If you are using a credit card with no rewards of any kind, you are doing it wrong.

If you are like me, when you first picked a credit card you were just happy to get approved with a decent credit line. Once you had a high enough limit with no annual fee, you probably put the whole credit card thing on cruise control. I know that I did, which was my mistake in hindsight and I will tell you why.

Let’s take the past month as a quick example.

I had been working on my credit score the past year paying down balances on my cards, among other tweaks and tips they tell you to do getting my number to a respectable number. This past trip I decided to apply for that AmEx Delta credit card, as they were offering 70k in free airline miles + 10k in MQM (this only matters if you are working toward elite status with Delta) if you racked up $3000.00 over the course of 90 days. That is easy enough I thought, I can do that in a single month.

Applied. Approved. I then charged the vacation I had coming up in a few weeks on the card. BAM! Mission accomplished. I had roughly 10k in MQM and 15,000 miles in my SkyMiles account previously. By month’s end, I was sitting at 20k MQM (25k needed for Delta silver elite status) and 85,000 in airline miles!

Before I lose you on the math class, let’s get to why you should care.

First off, depending on where you are headed and the time of year, you can get a round the trip flight for as little as 20,000 miles. For example from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Toronto. Or you can fly from the same airport to Hawaii for your dream vacation at the cost of 60,000 miles!

Wait, there is more…

With the Delta AmEx, you also receive a free companion ticket every year upon renewal of the card. Which means that with all of those free miles you had just received, the following year you can take a loved one with you on that dream vacation!

If you use this card primarily over the course of the year and hit their minimum $25,000 for the waiver, you would not only receive the Delta Silver Medallion Elite Status, but you would also receive another 10,000 in BOTH miles and MQM for the next year to roll over!

While I could go on with this topic and benefits, I will sum this up with it is but one example of why you should be using a credit card with rewards of some kind. There often times is an annual fee, however, if you manage your credit wisely, it is easily outweighed by the benefits over a calendar year.  Which in turn allows you to travel more.

Whether you are looking for free miles to take that dream vacation to Hawaii, or simply want to use those 70,000 miles and instead take 3 or 4 shorter bucket list trips, it is worth the trade off by far. If you are not getting cash back or miles in someway, you should upgrade your card! If used wisely, this will help afford you more travel opportunities if that is what you seek.