Newbie Guides: [Award Booking w/o Elite Status, Picking a Program, How to Use This Forum & more]

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Randy Petersen, Apr 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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  2. How do I use miles for upgrading to business class? Do I just purchase and then apply miles to total cost?
     
  3. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Hi oldtraveler and welcome to MilePoint! :)

    This question isn't a difficult one, but you'll need to give us a bit more information to work with.

    What kind of miles are you trying to use? Each program has different rules that cover using your miles for an upgrade. Once we know what kind of miles you are trying to use and what airline you are looking to fly on, we can direct you to more information.

    Again, welcome!
     
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  4. chrislacey
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    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    I'd like to add my welcome to oldtraveler as well! Welcome to MilePoint!
     
  5. I am new to mileage running and to the site. I live in Los Angeles. My primary frequent flyer airline is AA. Would someone be willing to mentor me through my first run to get me started?
     
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  6. OK, I am REALLY new, what is "a run"?
     
  7. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP!

    A run is when a person flies to different airports at a cheap rate of usually 3cpm (cent per mile) to earn miles in order to gain/renew their status with the airline. International MRs usually run at a higher cpm.

    For example, a MR (Mileage Run) deal that is available right now is MCO-EWR-SEA for $240 ai (all inclusive of taxes and fees) R/T (Round trip). Flying MCO-EWR-SEA R/T equals 6678 miles so you divide $240 by 6678 and get approximately 0.036 which is 3.6cpm. However, if you are an elite or gain elite status, you will receive an elite bonus on top of that along with any promo that is out there. There are certain fares that don't earn miles however so always remember that. :)

    Yes, people out there spend thousands of dollars to keep their elite status with the airlines. :pThey also even fly more than five segments back-to-back as well! If you look around the forum, you will notice some crazy itineraries that people did for the sake of earning miles! :D Quite shocking but once you get into the game, you will understand. ;)
     
  8. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP!

    I highly recommend looking at the Mileage Run area on FlyerTalk considering they are more active with MR deals than MP!
     
  9. Efilon87

    Efilon87 Silver Member

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    Hello new friends. Im a recent grad with a passion for traveling. Been traveling at least once a year since I was 16. My first trip was a high school choir tour (Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary) and I have never looked back. Im new to the Credit Card game, but I have been able to accrue 300,000+ miles in the past few years. Im really excited to learn from all of you.
     
  10. pilotkentx

    pilotkentx Active Member

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    UA and DL are telling me they no longer show award availability 330 days out. Planning to book two J class tickets DFW -EZE. One of us will travel using UA miles (earned with CO), the other will travel using DL miles. We are flexible on routing and alliance / partner carrier. However, will not fly Copa. Any suggestions on how we should approach thi? In the past, booking 330 days out always worked for us. Both carriers said we need to check everyday and that J class tickets are now held to sell for as long as possible.
     
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  11. cparrish

    cparrish Silver Member

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    Just a note to say hello. I am a newbie to this site. I have been using credit card miles and Alaska miles for domestic flights for years. Now that we are retired and wish to travel a lot more, I have several new cards with varying points (110k Avios for example). Booking international coach flights appears to be more challenging than domestic. I do everything I can to collect points/air miles. Wife says I am obsessed. I say "motivated" and "focused". Oh, well. I am looking forward to participating.
     
  12. Hello There & Happy Holidays!

    I'm new to this whole miles thing and I'm thinking about getting the SW card that has the 50K bonus points. I have to admit that I am nervous and excited. What other cards should I consider?
     
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  13. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MP.

    First thing you should do is check your credit rating. Make sure that you have a good / excellent rating BEFORE you start applying for credit cards.

    As for what cards you should consider, you need to tell us much more about yourself. For example:
    1. Do you have miles in any program?
    2. What are your goals? Do you want to fly economy on domestic routes or are you looking for first class on international routes? Or are you looking for hotel rooms?
    3. What is your base airport. If you are from NY, then SouthWest is probably not an appropriate card for you.

