This will be my first time ever using "travel hacks" to travel. I'm still a little confused and feel as if im leaving out some valuable tricks and tips. I have a barclay credit card that I got my sign up bonus of 40,000 points (roughly $400). Used the points to take off a chunk of my round trip tickets from Boston to Osaka (Japan). I found a great deal (I believe) for $690.30 round trip on United and with the 40,000 points ill be spending just under $300 for my round trip. I just signed up for United frequent flyer program and hope that I will still be able to use this flight for miles. Do I have to purchase the ticket after I signed up to get the miles? Any credit cards that could help me get upgraded seats or extra perks during my layover? Or can I purchase united points to get an upgrade on already purchased seats? Any other programs I should sign up for to benefit from during my trip? Ive only flown a few times dont know any tricks for lounges or any other air port benefits. I will have a couple hour layovers if anyone has some good tips or hacks to get the best points and miles. Thanks happy travels!