A Chance to Win a Trip to Australia Just By Adding a Comment Here at The Gate!

What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points?

Participating BoardingArea weblogs, including The Gate, are giving you a chance to win a trip to the Gold Coast of Australia, worth a total estimated value of $10,250.00, courtesy of American Express and BoardingArea.

To enter the BoardingArea/American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card Sweepstakes for a chance at winning the grand prize of eight days and seven nights — including hotel accommodations, transportation, meals, activities and round-trip airfare for two people to Queensland at the Gold Coast of Australia — all you need to do is simply post an answer to the above question in the Comments section of this weblog entry here at The Gate anytime between March 22 and March 28. What do you have to lose?

For additional details and information, as well as the official rules, please click here — and thank you for reading The Gate!

Here are the links to the other competition posts. As well as entering by posting a comment here, you can also make more entries at each of the following links (direct to the relevant post in most cases):

458 thoughts on “A Chance to Win a Trip to Australia Just By Adding a Comment Here at The Gate!”

  1. Erik says:

    I’m in

  2. Udi says:

    My advise – concentrate your mile/points in one or two FF programs. Don’t use numerous programs.

  3. deltaPMflyer says:

    get a delta amex card earn lots of miles

  4. CHABF says:

    For causal earners (people who wont earn 100k miles in 2 years): Dont hoard them waiting for the “right” time to use them. Use miles at first reasonable opportunity. Think of them as a rapidly depreciating asset.

  5. willy says:

    I would stay with one Airlines program and one hotel program, make sure to get mid level tier so you could get double miles, enter all promotions.

  6. Zach says:

    Many semi-frequent flyers don’t realize that they can often credit their flown miles to a different airline miles program within an alliance or through other reciprocal agreements. Doing so can keep all your miles in one place (or at least just a few places), with a potentially significant impact on how soon you’ll have enough miles for award travel.

  7. Chris says:

    Continue to follow all the blog posting in the Boarding Area on a regular basis and follow FlyerTalk threads for your chosen programs. Opportunities to earn and redeem often come fast and disappear even quicker.

  8. sunfun says:

    read all the blogs that you can find for ideas

  9. bob charlap says:

    Aussie….. Aussie….. Aussie
    Oi……Oi…..Oi!

  10. Mike Currie says:

    I would SURE love to win a trip to Australia!!! 🙂

  11. Charlotte says:

    My best advice: get a CC with the airline you most frequently fly for work. When redeeming, plan months in advance, and be as flexible as possible with dates and exact locations. There are many ways and places to have fun on vacation!

  12. Jim says:

    That’s easy! Save time you can use to research mile-earning opportunities by keeping all your accounts in one cool website called
    http://www.awardwallet.com

  13. The Global Traveller says:

    Please note that entries haven’t started yet. The competition commences 22 March in US Mountain Time.

  14. Tracie says:

    Be loyal to an airline and a hotel chain as much as feasible with your travel and then when booking using your acumulated miles and points, be flexible. (Requesting time off from work should be the last step, after everything has been confirmed.)

  15. Ken Warner says:

    If you enjoy bus. class travel to Asia or Europe, save your miles for those tickets. Don’t waste your miles on domestic trips, as fares for bus. class tics have gone up on the long hauls. Then, take a look at Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s annual survey of airlines to determine which airline to use within a mileage program. They rate Atlantic & Pacific bus. class routes separately; it’s quite helpful.

  16. jeremy g says:

    Sign up for double EQM’s, avoid fares which don’t earn EQM’s (e.g. deep discount NZ flights don’t earn UA MP miles).

  17. Jason says:

    Get credit cards that are affiliated with an airline and charge everyything you can — pay off at the end of the month.

  18. Dave says:

    Concentrate your efforts on one or two programs. Use the Boarding Area blog and FlyerTalk to find great deals and tips on making the best use of your miles/points.

  19. Ali says:

    Can’t win if you don’t enter.

  20. Ro Reyes says:

    Fly with one carrier, if possible, and take advantage of all of the emails offering extra points for shopping, etc.

  21. Edwin says:

    read Flyertalk.com…and then keep on reading.

  22. Mickc says:

    A little research time before committing to one program, then stick with it

  23. Paul says:

    Since I am retired, I get most of my miles from credit cards. So my rule is that anything costing over $10 goes on a credit card.

  24. Ernest says:

    Earn and burn

  25. Patrick says:

    Unless you travel ALL the time, concentrate on 1 awards program. Achieving elite status in that program increases earning power through bonuses and other promotions. A credit card dedicated to a single program is good too, even if it has a reasonable annual fee.

  26. Neerav says:

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  27. buschoi says:

    Whenever you eat, use Reward Networks’ participating restaurants. Whenever you buy, use the online shopping mall. Of course, concentrate the miles in one FFP.

  28. Adam says:

    Bookmark a site like evreward.com, and anytime you make an online purchase, check it out. It lists all airline/hotel points available for shopping at a particular site. The little miles add up, and are also great for keeping accounts “fresh.”

  29. David says:

    Consolidate your points to compatible and convertible programs. I am sticking with those associated with the Star Alliance (United Mileage Plus and Air Canada Aeroplan), Starwood Preferred Guest points, and AMEX Membership rewards. The biggest hole for most people is probably online shopping. Merely clicking through should yield some points per dollar spent, so check evreward.com to see if your vendor offers anything.

  30. Allen says:

    Use your miles for business class/first class tickets to anyplace that involves an overnight flight. It’s the best value per mile.

  31. Chris says:

    Top Tip – Read the blogs on Boardingarea.com. The bloggers on the website do a fantastic job gathering and synthesizing all of the information out there in order to keep you up to date on ways to maximize earning rewards. On the “using” side of the equation, they stay abreast of all of the best deals to use points, and also provide detailed advice and comparisons on using your rewards.

  32. AirShadow says:

    Life is short, use those miles!

  33. Brent says:

    When flying on a carrier that’s new (to you), try to earn the miles on a carrier whose program you’re already a member of.

  34. John says:

    Charge everything you buy to the AMEX Starwood card and then maximize your miles through their generous exchange program

  35. Scott says:

    If you don’t like the answer you get (from an airline, for example), hang up and call again!

  36. sdm1130 says:

    Earn the miles/points in the cheapest possible ways and then burn them for the most luxurious travel!

  37. David says:

    Be kind and polite to the people that are trying to help you get an award. They’ll be much more likely to look harder and help you out.

  38. Use your Amex to earn points (especially the places that give double points) and then use them for the longest flight posible. A transcontinental flight is the same as a flight to the next state.

  39. Melody says:

    Check to make sure your points are credited! It usually takes 2-3 days to credit, but be vigilant with it.

  40. Drew says:

    fly with one carrier and keep an eye on blogs like this one and flyertalk

  41. Emily J says:

    Read boarding area blogs!

  42. gobluetwo says:

    Finally time to enter!

    If you even do a moderate amount of flying (i.e., 3-4 trips per year), concentrate on one air carrier. Take advantage of other mileage-earning opportunities with that carrier (credit card, dining, etc). You will eventually end up with enough miles for a decent trip somewhere nice.

    Before becoming a frequent flyer, I earned enough miles over 3 years on United to fly me and my wife to Hawaii for our 1 year anniversary.

  43. Nick says:

    Always try and make sure you are getting the best value from your frequent flier miles. If cheap tickets exist save your miles. The per mile value is much higher on international business or first class award tickets so try and save up for those.

  44. wei says:

    Plan ahead of time and grab the deal before figuring out what it is! Stay tuned and be loyal.

  45. Ed says:

    Young man, I have one word for you: FlyerTalk

  46. Iceman says:

    To use your loyalty points when you want to use them, plan ahead. Way ahead.

  47. Katie says:

    look for hotels offering discounted point stays. That way, you make the most of your points. For instance, on certain dates 25k Marriott points can be used for a night at a Ritz-Carlton.

  48. Carmen says:

    Stick with one airline alliance.

  49. Steve says:

    Two tips! I know this doesn’t increase chances of winning, but I surely hope it doesn’t break the rules 🙂

    1. If you think you might lose elite status the following year due to changes in travel patterns, focus more on paid (point/mile-earning) flights and stays while you still have status. Two reasons this helps: (A) you take advantage of the elite benefit of bonus earning (10%, 25%, 50%, 100%, etc) that should more than compensation for the risk of devaluation in the coming year, and (B) you will continue to take advantage of upgrades associated with your status in the paid flights/stays. This means avoiding redemption of miles, points, and “free” vouchers (e.g. VDB) that do not earn miles — use these for your family and friends instead, or maybe offer a tit-for-tat exchange (you’ll pay for someone else’s trip using points, and they’ll pay for your similar or less expensive trip using money).

    2. Don’t overestimate the value of your miles/points or be overzealous of spending money just to collect rewards, since this is counterproductive to your more important personal finance goals (that will fund more travel!). For example, if you would never pay $20,000 for an international first class flight, don’t benchmark your miles based on that cost! If you do the math, you might find that cashback cards will be more beneficial to your pocketbook than mile or point-earning cards. For example, the Schwab InvestFirst Visa gives 2% cash back on all purchases; would you rather have 2 cents in your pocket for every $1 you spend, or one mile/point? If you always redeem for domestic flights for 25k miles, are those limited-availability flights worth $500 to you?

  50. Craig says:

    All miles are not equal. Know the strengths and weaknesses of the programs you participate in so that when it comes time to redeem an award, you’re using the currency that gets you the most bang for your buck (or mile or point).

  51. jan says:

    I use American Express Membership Rewards – it’s a convenient way to consolidate a lot of miles for use on a good selection of partners. Bonus idea – read blogs like this one for excellent tips and reviews.

  52. Ben says:

    Starwood Amex indeed on every single purchase you do. Not only can you use those miles on hotel stays but you can also use them for flying to your dream destination!

  53. Jonathan says:

    It never hurts to ask… just for asking I’ve recieved status matches, waived CC fees, gotten agents to round up total miles to book a flight or hotel when I was short. So ask! The worst they can say is ‘no’.

  54. Chris K. Costanza says:

    Earn points with American Express 3x gold card or the starwood Amex for more flexability.
    The try to get your award with the following information.

    If you don’t get what you want the first time, hang up and call again. Always be informed about where you want to go and what routes you can take to get there and use the ANA website and expertflyer to be informed about what availability is out there.

  55. Isaac says:

    Set clear award goals to help prioritize earning and redemption programs.

  56. Ken says:

    Keep everything in one family: Hotel stays, credit card usage, car rentals, airlines. Always ‘take the points,’ never the gifts.

  57. Siobhan says:

    Have a goal in mind for those miles; it keeps you motivated to accrue and stay on top of it.

  58. Ed says:

    Count me in too.

  59. imm2b says:

    Thanks! Good Luck everyone.

  60. Carson says:

    Scour the web and pay attention to program e-mails for promotions such as double points/miles, etc. I’ve found this to be a great way to increase my account balances for very little effort (often clicking/entering your account number)!

  61. Matt says:

    Be consistent. Why spread your points around and never have enough to do anything with? Find what works for you and stick with it. We recently found a nightly price on a hotel room that we felt we couldn’t pass up, but we really should have gone to the adjacent Intercontintental Hotel in order to get some Priority Club points while we were at it.

  62. Ashley says:

    Adopt a multi-faceted approach in order to earn the most miles possible! Sure flying on the airline will get you miles but so can a host of other activities! Check out what airlines your bank or credit union has aligned with and get the mileage debit and/or credit card. When shopping online, check out your airline’s website first as many of them link to the e-commerce sites you shop most and allow you to earn miles as well. Check out sites such as http://www.e-rewards.com and http://www.e-miles.com to take quick and simple surveys to earn miles. Also, sign up for your preferred airline’s e-newsletter as they will send you chances to earn more miles when you fly or buy. Most of all, have fun and use those hard-earned miles on something great!

  63. hbs2011i says:

    Consolidate your loyalty as much as you can, across air, hotel, car, and credit cards!

  64. prncess674 says:

    Use a mileage/point earning credit card for every little purchase. No purchase is too small.

  65. jumpcut says:

    Check airline partner websites for seat availability to international destinations. Then call your airline and suggest the dates that you found available on the partner sites.

