frequent flyer miles http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8157/all en-US Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airplane-5270783-small.jpg" alt="airline" title="airline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From choice of program, to accumulation strategies, ongoing management, and eventual redemption, there are many tricks to effectively using frequent flyer miles. Here is everything you need to know to become a frequent flyer superstar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Choosing Your Rewards Program</h2> <p>Before you even choose your weapon (aka mileage programs and strategies), you need to establish the game at hand. Instead of randomly collecting miles for the sake of collecting them, find a reason to earn miles. Is it a business class flight to Europe? A family vacation to Disney? The more focused you are in your intent, the more targeted and effective your accumulation strategies will be. (See also: <u><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points">Maximize the Value of Your Airline Miles and Points</a></u>)</p> <p><strong>Programs Galore</strong></p> <p>Although generally referred to as &quot;frequent flyer miles,&quot; a more accurate term would be &quot;reward miles&quot; or &quot;reward points,&quot; since not only airlines, but hotels, transportation providers, and even grocery stores provide opportunities for accumulating points that can translate into free or discounted travel.</p> <p><strong>Understand the Alliances</strong></p> <p>Most major airlines belong to an alliance, which allows for accumulation and redemption of miles with different airlines. Thus, you can accumulate miles with US Airways, and redeem them for flights on Swiss Air. Or you can fly with West Jet, but attribute your miles to American Airlines.</p> <p>The three major alliances are <a target="_blank" href="http://www.staralliance.com/en/">Star Alliance</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.oneworld.com/member-airlines/">One World</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.skyteam.com/en/About-us/Our-members/">Sky Team</a>.</p> <p><strong>Diversify Among Alliances</strong></p> <p>To maximize your opportunities (without scattering your efforts too much), choose one airline from each alliance as a focal point for accumulation.</p> <p><strong>Collect Universal Points</strong></p> <p>There are a few reward miles programs (like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan.aspx">Alaska Airlines</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html">SPG</a>) that provide excellent flexibility in allowing you to transfer your points to airlines and hotel programs spread across all the alliances. Look for ways to accumulate miles into one of these types of programs (such as with a credit card &mdash; see below).</p> <h2>Managing Miles</h2> <p>This is where we separate the aces from the also-rans, because managing miles is nor for the faint of heart. But all the effort will pay off, especially if you're enjoying a long-haul business class flight for a fraction of the price of an economy ticket.</p> <p><strong>Organize Yourself</strong></p> <p>Despite choosing focal points for major accumulation within each of the alliances, you're going to end up having lots of accounts. Signing up for a hotel program and liking them on Facebook for 1,000 points could come in handy down the road when you find a bonus transfer deal.</p> <p>But this means you'll also have to organize multiple user names, passwords, membership numbers, and track your earnings. Dust off your spreadsheet skills and don't be wary of joining too many programs; you never know when they'll be useful.</p> <p><strong>Use a Rewards Management Site</strong></p> <p>Though not a full substitute for the trusty spreadsheet, using a rewards management site can help you get an overview your memberships, find deals, and transfer miles between programs. The three main sites are <a target="_blank" href="http://www.awardwallet.com/">Award Wallet</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here">Points</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.usingmiles.com/">Using Miles</a>.</p> <p><strong>Watch for Expiration</strong></p> <p>Many programs revoke your miles if your account is inactive for too long. But you can keep them going with as little as a periodic $1 online purchase earning miles to that program. Rewards management sites like those above help you to track your expiration dates so you can earn accordingly.</p> <p><strong>Beware of Transfers and Trades</strong></p> <p>Although a couple of the programs above allow you to trade miles between users and transfer miles between rewards programs, beware! Most of the time you'll lose too much value per mile for it to be worthwhile. The exception to this rule is with the universal points programs referenced earlier.</p> <p><strong>Track Your Strategies</strong></p> <p>When you complete a transaction that earns you miles (be it online shopping, booking a flight, or participating in a promotion), record your activity in your trusty spreadsheet &mdash; and double-check that the miles are deposited to your account. Sometimes you need to contact the rewards program to ensure the correct amount of miles are attributed. They're usually quite nice when you call, but don't trust all transactions to process correctly; be ready to enforce your rights.</p> <h2>Earning Miles</h2> <p>Here are some ways and means to earn miles. Combine as many strategies as you can to maximize value!</p> <p><strong>Don't Reinvent the Wheel</strong></p> <p>I don't have time to extensively research all programs and opportunities, nor to troll the frequent <a target="_blank" href="http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/index.php">flyer talk forums</a> for deals. As an answer to this, you can enroll in various membership programs such as the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">Travel Hacking Cartel</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2013/06/financial-travel-tip-83-frequent-flyer-mile-accumulation-for-canadians/">Canadian Freeflyers</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.firstclassflyer.com/">First Class Flyer</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2013/06/financial-travel-tip-85-the-ultimate-guide-to-frequent-flyer-miles/">The Ultimate Guide to Frequent Flyer Miles</a> to provide a knowledge base, and deliver new deals to your inbox.</p> <p><strong>Get a Credit Card (or Two)</strong></p> <p>I've (cautiously) extolled the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">virtues of credit cards</a> for years now; the main reason being that they are excellent tools for accumulating miles on every dollar you spend.</p> <p>Choose a credit card with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">a plush bonus for signing up</a>, and a program that is one of your chosen focal points for accumulation.</p> <p>Some people apply ruthlessly for credit cards offering sign-up bonuses, then cancel the cards accordingly. Use this strategy with caution (don't overextend your credit, don't get yourself into unnecessary debt, and keep an eye on your credit score); but when done successfully you can earn mega-miles.</p> <p><strong>Go Shopping</strong></p> <p>This isn't a carte blanche order. But if you need to buy something (right down to gas and groceries), make sure you're earning for it. Some airline programs have online shopping malls (allowing you to earn various amounts per dollar spent across a huge variety of stores), and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/love-travel-but-hate-airline-miles-try-amexs-blue-sky-preferred">some credit cards provide bonus miles for purchases</a> in certain retail categories.</p> <p>Look for retailers offering mileage bonus deals, and pay for the item with your reward miles credit card to maximize your earnings.</p> <p><strong>Go Flying</strong></p> <p>Although the end-game is usually to fly for free (or almost free) &mdash; and ideally <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/my-business-class-travel-adventures-and-using-frequent-flyer-miles/">in business class or higher</a>, sometimes you have to fly somewhere and you don't have the miles to do it.</p> <p>Or, if you're an eager accumulator, maybe you're interested in doing a &quot;mileage run&quot; and flying a route offering a special mileage deal.</p> <p>Choose airlines that help you earn miles in one of your focal programs (remember, sometimes you can fly with one airline and earn with another), and sometimes a marginally more expensive flight with an accumulating airline beats out a slightly cheaper flight with a budget airline that earns you no miles.</p> <p><strong>Remember Hotels</strong></p> <p>Hotel rewards programs not only offer valuable points and bonuses for staying, but regular promotions that earn you miles without needing to book anything. Some hotel points are also transferrable to airline miles at good value.</p> <h2>Redeeming Miles</h2> <p>This is what it's ultimately about. You've earned the miles, and you want to use them for travel.</p> <p><strong>Remember Hotels (Again)</strong></p> <p>Using points towards stays can be quite lucrative. Remember to engineer your accumulation strategy towards your desired travel goals. You can earn miles for redemption towards flights and hotels (and even car rentals) to further cut your travel costs.</p> <p><strong>Don't Get Sidetracked</strong></p> <p>Some rewards programs offer goods, certificates, and services in exchange for your points. Most of the time, the value per mile is atrocious for these items; just buy the blender for cash &mdash; you'll pay exponentially more for it if you use miles.</p> <p><strong>Flying for Miles and Cash</strong></p> <p>If you don't have enough miles for a flight, some airlines allow you to redeem your miles and pay cash to cover the difference. Pay attention to their valuation per mile; sometimes it's worthwhile to pay all cash for this flight and earn miles, using your beefed-up mileage balance for your next flight.</p> <p><strong>Free Flights Aren't Exactly Free</strong></p> <p>Even if miles pay for your &quot;full flight&quot;, you're always on the hook for taxes, fees, and various surcharges. These vary by airline, airport, and route. You can minimize these fees with a little comparative digging.</p> <p><strong>Fly in Style</strong></p> <p>You get much better valuation on your miles when you fly in business class, and on long-haul flights. (And I must say, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/my-business-class-travel-adventures-and-using-frequent-flyer-miles/">business class is addictive</a>.)</p> <h2>Not in the USA?</h2> <p>There is much griping amongst non-U.S. residents that the best frequent flyer mile deals are exclusive to the United States. And to a point, it's true.