How TPG built its huge mileage balance using business cards

Nov 7, 2019

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This story has been paid for by American Express, but the opinions are those of the author and TPG. This is one way TPG continues to provide our readers with free news and advice about travel.

The Points Guy has earned more than 15 million points this year. Through strategic spending on select American Express business credit cards, we’re able to earn millions of points that we use to send our global network of employees on trips across the world.

Being The Points Guy, we’ve used these points to reduce our business travel expenses. With the recent launch of TPG U.K., the U.K. team has made frequent trips back and forth to the New York office. Instead of paying for the flights with cash, we’ve used points for most of their trips. This strategy doesn’t just save cash, but it can also allow us to send the U.K. team in a premium cabin at a fraction of what it’d cost in cash.

When starting The Points Guy, Brian Kelly realised the importance of maximizing existing business spend by putting it on the right credit cards. When looking at TPG’s biggest spend categories, he came to understand that these fell in two large buckets: advertising and travel. While most businesses use direct bank payments or a company-wide charge card to pay off business expenses, Brian decided to open a few American Express business credit cards to leverage bonus categories to multiply the company’s points earning.

Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suites. Photo by Brian Kelly / The Points Guy
Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suites. (Photo by Brian Kelly / The Points Guy)

Since TPG is a digital business, we spend lots of money on online advertising. We use a US-issued American Express card that earns 4x points on such ads, on up to $150,000 in spend. Through our advertising spend, we easily max out that category every year, which nets us 600,000 points, more than enough to send an employee from London to New York 20 times in economy class. If the average cost of the economy ticket is £500, we’re saving £10,000 by strategically earning our points using cards that offer multiple points per dollar spent.

Not only is TPG a digital business, but we’re also a team of travellers. We’re often taking review trips, commuting to our parent company’s headquarters in Charlotte or organizing reader events throughout the country. Sustaining such travel would be cost-prohibitive without using points. In fact, many of our flight reviews are of premium cabins like business and first class.

Instead of paying £9,000+ for a British Airways first-class ticket, we use as little as 68,000 Avios from London to New York one-way, plus fees, taxes and surcharges.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)

It doesn’t take a business with multi-million dollar expenses to earn millions of loyalty points. Instead, through strategically choosing certain American Express business credit cards, TPG has leveraged bonus categories to quickly boost our mileage balances. With these points, we’ve purchased hundreds of thousands of pounds of airfare, which helps us reduce our business expenses.

The card currently comes with a welcome bonus of 2,200 On Business Points after spending £3,000 or more on purchases on the card within the first three months. Representative Example: APR 81.6% variable with an assumed credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 22.9% p.a. variable. There’s an annual fee of £210.

You can read our full review of The British Airways Accelerating Business Card From American Express UK here and apply for the card here.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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