  66. ryan says:

    Don’t get too sucked in to the miles and points game as you may end up making uneconomical decisions just to push that extra status level. Take advantage of the good deals (us airways TIBs, BA card, US mint) and leave everything else to the die hards. Pay someone to do your award redemption research. You could lose hours and hours trying to put together a trip when Ben here can do it for a couple hundred big ones.

  67. connor says:

    My top tip for earning and using rewards points: focus, focus, focus! There’s no sense in spreading out 60,000 points to different airlines, credit cards, and hotels plans. Focus on the plan that makes the most sens for you, and work it. Check the plan’s site frequently for bonus opportunities, credit card signup bonuses, and other earning opportunities, and — if they make sense — take advantage. Secondary tip: don’t become so enamored with points that you spend uneccesarily just to earn points

  68. Rick says:

    Be loyal and loyalty will reward you. Use a card for your top airline or hotel, and always fly the same airline (or alliance) and stay at the same hotel.

  69. Henry says:

    in the beginning, stick with one airline and one alliance so one can achieve status faster.

  70. jerry says:

    Checkin with boardingarea.com and Flyertalk daily, don’t miss out on the 100000 mile deals when they come around.

  71. Erik says:

    If you’re a casual earner and saving up for the trip of a lifetime – don’t. Just when you’re about to reach that dream level the requirement will increase. If you’re earning habits are minimal, redeem those miles as soon as there’s something of value you can use.

  72. Kevin says:

    Using an airline specific miles credit card for all purchases and monthly revolving bills allows building of miles without flying and then booking flights with that card often provides double (or higher) miles.

  73. mowogo says:

    Be flexible with your plans, and sometimes consider traveling somewhere near your intended destination

  74. Jeff D says:

    try to concentrate your travel, hotel and credit card usage to programs that can be tranfered between, that way if you need to boost point in one for a particular aware it is easier to do.

  75. Lindsay says:

    Focus spend on a good credit card

  76. Jonathan says:

    Get gary to help you with award booking

  77. Vincent says:

    Define your goals – will go a long way in figuring out what loyalty programs you want to be with

  78. Brandon says:

    I’ve always tried to work out deals with friends where I’ll pay for their travel via awards, and then they give me the money for what they would’ve paid (within reason). That way, you can essentially convert your miles into cash (at a rate acceptable to you), and you don’t lose out of miles that you could’ve earned by paying for trips that you would’ve spent miles on.

  79. adastra says:

    Look to blogs and forums such as BoardingArea and FlyerTalk to find the best earning and redemption opportunities. There are a lot of frequent travelers who are excellent at finding deals and working inside the rules. Let them give you guidance.

  80. Daniel K says:

    Points = Money

    Earn’em, Track’em, most importantly Spend’em!

  81. If you fly with several airlines, maintain loyalty with only one carrier per alliance. Consolidate those miles so awards come faster and easier.

  82. Chris says:

    Use them! Life is short!

  83. EagleClass says:

    Keep a log of ALL points earned and any promotion associated. Regularly reconcile your earnings. So many points are just lost because they were never awarded. Think about hiring one of your children to help you keep track.

  84. YD says:

    When booking award travel, be flexible and be EARLY!

    The magic number is 330. Most airlines load new inventory into their reservations system 330 days prior to the flight date. If there are any award seats on the flight you want, they will be available right after that flight is loaded into the system.

    Of course, popular travel days (i.e. holidays, spring break, etc.) and popular travel routes/destinations may cause these seats to disappear nearly immediately after release, but be patient, plan well in advance, and mark (and double-check) your calendar for the correct day to start your search.

    Happy travels!

  85. Gregory says:

    Always sign up for loyalty programs, even if you don’t think you’re going to fly with the airline/alliance a lot. They’ll collect over time, and you never know when your situation might change (along with your primary carrier or alliance).

  86. marc says:

    1)never use cash
    2)go against the conventional wisdom of participating in only one FF program–join those in which you anticipate mergers(much like stock investing), get the credit cards when there are a minimum of 25,000 bonus miles for sign-up, and hold those like a long term investment, using them on the occasions that your primary carrier is not attractive.
    3) churn wherever possible

  87. Russ says:

    Join Flyertalk.com

  88. gba says:

    Try to consolidate your points/miles in as few programs as possible, that way its easier to save up for the big award. I use Alaska and United as my two airline programs and I can earn (and redeem) miles on ALL of the major domestic airlines and many, many major international carriers. Where possible, use a program like starwood or american express membership rewards for your credit card so you can move the points easily into many programs. When booking an award, plan as far in advance as you can, and be flexible, never, ever, ever redeem miles for a non-“saver” award – if you’re going to be paying that many miles the game just isn’t worth playing.

  89. eric m. says:

    it’s not that exciting, but my top tip is to be sure you’re in the mileage dining program– it makes it easy to quickly top off points and keep accounts “alive” while you’re building the balance.

  90. alliance says:

    If you can’t redeem early, sometimes awards open up at the last minute. Keep checking.

  91. Victor says:

    Always keep your eye out for free mile reward credit cards. It is one of the best deals anywhere, since it’s a free domestic flight usually.

    Practice using the reward booking engine, so you have an idea of what kind of flights you can get both within a few weeks and a few months out. This helps when you are discussing possible vacations times with others!

  92. sebastian says:

    use a Starwood Amex for all purchases. It is the best card for any travel..

  93. Chuck says:

    Don’t just travel, be an adventurer. One year while booking reward travel to Athens, the agent told me she could get us to Athens, but couldn’t find a return flight. I asked, is there anything available from a nearby city. She responded, “Two days later, I can get you out of Bucharest Romania.” Without thinking how I was going to make it work, I told her to book it.

    That trip to Greece ended up taking us through Turkey to Romania. We traveled on boat, bus, prop airplane and taxi to complete the trip. It became one of the best vacations of our lives.

  94. Jen says:

    If you’re a business traveler, ask if your company would allow you to charge your air fare to your own card, and reimburse you. That way, you get the frequent flier miles without having paid for the work travel air fare in the first place.

  95. Ripper3785 says:

    Explore ALL your options when booking Award flights. Pull up the route maps for airlines in your alliance and look for the obscure/unusual, and then check availability. Never trust a phone agent to help you find a creative award routing. Do the legwork if you want to find that dream trip, and be flexible.

  96. bunsai says:

    Use miles for redeeming premium class air ticket. Economy is just a waste of miles

  97. oah says:

    Keep updating the promotion so you can get the first class ticket without flyong with them.
    For some frequent flyer program keep calling until you get what you want

  98. Stephen Alpern says:

    Subscribe to the RSS feeds on all the good blogs (like this one), use your mileage credit cards for everything (if you can pay off your bills each month) and look for ways to accumulate lots of small mileage increments through such programs as mypoints, e-miles and e-rewards.

  99. Allen says:

    Don’t use your miles for domestic trips, save up for a big international trip in First or Business class and your miles will be worth much more.

  100. Brian says:

    Being a novice to the whole FF miles game I have come to rely on advice from the intelligent crowd that frequents http://www.flyertalk.com/. I try to use my miles to upgrade to the front of the cabin rather than free flights.

  101. George Pap. says:

    My tip is to avoid Delta Skymiles since it is impossible to use those miles for awards at the lowest tier level!

  102. Chris says:

    Stay up to date on all the latest news by constant reading and investigation on the blogs and Flyertalk.

  103. Peter Kavaler says:

    Read FlyerTalk every day.

  104. George Holub says:

    Fly within one global airline alliance and credit all of your miles to one FF account. That way, your miles aren’t spread around to different accounts, making it hard to ever accumulate enough to redeem them for anything!

  105. hiu says:

    Try to focus your miles/points to a few programs (don’t spread yourself too thin). If you have a cc, charge all your bills/expenses and earn miles/points towards vacation travels!

  106. James Bernie says:

    If you can swing it, use your own credit card that gives you the miles for the purchase which gets reimbursed by your employer, then get miles from the flight.

    Also, make sure the FF program you sign up for is actually useful in your region so you can actually use the points from your location.

  107. This is easy – I use one card for everything 🙂 Keeps track of all my points and when it’s time to use – so easy! 🙂 PLUS I’m always looking out for specials where I can get double the points or even free along the way!
    Safe travels and Happy flying! 🙂

  108. Harlan Ratzky says:

    Stick with one card for airlines miles (I use Delta AMEX) and one for hotel points (Hilton AMEX). Keep them close at hand and use or EVERY credit card purchase you make.

  109. Jack says:

    If you have a family mileage account, make sure that your dad doesn’t dip into your balance and steal miles for his business class upgrades

  110. MT says:

    Pick your primary plans carefully and don’t forget the expiration policies.

  111. Julie says:

    For someone just starting out, figure out which airlines you would be flying most. Then choose one that has the most flights and most partner airlines available for your desired routes. No matter which partner airline you fly, make sure to always credit your miles to the one frequent flyer program that you signed up with. Eventually you will have enough miles for your first award, whatever that may be.

    Don’t let anyone tell you how you should use your miles. In my opinion, your miles are worth whatever they are worth to YOU. Use them to fly coach, to fly premium, for upgrades, for merchandise, or for magazines. Redeem them however you wish, and enjoy your hard-earned work!

  112. norman says:

    Use a SPG card!

  113. Albert R says:

    Get a card for every little purpose, restaurants, groceries, etc.

  114. Jill says:

    be flexible

  115. DavidWesley says:

    I can only speak for Air loyalty programs, but my best advice is to pick one carrier and aim for Elite status. Once you travel as a top tier elite, you will never want to go back.

    If you are elite in multiple airlines, make sure they are in seperate alliances so that all of your bases are covered for trips that your one carrier may not fly to. Eg… Oneworld and Skyteam.

  116. Martin says:

    Break down a longer hotel stay into several one day stays at different properties to maximize points/status.

  117. Megan says:

    use a mile-earning credit card for everything you buy!

  118. deltaPMflyer says:

    Use your Delta AMEX earn lots of miles!

  119. Rob says:

    Actually be loyal – within monetary, time, and location constraints, shift your spending to concentrate on a small number of brands. This also allows you to read up on promotions that are specific to your brands and learn the ins and outs of redeeming from that brand, instead of spreading yourself thin to the point where you never have enough points in a single program to redeem anything, nor any idea what the good values are and how to get them.

  120. Uniter says:

    Here’s an obvious one … start reading FlyerTalk! At a minimum, it will tell you when there’s a new promotion to sign up for.

  121. Paul says:

    Do your homework. Read as many travel blogs as possible and register for as many promotions as possible, those points will add up!

  122. I use the American Express Starwood Card to earn points. I also have a mileage card from an airline, which I rarely use, because the rules and restrictions to actually earn a flight have taken a turn for the worst.

    Key benefits of the American Express Card through Starwood:
    1. Unless I am mistaken, you’re automatically upgraded to Gold Status if you spend xx amount of dollars per year. I’ve received a ton of room upgrades, even governor suites, simply by being a Gold Preferred member with Starwood using the Starwood Amex. The bonus is that I have always been offered a free upgrade & haven’t had to ask. If I don’t get one, that’s fine…I’ve received more than enough.

    2. I earn even more points when I stay at a Starwood property.

    3. Starwood has multiple redemption options (cash + points, or just points).

    I spend a great deal of time in Southeast Asia, which means I can get some rooms for as little as 2000 points per night. If I want to stay at a great 4-5 star resort as an option, I can generally stay for $45-60 USD per night if I use some of my points towards the rate (this can drop the price from 100 USD + per night up). I also tend to get special offers from the hotels/resorts simply be being a member.

    You can also earn extra points by shopping on the American Express site and/or earn additional discounts:)

  123. Rob says:

    Don’t let points or miles expire unused! You can easily credit a car rental that you’re already going to make to extend the life of miles in most programs, or use many programs’ online shopping malls to buy a giftcard or something as small as a single iTunes song.

  124. Ryan Bird says:

    Charge everything! Those points add up!

  125. Jill says:

    Make sure that you are receiving notifications from the airlines rewards service. Too many people lose their points before they get a chance to use them, because eligibility rules change and points unexpectedly expire.