    Remember there are limited credit cards that you can apply for so you need a plan. The last thing you want is to have a bunch of "orphaned" miles in a lot of various accounts.
     
    dschimenes likes this.
  14. Hi!

    Thanks for the welcome!
    I haven't checked my credit rating in almost of year. However, I did have excellent rating and it should be the same. I will double check to confirm though.

    To answer your questions:
    1. I have miles with continental, American, Jet Blue, & Delta. I have the most with Delta
    2. Never really thought deeply into my goals. I'm looking to fly domestic routes and international 1st class on international routes and yes I would also love to get hotel rooms. I pretty much want to be able to travel to places I probably wouldnt be able to if I didn't join the points world.
    3. Yes, I am in NY. Why SouthWest is the appropriate card? I thought it would be a great deal. :-(
     
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  15. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    You definitely should check your credit score regularly if you are going to apply for cards.
    It's also very valuable to consider what your goals are. There are so many places to fly, many classes to fly in, so many airlines and so many hotel chains. It's better to have a plan before applying for cards.
    Southwest has very little service to NY airports, so why are you choosing to apply for the Southwest card?
    Virtually every airline has a credit card deal, though some deals are better than others.
    And since you are in the NY area, you have so many choices for airlines. You might be better off building up more miles in the programs you already have miles in.
     
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  16. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    As miles and smiles said, there are many good bonus offers out there right now. So just because it is a great deal, if you will not reasonable use the points then it is not such a great deal. Especially since banks will only allow so many "hard pulls" on your credit report before they deny credit - so use your pulls wisely. Make a priority list of what points you want / need and plot a way to get those points. Also, make sure you can make the minimum spend to get the bonus points. In addition, the bank / airline / hotel web site does not necessarily have the best sign up bonus. Many times there are better offers out there.

    I would suggest picking whichever airline you have the most miles with and see what it would take to get a F international award. Get familiar with the rules of the award program and the potential award availability. For example Delta is known to be hard to redeem miles so many people stay away from that program. For United / Continental you can book any of the *A carriers. AA is in an alliance with BA but BA tends to have very high "fuel surcharges" depending on where you are going. As you can see, there are pros and cons to the various programs.

    A couple of very good web pages to read are the following:

    http://www.frugaltravelguy.com/
    http://www.freefrequentflyermiles.com/index.htm

    Good luck.
     
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  17. Hi miles and smiles/deant,

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm very happy that I came here first and didn't get the SW card. Makes sense. Also I didn't get the chance to check on my credit but I definitely will tomorrow. I have the most points with Delta (a little over 7K) but I have heard that its hard to redeem points. I just got an offer today from Continental which was 50K points after the first purchase. That would be a good one right? I was also thinking about AMEX Platinum. only have about 3K points with them. BTW, what is *A carriers? And does AA stand for American Airlines? Sorry for all of the questions. One of my goals is to try to use points to travel overseas next year...which I've never done before. I'm hoping I can make that happen.
     
  18. So I checked my credit and its excellent! Which card should be my first?
     
  19. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    With an excellent credit rating, and assuming you have not applied for any cards in the last few months, use the following strategy.

    1. Look and see when the Continental offer you received expires. IF it expires in Feb. I would hold off and apply for that a few days before expiration. If it expires in Jan., I would apply for it first and then in Feb apply for the Sapphire card.
    2. Apply for the Chase Sapphire card now. You can find the 50K sign up bonus link on many blogs. The 50K points is after $3K in spending in 3 months so make sure you can make the spend requirement. One of the blogs I like is www.frugaltravelguy.com . The reason for applying for this card is that the 50K points can be transferred 1:1 to United / Continental and you don't know when the bonus will change.

    Between these two cards, it will give you over 100K miles on United / Continental. More than enough for a Saver coach seat to Europe. However remember that award seats are capacity controlled so you will need flexibility in your trip planning.

