Even if you don't know who "The Points Guy" is, it's easy enough to figure out his obsession: Credit card points, frequent flyer points, hotel rewards points, the list goes on. His real name is Brian Kelly and he's transformed his love for travel – and points – into a successful business.
He's founder and CEO of thepointsguy.com, a highly-trafficked website that offers tips on traveling and maximizing points. CBS News spoke with the The Points Guy – a.k.a. "TPG" – at the annual TPG Awards and asked him for his five best tips for travelers:
1. Get Global Entry
"Number one, if you don't have it already, [get] Global Entry," Kelly said. Global Entry, the international version of TSA Pre-check, is a travel program that grants expedited entry into airports. Travelers who qualify don't have to wait in long security lines – they get to wait in a shorter pre-check line. Global Entry costs $100 for five years, Kelly said.
For those who really want to expedite the airport experience, there's Clear. "Now in New York, all three airports have Clear," Kelly said. "Clear gets you ahead of the pre-check lane." Sixty airports currently accept Clear, according to the program's website. The accelerated entry program is also available at some stadiums, so fans who qualify can also skip long security lines at sporting events and concerts.
2. Optimize points
"Getting a credit card that gives you points for what you spend every day, that's still the best way to earn points these days," Kelly said. The Points Guy website offers advice for choosing the best credit card for your personal spending and points goals.
3. Search for cheap flights
The best way to find the cheapest flights is through Google, Kelly said. "Google Flights is my favorite," he said. "They'll give you a calendar view of the cheapest flights." Using the calendar view and staying flexible with your dates allows you to pick the cheapest travel days.
4. When you see a good deal, book it
"We cover at least two to three flight deals a day. We've seen $200 to $300 to Asia, $200 to Europe, so a lot of cheap fare deals going on. When you see a good deal, book it. You usually have 24 hours to cancel," Kelly advised. In other words, don't hesitate. Book now, think later.
5. Buy in shopping portals
"It's the holiday season, when you shop online, you must earn frequent flyer miles," Kelly said. The best way to earn extra points while shopping is to use airlines' shopping portals. "You can earn airline miles and hotel points in addition to the points you earn on your credit card," he said.
Several airlines offer these shopping portals. In the JetBlue portal, most stores offer three JetBlue points for every dollar spent. So you're not only earning credit card points on your online purchases, but airline miles as well.
"Most people don't know about it, it's as simple as putting in your frequent flyer number. It stores a cookie on your computer then you earn tons of miles. It's a no-brainer," Kelly said.