How best to use my scattered points portfolio? (and hello!)

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by cjstott, Jan 11, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. cjstott

    cjstott Active Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    75
    Hello everyone.

    First time poster - coming here as it seems less intimidating that FlyerTalk and lots of cool people in here. Hoping that the Newbie thread is a good place to put this question.

    While I've been collecting points for a while now I'm only just starting to get serious about spending. My primary motivation to collect points is to travel more as it is my passion - but a close second is the fact that it is my wife's 30th this year and I want the best experience possible for that. The way I see it is that the points can enhance our experience (fly higher class) rather than save money (free flights) if that makes sense?

    Anyway - I'm looking for help deciding how best to use the points I have accumulated. Any help received I will be eternally grateful - I'm finding this business complicated (I've done a lot of reading but I'm struggling to piece together the best way to use my mixed bag of points)

    Yes this is a long post, but I wanted to give as much info as possible. I hope that the way I've set the post out explains my motivations clearly.

    While I don't have lots of points by many people's standards - I have over 100k now, albeit scattered among various programmes.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer - I'm asking a lot here!

    Pura vida,

    Chris

    My Main Question therefore is...How can I best utilise my mixed bag of points to get the best possible experiences for my target trips?
    • Target Trips 2013
      • New York from Manchester, UK - Sept 2013 - must be DIRECT
        • For my wife's 30th birthday.
        • She wants to fly direct, so looks like AA is the best option here (i'm not flying US again).
        • Although she wants a boutique hotel in Soho, an SPG property (we've stayed at the Westin Time Square previously) could be an option here.
      • Fly to Cuba from Manchester, UK - May 2013
        • Package holidays come out better prices (including Virgin) however we want more nights in Havana than these offers so we are creating our own package. We can't fly direct so we have a number of options here depending what terminal we go through. I'd like to go premium economy for this.
    • Points held as of end Dec 2012
      • Flyer
        • US Airways 11,220 (expiring next week - should I renew?)
        • Qantas 41,274
        • Virgin 34,208 (I have spent enough this year to qualify for a free premium upgrade - however I use that?!)
        • Avios 17,640
      • Cards
        • AMEX Gold (MR) 29,839
      • Hotels
        • SPG 62,474
        • Priority Club 17,111
    • Cards Held
      • Amex Gold (free in first year)
      • Amex SPG
      • Virgin Black (£140 per year)
        • Probably going to cancel this soon - not worth the fee and it turns out the companion flight is useless.
    • General Notes
      • I started collecting Virgin specifically because I've always wanted to fly Virgin Atlantic. Let's just say I am both a Richard Branson and James Bond fan.
      • I want to visit every country in the world, so my points can always go towards other trips (Europe city break this year Stockholm or Berlin) or trips next year if the use of them is not effective for my main targets.
      • I have never booked an award flight before - I have used SPG points to stay in the SPG Madrid Palace.
    • Other Questions
      • Should I cancel Virgin Black card (I'm probably answering my own question here, the redemptions from Manchester are limited).
      • Convert Points to Airmiles? SPG and MR here - this will probably be effective for AA.
      • It's probably worth my applying for an Avios credit card (the 2-4-1 voucher looks good certainly better than the Virgin Atlantic companion flight that is useless)
    Thanks for reading (wow you made it this far?) and my the points be with you.
     
    JoeCortez likes this.
  2. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

    Messages:
    9,320
    Likes Received:
    10,970
    Status Points:
    14,975
    Welcome, Chris!

    I only have a few comments here. It's late, so bear with me.

    I assume you have the Amex that has the Rewards rather than the Rewards Express that you can't transfer. The US program is different than the UK program, but in the US, MR points can be transferred to Avios, which is often one of the best uses.

    One of the downsides of Virgin Atlantic is the relative paucity of airline partners. They do have a couple of good choices, though.

    Personally, I'd do something to keep the US Airways miles if you have any possible use for them. You may not have a choice of AA or US soon if the proposed merger goes through, though.
     
    cjstott likes this.
  3. cjstott

    cjstott Active Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    75
    Hi Desamo - Thanks!

    Yes I have the Amex rewards that can be transferred.

    I'm thinking that the Virgin Atlantic point will be more useful (slightly) if/when they join Skyteam due to the Delta merger. They are also going to start doing UK internal flights which helps for connections to Heathrow from where I am.

    It's only $9 to keep the US miles, so you are right it's probably worth keeping them.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  4. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,834
    Likes Received:
    80,011
    Status Points:
    16,495
    Why do you have a BA account and QF account? I'm assuming you never knew that they were both oneworld carriers? You have to choose one or the other, starting now. Since you have an AMEX, I would recommend sticking with the BA account since it's a transfer partner.

    Try to keep the US Air miles active and maybe take part in the next 100% bonus sale if you can afford it. Even though your wife doesn't want to fly US again, they have great off-peak redemptions.

    When it comes to award tickets, try to be flexible since you won't always get what you want. You mentioned that you want a "DIRECT" flight to NY but there's a chance that there's no award space on the days you want to travel.
     
    cjstott likes this.
  5. cjstott

    cjstott Active Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    75
    Hi Jimgotkp,

    I have a QF account because at the time I was moving to Aus and much prefer Qantas as an airline. I didn't know about having to choose one or the other so thanks for that. Can I transfer them out of Qantas? I could redeem them in future on a flight to Dubai they just started doing.