  126. Hayley says:

    Stick to your favorite companies (airline, car rental, hotel) to really rack up the miles! Sometimes they will offer their most loyal customers really great bonus mile options.

  127. Christy says:

    Keep an eye out for bonus promotions from airline credit cards or frequent flier programs sent in email or snail mail. Don’t forget to register for the promotion. Once I bought a $2 cookie on a flight with the airline’s credit card and received 1000 miles.

  128. snoozzzzz says:

    My tip is to have the credit card with the program you are in. This will be most efficient in earning points per spending. For instance, if you are platinum, Marriott credit card allows you to earn 20 points / $1 spent at Marriott (10 base pts + 5 Plat pts + 5 credit card pts); Amex Starwood allows you to earn 5 points / $1 spent (2 base pts + 1 Plat pts + 2 credit card pts), etc…

    My tip on spending is to be flexible and make use of the benefits offer by each program, such as staying 4 nights and get 1 night free, pointsaver stay. Plan and make reservation early since more options are available and the reservation can be cancelled should your plan changes.

  129. Jim H says:

    My tip. If the offer seems too good to be true, consider the source. If you trust it , act fast. It may not last.

  130. iahphx says:

    Always consider an airline’s partners when trying to book award travel. More likely than not, this will open up new possibilities to redeem at the lower mileage levels.

  131. Bianca B says:

    Stay organized and document every promotion you enter/sign-up for.

  132. Ann says:

    Remember to do your shopping through your progam’s shopping mall, if they have one.

  133. Andyandy says:

    Don’t overlook earning opportunities that may not be obvious. Sometimes all that is required to earn miles is a single purchase (e.g., 750 miles from deluxe.com through e-miles.com). While the cheapest items on websites may be hard do find, our friend Google will allow you to search a single domain (e.g. deluxe.com). Try searching for terms like “$1.”, “1.”, “$2.”, etc. to find cheap items. With this method, I earned 750 US miles for buying a $3 check cover shipped free. .4cpm!

  134. Samir says:

    Be loyal to one of the global airline teams (which has the many flights from your point of origin) and try to have all of your miles credit to one Frequent Flyer account. Also, try finding different credit cards/ programs that give you non-flying miles/points bonuses on that account This will ensure that your miles are always dumped to one account, making it easy to accumulate enough miles/points to redeem anytime and anywhere.

  135. elizabeth says:

    Concentrate your miles and flights on one Alliance and exploit it for all its worth: car rental, dining, flying, purchasing toilet paper from drugstore.com… 🙂 Be sure you also sign up for all the bonus mileage offers that your airline of choice offers, even if you aren’t planning to fly the route immediately. You never know where IRROPS will take you. Subscribe to ExpertFlyer. Check Flyertalk obsessively.

  136. CI says:

    Accumulating miles takes a bit of work, much like making money. So continue doing your homework & overtime you will be successful as I continue to be.

  137. Matt says:

    Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your miles/points. You never know when the company might make a mistake, and it will help you plan your travel to make sure you get the most out of each trip.

  138. Stephanie says:

    Don’t be afraid to use airline/hotel credit cards to accumulate points in order to prevent older points from expiring. Sending a bouquet of flowers to someone can be an easy way to prevent thousands of points from disappearing.

  139. Diane says:

    Use your points-accumulating credit card(s) for every possible purchase including household bills and the entire meal bill with friends (hopefully they’ll pay you back in cash or by check!).

  140. Don says:

    learn from those who write these blogs and post on flyertalk. the information available can put you on your way to frugal, while luxurious, travel

  141. Allison says:

    If you have miles that are about to expire, it’s usually pretty easy to extend them my purchasing something small (preferably something you would have purchased anyway) in the airline’s online mall.

  142. James says:

    What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points?

    I would recommend utilizing a point tracker service like tripit.com! It’s great with tracking itineraries too!

  143. Kitty says:

    1)Make sure your miles program matches your
    award goals.
    2)If you have a mileage credit card make sure it
    allows you to redeem awards with numerous
    carriers.
    3)Start looking for your award seats 6 months in
    advance of your trip.
    4)Don’t forget to check code-share partners for
    award seats.
    5)Look for award seats on midweek days.
    6)Since carriers change their award inventory on
    Friday & Saturday nights at midnight, check then
    for award seats.
    7)Try BookYourAward.com. Worth the price to get
    the seat you want.(According to Wendy Perrin at
    Conde Nast Traveler.)

  144. holycow says:

    *** Learn the intricacies of status matching ***

    Occasionally there are promotions with hotels and airlines that temporarily boost status in their program. Take your new status level and match to competing programs! With some careful planning you can quickly attain status in several programs with an opportunity to
    “challenge” to further upgrade or keep your new level of status.

  145. Dan says:

    Buy a subscription to Mileage Manager and use it to keep track of all of your balances. If you want to redeem for a trip to a specific destination, it will do a daily check of all your qualifying programs to see what’s available, when, and in what class and keep you up-to-date by email.

  146. ian says:

    Make sure you pick an airline that is suitable to your region. SFO for United and SLC for Delta, for example.

  147. flyingfish says:

    Don’t always choose the frequent flyer program of the airline you fly on. Check their alliance partners, another program may be better suited to your needs and wants.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  148. Jeff says:

    I use Yodlee MoneyCenter to keep track of my miles. It’s free.

  149. tivoboy says:

    I say all the time, SET A GOAL and figure out the best way to work towards it. The GOAL is personal, but the best way to reach it, is the READ THE BOARDING AREA BLOGS!

  150. Terry says:

    When the CSR says no, don’t give up!

  151. Summer Cook says:

    Use Southwest Airlines and Hilton HHonors. You can double dip with Hilton (earning hotel and flight credits) and earn quick tickets on Southwest through partners and flying. Then, vacation virtually for free!

  152. Nathan says:

    Make sure to provide your frequent flier numbers when you go to a hotel, especially when you stay in hotels often. The points add up FAST!

  153. Rick says:

    Take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses for new card applications.

  154. Jess Gibson says:

    Ask my friend Sandy Y. She knows everything about frequent flying. That, and read FlyerTalk.

  155. Amazing Larry says:

    What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points?

    The value of points tends to decrease with time, so burn ‘em rather than earn ‘em…. when you have enough for a nice premium intercontinental award.

  156. Sapan says:

    Focus. Do you research and figure out which cities you visit often and what airlines you tend to take the most. Then try to rack up as many miles as you can with those airlines by flying and through their credit cards. Don’t spread yourself too thin by having couple thousand points in different accounts, but not enough to get a trip or qualify for a status. Limiting yourselves to two or thre alliances will do you a lot of good.

  157. Iolaire McFadden says:

    Always apply for credit cards when they have high mileage promotions for opening a new account.

  158. DoubleF says:

    to maximize earning, put everything you buy on a mileage earning credit card, no matter how small the expense. To use miles, be as flexible as possible. I usually call and ask the agent to find seats at a specific airport, and anything within 100 miles and within 2 or 3 days. I’ve always found seats, even to Italy in the summer on Delta.

  159. Zora says:

    Get a credit card to go with the program–even if only for the signup bonus. It gives you a big head start on miles, and makes the whole game seem a lot more worthwhile.

  160. Jason Demby says:

    Don’t use your points on low cost/distance trips! Save them for the expensive ones!

  161. Ira says:

    Hilton’s Amex allows you to earn 5 points per mile on gasoline. It can be worth it, even if you don’t travel much

  162. Aaron says:

    Top tip is to make sure you choose one airline partner and stick with the program. If you really want to maximize points, make sure that partner is one which has partnerships with hotels.

  163. Nelly says:

    Consolidate your miles

  164. Aaron says:

    With respect to airlines – Learn how to redeem the points. Learn the partners, the different types of awards available for your given program etc… Just because the online search tool only gives you limited availability, doesn’t mean your award isn’t available. Even calling in isn’t a sure bet. If you know the rules and the booking classes, you can help guide a helpful phone agent to craft the itinerary you want.

  165. Parag says:

    If you are a student or under age 26, use sites like student universe for cheap fares. Also if you are a college or graduate student, enroll in college plus and get 10,000 free United miles after you graduate!

  166. Carol says:

    Pay Attention!!! Watch your statements to catch any errors or missing trips, keep an eye out for promotions to increase your miles/points or standing, don’t forget to check for cross-promotions…

  167. Jason Steele says:

    Value your points according to what you would have spent, not what the retail price is.

  168. Ann says:

    Read flyertalk and blogs like this one! Don’t redeem miles for flights (except BF upgrades, natch) until you’ve reached your desired elite status for the year.

  169. Xyzzy says:

    If you have multiple mileage-earning credit cards, optimize their use. If you get double miles at supermarkets with one card but triple at restaurants with another, take advantage of those bonuses!

  170. Cassyt says:

    I don’t always get to choose who I fly, so I make sure to maximise my miles by using companies with partnerships. Be sure to keep an eye on those expiration dates! Sometimes simply renewing a magazine or buying flowers online will extend your FF miles expiration dates.

  171. Ivan Tcherniaev says:

    A lot has been written about advantages of SPG AMEX card, and it’s a great card (I have it). However, if you don’t want to mess with AMEX and another Visa/Mastercard, consider getting Diners Club card. Because it is now accepted everywhere Mastercard is accepted (it has Mastercard logo), Diners Club card can be your only primary card if you don’t like having to pay two bills each month.

    You earn one point for each dollar spend, and points can be converted to miles on most airlines, or hotel points. Some highlights include:
    — Annual promotion giving you 1.5 miles for every point transferred to British Airways (1.35 miles on Delta)
    — Diners Club will serve as PRIMARY insurance on domestic and international car rentals. Other cards act as secondary insurance on domestic rentals (your regular car insurance acts as primary)
    — Access to many airport lounges around the world with no extra fees

    Personally, I travel to Hawaii a lot, and I transfer 24,000 Diners points into my BA account, giving me 36,000 BA miles (only 35,000 is needed for round trip ticket).

  172. Guggu says:

    When redeeming your miles it is always better to avoid school holidays and to travel off season to get the best value for your miles with airlines and hotels.

  173. Peter says:

    One useful trick is to register for very promotion you come across on these blogs. Even if you think it cannot possibly apply to you (it may in the future), or if it’s just 50 miles (wouldn’t it suck to be 50 miles short for an award?), or for a program you don’t participate in (there are ways to transfer miles)… one never knows.

  174. Jim says:

    Pick a program that you like and stick to it, even if it ends up costing a little more. They’re not called loyalty rewards for nothing.

  175. Wen says:

    Read blogs like this one and grab the deals when they are there. Be sure to only apply for the most rewarding credit card and combine offers with your travel plans. If you don’t have one, just create.

  176. Biggles209 says:

    Pick the best alliance for your travel needs, and back that up with another airline. For me, in Seattle, United (Star Alliance) and Alaska offers a good mix of earning and redemption choices.

  177. bmvaughn says:

    It may take a long time to save the miles for two international premium class awards, so if you’re just a casual flier don’t worry about spending the miles on a domestic coach ticket – just make sure you’re getting a good value for the miles, such as using them for a late booking or a holiday period!

  178. dcfan says:

    You can transfer SPG points to over 30 different airlines at a 1 to 1 ratio. Transferring 20,000 SPG points gives you a bonus of 5,000 miles, for a total of 25,000 miles — enough for a domestic award ticket.

  179. beltway says:

    Use car rentals (which often earn pitifully small miles bonuses) to reset the clock on expiration of miles accounts in which you lack activity. This works not only for mile accounts in your name, but for family members too: the rental companies report only the FF account number you give them, and not the renter’s name. I’ve used this many times without a hitch.

  180. DAraius says:

    Every mile counts so try to get every mile possible from dining, shopping etc. Use SPG as your primary credit card for easy ability to convert to other programs.

  181. Chris says:

    Churn credit cards and bank sign up bonuses

  182. Chris says:

    Concentrate on one of the airline alliances, and funnel all of miles to one frequent flier program within that alliance. This way, you don’t “orphan” miles over several different programs.

  183. Novsf says:

    Airline miles are usually more valuable than hotel points, in addition to all the perks reserved for elites. So the quickest way is to get an airline-branded credit card and shoot for the bonus miles.

