Best way to earn miles with a spouse?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by jasonmh26, Apr 21, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    Hi All,

    I am a newbie with a miles question; hopefully I am posting this in the right place. I am just getting started with the miles/points programs. I recently got an SPG AmEx and at CitiAA card.
    My wife and I usually (not always) travel together. I am trying to build up some awards that I can use for a really big trip for her 50th birthday.
    So now I have 2 credit cards in my name only. Is it a good idea to also get a set of cards in her name, and use the same FF member # that I already have? For example, if she also gets a CitiAA card in her own name under a separate account, can she put my AAdvantage number so that the points funnel to one account? Or is it better to treat them separately, and build up points under 2 different AA member #s?
    Trying to figure out how to maximize the benefits/awards.

    Thanks for your help,
    Jason
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Hi Jason,

    welcome to MilePoint.

    The name on the credit card account generally needs to match the name on the loyalty program account. I haven't personally tried it, but I wouldn't expect you to be able to have your wife's credit card feed into your AA or SPG accounts.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY YOUR WIFE NEEDS CREDIT CARDS IN HER OWN NAME. What if something were to happen to you? What if she had an emergency when you're not around? What if you get divorced? Welcome to the nineteenth century.
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Also, for SPG, it doesn't really matter if you have one account or two as you can easily (and fee-free) move points between your and your wife's account as long as they have the same mailing address.
     
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  5. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    Of course my wife already has multiple credit cards in her own name, they are just not miles/travel award cards. I'm sure she'll appreciate the concern :)
     
  6. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    That is very cool, thanks for the info.
     
  7. Steven Schwartz
    Original Member

    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    And here, looking at the title, I assumed you wanted to maximize your points when you purchase a mail-order bride!

    Want to have some real fun here? Tell us how much time you have until her big 50 and where you would like to take her. MPers will jump on this one and you will probably be overwhelmed with help/advice.
     
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  8. dandc3

    dandc3 Silver Member

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    When I got my bride from another I used points to go see her. Now we are married, but still hooked on points!
     
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  9. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    Say what -- Mrs DTWBOB and I have sets of credit cards where we both have cards on the same credit card account and the points go to one account. In one case, they go to one of her frequent flyer numbers, in another case they go to mine... Similiarly, In one case the card goes against her credit score, in another mine.

    Bob H
     
  10. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    In your instance one of you is the primary card holder and thus the points go to that person's account and the other person is the AU.

    I believe HaveMilesWillTravel's comment referred to the primary card holder as Jason was hoping he could have his wife open cards in her name as the primary card holder but have the miles post to his account.
     
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  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Exactly. The OP said:

    "For example, if she also gets a CitiAA card in her own name under a separate account, can she put my AAdvantage number so that the points funnel to one account?"

    (bold in mine)
     
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  12. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    It will be 2 years before she turns 50, and I am trying to plan a surprise trip to Paris. I am starting now because I figured it would take a long time to build up enough points.
    The reason I was trying to figure out how to get the points into "my" account was because I thought it would be easier for me to make the trip a surprise.
    My question was maybe more specific than it should have been, but looking at the bigger picture what I really wanted to know is:
    "How can my wife and I work together to maximize the number of travel points/awards we can accumulate?"

    Here is where we are starting from:
    She has several accounts, but none of them have any travel benefits. I have a CapOne Venture Card that I have had for a little less than a year. In the last 2 weeks I got an SPG AmEx and a CitiAA card. We both have very good credit scores. We have some big purchases coming up, so we should have no problem meeting the minimum spending required on most cards. We do love to travel, and have several upcoming trips planned. My hope is to pay the full price (no awards) for our upcoming trips, but be smart about what cards we put the trips on so we can get enough points to fund the birthday trip 2 years from now. In the next year we have a trip planned to the British Virgin Islands on AA (this is a group trip, so really no control over the flights/airline) and Palau (still planning and open to airline suggestions).
    We LOVE to travel, and thought we were doing pretty good squeezing in one free night at a hotel somewhere :) But I am in awe (and jealous) of what I am reading on this site.
    Thanks so much for any and all help,
    Jason
     
  13. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I would highly recommend separate accounts as you can each earn bonus miles to begin with. If you read some of the many bloggers online, you will find out about churning credit cards and building up millions of miles over time. Good Luck with your efforts.
     
  14. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    What's your home airport Jason?

    Any chance you could spend $30,000 on one card between now and December 31st?

    Biggest issue I see is that most of the good credit cards are with Chase and they can be picky about approving multiple cards to the same person. But you were smart to start two years ahead. Can't even get award flights until about 11 months out so we have plenty of time to devise a strategy. I already have ideas spinning but need answers to those two questions.

    We have been to Paris many times - last time was December. We went to Spain five years ago on Air France (when you could still get AF First - WOW). Sat down with my wife on our anniversary and asked her to name some places she wanted to plan to go and after naming a location or two, she said, "you know me - I could go back to Paris every year!"

    Once the plans are set, plenty of ideas to make your stay more special. Gosh, I wish I was back there right now!
     
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  15. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    It is ABQ, wish I was closer to a major hub. I do get a few free tickets on Southwest each year from my work that I can use to get to dallas, la, etc.
     
  16. Steven Schwartz
    Original Member

    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    And the $30,000?
     
  17. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    I probably could, but it would be close. I would still need to spend $6000 on the 2 cards I have now (1000 for CitiAA, and 5000 for SPG), plus the $30,000. If I got creative and put in everything we spend for the rest of the year I believe I could.