</p> <p>But all is not lost for those of us in Canada, Europe, and beyond. Canadians can shorten the learning curve with programs like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.canadianfreeflyers.com/">Canadian Free Flyers</a>, and regardless of where you live, there are deals you can participate in. <a target="_blank" href="http://travelhacking.org/">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> founder Chris Guillebeau surmises that at least 50% of the deals he publishes are applicable internationally, and he extends his free flight guarantee to all his readers &mdash; U.S. residents or not.</p> <p><em>How do navigate the confusing world of airline frequent flyer programs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-adventurous-things-you-should-do-before-you-die">15 Adventurous Things You Should Do Before You Die</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Deals and Coupons Travel airline miles frequent flyer frequent flyer miles travel travel rewards Mon, 15 Jul 2013 09:48:33 +0000 Nora Dunn 980279 at http://www.wisebread.com Advanced Airline Miles Collection Tricks for High Flyers http://www.wisebread.com/advanced-airline-miles-collection-tricks-for-high-flyers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/advanced-airline-miles-collection-tricks-for-high-flyers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4553247-small.jpg" alt="airline tickets" title="airline tickets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On one of my first award flights in international business class, I was settling into my lie flat seat for the 13-hour flight, just as economy class passengers were boarding. One of them gasped at my accommodations and asked, &quot;How did you get that seat?&quot; The only response I could offer was &quot;Collect frequent flier miles.&quot; I doubt she was satisfied by that answer, but if you are serious about earning the most points and miles, I'll share some of my more advanced techniques. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Focus on Sign Up Bonuses</h2> <p>I earn hundreds of thousands of points a year, but I don't buy airline tickets with dollars and I certainly don&rsquo;t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on my credit cards. Thankfully, we are fortunate to live in a time when banks are willing to offer hundreds, or even thousands of dollars worth of rewards, just to give new customers a chance to earn their business. Currently, there are some fantastic sign-up bonuses available that are worth 50,000 points or miles, or two free nights in the most luxurious hotels. Each of those can be worth about two thousand dollars to those who use their points and miles wisely.</p> <p>Nevertheless, cardholders need to be careful. Only sign up for new credit cards if doing so will not be an incentive for you to spend more than necessary. And if you have credit card debt, focus on paying it off, not earning rewards.</p> <h2>2. Watch for Bonus Spending Categories</h2> <p>You can earn tens of thousands of points or miles without spending tens of thousands of dollars. The trick is to use credit cards that offer double, triple, or even more rewards on certain categories of spending.</p> <p>For example, the Chase Freedom, Discover It, and Citi Dividend Platinum Select each offer 5x rewards for spending on categories that change each quarter. I get 5x points for charging office supplies, telephone, and Internet service to my Chase Ink Bold card, and I earn double points for dining and travel charges on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Find the cards that will give you the biggest bonuses for the purchases you make the most, and use them strategically.</p> <h2>3. Spend Shifting</h2> <p>What if your card is offering 5x miles at grocery stores, but you need to make a major purchase from a hardware store? Simply go to your grocery store and buy a gift card for the hardware store. In many cases, you can even buy generic Visa, MasterCard, or American Express gift cards at grocery, drug, and office supply stores. These cards can be used anywhere within their respective payment networks, but just make sure that the miles you receive are worth any extra fees you must pay.</p> <h2>4. Manufactured Spending</h2> <p>The holy grail of advance mileage earning is to buy something with a mileage earning credit card, and somehow use that purchase to pay off the card. This was once just the territory of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-mileage-hacking-creative-ways-to-earn-flier-miles">extreme mileage hackers</a>, but it is now being used by hobbyists to varying degrees.</p> <p>What changed?</p> <p>Banks are now racing to offer pre-paid debit cards to the &quot;underbanked&quot; population, and it is sometimes possible to use a credit card to purchase reloads for these cards. The money can then be withdrawn from an ATM or even used to pay off the credit card bill electronically. Other times, people purchase gift cards, and use those cards to purchase money orders that are then deposited in their bank accounts just like checks. In addition, people use electronic payment services such as Amazon.com to pay each other via their credit card.</p> <h2>Getting Started</h2> <p>So how do you get started? First, do lots of research. New opportunities constantly arise and loopholes constantly close as this hobby has become a cat and mouse game between reward travel enthusiasts and financial service providers. Be aware that people are happy to disclose their failures online, but less enthusiastic share their success and risk having a loophole become popularized. Be sure to focus on credit cards with spending bonuses, as these products will be more likely to offer rewards in excess of any fees you are charged.</p> <p>Next, just dip your toe in. Make a small purchase of a reload pack or a gift card, and try to cash it out. You will want to test any technique before scaling it up, as there are lots of ways this can go wrong. In fact, some transactions can be approved or denied depending on the region you live in, the store you visit, or even the cashier on duty that day. Finally, don&rsquo;t bother with this unless you have your finances in order and are good at keeping things organized.</p> <p>Earning a few thousand points for a reward trip to Disney World is easy enough, but the real challenge is earning hundreds of thousands of miles for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">a premium class international trip</a>. By learning about advanced mileage earning techniques, you too can eventually invite jealous stares from your business class seat.</p> <p><em>Have you tried any of these &mdash; or other &mdash; airline point gathering techniques? Share your experience in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advanced-airline-miles-collection-tricks-for-high-flyers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">5 Tips for Scoring a Frequent-Flyer Rewards Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airline miles frequent flyer miles Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:24:42 +0000 Jason Steele 980495 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Frequent Flyer Rules to Go Farther on Fewer Miles http://www.wisebread.com/7-frequent-flyer-rules-to-go-farther-on-fewer-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-frequent-flyer-rules-to-go-farther-on-fewer-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airplane-4386311-small.jpg" alt="airplane" title="airplane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to reward travel, most people focus on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-mileage-hacking-creative-ways-to-earn-flier-miles">earning the most points and miles</a>. That makes sense, considering that these loyalty points are scarce, and the more you have the better off you are. But just as with actual dollars, how you spend your points and miles is nearly as important as how many you earn.</p> <p>Here are the principles I live by to ensure that I am getting the most valuable award flights from my points and miles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Always Book Low Mileage or Saver Awards</h2> <p>I can't tell you how many times my friends and family have told me that they had to spend 200,000 miles for a business class ticket to Europe because they could not find any low-level award space. I always tell them that they are either not trying hard enough, or they are not being flexible enough when they search for awards. Either way, travelers are almost certainly receiving terrible value from their miles if they don't book flights at the lowest mileage levels. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-started-with-travel-rewards-in-4-simple-steps">Get Started With Travel Rewards in 4 Simple Steps</a>)</p> <p>How do you find low mileage level awards?</p> <p>If you have some time and patience, search on how to find award space on your airline, as there are volumes written <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-frequent-flier-program-has-the-best-awards-availability">about each airline's specific program</a>. But if you just want to get it done, <a href="http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/dispatches/post/2010/11/award-booking-services-help-make-frequent-flier-miles-take-flight/130280/1">there are several award booking services</a> that will do the work for you for a reasonable fee. Think of these services as travel agents, but just for those who pay with points and miles.</p> <h2>2. Make Sure to Price the Alternative</h2> <p>Before pulling the trigger on an award booking, double check to see if you can find a paid flight at a reasonable price. If a paid flight costs less than the two cents per mile you would have redeemed, it might be worth saving your miles and purchasing the ticket with cash. If it costs one cent or less per mile, always pay cash and save your miles for a better opportunity. For example, a last minute domestic flight or an international business class award might return 3-6 cents per mile.</p> <h2>3. Be Flexible and Book Awards in Advance</h2> <p>I hate to repeat advice that is so often given, but it can't be said enough. If you can only schedule a vacation a month or two in advance, or you have to travel to specific place on certain dates, using traditional airline miles may not be a realistic option. In fact, the less flexible your travel plans are, the further in advance you need to book an award flight. Award tickets tend to become available as early as 11 months before a flight, and I have booked my most spectacular awards at that time.</p> <h2>4. Consider Fixed Value Programs for Less Expensive Flights</h2> <p>Most airline mileage programs will offer all flights in the lower 48 states at the same rate. That means that a flight from Miami to Orlando is the same price as Miami to Seattle. The exception is fixed value point programs operated by carriers such as Southwest, JetBlue, and Virgin America. These programs offer any seat for sale as an award, and the points required vary in relation to the sale price of the ticket. So if you need an award flight to a low-cost destination, don't burn a 25,000 mile domestic award.