  184. Joe B. SFO says:

    It never hurts to strap on a smile and ask for a complimentary upgrade. When done appropriately, you may end up enjoying a completely new experience.

  185. James says:

    There are so many ways out there to earn miles to get activity credit. Don’t let those hard earned miles expire. Use the shopping malls to earn with minimal purchases. Just remember to use the airline specific links to ensure you get credit for the spend.

  186. Richard B says:

    (1) Never miss an opportunity to earn points, no matter how small; (2) Earn and burn — miles and points are only going to lose value with time.

  187. mineola says:

    Sign up for your points provider’s newsletter- and actually read it! You’ll often be pleasantly surprised by chances for bonus points. Consider buying points in small denominations when they are sold at a discount- I see them often listed at 20-30% off.

    And follow your faves on Twitter, IHG_Deals & Lufthansa_USA for example have in the past offered points or flights as promotions- If you have a good experience with a travel provider, talk them up on social media sites since they all like to build their reputations up with positive comments, etc. And it’s a good way to keep up with special offers.

  188. Andrew says:

    Earn your miles and points on one airline and hotel, whenever possible. Better to have status than to never reach any spending threshhold by accruing miles in too many accounts.

  189. Ron says:

    Pay for whatever you can, no matter how small the amount, with a mileage earning credit card.

  190. Jerry Mills says:

    Earn through a couple programs to maximize miles/points but cover your bases by being able to use two alliances or in case the hotel you planned on using was booked. Watch out for expirations on awards!

  191. Julie Vessigault says:

    Network with frequent fliers.

  192. Scott says:

    Be sure and make all purchases with a mileage earning credit card and purchase as much as possible through a mileage earning shopping portal also.

  193. Jean Wilson says:

    Get a Hilton Surpass Amex and stay at lots of Hiltons, so you’ll earn 9 points to the dollar on every stay. Put $20,000 on your card in a year and score Gold VIP status with Hilton. Then, when you have 225,000 points, redeem them using one of Amex’ VIP Hilton special booking codes, GLONP, which will get you six free nights at a top of the line hotel in London – where the exchange rate isn’t favorable to U.S. travelers. You’ll wind up scoring a stay worth something like $3600, and it’ll only cost you about $8500 in spend if you stay at Hiltons a lot and earn the 9:1 rate.

    Also – when you book the trip, use your Premier Rewards Gold Card to book your flight and get 3:1 Membership Rewards on the purchase. You can top up lots of airline and hotel programs using Membership Rewards, which makes PR Gold an extremely valuable card to carry (although I for one am very sorry to see Southwest Airlines leave Membership Rewards in June of this year.) You can even use MR points to transfer to Hilton at a great rate – more than 1:1 – so you can use them for another 225,000 point reward.

    Also, don’t forget to add on Amex’ awesome baggage claim and trip delay protections, which will stop you from sightseeing in dirty clothes or having to sleep overnight in the airport – flights delayed more than three hours or past 9 P.M. mean you get generous rewards with these policies, up to $250 per night for a hotel. Enjoy!

  194. Billy Suratt says:

    Bonus offers from airline partners, like hotels. Some offer double miles for multi-night stays, etc.

  195. miketown says:

    Register for every promo.

  196. Joe says:

    Burn your miles for a few nice vacations with your better half. This way, you’ll at least find your keys still working when you get back from a MR.

  197. Ruilin says:

    Get a mile-earning credit card and use it for everything

  198. Andrew C. says:

    Make sure your miles aren’t expiring.. redeem for a magazine or use the iDine service

  199. Dieter says:

    My tips are simple: First, make sure you are earning miles/points on the major airline serving your home airport. Secondly, do the research on the best credit card for earning miles/points for the way you travel. There are many websites that will help you compare the various credit cards programs

  200. Karen says:

    Read boardingarea blog and register for every promo and apply for mileage credit card.

  201. msvacation says:

    Be willing to take a look at other airlines/alliances if your current one isn’t working for you. After being a loyal NWA customer for years, I am now getting involved with CO/Star Alliance which better fits my travel patterns/move from a NW hub city. Sometimes its hard to let go or look at another carrier when you are used to a certain one for years but you might be better off with taking a look at something different.

  202. Larry says:

    Keep track of your credit score and if it can stand the small hit, apply over time, for a steady stream of credit cards that give you a sign-up bonus. Those bonuses are the foundation for building miles in many programs. You can easily earn 150,000 miles a year doing this, with no appreciable affect on your credit score. And you can do this for several years before exhausting all of the card possibilities.

  203. Teddi says:

    Get a debit visa card that has a mileage rewards program attached and use that for your normal daily and monthly expenses. Miles add up while you buy groceries and gas.

  204. Points have a cash value. Don’t get so blinded by earning a few more points that you spend way more that you may have. Sometimes a different brand may be a better value, even after loyalty.

  205. Save your boarding passes. After your travel is finished, check your frequent flier account for the miles you traveled to show up. Once they do, you can toss the boarding passes. I use my boarding passes as bookmarks since I often travel with one or more new books. See, there’s two tips for the price of one!

  206. ofer says:

    My top tip is to try and accumulate miles in Membership Rewards by American Express since it allows you maximum flexibility to redeem the points and you can earn up to 10X points in the membershiprewards.com and earn 3X points when you shop through the Bonus Points Mall® website.

  207. Alex Peters says:

    Read read read! Educate yourself! Learn the ins and outs of the mileage and award programs so you can get the best bang for your buck. Only a savvy customer gets the best deal!

  208. Gale says:

    Go with friends! It’s amazing how far you can get if you pool group resources — one person’s hotel upgrade with another’s free car rental etc. Works on three levels (1) You can often score a “stay with your friends” freebie (i.e., two of you have access to the first class lounge, the third can usually come along) (2) Friends who don’t have miles are often happy to pay any cash portion of a status change etc. as their contribution (3) Travelling companions!

  209. Michelle Adkins says:

    Stick with one airline and hotel and even car company. It will be worth it when you can take a complete trip for free! Also, make sure you are signed up for all newsletters so you are aware of double miles/points, etc. And don’t be afraid to use the miles/points for upgrades!!

  210. Bikeguy says:

    Come to the Ann Arbor Art Fair DO this July 24 and 25th. You’ll get great tips, including how to book elusive award tickets. Past speakers include Viajero Joven, gleff, Ingy, Lucky9876Coins and wanaflyforless. Details in CommunityBuzz forum on flyertalk.com.

  211. michael k says:

    Use miles only for upgrades. It’s the biggest bang for the buck. It’s a total waste of miles for hotel nights etc. as well redemption reward tickets.

  212. monkey3367 says:

    Don’t overreach. If your travel is moderate, stick with one program and milk it all you can.

  213. Aitchly says:

    When looking to book, use a dollop of ITA, gobs of patience, plenty of flexibility and a good dose of bull headedness.

  214. alisinna says:

    Research what destinations you would like to travel to the most, and figure out which carrier/alliance will get you there for the best/easiest redemption.

  215. yosithezet says:

    Read BoardingArea blogs!

  216. Criddy123 says:

    Try to fly only one airline most of the time. It is more likely that you will earn elite status than choosing the cheapest flights. It does eventually pay for itself.

  217. AndyTLe says:

    Stay loyal to one airline alliance or hotel brand. That’s the quickest and easiest way to accumulate points/miles and reap the benefits.

  218. baglady says:

    Go for top tier in your program(s) in order to reap the highest bonuses as well as most benefits. Sometimes a well planned mileage run or mattress run is needed.

  219. Kristin says:

    Do your research to find the alliance that best meets your needs. Also, subscribe to blogs such as this one for tips and advice on maximizing points!

  220. chitownflyer says:

    Concentrate your loyalty to one hotel or airline program and try to earn the highest status level as possible in that program.

  221. circler says:

    check out online forums for promotions and deals; apply a mileage credit card if you are a frequent flyer; always complain about your recent trip to earn some extra mileage!

  222. Jonas Eberle says:

    Fly within one global airline alliance (ie. Star Alliance) and credit all of your miles to one FF account. That way, your miles aren’t spread around to different accounts, making it hard to ever accumulate enough to redeem them for anything.

  223. James says:

    Look at the bonus offer page of your airline to hotel to make sure you’re maximizing the miles you accumulate.

  224. Reb says:

    I read up on boardingarea blog and learn from people how to earn more miles and points. And make friends along the way.

  225. Ada says:

    Check Flyertalk.com every day.

  226. Mbelle says:

    learn the rules of the program you use…see how to maximize your earning, and make certain you know how to redeem, and when they expire…and how to extend that date!

  227. cheep says:

    Use airline & hotel shopping portals for online purchases.

  228. Helen says:

    Watch out for poor point award levels when you buy very cheap flights. On some airlines, you only earn a fraction of status miles on their lowest-cost flights as you might on flights that cost only a little bit more. If you’re “that close” to qualifying for the next award level, or need the points for a particular award you’re after, it could be worth paying an extra $75 or $100 to get 50% more points.

  229. nun says:

    If the flight you want isn’t available, before paying double miles to get what you want, check business and first class, even for flights where the cabin makes little difference. Sometimes there’s unexpected availability for no extra miles.

  230. Marilynn Storms says:

    I think of earning free travel and stays as conducting a symphony all aspects are important for maximum enjoyment.

  231. Got a kid in college? See if you can pay his or her tuition with your miles-earning credit card. Some universities (like the one I work at) don’t take credit cards, but others (like the one my son goes to) do. Might as well get a plane ticket out of all the money you’re shelling out for junior!

  232. pavel says:

    Collect miles as cheaply as possible in one program and redeem on partner travel.

  233. Sharon says:

    Search for the best alliance network for your travel locations and flight plans.Then join that network and travel only through the alliance you have chosen. This way all your points are put into one source. Additionally, finding a credit card with the main airline of this alliance increases your base of points and sometimes your status.

  234. Brian says:

    Alway pay attention to car rental promotions. Often by switching contract codes you can earn double or triple miles. On point based programs like Southwest, triple credit goes a far way.

  235. tootalltofly says:

    In my experience there are 2 types of travelers who collect and use miles; 1. those that are very occasional travelers and collect for a long time and 2. those who are frequent travelers and collect and use often.

    My advice would be to those who collect for a long time, to either use large chunks of miles to travel in business or first class (choose your airlines carefully as the products vary greatly!) or save up and use 1/2 the miles for an upgrade. For those who travel frequently I would use my miles almost exclusively for upgrades as your value for the money is much greater. It only costs twice the miles to book a reward business over economy but the cost in money is more like 4-6 times more. So for the same miles you can upgrade instead.

    Above all do your research and know that you can get 2 completely different answers on availability from 2 different agents.

    If you combine your loyalty program with a credit card then you will quickly earn enough points to use.

    Lastly, it is always best to collect and use miles with airlines that are part of an alliance. That way you have much more seat availability at your disposal.

  236. Alexander says:

    Stick to one airline and aim for elite status!

  237. David says:

    Attend the 6th Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair DO. This year is devoted to discussing the ins and outs of award ticket booking. It is the perfect opportunity to network with fellow points and miles fiends. Details available in Community Buzz.

  238. Tim says:

    Collect miles and points only for airlines and hotels that you really like and that are readily available for use.

  239. R K says:

    SPG AMEX

  240. Tim says:

    Understand the value of miles financially. As a general rule, you should always expect your miles to get you the equivalent of $0.01 per mile or more. If you are trading in miles for less than $0.01 per mile, then you are losing money.

  241. Scott M says:

    Focus on one hotel program to concentrate your loyalty point earning. Oftentimes, once you reach top tier status, other hotel loyalty programs will match status with a minimal night/stay requirement. Some hotels say they will only match status once, but in the past few years, status matching has been easier than ever…follow-up and don’t take no for an answer.

  242. Jeff says:

    Check your account regularly to make sure all miles get posted. Keep your boarding passes to retroactively get any miles to post that slip through the cracks.

  243. Tanya says:

    If you have a lot of miles in a program that you are having a hard time redeeming for flights (like Delta ), do not rule out hotel redemptions! Not all programs are alike – I found the redemption rates for Delta for hotel stays to be much better than other programs, and not as odious as having to use them on mid or high level flight awards!

