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Hidden Treasure in Your Wallet

Credit card points can help you make the most of summer vacation
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Vacation is more than an opportunity to relax, unwind and spend time making memories with family and friends. It is an essential part of living a healthy and balanced life. Time away from the office can help productivity in the long run as returning to work rested and refreshed improves mood, focus and stress levels.

The Framingham Heart Study — the largest and longest-running study of cardiovascular disease — found that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks than men who did not take time off. And women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than women who vacationed at least twice a year.

If you’re dreaming of a weekend getaway or a big family vacation, the credit card points that you’ve racked up throughout the year can help you plan a memorable summer adventure while relieving some of the strain on your wallet.

In 2018, ADA Preferred Rewards Visa Signature cardholders redeemed over 4.2 million rewards points on airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, gift cards and cash back.

Get the most value when redeeming your rewards points

Every one of the thousands of different credit cards has a distinct set of strengths and weaknesses. Credit cards affiliated with a specific store, airline or hotel chain will often give the best redemption value when bonus points are used within that brand family. For the almost 17,000 dentists who are ADA Preferred Rewards Visa Signature cardholders, the redemption value is weighted in favor of airfare on over 450 airlines with no blackout dates. The card offers redemption levels that enable members to receive tickets up to a value of $450 in exchange for 25,000 reward points, making the value of each dollar spent 1.8 times better than a straight $1 to one point redemption.

Dr. Melanie Armfield uses the credit card to pay office expenses and uses the points to travel. “We go to visit our exchange students all over Germany so we’ve been able to take the family there and often one or two of the tickets will be paid for with our ADA credit card [points.]” Hear more about her experience in this short video.

However, if what you need to fuel your summer travel is some extra spending power in the form of a gift card, cash back or hotel stay, you can still use the points you’ve built up to offset vacation costs. ADA Preferred Rewards Signature Visa cardholders receive a straight $1 to one point value on these redemption categories.

Pay attention to point earning potential year-round

Throughout the summer and for the rest of the year, make sure you’re building up the reward points you can use for fun by taking advantage of accelerated earning opportunities. Many credit cards offer extra points on specific types of purchases, some with rotating categories based on the time of year. With the ADA Preferred Rewards Signature Visa card, ADA members earn five times the points on ADA-affiliated expenses including ADA Catalog purchases (like patient education brochures and the CDT book), ADA continuing education and ADA annual meeting registration.

Now through the end of September, ADA Preferred Rewards Signature Visa cardholders can opt in via email with U.S. Bank to receive two times the points on all retail purchases, so that includes the shopping you need to do for the perfect vacation wardrobe and trip souvenirs. October through December 2019 ADA members can opt in to receive two times the points on all grocery purchases. If members are not signed up to receive emails for their ADA Visa account, they should contact U.S. Bank at 1.888.327.2265 to receive emails to take advantage of these opportunities.

In addition, ADA members should check that their state society is one of the 45 societies co-endorsing the ADA Preferred Rewards Visa card, because that means any state purchase, including dues payments, receive two times the rewards points.

Last year, ADA members who paid their Great West insurance premiums with the ADA Preferred Rewards Signature Visa card received two times the points (capped at $2,500 per member) on over $1.5 million in charges. That means that more than 3 million bonus points were accumulated for use on something potentially more fun, if less necessary, than insurance premiums.

A last note before you hit the road

Before leaving home in search of adventure or that relaxing beach retreat, be sure to notify your credit card issuer by phone or online to let them know when and where you’ll be traveling. This helps guard against unnecessary fraud warnings or even a possible freeze on your account because the bank suspects your card has fallen into the wrong hands miles away from where they know you live. And, if you are traveling outside the country, find out whether or not your credit card charges a foreign transaction fee. Many cards — including the ADA Preferred Rewards Signature Visa card — do not these days.