</p> <h2>5. Think Partners</h2> <p>Every major airline frequent flier program boasts how it has partnered with carriers around the world. But the biggest mistake that most travelers make is not searching for partner awards. Unfortunately, most airlines make this difficult by not including all of their partner flights in award searches. Worse, many telephone agents simply haven't been trained on how to search for and book award tickets on some lesser-known partners. In fact, it is not uncommon for telephone agents to erroneously tell customers that they can't even book awards on some partner airlines! Once again, persistent award travelers need to do their own research on how to find partner award flights, or consult an award booking service.</p> <h2>6. Go Comfortably</h2> <p>The best value for award flights is almost always in business or first class, and there are several reasons.</p> <p>First, a business or first class flight can require as little as 50% more miles than a coach award, but rarely more than 100% more. At the same time, these tickets tend to cost 3-6 times more dollars to purchase.</p> <p>In addition, travelers can save money by having a far more generous luggage allowance, and time by receiving priority check in, security, and baggage delivery.</p> <p>Finally, award travel may be the only chance for otherwise frugal travelers to experience the joys of luxury travel. For years I scoffed at those who would spend thousands of extra dollars to travel for a few hours in a slightly nicer seat. But after my first international business class award, in a lie-flat sleeper seat on an overnight flight, I never hesitated to pay an additional 50% in more miles for the vastly improved comfort and service I received.</p> <h2>7. Go Far</h2> <p>Business and first class tickets within North America and to Europe and South America tend to be about double the price of an economy class award. But when you book an award flight to Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East, premium class seats are only 50% more miles than economy</p> <p>In addition, you can sometimes fly twice as far for only a few extra miles. For example, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bringing-water-and-wheels-to-africa-my-amazing-frugal-vacation">my trip to Africa last year</a> required 120,000 miles for a business class flight, but if I had stopped halfway in Europe, it would have cost 100,000 miles. So I flew twice as far for only 20% more miles. And finally, Americans receive more miles than those in other countries, largely due to our reward credit cards. So the further we travel from home, the less competition there is for scarce award seats.</p> <p>You worked hard to earn points and miles, but the fact is that you also need to work hard to redeem them. By following these principals, you can stretch your points and miles further than you may have thought possible.</p> <p><em>Have I overlooked any frequent flyer redemption tricks? Please share yours in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frequent-flyer-rules-to-go-farther-on-fewer-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">5 Tips for Scoring a Frequent-Flyer Rewards Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advanced-airline-miles-collection-tricks-for-high-flyers">Advanced Airline Miles Collection Tricks for High Flyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximizing-rewards-programs-with-pointscom">Maximizing Rewards Programs with Points.com</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel frequent flyer miles Wed, 03 Jul 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Jason Steele 980339 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways to Enjoy Business Class for Less Than the Cost of Economy http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-enjoy-business-class-for-less-than-the-cost-of-economy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-to-enjoy-business-class-for-less-than-the-cost-of-economy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airplane-3011619-small.jpg" alt="airplane" title="airplane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you choose to fly 14 hours overseas in a seat that is 32 inches wide and has a 6 inch recline or in a seat that is 82 inches wide and lies completely flat? Would you choose to sit for the few hours before the flight in a loud waiting area with limited seating or in a room that has free WiFi, comfortable chairs, and complimentary food? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-compact-airplane-snacks-for-frequent-fliers">6 Compact Snacks for Frequent Fliers</a>)</p> <p>We'd probably all prefer to fly business class except for one thing&nbsp;&mdash; the price. Business class travel is expensive. For example, at the time this post is being written, <a href="http://www.kayak.com/" target="_blank">Kayak.com</a> is offering a round trip business class flight between Denver and Beijing, China for $5,033, which is the cheapest fare available.</p> <p>How many of us can afford to fork out several thousand dollars for a business class seat?</p> <p>But what if a traveler is <em>determined </em>to get to Beijing in a business class seat? Would there be a cheaper way?</p> <p>Yes &mdash; more than one, even.</p> <h2>1. Accumulate Airline Miles via Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses</h2> <p>I checked out a few of the major U.S. airlines to see if there was award availability and how much it would cost to travel from Denver to Beijing on the dates I used in my example above.</p> <p><strong>Business Class to China Cost in Airline Miles</strong></p> <ul> <li>United = 120,000 miles plus around $50 in taxes and fees.</li> <li>American = 110,000 plus around $50 in taxes and fees.</li> <li>US Airways = 90,000 plus around $125 in taxes and fees (higher taxes and fees because it can't be booked online).</li> <li>Delta = 120,000 plus around $50 in taxes and fees.</li> </ul> <p>So, dependning on the carrier, you'd need 90,000 to 120,000 airline miles.</p> <p><strong>Accumulating Miles Through Credit Card Bonuses</strong></p> <p>Several cards offer attractive sign up bonuses. To keep it simple, I've limited the example to United.</p> <ol> <li>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review-500-signup-bonus">Chase Sapphire Preferred Card</a> gives a 50,000 Ultimate Reward point sign up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Those points can be transferred 1:1 to United.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The Chase Ink Bold business card has a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus offer. You get 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The Chase United MileagePlus credit card has offers between 30,000 and 55,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months.</li> </ol> <p>You couldn't get all these cards at one time, but you could get a business and personal card and then wait 90 days and get a second personal card. Either way, after applying for these three cards and meeting the minimum spend, you could have a $5,000+ business class ticket to China. By focusing on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards" target="_blank">best travel credit cards</a>, you should be able to get the miles necessary to fly for next to nothing.</p> <h2>2. Buy Miles</h2> <p>This tip specifically applies to US Airways, as they tend to have the best offers <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles" target="_blank">for buying miles</a>. There are other airlines that occasionally sell miles at a discounted rate, too.</p> <p>Several times this year, US Airways has had a promotion where they will give you a 100% mileage bonus when you purchase miles. During those promotions, miles cost 1.88 cents each (including any taxes and fees). Since US Airways requires 90,000 miles to fly business class to China, you could buy the miles you need for $1,692 plus your approximate $125 in taxes and fees when you redeem your miles. That's still a sub-$2,000 business class flight to Asia.</p> <p>Typically, you need to have an active US Airways account before the promotion is announced, so I suggest you <a href="https://membership.usairways.com/Create/AccountInformation.aspx" target="_blank">join Dividend Miles</a> in order to be ready for the next 100% bonus mileage purchase promotions.</p> <h2>3. Make Mileage Runs for Airline Status Upgrades</h2> <p>This is going to sound really crazy, and it probably is, depending on how much time you have and how much you like flying.</p> <p>Using this approach, you would fly on a plane simply to earn the miles and status. Of course, you'd want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-lowest-price-on-airfare-even-after-you-buy" target="_blank">find the cheapest fares possible</a> in order to earn the miles at the lowest price possible.</p> <p>I visited Flyer Talk and found an expired fare to use as an example. This sample is probably low for what you could find today, but it's a good illustration. The sample flight on American Airlines is from Boston to Portland for $180 round trip. You could book the flight via Dallas, which is a total of 6,355 miles round trip.</p> <p>Using this example, if you flew that flight 17 times, you'd end up with 114,390 miles. You'd earn that much because when you hit Gold status, you'd earn a 25% bonus, and when you hit Platinum status you'd earn a 100% mileage bonus. Anyway, it would cost you $3,060 to get the miles (plus a bunch of time), and you'd also get American Airlines Executive Platinum status.</p> <p>One of the nicest benefits of the status is that you'd get eight <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free" target="_blank">system-wide upgrades</a> for international flights on American Airlines. This means that if there is upgrade availability on a flight, you can buy the cheapest American economy class fare and upgrade to business class. There are a lot of other benefits, too.</p> <p>The result is that you don't just get enough miles for one business class flight to China, but you could find an economy class fare of $1,256 on American and upgrade it to business class. With your accumulated points, you could do this four times, round trip. The upgrades are not just to China, but to any American Airlines destination.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other tips for getting a business class ticket at a fraction of the actual cost?