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How TPG built its mileage balance using proper credit cards



As a company, The Points Guy has earned millions of American Express, Chase, Citi and Capital One points this year. Through strategic spending on selected travel credit cards, we have earned millions of points to spend on our global network of employees on trips around the world, often in business and first class cabins.

Being The Points Guy, we use these points to reduce business expenses. For example, before and after the launch of TPG UK earlier this year, the UK team has made frequent trips back and forth to the New York office. Instead of paying for the airline tickets with cash, we have spent points on most of their trips. Not only does this strategy save money, but it can also allow us to send the UK team in a premium cabin at a fraction of what it will cost in dollars or pounds.

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When he started The Points Guy, Brian Kelly realized the importance of maximizing business expenses by putting it on the right credit cards. When he looked at TPG's major spending categories, he realized that they fell into two major buckets: advertising and travel. While most businesses use direct bank payments or a company card to pay out business expenses, Brian decided to open some American Express and Chase credit cards to leverage bonus categories to multiply the company's points earning.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy.)

Since TPG is a digital business, we spend a lot of money on advertising online. American Express® Business Gold Card earns 4x points on such ads if it is one of the top two spending categories each month (up to $ 150,000 in spending per year combined with another category, then 1x). Through our advertising spend, we easily maximize that category each year, as the Web gives us 600,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, more than enough to send an employee from London to New York 20 times in economy class. If the average cost of the economy ticket is $ 500, we save $ 10,000 by strategically earning our points using cards that offer rich consumer multipliers.

Chase Ink Business Preferred also earns a multiplier on online advertising. To raise Chase Ultimate Rewards points, we also put some of our advertising costs on that card. Although the card only earns 3x points on online ads for up to $ 150,000 in spend per year (compared to 4x with Amex Business Gold), we need Chase points to fund some of our travels. Chase points are good for transfer to, among others, United and Hyatt.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy.)

TPG is not just a digital business; we are also a team of travelers. We always take tour tours, commute to the parent company's headquarters in Charlotte or arrange reader events across the country. Maintaining such journeys would be prohibitive without spending points.

Image courtesy of ANA.

For example, instead of paying $ 10,000 + for an ANA first class ticket, we transfer membership rewards points to Virgin Atlantic and book there for 120,000 miles round trip.

Related: Unlock incredible value with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

We may not always use points for our travels, as fares are not necessarily available on a given date. So we sometimes find ourselves in situations where we need to buy our tickets with cash. When we book air tickets with cash, we use either Amex Platinum or Chase Ink Business Preferred. Each card earns 5x and 3x points per dollar for airline ticket purchases, respectively.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy.)

Although it is not necessarily ideal to buy airline tickets with cash – we are The Points Guy after all! – we soften by making sure that we earn really valuable points that can be used for future travel expenses.

Related: The Best Airline Credit Cards

At TPG, we value Membership Reward Points and Ultimate Rewards points of 2 cents each, so we effectively earn between 6% and 10% off all airfares. The points we earn on paid travel are then used to offset future travel costs when the availability of seats is allocated.

Through strategic selection of certain American Express and Chase cards, TPG has utilized bonus categories to rapidly increase mileage. With these points, we have bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of airline tickets, which in turn helps us reduce business expenses.

Your company can do this too. It doesn't require a million-dollar business to earn thousands of membership rewards and Ultimate Rewards points. Start by identifying the categories that your business spends the most money on. Then make sure to use credit cards that earn a bonus multiplier for the top categories. After earning all the bonus points, you can redeem your points against expensive airfares that you can offset against the company's points. Your CFO can only thank you later.

Featured image of Emily McNutt / The Points Guy.

Zach Griff
writes travel and product reviews and oversees special projects for TPG. As a Travel Analyst, he is also responsible for managing all of TPG's miles and points.


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