Frequent Flyers for Dummies?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by azarethroy, Feb 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Hi team,

    A friend recommended this to me. Is there a document for complete noobs like me who do not understand frequent flyer points? My problem is I only fly a few times a year and don't seem to accrue points very fast.

    Or is this site aimed at the experts? :)
     
  2. Westsox
    Original Member

    Westsox Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,561
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Status Points:
    1,970
    I think one of the best sources of information for beginners is www.frugaltravelguy.com . If you will go back to the beginning of Rick's archives and do some reading you can get a good overview. His wife's daughter recently started a weekly post on his site for Rookie Travelers. He also has a book that is a great deal for $8.97 from Amazon.

    FYI, I get nothing for promoting his site or book. I have just found them to be invaluable resources.
     
  3. mowogo
    Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,078
    Likes Received:
    12,942
    Status Points:
    12,520
    Although you only travel a few times a year, there are ways you can work the system to your benefit. The most success is achieved in maximizing what you can get based on your existing travel patterns
     
    cockpitvisit likes this.
  4. Well technically, I travel all year :) A work on a cruise ship and in between I travel some more. Thing is, I can't get my head around air miles, so I try to find low-cost flights instead.
     
  5. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Definitely not. This site is still new, content is being built. The plan seems to be to have a wiki in each forum where all the basic info is presented in an accessible fashion, but that will take some time to assemble.

    In the mean time, please feel comfortable asking questions. Even those here who are experts in one program are newbies in another program. For example, I know the DL program pretty well, but I don't know a thing about hotel and rental car programs.

    Looks like you know about cruises and couchsurfing, so perhaps you can be an expert who we look to in those areas. (very few people here know about couchsurfing- perhaps you could write a general explanation and post it in whatever seems to be the appropriate forum)
     
  6. mowogo
    Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,078
    Likes Received:
    12,942
    Status Points:
    12,520
    For the most part people gain their experience in their chosen program for their travel patterns. I have some familiarity with DL because I used to fly them, and UA because I fly them now, but I'm completely clueless on LH, since my travel is just on the US.
     
    cockpitvisit likes this.
  7. Tinkerer
    Original Member

    Tinkerer Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Likes Received:
    5,080
    Status Points:
    4,070
    Welcome!

    This site is not even a week old so we're just building a knowledge base. You can help us all do that by asking questions (really! that way they'll get answered and will be around for those who follow your footsteps). Would be great if you have time to also share what it's like to work on a cruise ship ... the other side's perspective is very valued around here.

    We all started somewhere and have learned about various aspects of traveling through our own experiences and reading about others'. And, when are travel habits change we're back to basics so you're in good company.

    Once again, welcome! Glad you're here :)
     
    BondAir007 and Freddie Listo like this.
  8. UADomer08
    Original Member

    UADomer08 Silver Member

    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    95
    Status Points:
    370
    The value of points and the importance of programs has been debated for a long time. I personally find it to be a wonderful hobby and very beneficial. With that said, I have heard from long time travelers that believe the whole FF system is a bit unnecessary and believe in minimizing overall cost and ignoring any FF benefits. Ultimately it helps to determine:
    1. What you are hoping to get out of FF points - Status, free flights/nights, discounts; all of these are available and some are more valuable than others (personally I'm a huge status junkie). Are you hoping to stay in exotic places, sleep in the most luxurious locations, or simply save the most money on your regular travels and get a bit of a binnie on the side? Each of these options has a world of techniques and information available but each is very different and requires different patterns.
    2. How much time are you willing to spend learning the system - Due to the breadth of the travel industry and the amazing number of programs and earning opportunities, there are very few magic bullets that can produce huge rewards with little knowledge or effort (although some truly do exist). The more time you spend learning about the travel industry and the different programs, the more you stand to gain. A word of caution though, you can quickly descend from interested to obsessed (I suppose though that obsession is where the fun begins)
    My best advice is to start small. Dip you toe into pool and set a goal for what you would like to accomplish. Read some of the blogs (I love Frugal Travel Guy and View from the Wing) and get a feel for the varieties of earning options and loyalty programs available. Most importantly, don't feel embarrassed to ask questions and seek out advice on communities like MP. Many of us enjoy this world for the pure fun of playing the system. Sharing experiences and watching others build a passion is just part of the package. Once you get rolling just remember to have fun. Too many people get lost in the minutia of this game and stop enjoying it. Good luck and best wishes!
     
