Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy (TPG), jets around the world for next to nothing, thanks to credit card rewards and frequent-flyer miles.
"I have so many points because we have over 50 employees now and we run all of our business expenses on my credit cards," says Kelly, who started TPG as "just a fun little side gig" in 2010, when he was working at Morgan Stanley. Since then, it has evolved into a digital platform that reaches millions of people and offers tips and strategies for making the most of travel.
Kelly, who quit his corporate job in 2011, sold the company to Bankrate in 2012 but remained CEO.
"I've been able to take amazing trips using my points," Kelly tells CNBC Make It, but his favorite way to use his points is to treat his recently retired parents: "I love to spoil them. They're currently in Hawaii right now on points I gave them for Christmas."
Redeeming them for travel is a popular way to use credit card points and, "in general, if you've got cards that offer transferable points like Chase, Amex, Citi or Capital One, transferring to airlines and redeeming for business and first class tickets will be the most value," says Kelly. "But that doesn't mean you have to fly."
"People don't realize these days that you can use points for just about anything," he adds.
Here are three surprising ways you can redeem your credit card points.