FAQ: Miles and Points (General Questions)

(Click any question to expand the answer)

What is the difference between a frequent flyer mile and a credit card point?

A frequent flyer mile is tied to one frequent flyer program. For example, a Delta Skymiles mile can only be used to redeem through the Delta Skymiles program (including redemption on Skyteam and other partner airlines) but not anywhere else.Four banks have transferable points for their proprietary credit card point “currencies”.  Chase has Ultimate Rewards points, American Express has Membership Rewards, Citi offers ThankYou points, and Capital One has their own brand of “miles” which function as transferable points as well.

You can also learn why a point is not equal to a point… or a mile.

How Much is a Mile or Point Worth?

Each mile and point has its own perceived value. MilesTalk has assigned approximate values to all major US-based loyalty programs. The methodology, in short, is as follows:Each “value” is basically the absolute minimum I would redeem for. The average person, with just a tiny bit of effort to understand the sweet spots of each program, should be able to extract this valuation fairly easily.

The way I recommend reading it is that you wouldn’t ever want to redeem for less value than in this table (unless you are points rich and cash poor), nor would you ever want to buy or transfer miles to these programs for more than the stated value unless you had a specific redemption lined up.

You can see the value of all major US-based miles and points here.

Can I use one airline’s frequent flyer miles to fly on other airlines?

Yes! The best ways to spend miles, 9 out of 10 times, are to fly on a partner airline. For example, you can use British Airways Avios to book flights operated by American Airlines. Here’s a guide on how to use one airline’s miles to fly on another airline. 

What are the best credit card signup bonuses right now?

They vary widely, but we list the best credit card signup bonuses here. 

How Does Opening a New Credit Card Affect Your Credit Score?

Opening one new credit card will barely affect your credit score at all. It is likely to drop 5-7 points for a short period of time because of the “hard inquiry” performed by the issuer in checking your credit – and then it will most likely recover to where it was before. We have a longer article on the effect of a new credit card on your credit here

What do all those miles and points acronyms mean?

You probably want to read A Guide to Common Abbreviations and Acronyms in Miles and Points.  IMHO, this guide will really help you, but YMMV!

What is credit card “reconsideration” and what are the reconsideration phone numbers?

Reconsideration refers to calling a credit card issuer, after your application has gone pending or has been rejected, to ask them to reconsider your application. This is often effective as often times, a bank will reject your application over something as small as an address that doesn’t quite match their records.

Chase Reconsideration Line Phone Numbers:

Consumer cards: 1-888-270-2127

Small Business cards: 1-800-453-9719

Automated Status Line (just to check application status: 1-800-432-3117

Citi Reconsideration Phone Number:

You can check your status online with Citi.

If you aren’t approved, you can call Citi’s reconsideration line at 1-800-763-9795

American Express Reconsideration Phone Number:


Note: If you get the dreaded “pop-up” from Amex telling you that you aren’t eligible for a bonus on a new card, it means that they don’t feel you currently spend enough with them to justify giving you a bonus. Reconsideration cannot override this. All you can do is start spending more on your existing Amex cards. One day, you should become eligible again.

Barclay’s Reconsideration Phone Number


Capital One Reconsideration Phone Number

Unfortunately, Capital One doesn’t offer reconsideration. You can call the new card line but all they can do is run your credit a second time, which nearly almost produces the same rejection with no additional information.

What is a Status Match?

This refers to having one program match the status you have in another program to their equivalent level. The goal is for you to experience their program at the same level you are used to in the hopes that they will convince you to switch your loyalty to them.Here are recent status match opportunities.

What is the Status Match Merry Go Round?

The Status Match Merry Go Round is a phrase coined by MilesTalk to discuss the way in which you can take advantage of a combination of casino loyalty program matches and hotel loyalty program matches to keep status in 2 casino programs and 2 hotel programs year after year. You just need to get on the Merry Go Round once. It’s discussed in this article: The Status Match Merry Go Round Explained (Using Both Hotel and Casino Status Match Opportunities Year After Year).

Should I get a credit card with an annual fee?

It can absolutely be worthwhile to pay an annual fee on a credit card – if you get back more than you pay in. While it used to be that convention wisdom was that you should never pay an annual fee on a credit card, that has truly changed. Premium credit cards, with annual fees ranging from $95 up to $595, have added benefits to offset the annual fees and, in some cases, you’ll find that you get way more in value from those benefits than from the fees. We have a worksheet to help you determine if the annual fee on a particular credit card is worth it.

Many hotel credit cards, for example, have an annual fee ranging from $95 to $125. But most of them come with an annual free night that can generally be redeemed for a night that would cost $200 or more. 

Which is better? Points or Cash Back?

Great question! If you are willing to put in some effort, you can nearly always get a better return by earning points and spending them wisely. But if you won’t put in any effort, then cash may be king. This article describes how to decide between points and cash back. 

Do Food Delivery Services Code as Dining for Credit Card Bonus Categories?

Almost always, yes. While there can be exceptions by card or merchant, we found that most food delivery services will code as dining, offering bonus points on credit cards with dining as a bonus category.