Maximize your rewards in 2024: Points and miles tasks to complete now

It’s time to start the new year off right, and that may mean finally redeeming your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value. Or, perhaps you’ll earn American Airlines Advantage status from your living room couch using American Airlines Loyalty Points. From opting for the best Marriott Choice Benefit to selecting the right airline for your American Express airline fee credit, here’s an overview of some points and miles topics to consider as you settle into 2024.

Choose your Marriott Choice benefits

If you accrued 50 or more elite nights with Marriott Bonvoy in 2023, you’ll want to select your Marriott Choice Benefits by the Jan. 7 deadline.

Once you reach 50 elite nights in a calendar year, you can choose one of the following:

– Five elite night credits (toward your 2023 elite nights)
– Five Suite Night Awards
– A $1,000 discount on your favorite Marriott hotel mattress
– A $100 charity donation
– A gift of Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status for a family member, friend or colleague

Once you accrue 75 elite nights in a calendar year, you’ll get an additional selection. Aside from the options you receive once you reach 50 elite nights, you’ll also get to choose if you’d like to gift Gold Elite (rather than Silver Elite) status or add the option of a free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points.

If you don’t choose by Jan. 7, Marriott will automatically choose Suite Night Awards for you.

Change your airline for the Amex fee credit

Those with an American Express card that issues an annual airline fee credit have until Jan. 31 each year to change the airline they’ve selected for the credit. If you do nothing, your selection will remain what it was the previous year.

Some of the American Express cards that offer annual airline fee credits include:

– Amex says you can use the airline fee credits for “incidental fees such as checked baggage, in-flight refreshments, and flight change fees” that you pay to your chosen airline using an enrolled card.

Earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass

Whether you want to fly to Aruba, Jamaica, Hawaii, or Nebraska, generally speaking, the earlier in the year you earn the Southwest Companion Pass, the better.

Southwest increased the Companion Pass requirement from 125,000 to 135,000 Companion Pass qualifying points (you can also earn the pass after 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year). However, Southwest cardholders now enjoy an annual boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points toward Companion Pass qualification.

Once you surpass the threshold to earn a Companion Pass, your designated companion can fly for free with you on Southwest (other than the cost of taxes) for the rest of the calendar year in which it’s earned and the following calendar year. That means you can earn the pass now and have it through Dec. 31, 2025.

If you’re striving to earn the Companion Pass, signing up for a new Southwest credit card can help. After all, sign-up bonuses from Southwest credit cards count toward the 135,000 Companion Pass qualifying points needed to earn a Companion Pass. However, other earning activities — including buying Rapid Rewards points — won’t count in your quest for the Companion Pass.

Select Delta Choice Benefits

Like Marriott, Delta Air Lines awards its higher-tier elite members with Choice Benefits. You get one selection when you qualify for Platinum Medallion status and three selections when you qualify for Diamond Medallion status.

Unfortunately, the timing for choosing these perks isn’t always clear. Delta uses the term “Medallion year” when describing this deadline, which can (understandably) lead to confusion.

In short, you earn the next year of status based on the previous calendar year’s worth of flying. So, your qualifying activity from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2023, earned you status for the 2024 Medallion year.

So, what does this mean for Choice Benefits? Here it is in simpler terms:

– If you earned Platinum and/or Diamond Medallion status based on your qualifying activity in the 2022 calendar year and you haven’t selected your Choice Benefit(s), you must do so by Jan. 31, 2024.
– If you don’t make a selection before the deadline, the option(s) will disappear entirely, never to return.

It’s also worth pointing out that if you still haven’t made a selection for your 2023 Medallion year, carefully consider when the benefits you select will expire. You may want to select benefits such as bonus miles or a travel voucher, as these don’t expire at the end of the Medallion year associated with your Choice Benefits.

You might also have Choice Benefits to select from your 2023 flying activity (2024 Medallion year). You’re welcome to pick those now, but they will remain available until Jan. 31, 2025.

Use your travel and other credits

Some credit card travel credits reset with the calendar year, and some operate by cardmember year (i.e., when you were first approved for the card). Regardless, this is a good time of year to see when your available travel credits reset and put them to good use.

In addition to the Amex airline fee credits already mentioned, here’s a look at some of the other travel-related credits you might have:

– Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: $300 annual credit for purchases made through Capital One Travel
– Chase Sapphire Reserve: Up to $300 for travel purchases each account anniversary year (though it is based on a calendar year if you got the card before May 21, 2017)
– Citi Prestige® Card: Up to $250 for travel purchases each calendar year
– Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Up to a $100 statement credit for qualifying airline incidental fee transactions annually
– Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Up to a $50 statement credit each calendar quarter (January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December) on flight purchases made through or with the airline directly; earn up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually (up to $400 annually) on eligible purchases made at participating Hilton resorts with your Hilton Amex Aspire Card
– The Platinum Card® from American Express: Up to $200 annual statement credit when you book a prepaid rate through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts with American Express Travel (this benefit can also be used on stays of two nights or more at properties in The Hotel Collection)

You might also have travel credits with airlines. If so, now is a good time to make a plan for using these credits.

A few popular rewards cards have other non-travel-related credits that reset on Jan. 1, such as:

– Up to $50 Saks Fifth Avenue statement credit is issued twice yearly for those with the Amex Platinum — once from January to June and then a second up to $50 statement credit valid from July to December. Enrollment Required.
– Up to $200 Dell statement credit is issued twice yearly for those with the Amex Business Platinum — once from January to June and then a second up to $200 statement credit valid from July to December. Enrollment Required.

Use up your elite status perks

With many airlines and hotels, you must requalify for status by the end of each calendar year. But if you don’t requalify, you often keep your status until the end of January or February.

In short, you may have a month or two of “free” status if you didn’t requalify. As such, the beginning of the year is an ideal opportunity to use up elite status perks left over from the previous year, such as airline or suite upgrades and potential status matches to other programs. Sometimes, you can even use upgrade certificates for friends, depending on the program’s rules, so they don’t always have to go to waste just because you aren’t traveling in the next few weeks.

Label your cards to differentiate them

If you have multiple credit cards from the same issuer or similar-looking cards, it can be helpful to label them to differentiate them. This can make it easier to quickly find the card you need and avoid confusion when using them.

You can use a label maker or even just a permanent marker to write on the card. For example, you could label one card “personal” and another “business” if you have separate cards for different purposes. Alternatively, you could label cards based on their rewards program, such as “Chase Ultimate Rewards” or “American Express Membership Rewards,” to help you remember which card earns which type of points.

By labeling your cards, you can avoid mix-ups and ensure you’re using the right card for the right situation.


As you enter the new year, it’s important to take stock of your points and miles strategies and make the most of the benefits and rewards available to you. Whether that means selecting your Marriott Choice Benefits, changing your airline for the Amex fee credit, earning the Southwest Companion Pass, selecting Delta Choice Benefits, using your travel and other credits, or using up your elite status perks, there are plenty of opportunities to maximize your points and miles in 2024. So, start the year off right and make the most of your rewards!

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