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-enjoy-business-class-for-less-than-the-cost-of-economy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">5 Tips for Scoring a Frequent-Flyer Rewards Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advanced-airline-miles-collection-tricks-for-high-flyers">Advanced Airline Miles Collection Tricks for High Flyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel business class frequent flyer miles travel credit card Fri, 19 Apr 2013 09:48:36 +0000 Craig Ford 973484 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I Hate Credit Card Points http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-hate-credit-card-points <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-hate-credit-card-points" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/762062828_0d61fbf38e_z.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With few exceptions, I have no interest in rewards in the form of &quot;points,&quot; &quot;miles,&quot; or anything similar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/swipe-envy">Swipe Envy</a>)</p> <p>I've always felt this way, but I've been prompted to write this by a particularly annoying commercial. What sets me off is when the actor playing the customer talks about how his points are &quot;like money in the bank.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, my response is, &quot;You know what's <em>more</em> like money in the bank? <em>Money in the bank!</em>&quot;</p> <p>Then he goes on to talk about how he can &quot;spend&quot; his points to get stuff he wants.</p> <p>To which I say, &quot;You know what else you can spend to get stuff you want? <em>Money in the bank!</em>&quot;</p> <p>(I actually do say these things &mdash; out loud, at the TV. So far, fortunately, my wife is managing to find my reaction amusing rather than annoying.)</p> <h2>When Points Are Worth It</h2> <p>There are two circumstances when taking points, miles, or any similar construct is a win: When someone else is paying (but you get the rewards), and when the company screws up.</p> <p><strong>When Someone Else Is Paying</strong></p> <p>The modern origin of these schemes is frequent flier miles. They were invented as a way to incentivize business travelers to chose a particular airline for their company-paid travel.</p> <p>The issue was that business travelers had a lot of control over their business travel. Even within rules that required choosing the cheapest fare, the traveler had considerable influence, because they could control the details of when they could leave and when they had to return. If they wanted to travel on Airline X, it was easy to schedule meetings such that traveling on Airline Y would require an extra overnight stay or any extra day away from the office.</p> <p>The reason there are so many complex rules about using and transferring frequent filer miles was to make it difficult for companies to insist that their business travelers use them for business trips or turn them over to the company.</p> <p>But this is only an advantage when the person who's getting the miles isn't the one paying the fare. When you're paying for your own ticket, frequent flier miles are just a way to prepay for future trips that you may not even take.</p> <p>A special case of this is when you can get your money back, but still keep the points. For a while there was a deal to let coin collectors buy directly from U.S. Mint at face value. People were buying coins with a credit card that offered miles, and then just depositing the money at their bank at face value.</p> <p><strong>When the Company Screws Up</strong></p> <p>It doesn't happen often, but sometimes a company will screw up. There was a famous case a few years ago where a company offered free travel for people who bought appliances. Unfortunately for the company, the people who designed the scheme got careless. They were thinking about large appliances like refrigerators, but wrote rules that let small appliances like vacuum cleaners and bread makers count. People quickly figured out the cheapest set of small appliances that would entitle them for the trip they wanted to take and bought those appliances in great numbers. The company ended the program as quickly as it could, but still ended up losing a lot of money.</p> <h2>Prefer Cash</h2> <p>Except for those special cases, you're almost always better off taking the cash &mdash; using a cash-back rewards card, or buying from a business that doesn't load you up with a stupid points-based rewards program.</p> <p>I know some people parse these schemes very closely and find that there are circumstances where they can come out ahead. (See, for example: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs </a>and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximizing-rewards-programs-with-pointscom">Maximizing Rewards Programs with Points.com</a>.) To a first approximation, I'm automatically doubtful.</p> <p>I have a credit card that provides cash back. I could get one that provides miles instead. But I know that a credit card company that provides miles is buying the miles from an airline &mdash; and it wouldn't be doing so unless it's getting the miles for less.</p> <p>The airline is glad to sell miles to the credit card company cheap, because it knows that it comes out ahead in a dozen different ways. It sets the rules for how much the miles are worth and when they can be used. Plus, it knows that most of the miles will go unused for months or years &mdash; and that some miles will never be used.</p> <p>Even the people who do the careful parsing, and think they're getting their miles cheap, sometimes end up being unable to take the trip that they think they're getting such a good deal on &mdash; a work emergency or a family emergency or just a change in circumstance will force a change in plans, and there they'll be with a bunch of frequent flier miles.</p> <p>Prefer cash. You can spend it on whatever you want, not just on whatever the firm that offers points or miles wants to sell you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-hate-credit-card-points">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">5 Tips for Scoring a Frequent-Flyer Rewards Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximizing-rewards-programs-with-pointscom">Maximizing Rewards Programs with Points.com</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airline points cash back rewards frequent flyer miles Wed, 16 May 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Philip Brewer 929165 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buysellmiles-5270782-small.jpg" alt="airplane button" title="airplane button" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most airlines these days have frequent flyer programs where you can use your accumulated miles to redeem rewards, often in the form of flight tickets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheapest-way-to-fly-to-europe">The Cheapest Way to Fly to Europe</a>)</p> <p>It's great when you earn enough miles to pay for free trips, but you don't necessarily have to wait for your miles to build up before you reap the fruits of your miles.&nbsp;You can also buy, sell, and transfer frequent flyer miles to get a deal you want.</p> <h2>How to Buy Miles</h2> <p>You can purchase miles directly from an airline by visiting their rewards program page. (For American Airlines, it's <a href="http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/purchasingMiles/main.jsp">AAdvantage</a>; for Delta, it's <a href="http://www.delta.com/skymiles/index.jsp">Sky Miles</a>; British Airways has the <a href="http://www.britishairways.com/travel/echome/public/en_us?link=top_nav">Executive Club</a>, and so on.) Simply hit the &quot;Buy Miles&quot; link, and they'll walk you through the process.</p> <p>The cost of miles varies from airline to airline. For example, Delta's miles cost 3.5 cents per mile, while American Airlines sell theirs for 2.5 to 2.75 cents per mile. Generally, buying miles only makes sense when you're just shy of a goal and you buy only enough miles to reach it. You don't want the value of your purchased miles to exceed the value of the ticket.</p> <p>Another way to buy miles is through coupon broker sites. Now, buying and selling through a broker violates the policy of most airlines, but it's not illegal (except in the state of Utah). However, if you're caught, the airline may confiscate your ticket, cancel your reservation, and wipe out the accumulated miles in your (and the seller's) frequent flyer account.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/buysellmiles-3842549-small.jpg" /></p> <p>If you're willing to take the risk, start by visiting the website of a coupon broker. The broker acts as the middleman between you and the seller. The broker will ask for your contact information, your preferred travel dates, service class (such as business or first), airline, and the price you're willing to pay per mile. Once the broker matches you with a seller, and all parties agree to the terms, the broker will ask you for your rewards account number. When the broker receives your payment, the seller will transfer the miles to your frequent flyer account.</p> <p>If all goes well, any purchase (or sale) through a coupon broker should look like a simple transfer from the airline's point of view.&nbsp;</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/buysellmiles-credit-card-2293897-small.jpg" /></p> <h2>How to Sell Miles</h2> <p>It's great when you can get a free trip out of your miles&hellip;but what do you do when you don't want your reward? Even if you don't want your points, someone else might.</p> <p>Airlines don't like it when their customers sell miles, so if you want to convert your miles to cash, we're back in violates-policy-but-not-illegal-except-in-Utah territory.</p> <p>If you want to sell your miles through a coupon broker, you first need to provide your contact information. The broker will also ask for the number of miles you want to sell (most require a minimum amount), the name of the airline, the expiration dates, and your asking price per mile. When they find a buyer, you'll transfer your miles to the buyer's account. You receive payment when the transaction is complete.</p> <p>You can cut out the middleman by selling directly to your friends or family. It works just like a transfer, except that you'll receive money, gifts, or free labor for the miles. This method may not flag the airline's attention, but there are other risks involved &mdash; especially if the buyer can't find seats for the trip they want. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">How to Score a Frequent Flyer Rewards Flight</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/buysellmiles-gift-5213609-small.jpg" /></p> <h2>How to Transfer Miles</h2> <p>Airlines allow you to give your miles to family, friends, and even charities, provided that the recipient also has an account with the airline. Simply click on the &quot;Transfer Miles&quot; link on the airline's rewards program page and enter your account information, the recipient's information, and the number of miles you want to transfer.</p> <p>Even though you're freely sharing miles that you have already earned, don't assume that sharing the miles is free. As with buying miles, airlines charge a processing fee for transfers.