  244. Adam says:

    Line up your loyalty credit cards based on the use… hotel club card for hotel bills, frequent flier club card for flights. If you fly a lot and don’t have the need for the extra miles, you may consider using your hotel card for all travel expenses… just make sure you at least meet the minimum spend for qualifying miles if your card offers them.

  245. Loran says:

    When trying to redeem miles for an award ticket plan on doing all the leg work yourself – most airline phone agents will search the simplest routings, find no availability, and stop. Know all your airline’s partners (both in and outside the alliance) and all hub and gateway cities, and tell the agent exactly what you want.

    For example, Delta had no availability for a West Coast to Israel award. But the agent only checked Delta flights. By knowing ahead of time that Air France serves Seattle, SFO, and LAX, and that Alaska serves my city and the AF gateways, I got the outbound on the exact dates I wanted.

    Similarly, secure the international flight first. There is only one SEA-CDG flight a day. Find availability for that, then work on getting to SEA – there’s likely many more options for the domestic flight. Many agents will not even search the international flight on a particular day if your first domestic segment doesn’t appear to be available.

  246. Chris Metzgar says:

    I’d suggest reading up on all programs offered by those you most frequently use, and spend points smart…get the most out of it, but also be aware of all the rules involved with spending the points.

  247. mechteach says:

    Top tip: Flexibility. Be willing to be a little bit flexible when it comes both to dates and destinations. Also, be flexible about using the points at all – keep an eye on the costs of booking the hotel or flights that you have chosen, and be willing to cancel if the economics are reasonable.

  248. Andy says:

    Focus your travel in a single program, but always be open to earning bonuses and taking advantages of great promotions in other programs you don’t typically use.

  249. Son says:

    Just read the flyertalk forums and the boardingarea blogs!

  250. Andy says:

    Initially focus on one or 2 programs to learn all the tips and tricks as well as building up miles or points.

  251. Craig says:

    Set up your bills to be paid automatically using your American Express Card.

  252. Susannah says:

    Choose a loyalty program that allows you to earn points over a wide variety of opportunities, airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, meals, shopping opportunities, as well as bonus offers.

  253. beaubo says:

    Suppose you need to fly from Cleveland to Venice. Never ask whether award seats are available from Cleveland to Venice. Instead, start with the hub-to-hub routes flown by the carriers in your alliance. Say it’s the Star Alliance: Look for availability on flights from Chicago, Newark, Philadelphia, Toronto, or Washington, D.C. (hubs for Star Alliance partners Continental, United, US Airways, and Air Canada) to Frankfurt, Vienna, Munich, or Copenhagen. That gives you more than 20 possibilities. Once you’ve found a hub-to-hub flight with award seats, tack on the short-haul spoke-to-hub or hub-to-spoke options (Cleveland to Chicago or Dulles, for example, and Frankfurt or Vienna to Venice).

  254. Mrs_H says:

    #1 tip: Really read the newsletters and website for your FF program or loyalty card program — look for all the bonus offers, special offers, and partners programs. For instance, we get miles for paying our electric bill (cash, check, or with a credit card — and if we use the mileage credit or debit card, we get miles from the card company and the utility). Same for Netflix, our cell phone provider, and our mortgage — all of them were offering bonus programs with the airline when we signed up.
    #2 tip: Read the rules. They can change without notice, and if you find that you aren’t getting the miles you thought you were going to get, change quickly to a new partner. (NOT a new airline partner, a new bonus partner. For instance, Hertz and Avis were both offering triple miles + a 30% discount last year. This year, they both offer the same triple miles, but Avis kept the higher discount, and Hertz dropped to 20%. Worth changing to save 10% on every car rental if you still get the triple miles!)

  255. scott says:

    My tip is to plan early and be persistent. It is possible to get the most out of them, but it takes some effort.

  256. Terry Erickson says:

    Check sites like rewardsdb.com/, rewardscanada.ca/frequentflyer.html and freefrequentflyermiles.com before buying anything online or booking travel for any miles or pts bonuses you may be missing.

  257. Alissa says:

    Don’t let your miles expire. Check your balance and redeem for something small such as a mag subscription to prevent expiration.

  258. jason8612 says:

    Do as much reading as you can about all the different benefits that you have as an elite (that you probably did not know you had before)

  259. Ryan says:

    Fly within one global airline alliance and credit all of your miles to one FF account. That way, your miles aren’t spread around to different accounts, making it hard to ever accumulate enough to redeem them for anything.

  260. Tobi says:

    Geta m&m Card and many Miles

  261. Elin Pierce says:

    Earning miles quickly is much easier than you think. Every time you go to pay for something, think of gaining mileage points. Get a credit card (like AmEx) that gives the most mileage points for your favorite airline every time you use the card; I use just that one card for just about everything. Then, check out what companies your airline partners with and shop through them (for i.e. hotel stays, car rentals, and even for significant things like home loans, larger purchases, loans, insurance and even home purchases). Many airlines have “dining for miles” programs (linked up to your credit card), and also online shopping sites (like Delta’s SkyMall) where you get points for money spent (that’s in addition to the miles your credit card will give). You can also rack up the points by completing online surveys for companies linked up to your airline (like erewards.com for Delta miles). Also, check your airline’s frequent flier webpage every now and then for specials offering points. It all adds up quickly! Once you have enough miles on an airline, plan to use them, but give yourself good planning, like 2 months advance reservations, to ensure availability of your preferred travel dates. Remember: once made, the reservations cannot be changed. Lastly, enjoy your free trip to the max!

  262. Julia says:

    It helps to build your cache of miles by taking advantage of the occasional opportunity to combine FF accounts, as with Delta and Northwest last year. There were extra miles for combining the miles, as well. Also, scope out the best miles-generating CC offers for the airline you fly most often.

  263. annie free says:

    Here’s one for you. Tax time is drawing near pay your taxes with an airline linked credit card. here is another for you (2 for the price of 1). there are certain food chains vonns, pathmark… that you can link your ff account to there card so everytime you grocery shop you get ff miles). we all must eat and if u think about it you probably spend at least $10K a year at the grocery store.

  264. Grativis.com says:

    [Full Disclaimer: I am one of the founders of the site, so consider this a shameless self-promotion!]

    My hint is to use Grativis.com to manage all your frequent flyer program information – it’s like Mint.com for points.

    It will pull in all of your points (flights, hotels, car, and others) and show it to you in a 1-page dashboard, while also showing the detailed information just 1 click away. What makes it different (and better) than other point management sites is that, in addition to showing your points, it will show what you can buy (eg “how many round trip coach tickets to Europe can I buy?”) with your points!

    It’s in private beta right now, but I’ve set up 100 invites for BoardingArea.com users so that they can test it out themselves and see how it makes managing points easier than anything else out there.

    To Sign Up:
    https://www.grativis.com/index.php?step=newuser
    Referall Code: BOARDINGAREA-FRIENDS

    Thanks for a great site!
    Michael Komarnitsky
    Grativis.com

  265. Debbie K says:

    If you get an agent that is unhelpful – hang up and call back until you get an agent who is knowledgeable and willing to help.

  266. Josh says:

    Dont spend your miles on upgrades, use them for free flights. You will get more bang for your buck.

  267. Gloria Lin says:

    My top tip for using airline points is to be ready to plan several months in advance, pick a few dates and surrounding airports to chose to fly to, and if you’re unable to find a flight by yourself onlie, try calling a points representative. You may have to pay a small fee but often they are able to search with partner airlines and get you where you want to go!

  268. Chris says:

    Sign up for your airline’s Dining Rewards program and sign up for every bonus there. It’s an easy way to make miles on stuff you’d do anyway. Always offer to pay the bill, you’ll look like a nice guy and get the miles, you can double dip if you have a mileage earning credit card.

  269. Scott says:

    My miles-earning tip is to frequently try to use the shopping portals offered through airline and hotel sites (for example, Mileage Plus Mall for United Airlines, or Priority Club Shopping for Priority Club Rewards) to buy things that I need. Not only do I earn miles on my airline or hotel affiliated credit card, but also an additional minimum of 1 mile per $1 spent. Even better though is when you come across an item that you might not particularly need, but after the free shipping and mail-in rebate, the item is free. I then immediately post it on ebay and walk away with more money in my pocket that I started with, and a bunch of miles or points.

  270. Drury Bagwell says:

    Look for credit cards that give EQM for charging more than a yearly minimum. Eg. US Mastercard gives 10,000 EQM after charging $25,000 in one year.

  271. Jiangning says:

    Establish a habit to check flyertalk.com Twice a day!

  272. shoegarqueen says:

    Try to consolidate travel and therefore mileage earning into one airline program and make sure that the airline is convenient to your home location. That way elite status is more within reach.

  273. Jon says:

    Be very flexible. Be willing to travel to another airport on your own dime to get an international flight to your desired destination.

  274. Monica says:

    Sign up for every hotel/airline/train loyalty program out there. Just because you think that you aren’t going to actually fly on a particular airline or stay in a particular hotel chain, does not mean that’s a reason not to sign up for these programs. After that, make sure that you participate in every bonus, sign-up promo or opt-in promo available (think Continental’s frequent 100 mile promos). You never know when those couple hundred miles or points will come in handy for a larger promotion that is being offered. Often you can transfer points or miles to other programs via points.com to get that last necessary partner participation.

  275. K Brown says:

    Details, details, read the details on the miles agreement!

  276. Karen says:

    Details, details, check the details in the program contract!

  277. Cheri says:

    Use a single credit card for everything you purchase including travel, household and personal expense, utilities, and paying your taxes. The card you use should be the one that has the best rewards program and flexibility for your personal lifestyle.

  278. Lina says:

    Jumpstart your miles by getting status. AA offers a Platinum challenge. Once you get status, many other airlines are willing to match. After you have status, you earn twice as many miles for every trip.

  279. K20 says:

    Read the various blogs and follow their tips. I’ve added thousands of miles this way.

  280. mike says:

    Best travel tip is to at least lurk on flyertalk. I have picked up am imense amount of info.

  281. Deena Quilty says:

    Set up a Google Alert with keywords for your favorite airline’s name and something like “frequent flier miles” or “miles promotion”–go crazy and do all the combinations–it costs nothing and can help make sure you don’t miss out on an opportunity you might not have otherwise noticed.

  282. Ryan says:

    Always be sure to keep up to date with promotions and special offers of your favorite loyalty programs. These promotions allow you to earn points, miles, and rewards at greatly accelerated rates. Read the T&C’s carefully and be sure to follow up with Customer Service if any bonuses do not post.

  283. Victor Y says:

    Don’t forget to check in as soon the airline allows, to see if any better seats have opened up.

  284. Dallasanne says:

    We do three things to make sure we maximize our points. First, we dump all our points into a single FF account — every debit and credit card in the household, from teens to both spouses, earns points for the SAME FF account. At 2 miles per dollar spent, we never earn fewer than 100,000 miles per year this way — and we don’t even have to spend that much, because our college age kids will earn and spend a chunk of it for us. (They get compensated because we pay their tuition, room and board — with a credit card that earns miles, of course.)

    Second, we use our American Express card for major purchases, earning flexible reward points we can apply where we want.

    Third, we read this blog and others like it — and the newsletter we get from our FF card — for bonus offers and promotions. Sometimes a small change can make a big different. For instance, recently, United wanted to boost its U.S. to Madrid passenger load. We were going to Mallorca to visit family, and had always flown through Barcelona — by flying through Madrid, we earned an extra 5,000 miles per person, plus the regular miles — all of it good toward elite status. This is common — so keep on the look out for stopovers and even segment additions that can get big bonuses.

  285. Robert says:

    Enjoy reward flights sooner with a Household Account.

    You and up to six other members of your household, including children, can earn and spend British Airways Miles together. Each member has an individual account, which is linked with the others so you can pool BA Miles, making it easier to take reward flights sooner.