    Thanks,
    Jason
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Just to confirm -- you are looking to buy premium class (business/first class) travel with your to-be-earned miles, right?

    A word of warning: expect that your wife will after that trip never be interested in traveling in economy again ;)
     
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  19. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    Yes, I was hoping to do business class. I want it to be something great for her 50th.
    And yes, every time we slightly increase anything it becomes the "new norm" for her. We stayed at a Ritz-Carlton once 2 years ago and it is all she talks about.
     
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  20. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Okay - here goes.

    Flights:

    As you indicated, I trust you can get to Dallas. Get the British Airways Visa ASAP. Comes with 50,000 free miles, another 25,000 if you spend $10,000 and an additional 25,000 if you spend $20,000. But if you can spend $30,000, they will give you a Companion Pass that will give you two redemptions for the price of one. You would need approximately 118,000 miles for TWP Business Class tickets - another 50,000 or so for First. The Visa gives you 1.25 miles per dollar so getting the card and hitting the $30,000 mark will give you 137,500 BA Avios miles. The good news is that BA has good availability. The bad news is that they charge among the highest fees. If you are willing to pay about $1,000 for each ticket, you will end up with two Business Class seats for a bit more than the cost of two Coach seats and most of the miles will be free. Those tickets would usually be worth a total of $7,000.

    Let's say you can't hit the spend. I'll assume that if you feel you can come close, you can certainly do the $20,000 spend. So you would get 100,000 miles. Your wife should then apply and you would get another 50,000 miles - and BA allows family accounts so it is all one big pot. that's enough for two tickets in Premium Economy. If you're not sure what that means, go to the BA website and it is explained. Basically, better than coach, more legroom but really just a seat. If you wait a few months after you get your BA cards and apply for the Chase Sapphire, you can get 40-50,000 points which can be transferred to BA. If you have any AMEX Membership Rewards points now, you can transfer until May 31 and get a 50% bonus. Alternatively, you can also get the Citi Thank You Premier card that will give you 50,000 points - the rumor is that by the end of this month, they will become transferable to BA. With your good credit, some combination of these should work.

    Hotels:

    Okay - we got you there. My favorite hotel in Paris (heck, the world tho I haven't seen all of it) is the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. Sometime after you have all the flights handled, you and your wife should apply for the Chase Hyatt Visa. Assuming things don't change, the promotion is two free nights at any Hyatt in the world - so you would have four nights between the two of you. If you also got the Chase Sapphire (and your wife did the same) those bonus points can be transferred to Hyatt and each additional night at the Park Hyatt would cost 22,000 points. Of course, you could also pay for a couple of additional nights. If you choose to do that, make sure you work with an agent who can get breakfast included - AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts or Virtuoso are best known. I've used them both and it's a good deal, since breakfast goes for 48 Euro per person! But the hotel is pretty costly per night.

    I'll let others chip in about different chains. I would forget Marriott - too many points per night and bonus just doesn't hack it for me. To me, right now, Hyatt is the best bang for the buck unless you are lucky enough to be going when Starwood has a Cash and Points option but that is hard to plan for.

    Good luck and feel free to ask away.
     
  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    All excellent points. One thing to note here: the free nights via the Hyatt VISA are valid for one year, so don't apply now if you want to use them in Paris in two years.
     
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  22. jasonmh26

    jasonmh26 Silver Member

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    Wow, thanks for your help Steven, that is great.
    Couple of questions if you don't mind:
    - What does TWP stand for?
    - I am assuming that BA is a better airline to fly overseas than AA, but are the BA points transferable to AA and vice-versa? So if I have 30-40k miles on AA, can I transfer them to may BA account?

    Thanks again,
    Jason
     
  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    You can't transfer miles between AA and BA (at least not without paying an arm and a leg to someone like points.com). But you can use AA miles to book awards on BA and vice versa, since both are partners in the Oneworld Alliance.

    As for which one is the better airline... I haven't flown either one in business class. Personally I'd probably consider the fees that they charge, which I suspect will differ quite a bit (BA being more expensive).
     
  24. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    TWP is a mis-spelling of the word TWO!

    The reason I chose BA is that they are the only one that has the two-for-one certificate and it would be hard to accumulate enough miles in another program in so short a time. That said, you can each apply for AA cards and get 50,000 miles each, which with your stash would be 130,000 to 140,000 - tho you would still need another 60-70,000 to get two Business Class tickets. The previous poster is correct, however; you can't transfer from one program to another. But Avios miles can be used for booking on either BA or their partner AA - when the time comes, you make your choice based on availability, the type of seats they have, etc.

    We're all different, have different tastes and different means. I'm not thrilled about the BA fees, and others simply think it's a rip-off and refuse to pay them. But to me, it means I can fly in the front of the plane for what I would pay to fly in the back. I can live with it. If you can also, you're problems would pretty much be solved.

    And what are the alternatives? How can you "quickly" amass the 200,000 miles you would need in any Star Alliance partner? US Air periodically offers deals where you can get a 100% bonus on the purchase of miles. The maximum purchase is 50,000 miles which would lead to the required 100,000 each. The cost would be about $1750 for each for each of you - more than the BA fees, assuming you can hit the $30,000 spend.

    If you think it makes sense, the next question might be how to hit that threshold. That's another column!
     
  25. sellthesedownfalls

    sellthesedownfalls Silver Member

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    You could apply for the other 100k BA offer (50k now, 50k at one year) or you can each get 50k x 2 with the two-browser trick with the AA Citibank cards. These are described elsewhere on milepoint and on blogs - if you need links I can dig them up later.
     

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