    Thanks for the other tips also.
     
  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

    Messages:
    9,320
    Likes Received:
    10,970
    Status Points:
    14,975
    You can redeem QF on any of their partners. That's the beauty of alliances.
     
    cjstott likes this.
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,503
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    cjstott and Mikus33 like this.
  8. servo

    servo Silver Member

    Messages:
    736
    Likes Received:
    1,031
    Status Points:
    825
    I think the point desamo and Jimgotkp were trying to make is that you can use miles from either QF or BA to fly either airline. You don't have to have 2 separate accounts. You can use BA miles to fly QF and vice versa, because they're alliance partners. The choice is really up to how much you value the points in either program.
     
    cjstott likes this.
  9. cjstott

    cjstott Active Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    75
    Great stuff so far thanks guys.

    Yep I knew about the alliances being able to spend on partners. Perhaps I misread Jimgotkp's post.

    Anyway AA seems to be key to my New York plans so that is the key one I think to get my points towards. I hear they are better on taxes - we can be flexible on those dates so I'll have to do some digging.
     
  10. Ed Chandler
    Original Member

    Ed Chandler Silver Member

    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    501
    Status Points:
    645
    Welcome, cjstott. One of the up-sides of this gang is the chance to encounter words like "paucity." ;) I'm more of a "dearth" guy, myself, but it's just that kind of diversity that makes this place fun.

    +1 on the Audience Rewards suggestion. I've got this friend [cough] who used to do that for US, Delta, and Starwood, ... just to make sure nothing ever died.

    No need to know what happened to turn you off to US, but if I quit doing business with an airline every time I had a crappy in-flight experience ... let's just say I'd have a lot more Amtrak redemptions. US has got some good "sweet spots" in their award charts. Google it and you'll find the blogs.

    May I ask why the insistence on a direct flight to NY?
     
  11. servo

    servo Silver Member

    Messages:
    736
    Likes Received:
    1,031
    Status Points:
    825
    If I were to guess (because I have the same problem too), I'd say that the wife insists on the least amount of hassle possible when it comes to travel, and will pay a LOT more for it, even if it becomes economically nonsensical. I appreciate fewer connections on paid flights, no doubt - but if I am basically getting the flight for taxes and YQ, I will take what I can get. The wife? Not so much (yet).
     
  12. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

    Messages:
    9,320
    Likes Received:
    10,970
    Status Points:
    14,975
    English major. :rolleyes:
     
    curiousgeorge likes this.
  13. Ed Chandler
    Original Member

    Ed Chandler Silver Member

    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    501
    Status Points:
    645
    Mathematics and Medieval history, thanks.
     
    AUSsie likes this.
  14. cjstott

    cjstott Active Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    75
    Servo - you guess is 100% correct.

    I could get round this but it as a (fair) requirement for the 30th birthday.

    I have flexibility on the Cuba flight.
     
    servo likes this.
  15. canucklehead
    Original Member

    canucklehead Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,895
    Likes Received:
    22,059
    Status Points:
    11,070
    Welcome to Milepoint, cjstott!

    Audience Rewards is good to keep your accounts active. You may be eligible for check-ins using Foursquare to get points for Priority Club. By registering at Topguest.com, you can get 50 points for every IC, CP or HI checkin on Foursquare. I did a quick glance of Topguest's T&C and it does not exclude UK residents.

    For your points, if you are in the US, your BA points are great to use on short flights - its only 4500 points one way on short distances. Examples include MAN-LHR, NYC-BOS....

    SPG Point Use:
    Cash and points are a great use of the points!
    SPG points are great for conversion to airline points when you exchange in 20K increments as SPG gives you a 5K bonus. Virgin, BA and US do a 1:1 change (20K SPG = 25K miles).
     
    cjstott likes this.
  16. Ed Chandler
    Original Member

    Ed Chandler Silver Member

    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    501
    Status Points:
    645
    "No problem, dear, you just go right ahead and use your credit card. What's that? Oh, you want to be a beggar and a chooser?"
     
    cjstott and servo like this.
  17. servo

    servo Silver Member

    Messages:
    736
    Likes Received:
    1,031
    Status Points:
    825
    Heh, exactly. I might have to use that.

    Fair enough. I feel your pain though.
     
    cjstott likes this.
  18. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,044
    Likes Received:
    3,688
    Status Points:
    2,045
    You may want to consider paying for a boutique hotel in New York. I've seen some decent rates at the Kimpton hotels there, under $200 which may mean that your SPG points might do better when converted to an airline partner.
     
    cjstott likes this.
  19. cjstott

    cjstott Active Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    75
    Just wanted to say thanks for everyone for help so far. I'm reviewing options with the boss!
     
  20. malikguy

    malikguy Silver Member

    Messages:
    500
    Likes Received:
    663
    Status Points:
    660
    I have nothing to add currently but wanted to extend a warm welcome to you from all of us here in the Milepoint community! I am hopeful that you are able to get the information that you are looking for now and in the future. Happy and safe travels and Happy early birthday to your wife. :)
     
    cjstott and curiousgeorge like this.

Share This Page