  9. DoubleJ
    Original Member

    DoubleJ Gold Member

    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    2,353
    Status Points:
    1,145
    I also recommend Frugal Travel Guy and View from the Wing as two good sources of information. Each has their own approach/style. There are a lot of good blogs out there, and two others I also read daily and recommend are One Mile at a Time and The Points Guy.
     
  10. IMGone
    Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    Messages:
    560
    Likes Received:
    327
    Status Points:
    575
    Randy has a book which might help -- I copied the information below from the Frequent Flyer Services website (which will need to be updated sometime soon to reflect MP)
     
  11. kiwi
    Original Member

    kiwi Gold Member

    Messages:
    16,851
    Likes Received:
    27,973
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Welcome to Milepoint azarethroy [​IMG]

    Not at all. As others have posted above content building has only just begun. You can contribute by asking questions you'd like answered. People will be more than happy to help, and we have so many frequent flyer experts here who are friendly and willing to help no question will go unanswered for very long.
     
  12. ifly153
    Original Member

    ifly153 Gold Member

    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    2,463
    Status Points:
    1,125
    Welcome to MilePoint azarethroy! One of the things I had no idea several years ago was the fact that elites get a miles bonus every time they fly. United Premiers (25K flying) get 25% bonus and United Premier Executives (50K flying) or higher get 100% bonus - effectively double miles every time they fly.

    Before, I just kept accruing miles from every airline, not earning elite status on any and not really being able to spend any of the miles effectively. Once I started sticking with United and earned status, I started understanding how easy it was to get miles every time you fly.

    Flying by far, is the easiest way to get miles.
     
  13. Westsox
    Original Member

    Westsox Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,561
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Status Points:
    1,970
    Elite Status with Hotel Programs works in the same fashion. The higher the status the larger the bonuses.

    Consider a co-branded credit card with the airline you fly and the hotels you frequent as an additional way to earn miles & points. Most credit cards also come with additional bonus points.
     
  14. Punki
    Original Member

    Punki Silver Member

    Messages:
    755
    Likes Received:
    1,196
    Status Points:
    825
    Wow, azarethroy, what do you do on a cruise ship? For which line do you work?

    We are serious cruise fanatics and I am fascinated by ships and the whole cruise world.
     
  15. Nicole Blaess-Smith
    Original Member

    Nicole Blaess-Smith Silver Member

    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    491
    Status Points:
    425
    I too am a newbie to travel hacking and I read both of these blogs and find them a great source of information (though rather American aimed).

    Even just wandering around the forums helps you get a good idea of what you can do to earn more miles. It was as clear as mud to begin with, but I'm learning a bit more each day about how to earn points for flights, hotels and car rentals!

    I'm also participating in the Travel Hacking Cartel (this is an affiliate link) which currently has a 2-week trial for US$1. It seems to be a bit more 'newbie' friendly and offers lots of guides, Q&A sections, and videos about different travel hacking techniques. As well as a 'Deal' page as soon as you log-in.

    Good luck!
     
    piqaro, Gargoyle and G_G like this.
  16. Jenny & Curt
    Original Member

    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Status Points:
    1,270
    Low-cost flights does not necessarily mean "low-cost carriers," and there you can maybe begin to make a difference in your ability to accrue some mileage. Depending upon the markets in which you fly, older, "legacy" carriers may sometimes offer nearly as good a deal as the discount carriers. When you factor in the fact that many older carriers are part of Alliances which allow you to earn miles on several carriers, and, perhaps, the higher weight allowance for baggage; combine that with the fact that they usually fly into airports near the actual town you want to go to, or one you can get a train from, and you may be better off analyzing your travel patterns and choosing one carrier or Alliance to stick with.
     
  17. IMGone
    Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    Messages:
    560
    Likes Received:
    327
    Status Points:
    575
    I'm struggling with the term "hacking" which has a very negative connotation IMO ... I'm also not familiar with the cartel link you provided, which I didn't click on. Are you looking for a something for nothing angle (or almost nothing) or is just the term you use for M&P collection ?
     
