Chappaqua Mom Points Offers an Overview of Credit Card Rewards Programs

Cindy Greenstein of The Points Mom. Contributing photo.

Navigating the world of credit card rewards programs and juggling multiple cards to get the points and miles you want can be a daunting task. And that’s where Cindy Greenstein comes in.

A former accountant, the Chappaqua resident had been giving free advice on her The Points Mom website since 2014 before making the decision in 2018 to operate it as a consulting firm that offers one-on-one advice and speaking engagements on the best ways to get the most out of rewards, points and credit card benefits.

Greenstein’s first experience with points came as an accountant fresh out of college, traveling avidly and accumulating points.

“I was hooked then, just earning points and miles by flying and staying in hotels,” she recalls. “That was before the big banks had credit cards tied to loyalty programs.”

Today, The Points Mom seeks to guide customers through the ever-changing landscape of rewards cards and loyalty programs, subject to constant change by banks and businesses, with both positive and negative impacts. on existing maps.

“This game doesn’t work if you apply for a card and end up paying interest or fees. It totally negates any rewards you might earn,” she said.

Many of Greenstein’s clients are on the richer side but still wish to visit exotic locations without the immense expense.

“We all love to travel, and there are so many cards out there that will give you free travel if you use them correctly and apply for them at the right time,” Greenstein said, adding that a customer will be traveling to Hawaii over the holidays. Christmas thanks to his contribution.

Greenstein herself has taken many vacations over the years with her family to popular destinations like New Orleans, London and Paris. However, Greenstein found that the customers who get the most out of their cards are small business owners due to the high expense of running a business.

“If you have a small business, you can have personal cards and business cards, and those cards can sort of earn the same rewards that all go in the same bucket,” Greenstein said. “It’s much easier to win and get free trips.”

Greenstein drew attention to three interesting cards for those looking to earn the most points. The first is the American Express Gold Card, a card that earns the same points as other American Express cards people might already own, such as the Platinum Card. Gold Cardholders earn four times the points per dollar for meals and groceries. The annual fee is $250, though Greenstein noted that diligent use of the card’s monthly benefits can bring it down to $10.

Greenstein also recommended Capital One Venture X, which gives two miles for every dollar spent, regardless of what is purchased. A mile earned can be redeemed for a penny and is not tied to the Capital One website. Additionally, Capital One offers a $300 travel credit (although redeemable only through and also gives cardholders 10,000 bonus miles on each one-year anniversary, meaning cardholders can more than cover the $395 annual card fee.

Another card Greenstein praised was the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which she suggested especially for those entering the world of points and miles for the first time. Cardholders can earn three points per dollar spent on dining or streaming services or two points for travel. But what’s most appealing about the card, Greenstein said, is that one point can be redeemed at $0.125. However, she warned that “you are limited if you are going to use these as money to go through the Chase travel website”.

Regardless of the card used, Greenstein stressed that loyalty programs should be avoided.

“One mistake that people make, I think, is that they use a credit card linked to a loyalty program for their daily expenses. And what I recommend is to use a card that earns miles or flexible points for everyday spending, where you can use those points like cash or you can transfer them to partners,” Greenstein advised.

The rewards and points industry has weathered the effects of the pandemic quite well thanks to companies’ efforts to retain and attract customers in response to reduced travel.

“Most of the companies have offered incredible incentives that we’ve never seen before, and probably never will see again,” Greenstein said, noting that this has led to companies drastically reducing the number of points needed to reach the top-tier status, which comes with additional rewards and bonus points. JetBlue is one such company, having reduced the number of points needed to achieve Mosaic status from 50,000 points to 15,000.

The waning severity of Covid-19 in the public eye of late has, according to Greenstein, led to increased wanderlust among his clientele.

“I just think people want to travel and maybe they’re willing to spend a little more,” Greenstein said. “Maybe it wouldn’t be like this if Covid hadn’t happened, and maybe people wouldn’t want to spend that little extra amount on a hotel or a flight.”

Although Covid-19 hasn’t had a massive negative impact on her business, Greenstein has highlighted her desire to improve single-woman functioning, particularly in the way advice is delivered.

“While I will continue to do my consultations, I’m trying to build my social media and try to do more speaking engagements,” she said, citing her one-on-one consultations while hoping to move into speaking sessions. band. with about 10 or more clients.

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