So much to lean and know and remember!

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by mailbroad, Dec 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. mailbroad

    mailbroad Silver Member

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    Hello! First of all, I really like this site! I have found that people do not argue and make comments about the OP... you know, like they are talking about them and they do not know.... Now I wonder where they do that?!
    And... everyone is so helpful! So...
    What is the best way to go about learning all of this in an organized fashion? I am not a spreadsheet person. I could not make one if you asked! Should I make lists? Should I list all the flyer programs that originate at my local airport and how long the miles last? Figure out which credit cards to really concentrate on? I do have the Sapphire and Hyatt and plan to get United for my husband and me... and maybe the Sapphire for him! I just need some organization tips. If it is somewhere else on the forum and I did not find it I apologize!

    If I had to organize a mail truck with holiday mail including 50 parcels to deliver that would be easy... this is not...
     
  2. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Lists/spreadsheets/files are your friends in this game. I know I would be crazy without my spreadsheet that lists CC's with spend needed, date spend needed by, spend reached, bonus eligible, etc. and other promotions/when the miles are due etc. Plus it helps me catch a lot of things falling through the cracks. Perhaps you can help us with your goals and some of your information and we can argue and make comments about you help you out with some custom recommendations. I will say that the newbie section over here has some great information for anyone looking to get started http://milepoint.com/forums/forums/newbies/
     
  3. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    If you are new to the game and think you may lack organisational skills to maximise your returns, maybe it might be best to focus on a few programs and grow your knowledge.

    I am nowhere near an expert of most on this site, however what helps is the following:

    a) I do spreadsheet my balances
    b) I set goals at the beginning of each calendar year of what spends I need to make on each card to qualify on bonuses. ie. for 2012 I aim to spend $30k on the Gold AMEX to achieve the 15k bonus
    c) Be aware of the bonus categories for each of the cards you do hold
    d) KNow what promotions are currently on for each program.
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yes, you could. It's easy. Imagine the spreadsheet is nothing but a paper form with fields to fill in. Don't worry about calculating anything, just record stuff to begin with.
    The easiest way to start? Google Docs, if you already have a google/gmail account. Nothing to install. Automatically saves data you enter.
     
  5. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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  6. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    First thing to do is to sign up for a program like AwardWallet that tracks all your miles and points for you. That will make your life much simpler. Then you will have all your miles and points and programs and expiration dates in one place. It takes less than an hour or so to get all your info entered, and after that it's breeze. And since you are a beginner, you probably don't have that much info, yet. (and it's not a spreadsheet, it's simple webpage on which all your programs will be listed).
    My second recommendation is to remember that you can go slowly with credit cards. You don't have to try to get them all at once. Some people love to get a bunch at once. I prefer to get one every few months or so. Do it however feels best for you.
    It's definitely worthwhile to know your home airport and which airline flies you to where you want to go without too many stops and changes. When you live near a small airport like you and I do, it's easy to be seduced by some of he wonderful airline programs you hear about, until you realize that you'd have to drive 200+ miles to get to one of their flights.
     
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  7. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    I endorse everything that has been said above, and would note that evreward.com has recently helped maximize earning points while shopping through online portals.

    I'd add that it helps to have some goals in mind. Only the craziest fanatics collect miles for their own sake. Have a goal about where you want your miles to take you. For example, we're planning a Dec-Jan 2013 trip to Southeast Asia, so we're getting credit cards now and aiming for specific point totals for flights and hotels while we're in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. It's so many miles per flight, plus so many points for hotel stays.

    With some slightly more specific goals, you can pass over every last opportunity that comes up, limit your credit card turnover/obsession, and generally not have to track every open account down to the last mile.
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Personally, I follow a similar approach. I get cards that meet a particular goal/need I have. Certainly there are certain irresistible offers like the 100k BA miles VISA that I got without having a concrete plan for the miles (and in fact, 12+ months later I still have those miles).

    Also, try to learn what the three alliances (Star Alliance, OneWorld, SkyTeam) are about, what airlines are part of what alliance (especially your hometown airlines), as these will help you plan international trips. Eventually, if you travel enough, you'll probably find that focussing on one alliance helps you aggregate miles and status.
     
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  9. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I couldn't agree more with those that mention having a goal. It is important to remember that not all hotel chains have good coverage in all parts of the world. For example, there is no point having a ton of Hyatt points if your aim is to go beyond the bigger cities of Europe as they do not have the properties.

    Also remember it is not a competition as to who has the most cards or the most points or who is getting better value out of their points. It's what works for you.
     
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  10. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Amen!
     
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  11. mailbroad

    mailbroad Silver Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll check out the google spreadsheet thingamabob!
     
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  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Absolutely. Points and miles are only worth what they are redeemed for (and if/when they are redeemed). Hoarding them just because there are "cheap" ways to get them is a bad idea.
     
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  13. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    I use PageOnce on my iPhone to remind me when I have a bill due. It's a lifesaver with so many credit cards that I use for different things!

    I subscribe to the blogs on my Google Reader so that I can get easy access to them sometime during the day.

    I use AwardWallet to keep track of my balances. I refresh it at least every other day. PageOnce also keeps track of some programs, but AW is much more comprehensive.

    I try to do as much shopping online and use evreward.com to check how to earn extra miles!

    And lastly, I don't collect large amounts of miles unless I know I will have a use for them sometime soon within the future. I did the BA 100K deal in April and already used most of them for a trip in February. I did the US Grand Slam for 184K and will use the majority of them for a trip in summer. If I do collect lots of miles from everyday things, I like to collect them in Chase Ultimate Rewards so that I can move them to several different programs from there.
     
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  14. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    Gotta agree with miles and smiles. I tried going it alone for a while. I can't tell you how much time Award Wallet saves me. Keeps me from going insane.
     
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  15. mailbroad

    mailbroad Silver Member

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    miles and smiles is right about the home airport.
     
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