</p> <h2>Other Ways to Use Your Miles</h2> <p>In order to compete with other reward programs, airlines have had to make their frequent flyer miles more flexible. Nowadays, if you don't want to use your miles on a plane ticket, you can apply them to another part of your trip. Airlines will allow you to redeem rewards for hotel accommodations, rental cars, vacation packages, Broadway show tickets, gift cards, and more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-travel-accommodations">How to Save on Travel Accommodations</a>)</p> <p>To redeem these other rewards, you may need to go through <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10485462/" target="blank">Points.com</a>. This website allows you to manage and exchange your reward points between their partnered programs. Their partners include several large airlines, such as Delta, JetBlue, Korean Air, and American Airlines. They're also partnered with Best Buy, Hilton, CVS, Wells Fargo, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10967374-1438279993000?sid=alu-650007">Swagbucks</a>, and other retailers. While the site is free to join, transaction or processing fees still apply and will vary. Some airlines may also restrict how you can use the miles in their program.</p> <p>The exchange rate on Points.com may also be an issue. You won't find a 1:1 exchange here; a good chunk (if not most) of the value of your miles will be lost, guaranteed. Then again, sitting on miles that you won't ever use doesn't help much, either. It can be worth your while to make an exchange if there's a reward that you want and can use.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/airplane-5320152-small.jpg" /></p> <h2>Final Tips on Buying and Selling Airline Miles</h2> <ul> <li>No matter what you do, there will be a processing fee. The fee varies from airline to airline and depends on the type of transaction (buy or transfer), as well as the number of miles involved. Remember to factor in the processing fee (and taxes) when you calculate the costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most airlines set caps on the number of miles you can buy, receive, and transfer per year, per account. Check the terms and conditions of your rewards program to make sure you don't exceed the limit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>As with most electronic transactions, there's a delay before you see the purchase or transfer (or sale-transfer) reflected in your account. It can take 1-3 days to process a transaction, so plan any last-minute trips accordingly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most transactions involving frequent flyer miles are non-refundable.</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Click here for the best travel reward card offers.</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/credit-cards">Click here for the Ultimate Credit Card Guide.</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airline miles cheap vacations frequent flyer miles rewards credit cards Fri, 05 Aug 2011 10:36:06 +0000 Amy Lu 650007 at http://www.wisebread.com The Travel Hacking Cartel: Fly Around the World For Almost Free http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/382877603_e29c2a3412_z.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/">full-time traveler</a>, my <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2011/02/my-cost-of-full-time-travel-in-2010-less-than-you-may-think/">total cost of living for 2010 was $17,000</a>. This included well over $8,000 in flights (<a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/my-business-class-travel-adventures-and-using-frequent-flyer-miles/">business class flights</a> no less): return flights from New Zealand to Europe, various short flights around Europe, and four hops between Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p>Of course, I didn&rsquo;t pay anything close to $8,000 for those flights. In fact, my total cost of airfare (visiting nine countries) in 2010 was less than $2,000 &mdash; and that&rsquo;s a generous estimate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-all-your-travel-the-ultimate-guide">Negotiate All Your Travel: The Ultimate Guide</a>)</p> <h3>Travel Hacking</h3> <p>Please welcome in from stage left: Travel Hacking. This is the art of finding ways to accomplish your travel goals for less money than you might spend if you booked everything conventionally. Travel Hacks can include <a href="http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/shortterm/articles/caretaking_jobs_abroad.shtml">working in trade for accommodation</a>, house-sitting, getting deep discounts or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">free upgrades on car rentals and hotel rooms</a>, and &mdash; of course &mdash; finding ways to fly around the world for free.</p> <h3>Flying for Almost Free</h3> <p>Since flights tend to tax our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-and-track-expenses-for-your-next-vacation">travel budgets</a> the most, then some of the most effective travel hacks are about finding ways to fly for less, and at best &mdash; for free. I've written about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hitching-a-ride-on-an-airplane">hitching a ride on an airplane</a> with courier flights, but it seems to be a dying art, with increasingly fewer such opportunities available. But rest assured, there are other ways to take to the skies for less than the sticker price.</p> <p><strong>Frequent Flyer Miles:&nbsp;</strong>The majority of my $2,000 spent on flights in 2010 was a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">US Airways frequent flyer mile promotion</a> that I took advantage of &mdash;&nbsp;&nbsp;a series of useful purchases I made which additionally earned me 150,000 frequent flyer miles. It was enough to book a chunk of the $8,000 in flights I took last year.&nbsp;(And let me tell you: after my <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/my-business-class-travel-adventures-and-using-frequent-flyer-miles/">long-haul business class experience</a>, I&rsquo;m not sure I can go back to economy again).</p> <p><strong>Using Miles for Business Class vs. Economy:&nbsp;</strong>You may wonder why a <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/">Professional Hobo</a> like me would splash out on long-haul business class flights, when I could have stretched those same miles towards double the number of flights in economy class.</p> <p>In fact, one of the travel hacks I learned while accumulating my frequent flyer miles is that you get the most bang for your frequent flyer mile buck by using miles for long-haul flights &mdash;&nbsp; in business class no less. On a dollar-to-mile basis (and when you&rsquo;re accumulating hundreds of thousands of miles, valuation becomes important), business class flights win hands down.</p> <h3>Learning from a Travel Hacking Expert</h3> <p>Chris Guillebeau is a majority of the way through a major goal of his &mdash;&nbsp;&nbsp;to visit every country in the world within five years. Coupled with a <a href="http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/the-book/">book tour</a> that recently took him to every U.S. state and Canadian province, this guy flies. A lot. But he never pays the sticker price for a flight. Ever.</p> <p>If you're interested in replicating his successes, Chris has formulated an accessible strategy for anybody with 30 minutes per month to dedicate to the process.</p> <p>The <strong><a href="http://www.travelhacking.org/a/031f6">Travel Hacking Cartel</a></strong> is a monthly subscription service that Chris Guillebeau (a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-own-small-business-empire-in-one-year-empire-building-kit">formidable entrepreneur</a> who I&rsquo;ve written about before) has recently launched to make the world of free travel accessible to everybody. Members of the cartel are guaranteed to benefit, literally; Travel Hacking Cartel members receive a guarantee that they&rsquo;ll earn enough frequent flyer miles for at least one (domestic) flight per quarter &mdash;&nbsp; that&rsquo;s 100,000 miles per year &mdash;&nbsp; simply by following the Deal Alerts and spending at least 30 minutes per month applying the tips provided.</p> <h3>The Travel Hacking Cartel</h3> <p>The main feature of the program is a series of <strong>Deal Alerts</strong> that are sent to you via email and/or SMS. These Deal Alerts advise you of new promotions, spelling out exactly what&rsquo;s required to earn miles. In addition to frequent flyer mile-based alerts, I&rsquo;ve seen alerts for free stays at the Best Western, free iTunes downloads, and even an alert about a &ldquo;mistake airfare&rdquo; of $294 for a return flight from Houston to London.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s also a <strong>Knowledge Base</strong> in which Chris answers cartel-member questions, and a <strong>Video Tutorial</strong> section in which Chris explains (and often illustrates with screen shots) various concepts and how to achieve certain travel hacks.</p> <p>Many of the Travel Hacking Cartel concepts are about more than just flying. For example, Chris discusses alternative lodging options (for budget travelers), $9 car rentals, and how to effectively hack Priceline to get nice hotel rooms for a fraction of the going rate.</p> <h3>Things I&rsquo;ve Learned From the Travel Hacking Cartel</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve had a chance to experience the <a href="http://www.travelhacking.org/a/031f6">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> as a member for the last month. And as a full-time traveler, I&rsquo;m already an expert of sorts on <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/10/16-useful-travel-applications-and-websites/">hacking my way to inexpensive travel</a>. But even I gleaned a few pointers, such as:</p> <ul> <li>How to earn miles with one airline and book higher-value rewards with another (better) airline</li> <li>Saving miles when booking low-value domestic flights, instead paying with cash and accumulating miles for higher-value flights</li> <li>Getting cheap accommodation in university dorm rooms when school is out of session</li> <li>Arranging free stopovers on long-haul flights (unfortunately Chris doesn&rsquo;t say exactly <i>how </i>to do this)</li> <li>Using special tools to view Star Alliance availabilities and hack the system to find out what the operator can&rsquo;t &mdash; or won&rsquo;t &mdash; reveal</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-world-travel-and-blogging-about-it">Booking RTW tickets</a> with frequent flyer miles</li> </ul> <h3>It&rsquo;s Great, But&hellip;</h3> <p>One of the advantages of the Travel Hacking Cartel (which is a monthly subscription service) over a fixed e-book with similar pointers like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Frequent Flyer Master</a> is the Deal Alerts in which members are promptly alerted of new travel hacks that are constantly becoming available.