Please help me decide how to focus my mileage accruing activities

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by montacute, Feb 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. montacute
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    montacute Silver Member

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    My husband and I have just signed up for a bunch of credit cards to get the bonus miles. Now I am unsure how to focus my future spending and flying activities. Can anyone help me figure out which carrier would be best to focus on? Issues I am thinking about include:
    Whether it would be best to pursue status on one airline and then get another airline to match it? Who has a better program for my purposes? Which program is easiest to earn miles with? Which program offers easiest reward redemptions?

    Some facts about me--I am in Washington DC and like to focus on international travel, especially to Europe. I am very interested in upgrades, mileage awards and perks like free companion tickets. I currently have 150k on AA, 75k on CO, and 50k Amex MR. As you can see I am just beginning to get serious. I have been reading and reading, but still think it would be helpful to discuss this with seasoned travelers here.

    And yes, I do coins! :)

    Thanks for any help!
     
    Nicole Blaess-Smith likes this.
  2. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    How much do you plan on doing paid flying?
     
  3. montacute
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    montacute Silver Member

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    Only 2 international trips a year, and then probably 4 domestic trips a year, so not a lot for the next few years.
     
  4. Nicole Blaess-Smith
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    Nicole Blaess-Smith Silver Member

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    It also depends on your favourite/main airline/s which you fly!
     
  5. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    After you have met all the spending requirements to get your bonus miles, if you do not have a plan in place, I would use the SPG Amex card for spending as the points are easily transferrable to a number of airline programs.

    If you set some goals as to the trips or locations you desire to visit, you can then look at specific airlines and hotels that are available in those locations and plan your points accumulation accordingly.
     
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  6. travelingmore
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    travelingmore Gold Member

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    Good suggestion -- SPG Amex is my number one card, with occasionally using other cards when promotions come along.
     
  7. bmg42000
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    bmg42000 Gold Member

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    SPG Amex is the way to go. You are also smart to have miles in AA and CO . You may wish to get the UA visa for 50k miles so when UA and CO programs merge you end up with an extra 50k for free.
     
  8. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    As noted above, the SPG Amex is good to rack up points not only for stays at Starwood hotels, but also because they can be converted to Airlines' reward programs (sometimes with a 25% bonus when transferring 20k points for example, get 25k miles in your Airline reward program - for instance AA).

    Since I see you also have collected CO miles, you should note that SPG Amex would not be the best way to accumulate CO/UA miles (since they transfer at only 2 points = 1mile). In this case, you should look into whether you want a CO PC MC (currently with a 50k signup bonus) or whether to max AMEX MR points for transfer by the fall of this year (after this fall you cannot transfer Amex MR points into the CO program).

    Good luck! :)
     
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  9. Menashe

    Menashe Silver Member

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    SPG Amex, as others have said. Any CO card gets you free bags, so pays for itself with a couple of flights.
     
  10. LizzyDragon84
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    LizzyDragon84 Gold Member

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    I also like the SPG program. It's a good way to rack up some points/miles and then put it towards what you need instead of being tied down to just one program. As others have mentioned, the transfer over to UA/CO isn't great, but it's good for AA. Just try to transfer at least 20,000 points if you do so you can get the 5,000 mile bonus.
     
  11. Omar's_Coming
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    Omar's_Coming Silver Member

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    idk if you have gotten it yet, but you shoudl get he 50K continental card. If you recently got it when it was 25K miles, make sure you call to try to get the extra 25K
     
  12. montacute
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    montacute Silver Member

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    Wow, thanks everyone! I really hadn't thought of using the SPG card as my main mileage card, but so many of you have pointed out how it makes sense. I really don't have a favorite airline yet. I usually fly with whoever has the best deal. I currently have the AA catd, the CO card and the SPG card. I got the 50k bonus on the CO card, but my husband did not. He applied for it earlier when it had a 25k bonus and although he has sent three e-mails asking for the extra 25k, Chase has consistently replied that there is a 90 day limit for claiming increased miles. :(

    I will try for the UA card too, thanks for the pointer.

    It looks like Delta actually offers the best bonuses for SPG points--am I accurate in my thinking here? I have heard that Delta can be tough to get reward bookings though.

    Love the new forum. I actually asked for some help with this on FT and didn't get nearly the helpful info I did here. Thank you!
     
  13. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Pick ONE or two airlines and focus the flying, and spending, on that airline. Same for hotels.

    If you spread the spending out over too many airlines then you will not get enough in any program.

    Bottom line, make a plan on maximizing points - It is not a random thing. Also remember that once you have earned the points you must keep the accounts active, which can be a pain if you have too many accounts.
     
  14. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    SPG has flexibility so you can take advantage of whatever partner you want. Fair warning with American, British Airways has a high fuel surcharge on their flights.

    The United Card will place you in a better position to have more miles, especially when the accounts are consolidated. Just make sure to hold out for the 50,000 mile offer on that one too (usually comes on about the 3rd or 4th offer they send after you refuse the earlier offers).

    The issue with Delta is that they offer an extremely small portion of their awards in the low category, and more at the middle and higher category. However, they are very useful for a trip to Australia.
     
  15. montacute
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    montacute Silver Member

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    Thank you--the tip about Delta being useful for Australia is great information. Especially good to keep in mind when SPG has a bonus on transferring points to Delta! I'm keeping notes.
     

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