Seeking advice: Earning enough miles for family travel

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by heather123, Mar 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. heather123

    heather123 Active Member

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    I'm a newbie, with a family of four. We have excellent credit, a middle class income, and currently travel domestic once a year. We'd love to travel more, and internationally. If we start credit card churning, what's a realistic annual goal for us? Should we save all of our miles until I can get 4 award tickets, or should we set our goal on two and purchase the other two? I'm not interested in gaining elite status, since we need to sit with our young children.
     
  2. aitchly
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    aitchly Silver Member

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    Start collecting everywhere! You should easily be able to get 250,000 'miles' in the course of a year using both names and both of your businesses to collect credit card bonuses.

    Make sure to consider hotels in your calculations of total trip costs (and get those SPG, Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Hyatt cards too).
     
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  3. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    First thing is where are you and what airline/s service your nearest/closest airport/s?
    Second, the "where" of where you want to travel...
    Hard to give more specific advice than what aitchly gave above without more information :)
    Welcome to MP! :)
     
  4. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Welcome. I would say you can realistically gather close to a million miles and points in a year between the two of you, if you are patient and persistent. If you want them all in one program, definitely much less. As Kaanapali said, share where you fly from, where you want to go and whether or not you want/need first or business class as a goal.
     
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  5. heather123

    heather123 Active Member

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    Thanks for encouragement! We live in ATL, and would like to go to Costa Rica for our 1st overseas trip with little kids. I've read a little on card churning, but and advice on how often to apply? How many? I've opened an acct with creditkarma to watch for our scores.
     
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  6. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I think only Delta offers non-stops from Atlanta to San Jose. Delta is easy to earn miles on, but it's difficult to redeem their miles (usually high cost). I believe you can each get 50,000 miles for a new Delta AMEX.
    Other airlines will get you there with one stop.
    You can get 2 Citi AA cards if you apply for both on the same day and get 150,000 AA miles that way. And both of you can do that, so you could easily have 300,000 AA miles. That should be more than enough for a family of four.
    Both Continental and United have offers out with Chase Bank for 50,000 miles with a new credit card. Since those two airlines are merging, you would soon have 100,000 miles each.

    How often and how many cards varies with the companies and with your credit rating. Keep in mind that different credit card companies are aligned with different airlines. So, if you want, you can spread applications out over time and over companies.

    One thread you should look at, here on MP is:
    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/best-current-credit-card-signup-bonuses.557/
     
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  7. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP! I have a family of five so I understand your challenge of getting the whole bunch somewhere. There are many places you can fly outside the US directly from ATL on Delta but I agree, getting flight with miles can be a challenge at times. Hotels stays can be more expensive than flights so you will want to look into collecting hotel points as well.

    I often fly from or through ATL. If you watch fare sales, you can often find good deals from ATL to various places in the Caribbean which are great places to take the kids. We have found $250 flights to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

    I haven't made it to Costa Rica yet, but my two sons are going in July.
     
  8. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MP!!!!!!

    To directly answer a couple of your questions.
    1. I would suggest you focus on getting 2 award seats and paying for 2. Getting 4 seats, especially if it is in business, is almost impossible.
    2. Do a search to see which banks, in your area, pull from which credit bureau. This will be the first step in determining how many miles you can "earn" from the CC initial sign up bonus'. Here in So. California, EVERYONE uses Experian so we are very limited. We can't churn as much as other areas where various banks use various credit bureaus for their pulls.
    3. Also, make sure you remember hotel cards. SPG AMEX is a good place to start in that you can either use the points for hotel or transfer to airline miles.
    4. Andrew Ingersol (frugaltravelguy.com) has a NOOB daughter that has just started churning for miles. You might want to look at her blog and see what suggestions she is getting.

    Remember, make sure you keep your credit score up.

    Good Luck.
     
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  9. heather123

    heather123 Active Member

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    I have been following Shannon at the frugaltravelguy.com, and it's been very helpful. How do I search which banks in GA pull from which credit bureau?
     
  10. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Creditboards has a sheet to check. However, you will see that the data tends to be all over the map. My experience in Southern California is that EVERYONE uses Experian. However, others in this area have different experiences. Next time you look at your credit report, it will give you an idea of who uses what bureau in your area.

    http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?app=creditpulls
     
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  11. Heather... you are not alone! I am in much the same position, and I just booked our family vacation for May!! [​IMG] Let me say, I have only been in the miles game about 5-6 weeks. This is a link to my recent post in the AA forum.

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads...s-a-very-decent-alternative.5588/#post-215157

    Very quick run down of what I did... hopefully it will help you. Spouse and I applied and received 4 Citi cards with the 75k miles signing promo. Most of the spending requirements were met using regular expenses, allthough I did have to get creative on others because I wanted the miles ASAP. Keep in mind, different names equal different AAdvantage accounts, so we each got 150k in our accounts posted within 2 days after the card stmts closed. Feel free to send me a msg if you would like more details.
     

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