</p> <p>But as somebody who isn&rsquo;t a U.S. resident, I&rsquo;ve not been able to take full advantage of the Deal Alerts, which cater largely to the U.S. market. This is because most frequent flyer mile programs originate from U.S. airlines. Canadians like me can get in on some of the action, but only to a point. And although there are deals for other international members (for example, I saw a great Deal Alert for Australians through Quantas), it&rsquo;s frustrating to have to pass on so many juicy Deal Alerts.</p> <p>Still, Chris figures that about 50% of the Deal Alerts are available to international members, and regardless of where you live, the guarantee applies: if you spend 30 minutes per month on the program and don&rsquo;t manage to earn at least 25,000 frequent flyer miles per quarter, the onus is on the Travel Hacking Cartel to deliver.</p> <p>Secondly, I wish that the tutorial videos were downloadable, since I&rsquo;m not always near an internet connection, and when I am I don&rsquo;t usually have the time or wherewithal to stream videos.</p> <p>Lastly, I don&rsquo;t stay in a lot of hotels, and some of the Deal Alerts are for hotel stays and hotel reward programs. Other members who don&rsquo;t stay in hotels frequently might not see as much value in these alerts as a regular traveler or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/14-travel-hacks-and-airfare-saving-tips-for-businesses">business traveler</a> might. Even if staying at a hotel isn&rsquo;t necessary for the accumulation of points, some of the smaller bonuses for membership programs I doubt I&rsquo;ll ever use seem too much of a hassle to bother with.</p> <h3>Reasons to Join the Cartel</h3> <p>Having said what I&rsquo;m not thrilled about with the Travel Hacking Cartel, I must also admit that membership has already been of value to me. I&rsquo;ve successfully taken advantage of two of the deal alerts, which should net me about 35,000 frequent flyer miles &mdash; more than enough for a domestic flight, or a good portion of the way towards my next <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/my-business-class-travel-adventures-and-using-frequent-flyer-miles/">long-haul business class flight</a>.</p> <p>And when it comes to researching frequent flyer mile deals, I&rsquo;m actually pretty lazy. I don&rsquo;t have a constant internet connection or an ability to spend a lot of time online, especially to research something like frequent flyer miles ad nauseam.</p> <p>So although I could hack my own way to finding the promotions listed in the Deal Alerts by lurking frequent flyer mile message boards and traveling up the learning curve myself, the Travel Hacking Cartel is perfect for people like me who don&rsquo;t have the time or wherewithal to do this grunt work. In the name of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses">outsourcing</a>, I&rsquo;d prefer to have my Deal Alerts sourced, vetted, and sent to me so I can focus my time on other ventures that net me a higher value for time spent.</p> <p>Although Chris is far from the first person ever to hack his way to frequent flyer mile stardom, what he has done with the Travel Hacking Cartel is made it accessible to anybody who wants to easily replicate his success. And if you are serious about traveling and earning free flights, the cost of membership ends up being negligible.</p> <p>Case in point: Chris recently used his miles to book $4,500 in business class flights to the Middle East for a whopping total of $84 in taxes. Enroute, he&rsquo;ll layover in Heathrow and stay at the Sheraton airport hotel (airport hotels are convenient but notoriously high-priced). But he&rsquo;s not sweating it: the $220 room is free with his Starwood points.</p> <p>So if you want to travel in style and on the cheap like Chris does, all you have to do is join, spend at least 30 minutes per month reading and applying the knowledge and tips, and watch your frequent flyer mile account balances grow.</p> <h3>Travel Hacking Cartel Membership</h3> <p>As a monthly member, the <a href="http://www.travelhacking.org/a/031f6">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> costs between $15-39 per month, depending on the membership option you choose.</p> <p>No matter where in the world you live, or which membership option you choose, membership comes with a guarantee that you will earn at least 25,000 miles per quarter simply by spending at least 30 minutes per month on the program. It&rsquo;s time (and money) well-invested, if your eyes are looking skyward for your next <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">vacation</a>.</p> <p><em>Note: The author received a month of free membership to the Travel Hacking Cartel, and there are affiliate links in this post.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">5 Tips for Scoring a Frequent-Flyer Rewards Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advanced-airline-miles-collection-tricks-for-high-flyers">Advanced Airline Miles Collection Tricks for High Flyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximizing-rewards-programs-with-pointscom">Maximizing Rewards Programs with Points.com</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel ebook reviews frequent flyer miles travel hacking cartel Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:36:09 +0000 Nora Dunn 500105 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tips for Scoring a Frequent-Flyer Rewards Flight http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airplane_over_ocean.jpg" alt="Airplane over the ocean" title="Airplane over the ocean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the exciting world of collecting air-miles points, collecting is the easiest part of the game.&nbsp;Sure, you can boast about having 150,000 points sitting in your favorite account, but wouldn&rsquo;t you rather talk about how you went to Europe? I know a lot of people who make big claims about all the miles they are accumulating by using airline credit cards, but if they haven&rsquo;t flown anywhere, what's the point?&nbsp;(See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vacation-hack-7-tips-for-single-bag-travel">Vacation Hack: 7 Tips for Single-Bag Travel</a>)</p> <p>As airline credit cards start to offer more and more lucrative sign-up offers, those elusive flights will get harder and harder to find. In addition, we&rsquo;ll probably start to find people with high frequent-flyer-miles balances. That&rsquo;s what happens when credit card companies offer bonuses like 75,000 AAdvantage points for a credit card and folks like Chris Guillebeau teach us how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">earn free flights</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>But be not dismayed. This does not mean that your flight points are a complete waste. However, you will need to develop a good strategy for capitalizing on air-miles points.</p> <h3>1. Choose Your Program Wisely</h3> <p>Blindly collecting air miles isn&rsquo;t really all that advantageous. You need to be sure you focus on programs that frequent cities of interest. Thus, be sure you are collecting flights for a program that serves your home airport. There is no best airline program that applies to everyone.</p> <p>In addition, you&rsquo;ll want to give priority to airlines that have a higher percentage of reward seat availability. <a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2010/06/22/best-and-worst-airlines-for-redeeming-frequent-flyer-miles/">Five Cent Nickel</a> shared the following results gleaned from Money Magazine:</p> <p>Airline Availability for Domestic Flights:</p> <ol> <li>Continental &ndash; 97%</li> <li>United &ndash; 81%</li> <li>American &ndash; 66%</li> <li>Delta &ndash; 19%</li> <li>US Airways &ndash; 10%</li> </ol> <p>Airline Availability for International Flights:</p> <ol> <li>United &ndash; 56%</li> <li>American &ndash; 50%</li> <li>Continental &ndash; 46%</li> <li>US Airways &ndash; 11%</li> <li>Delta &ndash; 7%</li> </ol> <h3>2. Book Really Early or Last Minute</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re searching for a ticket using miles, you&rsquo;ll need to book early because of the competitive market.</p> <p>How early?</p> <p>It is not uncommon for tickets to be unavailable within a month of being offered. Thus, you&rsquo;ll want to start shopping a year in advance. The alternative option is to shop for tickets within the last few weeks or month before your flight. At times, an airline will open up award seats on a flight with availability. They&rsquo;d rather not fly with open seats.</p> <h3>3. Call a Customer Service Representative</h3> <p>Computers are not as intuitive as people. When you talk to customer service representatives, they&rsquo;ll be able to adjust your tickets by searching for alternative options in a way that you might never think of when trying to book tickets online. Most airlines will charge a service fee if you make your bookings over the phone, but if it is a service fee versus no ticket, then the service fee seems like the best option.</p> <h3>4. Explore Alternative Originating Cities or Destinations</h3> <p>Perhaps a flight out of BUF (Buffalo) is not available, but you can get out of YYZ (Toronto). Maybe you can&rsquo;t fly into JFK, but you can fly into Newark. This flexibility is priceless when it comes to booking reward travel.</p> <h3>5. Travel in Off Seasons</h3> <p>Of course you&rsquo;re more likely to find a seat available when less people are traveling. Some airlines, like American, even give <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-step-strategy-to-airfare-deals">off-season mileage discounts</a>. For example, during the summer months, you&rsquo;ll need 60,000 points for a round-trip flight from North America to Europe. However, late fall through early spring, you&rsquo;ll only need 40,000 points.