HOWTO Hack Frequent Flyer Programs

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Fonzietaco, Mar 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Casey Friday
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    Casey Friday Silver Member

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    The reception doesn't appear to be very good on boingboing. There appear to be quite a few commenters who believe this hobby is all about diminishing returns for them!
     
  2. prometheusg
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    prometheusg Silver Member

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    For most people, it is. Most people only fly once or twice a year. What's the point of spending thousands of dollars for status (not to mention the dozens or even hundreds of hours of work finding deals) when they only spend $500 a year on flights? It just doesn't make sense for the average person.

    One Boingboing commenter said something fairly accurate, in my opinion. Frequent flyer programs are really only good if you're a frequent flyer. Someone without status and no chance of status isn't going to reap any rewards for being loyal to one airline. Someone who only flies once or twice a year isn't going to earn any free flights. Ever. If they're not loyal to one program, they could end up with a couple of thousand miles in 3-4 programs over a five year period. Then they look at what they can get for 2000 miles and say, "What's the point?" Even if they were loyal to one program, it'd still take over 10 years to earn their first free flight. And that's if they fly every year, every flight with the same program, and the miles don't expire. Then see what happens when they try to redeem those miles for a flight! HA!

    They just aren't worth the time and effort of the average person.
     
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  3. RedM3Pilot
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    RedM3Pilot Gold Member

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    And that's exactly the way I like it.
     
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  4. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    But does he know what a 13 miler is? :)
     
  5. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    My guess is most Kettles, even if they finally get 25k in their account are likely to burn it on a ticket to Vegas or some other such generally low ROI award.
    agreed
     
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  6. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    I could not disagree more with some of these points. Yes I have some elite status, but almost ALL of my points/miles come from credit card spends. I study this all enough to know how to use them. I have incredible trips thanks to free, First and Business Class air travel and free hotel rooms.

    The other path exists too - people who only amass points by usage and get elite status because of it. I can use my Starwood or Hyatt points for a room or I can spend more and get a suite. May not be an upgrade but that's olay - I still make out!

    MP and FT are all about how to work the system for our mutual benefit. Time may change but it is still doable!
     
  7. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    My first award flight...50k on a NYC-LAS US Airways "F" class with a stopover :mad:

    Never again...
     
  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    you know we all have stories that go something like, "so I redeemed for X, later I found out I could have got Y (a much better deal, routing, etc) for only a smidgen more" :mad::oops::(
     
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  9. RedM3Pilot
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    RedM3Pilot Gold Member

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    Although, usually, after we learn...we find ways to get C, F or J for just a smi/j more.
     
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  10. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Or free!
     
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  11. edlin303
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    edlin303 Silver Member

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    Am I the only one who read this and thought, I would _MUCH_ rather be in X than Y? ;)
     
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  12. RedM3Pilot
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    RedM3Pilot Gold Member

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    Nope. :D


    ...but I do get and agree with what Sweet W was saying.
     
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  13. jpruzins
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    jpruzins Silver Member

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    Not bad for 5 minutes. Good basic information.
     
  14. infoworks
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    infoworks Silver Member

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    It's certainly a personal thing! But we all like the opportunity for status. I value mine, but know it's not, in all cases, permanent!
     
  15. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    Short segments like this are great way to get the info out.
    The above was my mentality 4 yrs ago... I dreamed of international ..heck, I dreamed, plotted and planned to save enough to go to west coast! I never 'joined' the ff program as I couldn't be loyal-I always took the cheapest fares. I've left a lot of miles on the table ....but then I found Ingy's blog - which linked to several other sites, and hallelujah, the heavens opened (and so did my mind) and the ff miles starting pouring cats and dogs (no disrespect to all the cat avatars out there) Also learning of mistake fares,vouchers, etc, and meeting ppl at DO's helped considerably.
    I still mourn the miles I left behind but I celebrate my new found knowledge and the community help from all you folk out there. And now I love helping newbies whenever I can!
     