  286. YJ says:

    Stick to the best program in the field and exploit them when promotions are going on. 🙂

  287. Morris says:

    EARN- Sign up for a credit card affiliated with miles,(if possible CHURN!); always makes sure that your hard earned miles actually post; travel when double miles are being offered; and look around at boardingarea.com, and FT, for the many bonuses out there.
    SPEND- If you’ve got the miles, USE AND ENJOY THEM, unless the price to pay is the same value as the points or cheaper, when then you might as well save your miles for a different occasion, and actually earn miles on your current flight or stay.

  288. paul says:

    research which airlines offer the best point deals and the best programs. once you chose which one best suits you, stick with it!

  289. Bob says:

    If you aren’t a business traveler who flies a lot, I tell my friends in the US to gravitate towards Continental’s Onepass program. It’s the only program where miles never expire, so you can slowly but surely build towards a reward over however many years you need. Nothing is more discouraging for an aspiring frequent flyer than to have their miles erased for no good reason.

  290. Pete Martin says:

    Pay attention to promotions within your chosen program and consolidate your travel within the time periods of the promotion

  291. Shaun says:

    Use the credit card partner for your airline of choice and any related utility offers. Miles collect extremely quickly this way.

  292. Alison says:

    Always have a spouse/partner/friend take part in the promos and deals so you don’t have to fly first class all alone!

  293. Cecilia Rose says:

    Just calling in to a live person always works best for me. Unfortunately, the websites never seem to show the same availability that you can get dialing in directly. It is a hassle, but worth it when you need to get complex trips for multiple people

  294. Brenda says:

    When booking a hotel in a busy city location or at a busy time of year, hotels are less likely to let you use points for free nights or upgrades. Many programs,like SPG (Starwood) allow you to pay cash + points. I’ve found this a great way to book a nice room ( usually the free rooms are by an elevator, ice machine, lower floor etc). But by using the points and cash option, the rooms are usually upgrades. You still earn points on the portion of the room paid in cash so it’s a win/win.

  295. Shellie Anne says:

    She’s a no brainer mate- use a the same credit card for ALL OF YOUR PURCHASES and the same for travel – you will say DANG! I EARNED ALL THOSE MILES!? Fair Dinkum?

    Don’t limit yourself to a hotel chain…there is no worse way to travel…be free…go where the road leads you. It is about the journey not the destination!

  296. Kathryn says:

    Sign up for the promotions that link two travel partners together when taking a trip, like get bonus Delta miles for staying at Marriott or get bonus Hertz points for staying at Hilton. That way you get extra points from the promotion with one company and regular with the other. It’s a win win for sure!

  297. jeffyl says:

    Tip: Start a mileage program only with the major airline serving your area, and search online for free mileage contests and promotions! (and check this site frequently, from some really knowledgeable flyers)

  298. Matt says:

    If you accumulate points mostly on spend and can’t decide on a card—- the American Express charge cards and the SPG Amex offer flexible points that can be redeemed for hotels, merchandise or highly sought after upper class international airfare.

  299. Janna Steele says:

    SPG points to LAN kilometers is the best credit card deal out there per dollar spent, especially for short, expensive flights on OneWorld partners.

  300. Nancy says:

    Use your SPG Amex for everything & let http://bookyouraward.com/ handle the rest!

  301. reallyct says:

    Don’t neglect mileage credit on partner airlines – sometimes really small lines are affiliated with your program. It’s worth a little extra time on the website to ensure that you can be credited for trips on small carriers.

  302. CM says:

    My best tip is to use the program at partner businesses, too. Use it at hotels, when ordering flowers, etc. and accumulate the points in transactions when you aren’t traveling.

  303. Henry says:

    My top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points is to do their research and utilize as many resources as possible. For example, utilize partnered dining websites and shopping websites. If you are going to buy something you might as well get points for it. Additionally, always ask if a loyalty program is doing a promotion for bonus points (there is always one going on). For those looking to use their points my best advice is to research forums and ask question sof experienced travellers. We are a community we are always there to help! Also, see if there are combined packages that are available. It may cost less points to transfer your airline miles to hotel points and take advantage of a combined vacation package. In summation, ask questions! The worst answer you could get is no, and usually you will get tips and advice on how to maximize your points.

  304. The short answer is “use ’em while you still can”.

    Another tip would be to ALWAYS read the fine print of the program: almost all rewards programs have blackout dates, expirations, and other restrictions. The past decade of price wars has put carriers and hotels in a very tight corner, now that cost of service (fuel, building materials, etc) have skyrocketed.

  305. Pete says:

    Read Flyertalk, daily (more often if possible).

  306. Michelle C says:

    If travel is flexable wait unil you find a good promotion before booking. I never travel unless I can get at least double points.

  307. Karuna says:

    I would like to enter as well.

  308. Laura says:

    Be flexible with travel dates–experience new places when the price is right and earn miles along the way 🙂

    Use farecompare.com searcher to get best deals regarding cost per mile and to find those new places to see. http://www.farecompare.com/search/flyertalk.html

    Stay loyal to one airline to get even more miles with elite bonus miles!

    Take advantage of promos & join flyertalk.com community to keep up with the latest.

    Always look for the new route bonuses!

    Get a credit card that gives you miles per $ spend (my pref Delta Plat Amex) and charge everything paying balance off at end of the month. Track what you spend and when you hit the annual spending that gives you more miles–switch to 2nd point card (for me SPG Amex).

    And most importantly—Enjoy life & the adventures!

  309. scott finkeldei says:

    Use RSS feeds and SMS alerts on your phone from favorite travel and deal websites to ensure you see the best points deals and promotions that you can take advantage of while you are traveling.

  310. Jonathan Khoo says:

    look into alliance partners and non-flight earning opportunities, such as miles for shopping online.

  311. Suzanne says:

    Use a credit card to earn points/miles that gives you flexibility to redeem in multiple programs, as long as your spending habits will justify paying the annual fee. Since I began collecting FF miles, my airline program of choice has left my local airport twice, so you never know which program might be useful to you in the future!

  312. Karuna says:

    Look at the terms and conditions carefully.

  313. Prashant says:

    Flyertalk is the single one stop database to get more info / deals on ff programs.

  314. Eileen says:

    Mattress hop to maximize hotel stay credits and bonus points as well as promotions, such as Hyatt’s FFN type promos. Never stay in the same hotel more than one night at a time UNLESS you are redeeming awards!

  315. Nilima says:

    Check out the Boarding Area website

  316. Eugene says:

    Pay attention to hotel points – they are often more valuable than airline miles.

  317. NW says:

    When booking an award ticket with miles, use allowed free stopovers to get the most value out of your miles and see new places that you may not otherwise have seen.

  318. Ben says:

    Pick your loyalties and stick with them! Switching around between airlines and hotel chains will scatter your points around and probably not earn you elite status anywhere. It’s worth it in the long run to not always go with the cheapest price in order to maintain your loyalty to that carrier or brand!

  319. Zabes says:

    Make sure every fare/hotel you stay at “actually” earns points, I don’t know how many times people book something and they end up not earning points on it. Look for promotions and BE FLEXIBLE when it comes to redeeming. The farther out you can book the better off you are!

  320. Tanya says:

    Concentrate your loyalty to only a few programs(at most) and take advantage of all their bonus promos! They add up surprisingly quick.

  321. Steve says:

    Have flexibility with your dates, think outside of the box on routings, and be nice to the people helping you on the reservation!

  322. Jason in AZ says:

    Use a mileage tracking tool for a consolidated view of your portfolio of air, car and hotel accounts. It can be easy to miss expriring miles, etc otherwise.

  323. Karol says:

    Nothing beats the Starwood Amex card. Easiest way we’ve found to earn and use points. Starwood also has the excellent cash+points option which I haven’t seen from other loyalty programs.

  324. Paula says:

    Use your point earning credit card for EVERYTHING Yes, I mean EVERYTHING (but pay it off at the end of the month of course). I even use it in the soda machine at work. And be sure to sign up for all of the extras such as ‘dining for miles’, special airline promotions, and miles earning surveys. Fun to watch the miles add up.

  325. chrisw says:

    To help roll with the punches of limited availability for award tickets, keep in your mind a list of places you’d like to visit, and when those hard-to-find award seats to a place on your list pop up, book the trip and go. Picking a specific date and a specific destination and *then* looking for award tickets is a recipe for disappointment and frustration.

  326. Mileage cards are often the best bang for the credit card buck, and Amex often does have the better mileage offers than many other cards. I personally prefer to get cash back on my cards, though, and spend it as I choose. (Up to 4%).

    Can’t really come up with anything better for building miles than have already reported on. Choosing an alliance that services your local airport(s) to destinations that you tend to fly to, sticking with that alliance when possible, and picking the longer route if available that’ll still get you there on time.

  327. Allen says:

    Check your main airline’s foreign partner airlines for earning miles, not just alliance airlines.

    For example, one can fly direct to Taipei on EVA Airways and earn Continental One Pass miles, even though EVA is not in the star alliance. EVA is cheaper than United and United no longer flies direct.

  328. Lisa says:

    Add the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card to your wallet and earn 3x points on airfare and 2x points on gas and groceries. Plus, if you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, you can earn 15,000 bonus points. There are more than 140 partners with whom to redeem your points for a wide selection of travel, shopping and dining rewards.

  329. karenkay says:

    don’t ignore status in hotels. when i started, i collected united miles but still stayed at priceline hotels. after learning a bit more, i started spending a bit more money but also collecting starwood points. now, i might pay a bit more for my hotel stays overall, but instead of the room with the view of the parking lot i’m in a suite with free internet…and for vacations, my room is free! you don’t get that with priceline.

  330. amtrakusa says:

    when redeeming points, be patient, and know all your potential flights’ schedule, including your partner airlines.

  331. Starwood Preferred Guest points are powerful currency, especially since you can convert them 1:1 into most airline programs, allowing you some of the best flexibility for finding and redeeming awards, depending on which airline may have availability.

  332. Helen says:

    If your airline miles or hotel points are expiring, you can order something from a partner vendor to keep your account active (and earn points at the same time).

  333. Doug J says:

    Rack up points and miles in a hurry by going for multiple credit card bonuses; have spouse do same.

  334. Tina says:

    Watch out for SPG/Hyatt/Hilton/Marriott/Priority Club free night promos… burn those and save the points! Also, look for the best free night promotions: longer redemption period, less restrictions on hotel categories the free nights can be used for, less nights/stays needed per free night earned.

  335. Matt O'Hara says:

    Pay for all purchases with a mileage earning credit card.

  336. Patrick says:

    Work with a particular airline for the credit card and have them throw in as much as possible when you sign up-waive yearly fee, get 25-30,000 miles, upgrades etc.

  337. FT:pshuang says:

    At the same time that you want to focus your earning on specific programs, remember — you didn’t get married to your primary frequent flier program. Sometimes you will be better off just buying the best available value even if that won’t earn points in your primary program.

  338. chontz says:

    As amateurish as it sound, I go through my “travel checklist” before every trip that includes bringing a printout of all my FF and FH account numbers. Just in case I have to switch flights or hotels.

  339. ess says:

    subscribe to flyertalk threads to stay current on promos

  340. Most airline programs have dining partners. You can get up to 10 points per dollar spent at participating restaurants.

  341. Major Mike says:

    Make sure you understand the complimentary upgrade program when you reach elite status.

  342. I use Priority Club PointBreaks when a travel around the country for my photography. Many times my driving itinerary allows a lot of flexibility in where I spend the night. At 5,000 points per night my points go a lot further than they would using them for a standard stay. On a recent four week trip I used PointBreaks fifteen times.

  343. Jason R. says:

    Use a credit card that awards points for money spent on it. It is an easy way to collect points each month without flying.

  344. Michael K says:

    Find several (in our family, three) credit cards that are free or very low cost, and that have good points programs with elite (silver, platinum, etc) bonuses. Then split up your charges (for us, reaching $20K per year on each card does the trick to get elite status.

  345. Michael says:

    My tip is to use credit card offers as much as possible. I do that, earning sign-up bonuses, and occassionally retention bonuses. Some cards allow you to get the sign up bonus multiple times. I also transfer some AA miles I earn to Hilton to allow me hotel points also.

  346. Rob says:

    Never, ever purchase ANYTHING online without thoroughly researching if you can get miles for your purchase.