</p> <p><em>What tips do you have for helping book a ticket with frequent-flyer miles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-hate-credit-card-points">Why I Hate Credit Card Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">The Travel Hacking Cartel: Fly Around the World For Almost Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airline points frequent flyer miles frequent flyer rewards Tue, 08 Feb 2011 13:48:12 +0000 Craig Ford 489144 at http://www.wisebread.com Maximizing Rewards Programs with Points.com http://www.wisebread.com/maximizing-rewards-programs-with-pointscom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/maximizing-rewards-programs-with-pointscom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-credit-card-451830759-small.jpg" alt="couple credit card" title="couple credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't fly or travel frequently enough to make the most of rewards points, but I still like <em>earning</em> them with the notion that someday I might be able to take advantage of them. However, I recently found out that most of my frequent flier rewards points had expired, and that made me angry! Although I accrued them for &quot;free,&quot; I would have liked the opportunity to use some of them even if they didn't equate to a rewards ticket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/perform-a-credit-card-rewards-annual-review" title="Perform a Credit Card Rewards Annual Review">Perform a Credit Card Rewards Annual Review</a>)</p> <p>While I was checking on all of my points through various websites many years ago, I grumbled to my husband how nice it would be to manage the different rewards programs through one website. Of course, I wasn't the only one to think about how convenient that would be: <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10485462">Points.com </a>created a website that does just that and more. Points.com actually offers alternatives for those of us who never accrue enough points to make the most of our benefits! I know I'm a bit late to the party since this service has been around a few years now, but I recently signed up and was amazed at how easy it was to view all of my remaining points throughout various programs.</p> <h2>Easy to Use</h2> <p>With just a quick email and password to sign up for a new account, I located most of my rewards and loyalty programs through their &quot;Add Programs&quot; widget in their right sidebar. Since most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight" title="5 Tips for Scoring a Frequent-Flyer Rewards Flight">frequent flyer</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-budget-hotels" title="The Best Credit Cards for Budget Hotels">hotel rewards programs</a> only require an account or member number and a password, I didn't feel like I was divulging all of my personal information in one place when I entered my information for each program. Within a few seconds, Points.com was able to connect to most of my individual accounts and show me my most recent points summaries, or at least the points I had remaining in each of my programs.</p> <h2>Make the Most of Your Points</h2> <p>Out of a possible 104 rewards programs listed on Points.com, each program has a &quot;Learn More&quot; link that shows what you can do with each program on their website. For example, Aero Mexico's Premier Rewards program allows you to track and earn points through Points.com. Tracking points is easy since Points.com automatically pulls the rewards information directly from the Aero Mexico website. But Points.com also lists additional ways to earn points besides booking a flight, such as renting a car or reserving a specific hotel.</p> <p>The most beneficial service Points.com offers for me is their redeem option. I can redeem a select group of rewards program points for gift cards to various vendors. From Amazon.com gift cards to Starbucks gift cards, I can select one of my rewards programs that offers redemptions from a drop down menu and choose a dollar amount. Points.com will calculate how many rewards points I need to purchase the gift card. Of course, not all of my rewards programs offer this feature, but for those that do, I no longer have to worry about unused points.</p> <h2>Swap and Trade with Others</h2> <p>Another feature of Points.com is the ability to share, swap, and trade points with other Points.com members and between existing rewards programs. I haven't tried exchanging points with any other members yet, and there are some limitations depending on the individual rewards program, but it's another alternative to help make the most of my points in any one account.</p> <p>In the past, I've swapped points between individual rewards programs to take advantage and utilize rewards points. Making these transfers on one website is convenient, and I can track all of my transactions through my account history.</p> <p>The few drawbacks that I came across while adding my accounts through the site were fairly minor and wouldn't discourage me from using this program in the long run. They have partnered with 14 hotel rewards programs, which covers the majority of hotel chains. However, a popular hotel chain that is absent from their list is Marriott, which I happen to be a member of. I also experienced a small problem with registering my American Airlines AAdvantage; the site kept timing out and wasn't able to register my account at all. However, registering my remaining accounts was successful, so it could just be a temporary glitch.</p> <p>All in all, now that I've realized I can keep track of all of my points online, I look forward to maximizing those rewards programs to my benefit, instead of watching them expire.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximizing-rewards-programs-with-pointscom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-hate-credit-card-points">Why I Hate Credit Card Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-on-your-travel-bucketlist">What’s on Your Travel #BucketList?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-rewards-more-benefits-the-jetblue-plus-card">More Rewards, More Benefits: The JetBlue Plus Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel frequent flyer miles reward cards rewards points Fri, 10 Dec 2010 13:00:10 +0000 Little House 371197 at http://www.wisebread.com Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IMG_3528_1_1.jpg" alt="plane prop" title="plane prop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="192" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ssshh: don&rsquo;t bother me. I&rsquo;m busy doing my Christmas shopping and accumulating enough frequent flyer miles to pay for two overseas flights &mdash; in business class.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve just finished reading Chris Guillebeau&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://unconventionalguides.com/cmd.php?Clk=3597208">Frequent Flyer Master</a>. This e-book professes to give you the tools to attain free travel anywhere, and features a &ldquo;one free plane ticket&rdquo; guarantee: with a small investment of your time practicing some of the tips in this e-book, you can earn enough frequent flyer miles to take at least one free trip a year.</p> <h2>Background</h2> <p>Just in case you don&rsquo;t know who <a href="http://chrisguillebeau.com/">Chris Guillebeau</a> is, one of his claims to fame is that he is on a mission to visit every country in the world by April 2013. He visits approximately 25 countries per year, and as at the writing of this post is at 122 of 192 countries.</p> <p>Because he isn&rsquo;t independently wealthy, he affords this habit by virtue of hacking frequent flyer mile programs. He finds the loopholes and dives through them in a successful quest for hundreds of thousands of miles and elite status each year. He walks the talk.</p> <h2>Premise</h2> <p>Frequent Flyer Master emphasizes that much of the frequent flyer mileage industry is based on lack of information. Most people have no idea of the how their miles can best provide for their travel needs and goals, and they end up unwittingly overspending. Airlines benefit from the thousands of people who have a few hundred or thousand frequent flyer miles stashed away with no real intention of using (or even understanding) them.</p> <p>If you buy this e-book it is assumed that you are taking the accumulation of frequent flyer miles somewhat seriously, and are looking for viable strategies to do so. To that end, Guillebeau suggests you <strong>set some specific travel goals</strong>. Frequent flyer miles are some of the most underutilized benefits out there; if you take the time and effort to accumulate them, make sure you have a plan to redeem them too.</p> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to be as ambitious as Guillebeau and see every country; even the goal of a free flight to Hawaii can get you started (that&rsquo;s how I started collecting, passively, many years ago. Who knew my reward ticket to <a href="http://theprofessionalhobo.com/2008/04/goodbye-hawaii/">Hawaii</a> would end up being one-way).</p> <h2>Structure</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Introduction</strong></li> <li><strong>Strategy</strong> <em>(which includes a history of the industry, basics of frequent flyer miles today, and general strategies)</em></li> <li><strong>Tactics: Earning Miles</strong> <em>(including both passive and active strategies, ongoing promotions, and special deals)</em></li> <li><strong>Tactics: Redeeming Miles</strong> <em>(with hints and troubleshooting tips)</em></li> <li><strong>Miscellaneous Notes and Tips</strong></li> <li><strong>Questions &amp; Answers</strong></li> <li><strong>Reader Stories</strong></li> </ul> <p>This e-book (like many) also includes a few extras (reports, interviews, audio/videos, etc) that are just as weighty as the book in terms of material and value. But hands down <strong>the highest value perk to owning this e-book is the ongoing updates from Guillebeau identifying new frequent flyer promotions and how to hack your way into hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of miles</strong>. (I&rsquo;m not kidding about the opening paragraph: I&rsquo;m in the throes of earning a cool 250,000 miles just by doing some strategic Christmas Shopping, as a result of his latest update).</p> <h2>Limitations</h2> <p>If you aren&rsquo;t a U.S. Citizen (or resident), many of the deals and offers won&rsquo;t apply to you. As Guillebeau says, many of the best airline reward programs belong to U.S. airlines, which are among the worst for service. (He advocates maximizing your miles by using them to fly with the world alliance airlines to which the U.S. airlines belong).</p> <p>Canadians will have a moderately better time than others, since some of the U.S. airlines have Canadian branches that are in competition with Air Canada.</p> <p>Guillebeau attempts to combat this limitation by providing regular updates to his Frequent Flyer Master subscribers with opportunities that can be enjoyed by anyone from anywhere.</p> <h2>Highlights</h2> <p>Without giving away the meat of this e-book, here are some random frequent flyer mile hints and strategies that I found added value:</p> <ul> <li>Guillebeau gives a helpful rule for determining the <strong>per-mile value of your frequent flyer miles</strong>, so you can evaluate various offers for their value. Not all frequent flyer mile offers are created equal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use Those Miles! You may be hoarding miles in an effort to either save for a big travel goal, or simply a rainy day. Unfortunately it might <strong>leave you in the lurch if the airline adjusts the value of their miles</strong> (and in so doing, de-values the miles), and your hard work at accumulation is somewhat negated.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Trading in your frequent flyer miles for <strong>long haul business and first class travel usually represents the best deal for your miles</strong>, by far. And when on a long haul trip, flying in something other than economy can make all the difference to how you feel when you disembark.