  16. Original Member
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    Original Member Silver Member

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    I'm not sure what the boingboing antagonism was about. Some of those comments didn't make sense to me at all.

    I spend about $80k a year between personal and business expenses. I make sure I charge absolutely everything. I also fly 25-50k/year, about 50/50 personal use. Since airlines all price tickets about the same, "cheapest" doesn't matter... typically I can wait it out a little. So, in an average year, I get 100k miles just doing what I do. Now, divide it up however you want. I just got back from a trip to China in F on CX. It was AMAZING! I keep some miles spare in case of emergency... so I don't have to shell out hundreds or thousands for a last minute trip. And there you go.

    Now if your household budget is $15k/year and if you never travel... well... then I guess this isn't for you. But even if you spend $2k/month and you can transfer some of your utility payments onto credit cards, then you have a domestic ticket at a minimum for doing absolutely nothing. (Personally if that's what you're doing, I'd personally take my (ex)Schwab 2% Visa and collect the $480 cash back and use it for 2 x $240 tickets somewhere).
     
  17. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I'm not so sure. A lot of people fly more than once a year, but no where near enough to earn status, even if they were loyal to one airline. But, status and benefits can be earned in other ways, and can make those few flights much more tolerable.

    For example, consider someone who flies a few times a year, but tried to stay loyal to AA, and also has credit cards that earn AA miles. By funneling as much normal spend as possible to the card, and also using additional earning opportunities wherever possible (such as credit card bonus offers, e-shopping tie-ins, etc.), together with actual flying, lifetime Gold (or even Platinum) status is reasonable, not to mention a nice chunk of redeemable miles. Now, that person has possibilities for free flights, and gets status benefits even on those few flights each year. I'd say this is worth it (but then, I'm biased).
     
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  18. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    In this discussion, we shouldn't forget to compare the fees for credit cards that earn miles to the fees on comparable cards that aren't affiliated with an airline.
     
  19. edog22
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    edog22 Silver Member

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    The comments on the boing boing page are the responses my wife and I get- "you are going where? I wish I had the time/energy/money/etc to do that." We try to show people how we do it, but it just doesn't seem to sink in.
     
  20. Mike1625
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    Mike1625 Silver Member

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    My friends and coworkers think I am crazy, I tell them I'll teach them how to do it, most don't want to learn, the few that will follow some of the deals think the free flight to LAS is the best thing ever.

    I am glad what I do isn't appealing to the masses, if it was, there would be nothing left for me.
     
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  21. penumpang
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    penumpang Gold Member

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    I told a friend about signing up for Citi cards. She applied for one and used the miles to fly from New York to Columbus, Ohio. :eek:
     
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  22. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    Flying free first and business class is not really possible. You must pay something in acquiring elite status to get the upgrades.
    Sure there are alot of promos to gain points but it takes years and lots of effort and some people don't want extra hassle. If you spend 10 hours getting 100,000 pts is it worth it versus working at a job 10 hours?

    Sometimes pts are easy to get sometimes it's a mileage run which takes away you're free time.

     
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  23. my thoughts- i used to be a one time a year traveller. then like others, i somehow found flyer talk and ever since then I have become a more seasoned traveller (3-4 times a year). All Free. We have a business and everything goes on the credit cards and is paid in full each month. same with personal cards.
    When I talk about my trips, everyone always asks me how much the flight and hotel costs,and I always tell them about "the system". But like everyone says, noone else really wants to do it.. It takes a lot of work but to me it is definitely worth it-it is actually a lot of fun!! So I am just as glad that others are not interested..
    Actually I believe that there is a lot of people out there who would love to do it, but are not disciplined enough with their bills and money to be able to come out ahead. From what I read(and hear on the news) I dont think most people pay off their balance in full each month. It takes someone who knows how to handle their finances really well to do this kind of stuff. (Just my opinion)
     
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  24. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    Is it worth it? That's a personal decision, of course. But it may depend on what it costs you (in time, effort, cash) versus what you gain (say, free coach flight versus Vegas or free international first class).
     

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