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I’m Earning All These Points – How Do I Keep Track Of Them?

January 23, 2017

You’ve dipped your toe into rewards programs and credit cards.

You’re amassing points at an amazing clip.

 

But they’re all over the place.

 

 

You’d like to use them but you don’t know where to start and you’re afraid you’ll make a choice that’s not the most efficient use of points.

 

What’s the best tool to track them in one place?

 

Better yet, once they’re all in one place, what other insights can you glean?

A few apps and websites including RewardStock, AwardWallet, and Tripit Pro have tried to solve this problem. Here are my honest insights on their strengths and weaknesses:

 

1st Place RewardStock

 

Summary

RewardStock is free website that analyzes all of your point balances and then makes recommendations for how you can travel for free.

 

Website:

www.rewardstock.com

 

Interface & User Experience

RewardStock’s interface is beautiful, very clear, and easy to navigate. Props to them for creating such a clean user experience. No complaints.

Cost

RewardStock is FREE! They make money when you click their links for credit cards they recommend you use to earn points for your travel. You can choose to use their links or avoid them by applying in an Incognito window.

 

Getting Set Up

Although it’s fairly easy. I had a few complaints. I dislike sites that ask you to “confirm” your password. I typed it once, why do I have to type it again?

Second, RewardStock’s mechanism for retrieving your Reward #s and accounts is to scan your email. It asks for permission to read and access your Gmail. I am not comfortable with that. I opted to manually enter my point balances. It was fairly painless. The only painful part was logging into all of my reward accounts. A downside to doing the manual strategy is that it won’t automatically populate changes in point balances. An alternative to this would be for RewardStock to integrate with all of the different award programs manually. I suppose that would involve giving away even more passwords.

 

 

 

The Best Part: Telling You What to Do With These Damn Points!

The best part of RewardStock is using its “planning” capability. Put in where you want to go and it’ll tell you if you have enough points to get there (plus the best combination of points to use). If you don’t have enough points to get there, it’ll suggest the best strategy. Before RewardStock, you might have been puzzling over this chart and point conversion ratios. No more!

 

 

 

RewardStock Does Not

  • Track your itineraries or send flight alerts. But according to their leadership team, they're thinking about adding this capability.

  • Always get the best deal. There is some user buzz that sometimes their recommendations are nonsensical. Their tool is relatively new, so they're definitely working out some kinks. 

 

What Makes RewardStock Stand Out

RewardStock takes point consolidation to the next level – it helps you strategize about ways to earn and use points. It conquers the major challenge that people face once they have points – what can I do with them? You might have some ideas and you but RewardStock can suggest other options you haven’t even thought of. Better yet, if you don’t have the points yet, it will suggest strategies to get them using new credit cards or promotions. Here’s an example of a “plan” they suggested for this couple, who flew first class to Asia for about $200. RewardStock also offers "free advice" via email (hello@rewardstock.com) or phone. 

2nd Place:

Tripit Pro Points Tracker

 

Summary

Tripit is a mobile travel organizer. Their “Pro” offering has a variety of additional features that make tracking your travel easier. Tripit Pro features include: real time flight alerts, point tracking, flight refund notifications, and seat tracking. Tripit Pro’s Points Tracker tracks over 150 programs and notifies you when your points are about to expire.

 

Website

www.tripit.com/pro

 

Cost

Tripit Pro is free for the first month and then $49/year thereafter.

 

The Barclays Arrival+ Credit Card offers Tripit Pro for free as a benefit. You can also find 20% off coupons on the web.

 

Tripit’s basic model is free for everyone, but it lacks a point tracking function and real-time flight alerts.

 

Interface & User Experience

Tripit has a bright clean user interface and it's easy to get set up.

 

I've always found it very easy to navigate around the site and I love their mobile app.

 

Getting Set Up

Tripit is the only one of the 3 options that requests a credit card up front, even though you get a 30 day free trial, so if that's the sort of thing that miffs you, that might pose an issue.