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Other tickets worth booking with frequent flyer miles include <strong>cross-country flights and trips to more obscure places</strong>, not serviced by discount airlines.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There is a discussion about buying and selling your miles, with evaluative criteria for each.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The three main tactics for earning miles include flying, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">credit card spending</a>, and non-travel activity (like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/impulse-shopping-a-controllable-handicap">shopping</a>).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Accumulation is only half the battle. Redeeming your miles is another exercise in knowing what you can get, where you can get it, and how to get the best value.</li> </ul> <p>As a passive frequent flyer junkie (who uses little more than a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">credit card rewards program</a> to accumulate miles), this e-book has inspired me. With a little bit of effort, I can earn a huge number of miles, and (hopefully) I won&rsquo;t have to worry about paying for another long-haul flight again. Oh yeah &mdash; and I&rsquo;m flying <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">first class</a> all the way, baby.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://unconventionalguides.com/cmd.php?Clk=3597208"><strong>Frequent Flyer Master</strong></a>, by Chris Guillebeau</p> <p><strong>Pages:</strong> 40</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> $49 <em>($79 when combined with </em><a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=204092&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=30134"><em>Travel Ninja</em></a><em> - about travel hacking strategies)</em></p> <p><strong>Includes:</strong> A 20 minute audio download, a 4-part report on using Priceline, and free updates with valuable travel hacking opportunities</p> <p><em>If you want to know more about Chris Guillebeau&rsquo;s books, I reviewed another one of his (called </em><a target="_blank" href="http://unconventionalguides.com/cmd.php?Clk=3597206"><em>The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself </em></a><em>) in another Wise Bread article about </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-e-books-to-help-you-make-money-travel-and-change-your-life"><em>making money, traveling, and changing your life</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>&hellip;And just in case you thought that this is a new phenomenon, or that Guillebeau takes his frequent flyer miles way too seriously, check out this brilliant 20 minute documentary called <a href="http://www.vimeo.com/7167640">Frequent Flyer</a>. It portraits the frequent flyer mile industry, its people, and the world of airplanes and airports that make it all happen.</p> <object width="400" height="225"> <param value="true" name="allowfullscreen" /> <param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /> <param value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=7167640&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" name="movie" /><embed width="400" height="225" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=7167640&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/7167640">Frequent Flyer</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user2487465">Gabriel Leigh</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p><em>Author&rsquo;s Note: I received a free copy of Frequent Flyer Master for review, and there are affiliate links in this post.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Update (April, 2010): I indeed received 145,000 frequent flier miles as a function of this frequent flyer deal, and I have booked one return long-haul airfare ticket in business class, as well as a domestic flight. For the $1,200 I spent, I received almost $9,000 in flights. </strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-rules-of-budget-travel">The 7 Rules of Budget Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-around-the-guidebook-techniques-for-researching-your-trip-without-spending-a-fortune">Getting Around the Guidebook: Techniques for Researching your Trip Without Spending a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-costa-rica-lesson-awwwwwww-they-got-me">The Costa Rica Lesson: Awwwwwww They Got Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-its-not-sunny-in-philadelphia-its-free">If It’s Not Sunny In Philadelphia, It’s Free!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Cars and Transportation Travel air miles Art and Leisure Chris Guillebeau frequent flyer master frequent flyer miles Fri, 04 Dec 2009 21:43:41 +0000 Nora Dunn 3924 at http://www.wisebread.com Frequent Flyer Junkie? Manage your Miles Here http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/points dot com.JPG" alt="points programs" title="points programs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>It&#39;s a daunting world of rewards programs out there. From frequent flyer miles with every major airline, to hotel reward programs, to individual store loyalty plans, </span><span>not to mention <a href="/credit-card-rewards-programs" target="_blank">credit card rewards programs</a> and the like.</span><span> If you become a collector of them all, you need a huge wallet to house all your cards, and an even bigger chunk of time to track all your points plans. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Enter <a href="http://www.points.com" target="_blank">Points.com</a>. It is a free service designed to help you track all your rewards programs. In one easy place you can track miles accumulated for multiple plans, swap miles between programs, and earn extra miles by utilizing their online shopping program. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>There are bonuses for signing up, and you can process any of the redemption transactions you would with any of the individual plans, including redeeming for gift cards, giving miles as a gift, booking hotels, and oh yeah - flights too. The only requirement is that you must be a member of the rewards plans to begin with; you can&#39;t use Points.com to enrol in new programs. However once you are a member you can add new plans to your profile whenever you wish. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p> <span>So all you points junkies out there, rejoice! There is an easy way to figure out how quickly you can get on that plane to your next dream destination. </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping frequent flyer frequent flyer miles points programs points.com rewards programs Thu, 17 Jan 2008 08:40:51 +0000 Nora Dunn 1643 at http://www.wisebread.com Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4939855741_44c1f6140d_z.jpg" alt="heart credit card" title="heart credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I charge absolutely everything to my credit card. Everything. Even $3 purchases if I can. Why, you ask, in a world where <a title="Guide to Using Credit Cards Wisely" href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-guide">credit cards</a> are &quot;evil,&quot; would I do such a thing?</p> <p>I am a credit card junkie (and have been for many years) for a number of reasons:</p> <h3>7. It builds up a great credit rating.</h3> <p>By charging and paying off up to thousands of dollars in expenses each month, I have built up a rock-solid credit rating &mdash; the best one possible. So whenever I have sauntered into the bank for a loan, I have been accepted right away, and at the lowest possible interest rates, with no security deposits required. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score" title="10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h3>6. It's quick and easy.</h3> <p>Swiping a card these days is often as quick as (if not faster than) paying with cash and counting out coins.</p> <h3>5. It's great for accounting and spending reports.</h3> <p>Since I don't dole out cash, or make purchases on my debit card (and I rarely use checks), all my monthly spending is nicely bundled into one report &mdash; my monthly credit card statement. Not only that but my current credit card of choice actually categorizes my spending for me, so at a glance I can see how I've spent my pennies for the month and year-to-date.</p> <h3>4. I don't need to carry cash.</h3> <p>Trips to the bank machine are few and far between, as $60 can last months depending on my spending needs.</p> <h3>3. Automated billing is great.</h3> <p>Cell phone bills, utilities, cable, you name it. If I can sign up for automatic billing, I do. It doesn't mean I don't look at each carrier's statement to ensure the charge is correct. But it does mean that on a monthly basis I don't have to worry about paying any bills (other than my credit card!) - they're already paid.</p> <h3>2. Almost everybody takes Visa.</h3> <p>From the coffee shop to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries" title="The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries">grocery store</a> to online spending to travelling, to&hellip;well&hellip;everywhere. I have various credit cards, but I find that Visa is most widely accepted worldwide.</p> <p>And my number one reason for charging everything to my credit card (drum roll, please):</p> <h3>1. Frequent flyer miles.</h3> <p>Since I started to charge all expenses to my credit cards, I have collected and redeemed miles for everything from fancy dinners to sports gear, to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards" title="6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards">multiple flights all around the world</a>. Hey &mdash; just for spending money I would always have spent, I've been able to take advantage of all sorts of free swag. What's better than free?</p> <p><em> Note: The trick to a spending plan such as the one I have laid out here is a rock-solid budget. I never (read: never ever) spend beyond my ability to pay off the bill in full each month. As Sarah mentioned in her <a target="_blank" href="/call-your-credit-card-a-plastic-check" title="Call Your Credit Card a &quot;Plastic Check&quot;!">article</a>, credit cards are best viewed as thinner versions of your checkbook.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-get-rid-of-credit-cards-if-stores-give-more-discounts-to-customers-who-pay-cash">Would you get rid of credit cards if stores give more discounts to customers who pay cash ?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified">Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: Are You Pre-Qualified?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping charging expenses credit cards frequent flyer miles monthly expenses Wed, 14 Nov 2007 00:19:02 +0000 Nora Dunn 1388 at http://www.wisebread.com