  347. Sharon Slomovich says:

    Want to feel fabulous and sit in First Class?

    Then use your points earning credit card and enjoy your upgrade!

  348. Maya says:

    Choose a card carrier that offers an online shopping mall ( i.e. bonuspointsmall, skymiles…). Stretch that extra buck for mileage at your convenience – allows you to continue to shop at your favorite stores, while earning double the points.

  349. Connie says:

    When dining out with a group of friends and the bill comes on one ticket they always choose to pay cash. I take all their cash and then pay the entire bill – along with my portion of course – on my credit card simply to get the miles.

    I’m disciplined enough to put the cash in my banking account and make a payment towards the credit card right away.

  350. Cem says:

    Earn some points and use them wisely 🙂

  351. Tiffany says:

    Plan in advance to maximize award redemptions. For example, even though AA essentially eliminated stopovers, they still allow stopovers in North American gateway cities for international departures. So, although my base airport is a gateway city, I’ve tacked on what is essentially a one-way from another trip as the “stopover.”

  352. Kelly says:

    If you have “world points” or any sort of airline reward points, use those for big trips. Use smaller trips you can pay for “out of pocket” on your credit card towards more reward points. Save. Fly in style.

  353. Adam says:

    When redeeming remember to use partner award travel options. Several times they will not be displayed online and the agent will not list them over the phone. Make sure you know the alliance and non alliance airline partners and try to create your own itinerary using a travel site. Once you have an itinerary call the airline and ask the agent for availability on those flights you’ve selected. Have several options in terms of airlines, dates, and flight times. For earning miles use your credit card for everything. I use my SPG Amex card for something as small as a 99cent purchase. The SPG Amex actually allows you to earn 1.25 miles per dollar as for every 20000 points transferred to an airline you received a 5,000 bonus.

  354. Ranny Levy says:

    Focus Focus Focus. Two programs, a cc that generates reward points, put your hotel points into your airline program. I never buy anything, including a house, unless I get points.

  355. Colette says:

    Don’t let your points expire! It’s a great idea to get and hoard as many miles as possible, but make sure to know the rules of your particular program as they can all go to waste if you don’t meet minimum activity requirements…

  356. Frederic Sautet says:

    You don’t need to be a customer of an airline to take advantage of their loyalty programme – think alliances. For example, I am one of BMI’s best customers despite having never flown on one of their flights. The same has been true of Air Canada in the past.

  357. Peter says:

    Know where you are going, research the award chart, get enough miles (a much easier job with Amex MR), finally be flexible and secure the award seat EARLY!

  358. Pei says:

    Use your miles to travel to exotic places where the tickets are extremely expensive, but you need to plan ahead. Well, sometimes you don’t have to, because not many people know those places 😀

    Anyway, this usually yields the best value of miles.

  359. Gary Heller says:

    Keep a spreadsheet of all your point activity. That way if the program makes a mistake- and it happens- you can get it corrected.

    In addition, it’s a positive motivator and helps you manage your points (to keep them from expiring for instance.)

  360. Joaquim67 says:

    Get yourself a mileage earning credit card!

    If you are going to spend money, then why not spend it and earn something back at the same time?

  361. Noam says:

    Be smart about what you use your points for. International tickets and international upgrades tend to be the best uses of points.

  362. Samantha says:

    Take advantage of low fares to boost up your mileage total. Quick weekend trips can rack up the miles if you pay attention to what you earn versus what the trip costs.

  363. Eugene says:

    Use em 🙂

  364. Diane says:

    I use my hotel CC religiously and get upset when I have to write a check! Always pay it off at the end of the month though!

  365. Amy Rubins says:

    Sign up for all the loyalty programs you can then keep track of this information, membership numbers, benefits, enrollment dates etc. Use this information every time you book travel or stays for frequent upgrades, perks and free stays.

  366. Leon says:

    Redeem your miles for premium class tickets to overseas, or Hawaii, and Alaska. These are among the best value of your miles. Always plan ahead, usually you can book your award travels 330 days in advance. Keep that information in mind whenever you are thinking a nice trip. Good luck to us all!

  367. Tim M. says:

    My top tip is to maximize your rewards is by combining flight miles, credit card spend, and hotel points – meaning if you are earning miles by flying in a certain program, go ahead and sign up for that program’s credit card. Additionally, sign up for any credit card program such as American Express membership rewards or the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, in which you can earn points in the program and potentially transfer the points into miles.

  368. Ryan K says:

    Step 1: Amass points, miles or upgrade certs in whatever way you can.
    Step 2: Dream up a trip and figure out which award program will let you realize that trip on the cheap.
    Step 3: Trade what you’ve accumulated in Step 1 for whatever program you’ve determined in Step 2.
    Step 4: Enjoy!

  369. Djlawman says:

    Make sure to consolidate your flying miles, credit card miles, and partner miles (hotels and cars) in one account. You get to the really big awards (like business class to Europe) much quicker.

  370. Johnny says:

    Take advantage of flexibility. Take a longer route to get more miles. Or stay at a hotel that is running a promo.

  371. Nischal says:

    The Best use of your miles are international Business/First awards, don’t waste your miles on anything less.

  372. Marco says:

    1 Consider using your airline rewards for upgrades to first class or business class.
    2 Read flyertalk and the blogs like this
    3 Plan ahead for better availability
    4 some good luck

  373. laurie says:

    Try to use some of the new one way awards, often these have more availability than the regular standard (25K) awards. I have found them to be available when I cannot a round trip.

  374. Jen G says:

    My best tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points is to save your points for flights. Especially with American Express Points and Airmiles points, the miles go way further as far as value goes. For a certain amount of points you could get some merchandise or a gift card worth maybe a few hundred dollars, or you could get a flight worth almost double. Also, NEVER use cash if you don’t have to. Put your credit card on file at the hotel and charge EVERYTHING to your room. If you have the cash on hand to pay for something, keep it in your pocket until the end of the month and use it to pay the bill without interest. Using cash is basically throwing points (or free rewards) out the window – don’t do it unless you have no other option.

  375. Sean says:

    Keep a positive attitude and the longview about reaching your destination. Actual airtime goes quickly when you are calm and content.

  376. Kai says:

    Burn them when you can. Points/miles will devalue over time.

  377. Justin P says:

    Concentrate on quickly gaining the highest elite status in one program, because you can parlay that into status at others through matching. Plus it makes the travel that much more comfortable

  378. Karlyn says:

    Don’t be afraid to check costs of adding additional legs (and miles) to your flight! I wound up paying a lot less by adding 2 more stops to my cross country trip, gaining me segments and EQM!

  379. Oliver says:

    Follow blogs with an RSS reader to efficiently keep up with promos and deals.

  380. Nirav says:

    Stick to one or two programs for each of air, car, hotel, etc and be completely loyal to those, for example, go with SPG + SPG Amex + stay only at SPG hotels and sign up for as many promotions as possible via milemaven/pointmaven

  381. thinthin says:

    doing necessary preparation is important and going to boardingarea.com is one of best choices.

  382. Barry says:

    Don’t let your miles expire. For $1.29, you can extend them buy buying a song through the airlines web shopping mall’s portal to Itunes.

  383. Demetrios says:

    Find a program and stick to it. Pay very close attention to the expiration dates on your rewards, especially the free car vouchers and such (like the 1 2 free promo by National, those things expire really fast.
    Especially when dealing with rental cars try and break into a higher tier as you’ll get better service and better cars usually.
    For what it’s worth I’ve found points don’t matter as much as the perks to me. I would much rather get upgraded on 20 domestic flights than get one free international flight.

  384. Matthew says:

    Credit miles to the BD program, especially if you fly more than 55K miles/year.

  385. AndyP says:

    Work your AmEx card hard and pay attention to the travel blogs for the deals that arise silently and evoporate like alcohol on the Tarmac in august.

  386. Lindsey says:

    Use a credit card that offers miles. Many cards offer miles for multiple airlines, so you are not limited to one and you accrue miles for everything you spend. I use my credit card for everything. It’s more convenient than cash, and it earns me travel ‘currency’.

  387. Chuo M says:

    Track your points, miles and your bank/credit accounts with Yodlee! Spend your miles smart by reading flyertalk and boardingarea blogs.

  388. Andy says:

    Concentrate on accumulating miles in one airline and only fly the alliance that airline belongs to.

  389. Mark says:

    Use your points for upgrades rather than free tickets.

  390. Lilia Lewis says:

    Do your homework! Know EVERYTHING about the loyalty rewards program you chose: one-time promotions, how to get bonus points, who are the partners, etc.
    Every time you make a reservation/pay for something (store, hotel, restaurant, purchase on-line, concert, trip to a museum, etc) remember to check if you can use your loyalty card. EVERY LITTLE BIT ADDS UP!!!

  391. Judy says:

    There are so many good tips, and here is the only one that hasn’t already been said and resaid:

    When you have a lousy experience with an airline, CONTACT the airline immediately; often you will receive double miles or at least courtesy miles. And if you don’t, you’re not being descriptive enough!!

    I’ve had great experiences with Delta’s customer service responding to some horrid flight experiences (when you fly 80,000 miles a year, you’re bound to have a few ugly ones!)

  392. Try to consolidate all that you can when earning miles & points. Fly the same airline, stay at the same hotels, rent from the same rental company.

    Having miles sprinkled everywhere doesn’t give you the ability to get some of the really great awards and it’s tougher to get to higher elite status levels!

  393. Thomas Acker says:

    Top 3

    ***Choose only one airline program to collect miles – I suggest the program of the airline that has the best choice of flights (convenice- and $-wise) from your home airport or one of its alliance-partners’ programs

    ***Get a corresponding credit card

    ***Stay well-informed by checking the program’s websites at least weekly

  394. Cheri says:

    Consolidate: one airline/alliance, one hotel chain, one points-earning card — and sign up for email alerts and twitter feeds to keep on top of special offers.

  395. J says:

    Sign up for AwardWallet.com to keep track of your mileage balances if you are a member of several programs (like me!). The free version is great, but for as little as $1 for 6 months, you can also keep track of expiration dates for your programs, so that you don’t lose your hard-earned miles & points due to inactivity.

  396. Bill says:

    Keep it simple! Choose one loyalty program that best suits your personal needs. They sometimes change so get updates, because what you don’t know about your loyalty program can hurt you.

  397. Matthew Sinclair says:

    Always know the promotions for your program and do your best to take advantage of them.

  398. Aman says:

    Get at least mid-status on the programs you earn the most on, to get the double bonus points. They add up quickly!

  399. taylor says:

    If you get a rep that says it cant be done, hang up and call again until you get a rep that will work with you and is knowledgeable. Try try try again.

  400. Marisa says:

    Do the math. Even if a domestic ticket seems expensive, it’s almost never worth it to burn miles. Save them for your international trips.

  401. jerry says:

    use on line retail purchases through an airline web site to earn miles. Just a single transaction may extend the life of your existing miles. Many programs will dump you if you have no activity.

  402. HeathrowGuy says:

    Take full advantage of the routing, connection, and stopover rules on award tickets. In many instances, it is possible to add in many short stays on a ticket (particular in hub cities) by scheduling long connections of 23:59 or less.

  403. Anne A says:

    My top tip for using mileage points is to plan well in advance and to fully understand the specific restrictions of the program.

  404. LAX says:

    Make the most out of your miles by doing International stopovers! If the routing takes you through a country anyways, make it part of your trip.

  405. ivk5 says:

    One tip that has served me well: be aware of opportunities to transfer miles/points from one program to another for free without devaluation.

    A good one is Amtrak Guest Rewards -> Continental OnePass. Limit of 50K per year – and even that might only be for Amtrak elite pax. Still, it’s a steal. For example, right now there’s a (possibly targeted?) offer for the co-branded Chase MC that yields 18K Amtrak points upon activation and another 18K with $2K spend. Easiest 36K Continental miles I’ve every heard of.

    Similarly know how much the miles/points are worth to you so you know when to earn and when to burn.

  406. IndyDavid says:

    As I’ve gotten older, my time has become more valuable and I’ve had more disposable income. Therefore, I recommend being a little more willing to spend money instead of sacrifice time to build mileage balances.

