards and Ink business cards.

    With Ultimate Rewards, you can redeem points many ways, including to book travel arrangements, sometimes at discounted rates. You may also be able to redeem points for hotel stays, flights and other travel perks — the specific options depend on the credit card.

    How do you earn points with a travel credit card?

    You may earn points, as opposed to miles, with certain travel credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, for instance, is a travel card with Ultimate Rewards, so you can earn points on your purchases.

    Whether you're awarded points or miles with a travel card, you might earn rewards for every dollar spent. The rate usually depends on the category of purchase and can differ by card. For example, a card might earn three points per dollar when spent on airfare or hotels, while earning one point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

    How do you earn miles with a travel credit card?

    Miles are a common rewards currency for airline credit cards, but various travel credit cards may award miles on purchases. Typically, you can earn a certain number of miles for every dollar spent with the card, and the number of miles depends on the category. The earning structure for various categories tends to depend mostly on a specific travel card's rewards program.

    How do you redeem your points and miles?

    Many card issuers have an online portal, accessed through their website, where you can view redemption options and points values. Options vary depending on your specific card's rewards program. However, points and miles may be redeemable in similar ways.

    Redeem rewards on travel

    You might be able to redeem points or miles on certain travel purchases, such as flights and hotel stays. Some issuers, like Chase, may offer perks or boosts in the value of points when you redeem them through the online rewards portal.

    Redeem rewards for cash back

    A credit card that earns cash back on your purchases usually offers rewards in the form of points. You may earn points at different rates, and cards can have different rules around redeeming rewards for cash back. There are usually at least two options. The dollar value could be issued directly to a linked checking account, for example. You may also be able to redeem points or miles for a statement credit to your card's balance.

    Transfer rewards to a travel partner

    Some credit cards let you transfer points or miles to select travel partners, then you can redeem rewards through that company's loyalty program. Travel partners often include airlines and hotels. Note that rewards can gain or lose value when transferred, so it's wise to review your card's terms for rewards transfers.

    If you'd rather not transfer rewards for travel, a hotel or airline credit card may be a good fit for your lifestyle. These cobranded cards can be particularly valuable if you travel often and prefer using a certain airline or hotel. The affiliations may offer cardmembers specific perks and benefits, such as room upgrades or free checked bags.

    In conclusion

    There is little difference between points and miles nowadays, even for travel credit cards. Regardless of which type of rewards you earn, they could be valued differently depending on the rewards program. You may want to review cards that have the most potential to reward your particular spending habits.

    With certain Chase credit cards, Ultimate Rewards can help you make the most of your spending. You may be able to maximize your Ultimate Rewards when booking travel, getting cash back or transferring them to partner airline or hotel loyalty programs. And these are just some of the possibilities.

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