New to all this

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by rossii, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    I am new to the miles game and I've been reading through some threads and had some questions.

    I currently have about 50K miles/points on Captial One, AMEX and UA mileage plus for a total of 150K. I am planning on a trip to Barcelona and wanted to know the best way to go about it.

    1. Is it possible to transfer/combine points? If so what would be the recommended method?
    2. Would it be better to use miles to upgrade rather than getting a ticket. If so I would go through UA?
    3. What codes do I need to look for when trying to determine an upgradeable fare?

    Thanks in advance!

    SC Flier likes this.
  2. Randy Petersen
    Original Member

    Randy Petersen Founder

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    First of all welcome to milepoint.

    You got a good question and the answers might sound a little confusing at first so let us help you with how to connect the dots ... so to speak. Quick question: with both Cap One and AmEx being credit card instruments for miles, what does your 50K at United look like? Are those a combination of flight miles and partners, or are they mostly related to your use of the United Mileage plus credit card? I'm asking so we know what "options" you might have at United since their credit card has an "options" program that allows you to convert miles to money for airline tickets and of course that is the option for Cap One and to some degree with AmEx.

    Again welcome and over the next few days let's see what advice we can give you for full value of your current miles.
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  3. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP. You got a nice greeting from the big cheese in the prior post.

    I'm not an expert at *A redemptions, but one thing I do know is that the ability to transfer Amex points to Continental (which are the combine-able with United points) expires at the end of September.

    You could still transfer your Amex points to other Star Alliance (*A) carriers - ANA or Air Canada, among others - but assuming you'll need to pool you Amex points with your UA miles, you'll need to get the Amex points over to CO asap, then combine your UA and CO accounts.

    A few questions to ask you, to get you the best help:
    • What city are you departing from?
    • Do you have points on any other carriers beyond the three point accounts you listed?
    • What month do you want to travel in? (Seasonality can factor in to redemptions.)
    • Just you, or are you bringing a friend/significant other - or more?
    • Do you want to sit in front (business class), or are you happy to, er, rather, willing to, sit in back?
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  4. I'm extremely new to this as well and would like to see this thread continue on so I will add my story. I just recently found out about miles with all the attention given to coins/mint. Ordered my first cards shortly after that and have yet to even receive them. Super bummed about the news over the weekend about no more coins : (

    Anywho without really knowing too much I signed up for a Cap One Venture card with 25k bonus for 1k spent, which I'm kind of upset I did, a BA card with 25k bonus for sign up and another 25k after 3k use (dnt quote me on that one), and a U.S. Air with 40k first use bonus.

    I guess my questions are where do I go from here besides trying to churn the bonuses out of these? My home airport for departure would be Hartford/BDL but obviously Boston and NY are fairly close. I'm really just looking to build point/benefits to be able to travel and see some of the world as I do not right now. Are there any programs or ways to build points similar or as easy as the mint? I have limited spending unfortunately so most of the ideas I've seen listed would take quite awhile and possibly I would miss some of the bonuses due to not enough spending.

    I've read a lot of the newbie stuff and have many websites/blogs bookmarked at this point but any ideas advise would be awesome! Thanks for the site!!
    SC Flier likes this.
  5. Hi Randy and NYBanker,

    Thanks for the welcome. The majority of UA miles is from actual travel, with less than 1k being from partners.

    NYBanker to answer your questions:
    • What city are you departing from? From SFO maybe with a stopover in London if possible for a few days.
    • Do you have points on any other carriers beyond the three point accounts you listed? No these are the only ones.
    • What month do you want to travel in? (Seasonality can factor in to redemptions.) Actually looking at Aug 24/25 departure if possible.
    • Just you, or are you bringing a friend/significant other - or more? Just me
    • Do you want to sit in front (business class), or are you happy to, er, rather, willing to, sit in back? If using all miles I guess economy would be fine but I was thinking a combination of purchase then using miles to upgrade if that makes more sense.
    I never knew it could be this confusing.

    Thanks for your help!

    SC Flier likes this.
  6. Million Mile Secrets

    Million Mile Secrets Silver Member

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    Welcome to MilePoint!

    I was curious if the Capital One card you refer to is the Venture Rewards card? Also, is the AMEX card you refer to a Membership Rewards card or is it another card like the AMEX SPG card?

    Generally, you can't transfer points from airline to airline, or hotel to hotel, but you can usually transfer proprietary points (AMEX Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Reward points) into their hotel and air partners.

    As NYBanker suggests, you could transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to Continental, and transfer your 50K United points to Continental. That way, you would have 100K Continental points, which is enough for a business class ticket to Barcelona. You could also fly in coach for 60K miles if you wanted to save miles for a future trip. However, you may not find availability for Aug 24 or 25, so you may want to check availability before you make a transfer.

    I'm not a fan of using miles for upgrades, because you usually have to book a higher class fare to be eligible for an upgrade and some airlines charge high co-pays. The Wandering Aramean had a nice post on why upgrades aren't the best use of miles.

    Hope this helps, and all the best!
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  7. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I know the arguments against using miles to upgrade, but I would disagree if you need the status miles to obtain an elite status that you will actually use. You're paying a higher fare as well as the miles, but the trip earns both status and redeemable miles, sometimes at more than 100% because of the higher fare codes required for the upgrade. If you're currently an elite, you sometimes earn as many redeemable miles on the trip as the cost in miles for the upgrade. I'd much rather do this than fly a bunch of MRs, especially in coach.

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