    On Continental, I have the Presidental Plus credit card, which gives a 25% redeemable miles bonus. I pay in advance for the Extra Mile bonus, which is another 50%. I have Platinum status, offering a 100% bonus. And I frequently purchase B fares, which are upgradeable at booking and earn 150% EQM, good for keeping status.

  407. Shedbasher says:

    Points are in the details, understand where the bonuses are and how to get them as cheaply as possible. Don’t spread yourself to thin between too many programs because it gets too crazy

    Then to spend them, plan as early as possible and do the research on miles required, could find a steal where you least expect it. (e.g. when nwa.com was still up during transition)

  408. Do not use points for banal purchases. Hoard points until you amass enough for a trip you will cherish for the rest of your life.

  409. Pete says:

    Stick with one airline carrier and see if you can get a credit card to earn miles from that carrier. Charge as much to the card as you can, and pay the bill off every month. You’ll get a few round trip airfares from that each year.

  410. Anne says:

    I use my miles credit card for everything! I get miles for all purchases and it keeps any of my miles from expiring! People lose too many miles from nonactivity.

  411. Pat Harris says:

    It’s amazing the number of people that do not take advantage of earning miles in their normal activity. I am a Delta Platinum but fly Alaska frequently. Although they are often not posted automatically to Delta, I make sure I keep my boarding passes and Eticket numbers. Monthly I fax those items in to Delta and usually am credited within the week with the missing miles.

  412. Sara says:

    Actively monitor your accounts to make sure that miles earned get posted, especially from online shopping sites. And if they don’t – request them!

  413. Lisa says:

    follow travel sites on Twitter for special offers and be sure to know loyalty programs partners

  414. Know what your programs’ expiration rules are and what it takes to keep your miles/points from expiring. Even if you don’t have enough miles in your account to take a flight, you may have an opportunity in the future to get enough for a ticket. Keeping miles alive in many programs can also be done cheaply. For example, buying a song on iTunes keeps United miles alive for another 18 months.

  415. Sharon D says:

    Book early and watch for expiration date, you dont want to lose them because you didnt keep up. Now lets go to Aussieland, yea!!!!

  416. Kay McLaughlin says:

    Many airline carriers allow for one-way award redemptions. If you have trouble finding round trip award availability at the lowest redemption level, do some one-way searches before ponying up the higher amount of miles

  417. Erik E says:

    My advice would be to “get loyal” with a favorite hotel chain/ airline/ rental car company – higher level loyal members, Starwood Platinums, Hyatt Diamonds, United 1ks, for example not only earn base points but bonus points for these member classifications, as well as other perks and upgrades (free) that rewards the loyal frequent traveler.

    Also, using a branded credit card to pay for these hotel rooms and plane tickets (United’s Visa, Starwood’s Amex, for example) have a way of being a point multiplier for increased earnings ad well.

  418. alexandria789 says:

    What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points? At Christmastime, do all your shopping online for FF miles! I’ve racked up lots of points this way and have traveled to Europe and California using my FF miles.

  419. Mbelle says:

    concentrate your accumulations in oen or two programs, and keep abreast of the rules for earning, redeeming and expirations

  420. Chris Sanger says:

    Sure, it makes sense to consolidate, fly one airline all the time, get a rewards credit card, frequent fly and frequent buy… But the one piece of advice that first needs to be observed before you can put all your eggs in one basket and go for the gold (or platinum or diamond or whatever). Get a lounge membership so that you can drown away your IRROP, WX, general stupidity of the airline of your choice, sorrows with a nice, cold, strong beverage.

  421. jbos says:

    Use the Starwood AMEX to accumulate points, then transfer to your favorite airline program with a 25% bonus for 20,000 point exchanges. Alternatively keep Starwood Amex points in reserve so you can transfer smaller amounts to “top off” airline accounts to reach the award you need.

  422. RayW says:

    Earning: use RSS to keep up with multiple blogs including this one.

    Using: If you are in Starwood’s program, their “Nights and Flights” is universally recognized as a high value redemption.

  423. MS says:

    earn/consolidate to one frequent flyer program of an alliance. Always check the ‘Fare basis code’. Starwood Preferred Guest card is best credit card for earning miles, gives 5k bonus for redeeming 20k miles to 30 different FFP program.

  424. Marcia says:

    I always make sure the guys ask suppliers if they use American Express. If they do, use the card. Then I cancelled all gas cards and said use only the American Express card. I generally stay away from the gifts in membership rewards and wait until Delta or Continental offer “bonus” airmiles when transferring membership reward points to a Continental or Delta FF account. The best thing to do is to use your MR points for air travel. Either a ticket for your spouse (YOU buy a ticket to get the FF points!)or use the miles to upgrade.

  425. Sharma says:

    My top tip:

    Never let a mile go waste: Never pay cash when you can charge to a mile earning card, never let any miles expire, never miss a mileage promotion and never use miles for free flights for yourself.

  426. ontherun says:

    Never leave the shower running to unwrinkle clothes with the door closed and fall asleep for 5+ hours.

    The wallpaper (your credit card and the hotel) will thank you!

  427. Zheng says:

    Air miles and some hotel points expire. When you sign up to earn these miles, ask the related parties how long you have to accrue the points, how long they are valid and if there are policies on extending earned miles or awards. Be careful!

  428. Nick says:

    Consolidate to one or two rewards programs, enter all promotions, and use points as they accumulate so much as is reasonable to counter any fears of inflationary pressures the points may face.

  429. Elizabeth says:

    Use miles/points to get a membership to a premium lounge (e.g. red carpet club) — makes traveling so much more pleasurable! Especially for those traveling a lot for business – sometimes the premium lounge is much nicer (and more generous with drinks) than your hotel.

  430. carole1 says:

    i look for new routes or for hotels, new hotel. you can sometimes get the best deals and the hotel rooms and staff really go out of their way.

  431. Victor Warren says:

    I think the biggest tip that I can share for earning and using points is to always consult with your like minded friends. I have made some great friends through Flyer Talk. And it’s so true what they say that a few heads are better than one. There are times when I would have missed out on great earning and burning opportunities, but after getting another opinion I was able to look at things differently and really get the most bang for my points.

  432. Elisse says:

    If you find you are getting “spun” by the hotels and airlines when you try to use your points/miles, write directly (and nicely) to the CEO of the company (registered mail), with all the facts and details, enclosing all relevant documents. We had hundreds of thousands of points and miles but couldn’t use them for one reason or another for years… UNTIL I did that. We were contacted Immediately and got to have the honeymoon of our DREAMS, and the hotels and airlines treated us like GOLD! I have used this technique effectively with CEOS from several major corporations to resolve a variety of issues. As my dad said “You don’t ask, you don’t get”! But ask Nice!

  433. Istvan says:

    If you only travel a moderate amount, make every hotel stay one night and then switch hotels for the next night. This is the qucikest way to elite levels at the hotel chains. The hotels always require less stays than nights to reach elite levels, so by switching hotels nightly, you can earn elite status with just 2-3 stays per month. Once you have status, you’ll start earning additional bonus points and upgrades.

  434. Buddy says:

    The best advice I ever received is to pick one carrier/alliance and one hotel chain and stick with it. It’s much better to be the top of one program than the middle of many. You want all of the points you achieve to get you the most you possibly can, not spread out across different alliances or chains.

  435. Jonathan says:

    Read Flyertalk and blogs like this for the latest advice on mileage earning and burning opportunities.

  436. Jim says:

    I keep track of all my accounts at http://www.awardwallet.com so that I can use all the time it saves me researching new deals!

  437. Andrew says:

    Stick with one alliance to maximize your mileage earning abilities; make sure you check mileage earning possibilities on partners (you never know which airlines/hotels/rental car companies/credit cards/etc. partner with one another!). Save those miles for your dream first-class trip anywhere! Luxurious air travel is the best way to get the most out of your miles. 😀

    Thanks!

  438. Marcia MacDonald says:

    Pick an alliance, use it. Pay for everything with your miles card. Use any opportunity for double and triple miles offers. Use up the miles before the airline goes out of business.

  439. Arch says:

    Focus on a few – preferably one loyalty programs – for flights and hotels and try to maximize the amount of points you can gain for these programs. Like George Clooney says in “Up in the air” – never spend a dime without trying to gain points for it. Taking advantage of the excellent resources on the web – like boarding area blogs that will help you find all the ways to earn those points. Then use ’em quickly and enjoy!

  440. Nancy says:

    I occasionally stay at a hotel outside my “preferred” program. Knowing I’ll never accrue enough points for a reward, I try to take miles in an airline program instead.

  441. Wayne says:

    sign up for every program. I sharply regret the stays and flights I made before enrolling thinking a one night stay here and there it was not worth it. Always ask for a status match

  442. Wilson says:

    I use my rewards card to pay for almost everything, and then have my wife book trips. It just works better that way.

  443. Shawn says:

    Obtain the credit card for your favorite airline. If you’re going to be spending money anyway you may as well get something for it. Also the program I use you can use mile to upgrade to first class on international flights. For example on a discount economy ticket from New York to Tokyo, which can run about $900 roundtrip, you can upgrade to first class for 60,000 miles and $1000 roundtrip. That same first class ticket would cost over $11000 and because you still earn miles for the flight that means it only costs you 45000 miles to save $9000.

  444. Halothane says:

    Use the miles. Don’t hang onto them!

  445. boxo says:

    Read Boarding Area blogs – they boil down the fluff into the nitty gritty. Join Flyertalk and forge invaluable friendships with people who can help cover all the bases. They got my back!

  446. Jewel says:

    I tell my husband to buy lots of stuff on our rewards card and then I use the rewards for trips!

  447. Anne says:

    Don’t let your accumulated miles take on too much OR too little importance; use them as a tool that fits your personal circumstances. If you don’t often travel internationally, resist the urge to hoard miles for international vacations. If you need a quick, last-minute flight to visit an ailing relative or get to a job interview, use your miles! Put your miles to work for the things that matter to you.

  448. AS says:

    My Tip:
    Finding award availability on the internet is not always easy – each airline website has its own quirks. Some don’t show partner award availability, some have a very poor search feature, and some don’t make it easy to look at multiple days at a time. I like ANA.co.jp for most Star Alliance availability, BA.com for OneWorld, and you have to work a combination of Airfrance.com and Delta.com to find SkyTeam awards. Each has its pluses and minuses. Sometimes you have to search segment by segment and piece together the whole trip. It can be frustrating, but assembling this information will be essential to finding the award you want.

    Once you have the data – and a few alternatives – pick up the phone and call an agent. You will pay a few extra dollars, but if you are looking for Business Class or First Class it will be well worth it. And, try not to overpay for awards: often times the easy way to find a seat is to pay extra miles for the “Flexible” awards but with patience and the right search tools you can usually do much better as long as you are flexible.

  449. Kim says:

    Don’t ignore the hotel side of award trips. A one-week vacation will set you back just as much in hotels as airfare, so maximize your hotel stays. I like the Starwood American Express card because of the flexibility of the points, good award availability and options (eg. cash+points, redeem 4 nights and get 1 free), and the nice properties. And you can transfer the points to airlines if you want.

    Kim

  450. Brendan says:

    To garner miles, put every possible necessary charge on a credit card and sign up for every offer that provides increased miles, such as double for groceries or drugstore purchases. Don’t be afraid to be the person who quarterback’s the end of group dinners by putting them on your card and receiving cash from others.

  451. Jonell says:

    Leave good instructions for your heirs on how to access your miles in all your accounts. You don’t want them to go to waste– rather, you want your kids to be able to use them should you die unexpectedly. Once the airline knows you’re gone, they will probably lock your miles.

  452. Simon says:

    Try and sketch out your years travel at the start of the year. This lets you calculate your flight miles goal and predict when you’ll reach it. You can then estimate when you’re likely to reach your goal and look into other methods (hotels, car rentals etc) to speed things along.

  453. I think the best way to accumulate and use points is to plan ahead. Know when you want to use them (such as a special trip), then make your reservations as early as you possibly can. Utilize all possible resources to earn points, such as mileage plan shopping, dining, etc.

  454. noel says:

    In addition to always flying the same airline, I use the related credit card and shop through the related online stores.

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