I field plenty of questions from readers on a daily basis who want to learn more about the world of travel. Plenty of them start with phrases like “How do I” or “My dream trip is to go to”. One of the most popular questions I hear is one that one of my readers, Amit, sent recently. Paraphrasing:
We want to take a special trip at the end of September. If we applied for a Marriott credit card now would we have enough time to earn the sign-up bonus and book award rooms?
For starters, the Marriott Rewards credit card references the following language in their offer:
After qualifying, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus points to post to your Marriott Rewards account.
The general answer for this and other credit cards is “it varies”. The card companies generally give themselves some wiggle room on the promised date, but their systems are pretty well integrated with their hotel and airline partners. You’ll usually have to wait until your statement closes after you’ve hit the minimum spending threshold, and then the timing will vary a bit. But, my general experience has been the points will post within a couple of weeks after the statement period where you hit the threshold ends.
The most disappointing part about this question for me is what generally follows when friends ask me it. Crickets. Silence. Nothing.
They’ve heard me harp on them for months (years?) about using miles and points to travel better and they finally got motivated to do something about it. But, when their plan gets foiled, they generally don’t go forward with signing up for a new credit card or developing that first strategy to start earning miles and points for a future vacation. The motivation is lost.
With very few exceptions, that’s still a great time to get started. Because, barring something drastic, there will be another vacation. And, if a deal originally attracted you, there’s a reasonable chance it’ll fit future travel plans. There are exceptions, like the Hyatt credit card. When you first sign-up for that card, you get two free nights at any Hyatt property in the world once you achieve the sign-up bonus. However, they’re only good for a year after you earn the bonus. So, you want to time a sign-up like that when you know you’ll be able to take the most advantage of the value. Short of something like that, the best time to jump in is now.
Just Two More Cents
It’s great to have a plan when you’re thinking about getting started in the world of miles and points. Plans are just that, a plan. Sometimes they don’t work out, but that’s a good reason to make another plan. It’s never too late to start saving money on travel.
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