  18. Nicole Blaess-Smith
    Original Member

    Nicole Blaess-Smith Silver Member

    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    491
    Status Points:
    425
    What is M&P?

    The Travel Hacking Cartel is an idea developed by Chris Gu-I'm-not-even-going-to-attempt-to-spell-his-last-name-correctly-because-I'll-fail who is author of the Unconventional Guides series. It's more of a way for people who don't have the knowledge or time to spend trawling different forums like this to find great point earning deals. Chris also claims that people from around the world will earn you at least a guaranteed 100,000 points each year (if you spend about 30mins on the site per month) WITHOUT signing up for credit cards - this is the point that interests me because a_ I'm an Australian (and our FFP are, for the want of a better word, batman) and b_ I'm interested to see if 100,000 is truly achievable without flying a lot and c_ if 100,000 is truly achieveable without the use of credit cards (I'm a student and don't want a credit card to weigh me down in debt I can't pay).
    If you click on the link all that happens is you got to the site to read more and can sign-up. Its my 'affiliate' link because if you do sign on after the 14-days then I get a referral bonus of 500 FFP. So don't worry, it won't bite =P

    I agree with you that 'hacking' has a negative connotation but in essence I see how that is what we are doing to gain elite status' when travelling (though its a very debatable point... some people do fly every mile and spend their dollars on collecting points and I applaude them but at my age I can't do that just yet).
     
    BondAir007 and Gargoyle like this.
  19. MikeMpls
    Original Member

    MikeMpls Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,199
    Likes Received:
    3,557
    Status Points:
    1,970
    The way the industry's been going lately, you might be ahead of the curve.

    More seriously, what recommendations we would make would depend on where you fly & how often.
     
    Exiled in Express likes this.
  20. BondAir007
    Original Member

    BondAir007 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,221
    Likes Received:
    4,998
    Status Points:
    2,425
    Hmmm after reading this thread. There could be a Likes for dummies book/wiki.
     
    Juttalina likes this.
  21. Randy Petersen
    Original Member

    Randy Petersen Founder

    Messages:
    2,731
    Likes Received:
    15,136
    Status Points:
    10,520
    Actually "hacking" is a new word that has sprung up to also describe mileage runs so it likely does not have the same connotation as in the past. In fact, over the past 6 months i've had calls from various reporters using that term so when the media begins to use it, you know it is approaching mainstream. As for the "Cartel", I know Chris who writes it and don't be afraid to go look around. He doesn't bite!
     
    Juttalina, jackal and kiwi like this.
  22. Funtodoimpossible
    Original Member

    Funtodoimpossible Gold Member

    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Status Points:
    1,870
    Welcome to MP. Based on Randy's previous ventures this is a site aimed at everyone.

    As people ask questions and they are answered the site's knowledge base will grow. Even now there are a lot of people on here that can tell you a lot about mile programs, how to maximum miles, information on specific destinations, how to make the most out of a vacation, where they think the best seat is on a specific carrier's plane or even just play a rousing game of Mornington Crescent in the off topic area, but for some of it the questions need to be asked so they have a chance to share their knowledge.
     
    Gargoyle and lin821 like this.
  23. AmericanGirl
    Original Member

    AmericanGirl Silver Member

    Messages:
    860
    Likes Received:
    1,862
    Status Points:
    910
    I found it pretty easy to figure out the flyer miles when I found the "other site" and I think the same will happen here for newbies. Depending on where you fly from and if one carrier in particular is available in that area, it is easy to gather miles using the same carrier. I stated in another post somewhere that my previous employer was only going for the cheapest flights and had miles all over the place. I managed in one year to consolidate all his travel on one carrier and earned him status while still maintaining the budget.
     
    Gargoyle likes this.

  24. Ah, you're probably thinking Cracker instead of Hacker. The origin of Hacker actually stems from 1950-60's MIT model train builders. At the most fundamental level a Hacker is someone who creates/leverages something and a Cracker destroys/steals.
     
    AtomicGardener and Gargoyle like this.
  25. BTW, once you figure out how to accumulate all those miles and points you're going to need a site to track them with, for that I recommend AwardWallet (my referral link). It's free, and the 'AwardWallet Plus' version is only about $1 a month. It's like Mint but for your Mile/Point programs!
     
    Exiled in Express and Gargoyle like this.

Share This Page