Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Earning Miles!

I regularly use Priceline and cheaptickets, but I've become too comfortable with these sites. Great deals, but are there better?

This came recommended:

I signed up and I'm going to test it out for a trip to Portland in July for the World Domination Summit! I can't wait for this event and I'm thankful I was able to get a ticket.

Additional recommendations:

New tip that I haven't done before: "Check the airport's carriers. One thing I do quite a bit is to go to the airport's website and see what airlines fly into it. Sometimes you find small carriers that are not listed on aggregators or other search engines. This is sort of my last double check to make sure I checked all possible airlines. After all, I don't want to find out later that there was an airline that offered a cheap flight but wasn't listed on an aggregator. (Not all airlines appear are on flight search engines.)"

More tips on getting miles through credit cards (abbreviated below):
  • Sign up for a branded airline credit card: Whether you love Delta, fly United and the Star Alliance, live and breathe Jetblue, or are hooked on Oneworld, all U.S. carriers have a branded travel credit card that gives you 25,000-30,000 points when you sign up and make one purchase. That's a free economy ticket right there.
  • Watch out for special promotions: I sign up for all the airline mailing lists. I always watch out for special 2-for-1 mile deals. Or when they have special card offers to earn extra miles. Last year, British Airways offered a card that gave you 100,000 miles just for signing up. That was a first class ticket home. American Airlines just gave me 1,000 miles for watching a demo on their new shopping toolbar.
  • Sign up for a non-airline credit card: Sign up for a non-airline credit card like a Starwood American Express card and you can get 10,000 sign-up points. When you convert 20,000 points into miles, you get a 5,000-mile bonus. I highly recommend signing up for this card too but signing up for any "points" card like the AMEX travel card or a Capital One card will do. Afterwards, you can transfer your sign-up bonus points to the airline you use and redeem them for flights.
  • Take the AA challenge: If you are taking a long trip, go with American Airlines. By paying $300, you can take the 10,000 point challenge. If you accumulate 10,000 points in 3 months, you get 1 year platinum status, which gives you get automatic upgrades into business class as well as lounge access. They do not advertise this on their website, however. You must call customer service and ask to take the challenge.
  • Do a mileage run: If you are only a few thousand miles away from some form of elite status, you can do what the travel ninjas call a "mileage run." This means you find cheap fares or special bonus mileage offers and take that flight. It can be a weekend getaway, a week away, or an afternoon jaunt. 

Mileage credit card calculator here:
Rewards seem good, but I wonder when I should apply for these - the timing needs to coincide with any major travel plans.

Just found a great tip for maximizing rewards.  I already do most of my online shopping through a credit cart portal to get rewards, but this website allows me to compare rewards and choose the best portal. Nice! I'm going to explore this further.

Today's Takeaways:
  1. I need to decide which credit cards will maximize travel benefits for me. I'm already completely out of credit card debt, but I can use credit cards for my monthly expenses, pay it off each month, and reap the rewards! I'm earning about $50 to $100 each month already, but I need to maximize that for travel.
  2. Need to use
  3. Experimenting with
  4. Need to determine my travel plans so I know when to maximize these benefits. 

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