    Both of these cards are from Chase so that will limit what you can do with Chase for the next few months.

    The next card I would probably apply for, in about late March or April, would possibly be the Hilton cards. This would start you on your way to getting free hotel nights. In April you could probably apply for both the Citi Hilton card and the AMEX Hilton card. That would give you a few free nights (depending on where you wanted to stay of course).

    As for your other questions, *A stands for Star Alliance. Most airlines are part of an alliance (Star Alliance, One World, etc.) and you can book awards (subject to availability) on the partner airlines. For example United / Continental is part of Star Alliance so you can book awards on Lufthansa, ANA, US Airways etc.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  20. Nope I haven't applied for a credit card in about 8-10 years. Unless department store cards count..that would be about a year or so. I've heard great things about Sapphire...definitely on the list! Thanks for the hotel cards tips. I will look into those as well. BTW, failed to mention that I will get my fiance to sign up as well. He also have excellent credit but we will double check before applying.

    You didn't say anything about the AMEX Plat. Should I stay away?

    What do you mean by awards seats are capacity controlled? Does that mean that the airlines only provide certain amount of seats to be purchased with points?

    Here's the deal about the Continental offer. It expires Jan. 21. So as you said I will reply for it ASAP.


    Your Cardmember benefits include:



    50,000 bonus miles after you use your Card the first time — enough for two round-trip reward tickets2

    10,000 bonus miles each calendar year when you spend $25,000 on your Card3

    NEW: Priority boarding — board Continental and United flights early, ahead of general boarding4
    NEW: Redeem miles for any seat, any time — if seats are available for sale, they can be redeemed with miles at the EasyPass® (or equivalent) reward level5
    NEW: Reward seat upgrades for Elites6
    Free first checked bag for you and a companion each time you fly Continental or United (a savings of up to $100 per round trip)7
    Two miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from Continental and United, and one mile per $1 spent on all other purchases3

    Two passes to United ClubSM (formerly Presidents Club®) every Cardmember anniversary8

    My concerns: $25,000 each calendar???! I guess this is when I will cancel?
     
  21. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    There are typically 2 types of award seats. Saver and Anytime. Saver awards are capacity controlled and may be very limited. Anytime awards, which are typically twice the price of Saver awards, allow you to book basically the last seat on the plane.

    On the Continental card, I would not bother with the 10K points at $25K spending - unless you have massive spending and can meet all sign up bonus spending.

    On the AMEX Plat, it would just be lower on my priority list. Nothing wrong with it but I just feel there are better options right now.
     
  22. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    Don't have much to add to what deant has already said but I wanted to mention that the one (only?) major con of the Amex Plat is the yearly fee (~$500). If you can't get more than $500 worth of benefits from it (lounge access, $200 airline reimbursement, global entry reimbursement, various elite programs, etc), the card isn't worth it to you.

    deant: Just wondering...what do you think are better options?
     
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  23. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Based on what I believed to be kfran227's goals, I think the Chase Sapphire card is a very good opportunity. This gives 50K points that can be transferred to various programs including UA / CO. This would add to kfran227's pool of UA / CO miles (they had the targeted CO offer).

    As for hotels, Hilton is also a very good program. You can get about 80K points without any real problem (Citi and Amex).

    Another great opportunity is the Chase Hyatt card. 2 free nights anywhere after $1K in spending.

    Also don't forget about the "cash" programs like the AARP card that gives 5% cash back on everything for the first 6 months. Our daughter was doing some major house remodeling and got the card. Saved her thousands of dollars. You don't need to be a senior citizen to apply for the card - just become an associate member.

    All of the above have the first year fee waived (except Hyatt which has a $75 fee). The Hyatt fee is well worth it since you are getting upwards of $1,000 value.
     
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  24. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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  25. Arooj

    Arooj New Member

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    Im new here , I wana know what is the main purpose of this website?
     
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