Loyalty and credit card points have real world value that shouldn't be neglected. While they're not comparable to crypto, they are digital assets and stores of value (and may be more valuable than Doge soon...). They may already be / conceivably will be convertible to crypto as well through services like Bakkt. While most people know that they can pay down credit card bills with points (and money is fungible) or spend them on travel, they may be neglecting a lot of free opportunities to collect them and ways to earn them through their daily life.
First, if you have access to a rewards paying credit card and are not using it to make purchases, you are effectively losing money (or paying a 1-5% premium). Those points add up. Travel credit cards combined with travel loyalty programs, moreover, can yield serious benefits on top of the initial spend, like aggregate spend bonuses and tier level benefits. Earnings requirements have been reduced during the pandemic as well, providing some good opportunities. Some loyalty programs match others, so it can become a virtuous cycle of increased benefits. (I, for instance, will not be paying hundreds of dollars in resort fees in Vegas at MLife or Caesars hotels due to my newly acquired Hyatt tier, qualifying on half the normal spend. More on that later!)
Even if you don't have such a credit card, you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to join loyalty programs and start earning on what you already spend. Many airline and hotel chains have dining programs and online shopping programs where you can earn points (in addition to any credit card points) just for doing things you'd normally do, by either linking a credit card and then visiting a restaurant or clicking through an online portal to a website.
Note: while many loyalty programs do offer transfers of points to other programs, the minimums required may be prohibitively high. If you think yourself unlikely to make use of it, cash back through Rakuten may be your best best.
But if you do have such credit cards or travel, eat out, or shop online frequently, not taking advantage of these offers is like leaving money in the street. It's free money!
Keeping track of loyalty programs and rewards offers can be very time consuming, however. Two sites I've found very useful in making this process more efficient are ThePointsGuy and NerdWallet.
ThePointsGuy maintains a spreadsheet of point valuations for popular loyalty programs that's updated monthly: https://thepointsguy.com/guide/monthly-valuations/
As the offers and benefit schemes of multiple credit cards can be hard to keep track of, NerdWallet can tell you which card to use from the ones you have to maximize your earnings (as well as which to apply for, in addition to a lot of other financial information apart from credit cards).
Utilizing both of these makes the process a lot easier, but with changing credit card and loyalty program offers it can still be confusing and time consuming. So I am going to start a separate blog devoted to points and cash back to let you know about the opportunities I find.
From the good people who brought you Brother Numsee's Crypto Craze (Brother Numsee...), comes: Brother Numsee's Points Craze!
(questionable titles subject to change)