Noob building my AAdvantage, hopefully

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Big Dawes, Aug 9, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Big Dawes

    Big Dawes Active Member

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    hi all UK Expat, living in Central PA(USA) lots of Airports within a couple of hours is quite nice. Booked my first trip using points for everything. Nothing extravagant but hey its a start. plane car and hotel all done. Best part is still have points and miles left over!!

    Is it worth having a lot of one airline AA160k or should i just got to UR points or Amex spg so i can diversify my points! when i started i went with United, then they upset me with devaluation that i switched to AA (yes i know they will do it to) i have UR points and SPG. Just curious.

    Thanks for a great Forum and letting people like myself be a part of it and gives me a lot of reading that i totally appreciate.
     
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  2. norge
    Original Member

    norge Silver Member

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    You don't need to pick just one program. Credit card sign up bonuses will garner you lots of Amex MR & SPG, Chase UR, UA and AA.
     
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  3. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    No need to concentrate points in one program. I would be careful about taking on many annual-fee credit cards, especially if you're new to the game. In central PA, you may want to pay special attention to BA Avios - they're useful for short-haul flights on US. Chase UR transfer to BA Avios.

    Are you doing any/much paid air travel, also? If so, concentrating that enough to get elite status might be useful - it can get you free bags, better seats, and cheaper/free standby and award fees. AA and US have different forms of "Fast Track" promotions to get status faster.
     
  4. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    One thing that I think a lot of people don't think about is where do you spend your money? Do you spend a lot on groceries? If so go with Amex everyday or BCP. Do you have a lot off office purchases? Go with chase ink or bold. Do you have a lot of purchases that don't fall in a category? go with Spg. frequentmiler has a section that talks about best cards for certain types of spend and I highly recommend you review that to think of your spending patterns in relation to credit cards.
     
  5. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    I'm a big fan of SPG but keep in mind it's hard to amass Starpoints unless you stay at their hotels. No bonus categories for the Amex.
     
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  6. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    This is an excellent point! Especially as banks make churning cards harder, getting maximum points for your regular spend matters a lot.

    There are pros and cons to concentrating points with one program versus spreading them out among several. Obviously if you concentrate on just one program, your stash of points builds to useful levels faster - but you're more vulnerable to devaluation, and since each airline alliance is strongest on different routes, you may find when it comes time to plan a trip you're stuck with a suboptimal alliance for that destination.

    On the other hand, earning points in the flexible currencies (Chase UR, AmEx MR and SPG, and now Citibank Thank You points) often allows you to earn points faster, and since all these programs have more than one transfer partner, you've more flexibility and protection from devaluation. But since they don't all transfer to the same airlines, when it comes time to plan a trip you risk having points locked up in a "useless" program for that trip. (For example, if you need more AA miles, having a big stash of SzpG points is fine, but having a big stash of UR or MR points isn't helpful, as neither of those programs transfers to AA). Also, you can wind up paying a considerable sum in card annual fees in order to accumulate points in many different programs.

    So it's a wash, really. I say make your decision after you consider both your regular spending patterns and where you plan to travel. There's no one right choice.
     
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  7. Pizzaman
    Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    All good advice. I'd add one small caveat. While you can't transfer UR points to AA, you can book AA and US flights with them by transferring to BA. For short hops in the US this can be an excellent strategy.
     
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  8. Big Dawes

    Big Dawes Active Member

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    thanks for all the great advice !

    right now Freedom for gas.
    Barclay arrival most other things and ink for gift cards and office type purchases...have 36000 spg points but they are so hard to acquire i want 40000 for a trip.... guess have to MS them points.
     
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  9. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I was just thinking about this early today. I personally concentrate my earnings a little based on where I live. I just moved from STL to MCI and although many airlines fly out of here I tend to fly on AA and US the most with a few trips on Southwest. While I enjoy DL and UA I've stopped trying to get many points there. So I try to get miles into BA, AA and US. I use the BA Avios for domestic trips and I use the AA/US miles for international big trips. I also live by the motto of not leaving any free points/miles on the table. If they are going to give them away I'll take some, please. For example just this week I was able to grab 1,000 Air Berlin miles for the Sixt rental car sign up and another 1,000 for some weird duty free german company sign up. I don't have a lot of Air Berlin miles but I will take them if they are giving them away.
    Another example is Spirit Air. The just started flying into MCI and although the reviews are bad I may do some work there. So far I've gotten about 9,000 miles with them in the past month with almost no effort and I just missed gathering another few thousand at a minor league baseball game here in KC that I attended by accident.

    It's not like sports where you have to be loyal to one team. I may be a Kansas City Royals fan but if the Yankee's are giving away free t-shirts on the corner I'll take one. Can I wear the Yankee's shirt in KC? Not likely in public but I figure I can put on a hat and sunglasses to board one of those free Spirit flights in disguise.

    Oh and did I mention that MCI has about the worst airport gate setup in the world :)
     
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  10. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    FYI the spirit miles only last 90 days without use, but you can use them to get magazines for free even if you can't use them for flying at miles for mags website
     
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  11. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    If you join there survey points earning scheme you should be able to keep them alive. Their awards start at a really low level (even lower with the mastercard they offer) so much better than the magazines in my opinion (of course you actually have to get on their planes though :)
     
  12. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    Also (depending on your goals), instead of burning airline miles on hotels and cars pay for them and earn more airline miles buy either booking via airline website or change earning prefs to get air miles.

    Sent using a small piece of fruit.
     
  13. pointshogger

    pointshogger Silver Member

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    I like using E-Rewards to transfer E-Reward dollars to my AAdvantage account.
     
  14. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    AB miles expire somewhat over 3 years after you obtain them, so unless you can redeem an award within the next 3 years, you will not realize anything from those free miles (and it's why AB may have been willing to give them away ;)).
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  15. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    Maybe so but I should be able to keep those alive like most other programs I would think.With AB you can continue to earn miles through hotel reviews.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  16. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I do as well however it can take awhile to build up enough e-reward points at times. Good idea.
     
  17. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    No, you do not understand what I am saying. The miles you acquire expire just over 3 years after you acquire them. Adding additional miles after you acquire a certain number of miles does not change this. This is different from programs where continued activity in the account keeps ALL your miles from expiring; if you earn 5,000 AB miles in June 2014 and then earn 5,000 miles over the next three years, your original 5,000 miles will still expire sometime in 2017 according to the current program rules I linked to above, unless you have redeemed an award that burns the miles. A number of programs work like this; Air Berlin, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, as an example.

    In order to make miles in an account like that work, you have to acquire miles regularly, enough so that you can redeem for something within 3 years. This probably means you need to regularly put AA flights (or other oneworld airline flights) in there, enough to get an award. Looking at AB's program, there aren't a lot of awards that I would consider better than AA awards (or US awards).

    I learned this the hard way, by putting a few thousand miles in LH years ago from a TATL trip, realizing it was far inferior to US or UA for my needs, and lost the miles 3 years later when there wasn't activity. To be honest, even if I had put all my *A flights in there, I would have still lost all those miles... I don't fly *A enough on paid flights to really even make going for A3 *Silver or *Gold worthwhile. My lifetime mileage on non-award *A flights is probably something like 20,000-30,000 miles or so.

    I also had 125 miles in AB expire this summer (from a trip in 2011). This was before AB joined oneworld, or else I'd have put them in my BA or AA account...
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
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