 

There is no option to manually enter points, so if you don't like giving away your passwords, this isn't the Point Tracking tool for you. Also, the process for piping in the point balances was incredibly slow. For instance, I tested out the process to pull in my JetBlue points and it took several minutes. I had enough time to go shoot off a few emails while it spun its wheels.

 

Also it has some issues with American, Delta, and Southwest. For those, email your statements to: points@tripit.com.

 

What Makes Tripit Pro stand out?

In my opinion, Tripit Pro's Points Tracker is tied with AwardWallet for functionality. But Tripit Is is not just a points tracker, and that's worth mentioning if you're considering their tool over others. Tripit is an incredibly useful travel tool, particularly if you travel (especially fly) frequently.

 

Their “itinerary” capability is amazing. I swear by it. Simply forward your itineraries from your email to plans@tripit.com and it assembles them into a beautiful package that you can view on your phone, send to others, and manually adjust if you want to. There’s a basic free version of Tripit with this itinerary capability, but the Pro version offers even more capabilities including: point tracking, real time flight alerts when your plane is delayed or your gate changes (these sometimes come before the airline even announces a change) and notifications when you’re eligible for a flight refund.

 

If we’re talking just points tracking, Tripit Pro falls short of RewardStock, but if you want a points tracker and all of these additional perks, consider Tripit Pro.

 

 

 

Tripit Pro does not:

Give you ideas for how to use your points.

Help you understand the dollar value of your points.

3rd Place:

AwardWallet

 

Summary

AwardWallet is a service that that helps you manage your travel itineraries and reward balances across over 650 accounts.

 

Website

www.awardwallet.com

 

Cost

Free or $10 per year for AwardWallet Plus.

 

AwardWallet’s free version may be enough for you if you are simply looking for a central place to track and view your miles. Plus it comes with some nifty notification features. AwardWallet Plus includes features such as: displaying unlimited expirations of your points and miles, displaying historical balances, and allowing Excel and PDF exports.

 

Tip: If you search, you can find free AwardWallet Plus upgrade coupons in the web. Here’s one for 6 months free: ViewFromTheWing. You don't even need to enter your credit card # to redeem it.

 

Interface and User Experience

AwardWallet’s website and interface are definitely the worst of the 3.

It’s very text heavy and less intuitive. I also found their website and confirmation emails slightly slower than the rest.

The point balances piped in quickly enough but similar to Tripit, AwardWallet isn't supported by United, Delta, or Southwest, so you'll need to. enter those points manually or forward your statements to them. Here's a quick tip workaround from Million Mile Secrets - you can set AwardWallet to receive your statements and then they'll integrate them automatically. 

 

Awardwallet Also gives you the option to:

  • Receive a summary email with point balances over time

  • Receive point and mile expiration warnings

 

Getting Started

 

Signing up was simple and painless.

 

If you want to pull in your points automatically, you'll need to give AwardWallet your Rewards #s and passwords for your accounts. Unlike RewardStock, it does not try to scan your email for all of your programs, but it does pull in your points balances if you give it your logins.

 

If you want to, you can also enter your points manually. This is a point in AwardWallet's favor over TripitPro.

AwardWallet Does Not:

  • Give you ideas for how to use your points

  • Help you understand the dollar value of your points

 

What Makes AwardWallet Stand Out?

AwardWallet does support basically every reward program, including things like OpenTable, Starbucks, and Expedia, unlike RewardStock which only supports the main ones (Ultimate Rewards, Marriott, etc). 

 

AwardWallet can also track gift cards and travel vouchers.AwardWallet also offers a cool “AwardWallet One Card” for $10. You can have all of your Reward #s listed on the card, along with important phone #s for the Rewards hotlines.

 

AwardWallet has a similar “itinerary” feature to Tripit Pro – you can email your itineraries to [username]@awardwallet.com and it will populate them nicely on the app, accessible on mobile or your browser. However, I tested this feature, and it could not digest the contents of one of my Amtrak reservations. It was able to accommodate an upcoming Virgin America flight reservation and it populated in my account without delay.

 

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