Round the world help for newb

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by jviska89, Mar 12, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. jviska89

    jviska89 Active Member

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    Hi All,

    I am new to the travel hacking/mile collecting venture but have big plans. I want to start by saying I have searched this site and others but still feel a bit lost. I will lay out my current plans and miles for you and hopefully you can help me formulate a game plan. Here are the goals for my girlfriend and I. We want to travel to Germany in September this year to visit my brother.
    The other goal is more ambitious. In July of 2014 we plan to move to Australia for a year to take advantage of the holiday working visa. Our itinerary is not only Australia though. On the way we plan to visit Hawaii to see family and then Tianjin China to visit a friend prior to Australia. After Australia continue to Bali, India, maybe sub-Sahara Africa, Europe (a few stops) and Iceland before back to Chicago.

    Current stats:
    Credit score: 755

    Current cards and points:

    British Airways Visa: 53,298 (opened 1/2013)
    Citi Thank you Primere Vida :4,530 (used the sign up bonus already) (opened 10/2012)
    USAA Platnium Mastercard: No points card (first card open for credit history)
    Preferred amount to put on all cards monthly to make sure I pay them off: $1,200
    Our goal is to travel with as many close to free flights as possible while doing the round the world. If possible we are trying to get better class tickets for the long haul flights (6 hours plus).

    Questions:
    1) I have seen conflicting posts about whether to cancel cards or not. Is it a bad idea to close some to avoid annual fees?
    2) It appears that the Avios are good but don't avoid large amounts of fees and taxes. Should I only use these on short flights or perhaps for the Germany trip? I am half way to the $10,000 mark on this card and am unsure if it would be more advantageous to continue to use this to get to the $10,000 mark for 25,000 more Avios or to open new cards for sign up bonuses?
    3) Should we pay for the flights to Germany to rack up more points?
    4) Since British Airways is in the One World alliance is it better to open cards within that alliance or should I open them on any airline offering the best sign up bonuses?
    5) Is it to soon to sign up for more cards?
    6) My girlfriend does not have the credit score/history than I do. Should she be signing up differently than me for cards?
    7) How many points should we shoot for?
    8) any general pointers I am missing?


    Sorry for the long post just wanted to give as much details as possible
    Thanks,
    Jake
     
  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    1) Cancel is almost always a bad thing; but if you dont wanna pay the annual fee then yeah cancel it
    2) Short hops in GER will have to be based outta TXL. So you should do xxx - TXL (BER) - xxx. Every segment costs AVOIS.
    3) depends on the CPM you'll get & how much money you have hahah ;)
    4) If its a RTW i would be open to slut around as many different airlines/alliances you need to get around the world.
    5) With your allowance of $1200/monthly spend ... I would be cautious in opening too many cards at once. You are approaching the 6m mark with Citi so that should be okay & with Chase it really depends on your history with them. I just got 2 cards with them yesterday.
    6) Ger her Freedom to start off; and maybe a NAF Amex to start off.
    7) As many as possible? RTW trips on points are a series of one-ways (mostly) ...
     
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  3. jviska89

    jviska89 Active Member

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    Thanks for the quick response. I will look into the Freedom card for the gf as she has a Chase history. I have a short history with Chase and opened and closed the Sapphire card before knowing this was a bad idea. That card was closed 6 months ago. It looks like loyalty to a specific alliance is not required for my plan. I will go for high sign up bonuses instead.
     
  4. Steven Schwartz
    Original Member

    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    You are very generous Ed and a credit to MP!
     
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  5. anabolism
    Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

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    Have you considered buying a RTW ticket? You have a year from first flight to last.
     
  6. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Sounds good, but make sure they're usable and not like sky pesos or US airways (redeemed under current US) since you can't do one ways
     
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  7. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    There's a couple ways to look at that. @edekba made a good point above me, but I'd caution you on the alliance point. If you want to do this in F or J, the points/miles burn is going to be much higher. If you don't be somewhat loyal to a given alliance/airline you may have a hard time scraping together the needed points. To my knowledge, you can't book a ticket using a mixture of points from different carriers or credit cards.

    My plan would be to pick the carrier within an alliance that has the best redemption rates/accrual/credit card offers/etc. and use that frequent flyer account on any other travel within that alliance to build up the balance. I was on a similar plan as you; saving up for a UA/Star Alliance RTW. Chase CC, lots of business travel on *A, shopping promos, they all add up pretty quick.
     
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  8. jviska89

    jviska89 Active Member

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    My plan would be to pick the carrier within an alliance that has the best redemption rates/accrual/credit card offers/etc. and use that frequent flyer account on any other travel within that alliance to build up the balance. I was on a similar plan as you; saving up for a UA/Star Alliance RTW. Chase CC, lots of business travel on *A, shopping promos, they all add up pretty quick.[/quote]


    I have looked at RTW but many posts indicate that this is a more expensive way to go usually. However the loyalty to a specific airline to rack up upgrade opportunities sounds like a decent plan. Thanks for the advice.
     
  9. jviska89

    jviska89 Active Member

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    I have but the limit of a year seems a bit to planned for us.
     
  10. Matt12

    Matt12 Member

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    I think Anabolism suggesting better option
     
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  11. anpe

    anpe Active Member

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    You might also open at least one more Citi card - AA card to get 50000 more miles, then take advantage of various bonus miles promotions.

    AA has RTW award ticket called Explorer award, sometimes provide good value if you stay within mileage limit.

    How long ago did you close your Sapphire card? You might be able to get it or other Chase card again with bonus points.
     
  12. jviska89

    jviska89 Active Member

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    The Sapphire was closed in November 2012. More recent than I thought. I was leaning toward the AA citi card. Is six months from the last citi card opening too soon? I like the look of the explorer award. Am I reading it right in that I can use by British Airways points with it, or is it that I am able to us AA miles to fly British Airways? Thanks this may be a RTW that works for us. Is there a requirement to end up in the home base city by the year end or can we just end wherever in Europe and make our way home however? (We are thinking of getting married in Greece and taking our time coming home.
     
  13. anabolism
    Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

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    Keep in mind that such tickets are often very flexible. E.g., the OneWorld tickets allow date/time/carrier changes for free, and routing changes with a $150 fee. The one year limit from first flight is hard, but if you find yourself somewhere and want to stay but it's getting close to a year, you could always forfeit the last flight (or fly it and start a new RTW, with the first flight going back to where you were).

    Also, you can start the RTW anywhere. E.g., you could use miles to get to the first place you want to spend time and buy a RTW starting there, with the first flight whenever you want to move on from there.
     
  14. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    The Explorer award allows one open jaw, which can be at the end if desired (e.g., you fly from point A and your last flight takes you to point Z.)
     
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  15. anpe

    anpe Active Member

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  16. glennaa11

    glennaa11 Silver Member

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    With regard to closing accounts, I suppose it may depend somewhat on how much the company thinks you are worth to them, but whenever I call to cancel they end up offering to either waive the annual fee or give me a credit to offset the fee if I make a few purchases within a set amount of time. Citi seems to be the happiest to do this sort of thing.

    With Chase accounts it probably makes sense to apply for a different kind of card to collect a bonus and if you are not instantly approved call the reconsideration line and offer to close the card you don't want and move the credit line to the new card you do want. If you are approved right away then call them to cancel the card you want closed and if they don't give you a lucrative enough offer to keep it open see if they will move the credit line to the new card and close the other. Chase has always been very flexible with me as far as moving credit lines around. But I've got a pretty long history with them.
     
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  17. glennaa11

    glennaa11 Silver Member

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    The AA Explorer award you have to book with AA miles. You can fly on BA or other OW partners.
     
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