Free tickets and mileage

Dec 5th, 2002, 08:04 PM
Posts: n/a
Free tickets and mileage

My wife and I have always accumulated miles on our credit card to get free trips. Since we pay it off every month it takes a long time to get the trip. Anyone have any new strategies?
Dec 5th, 2002, 08:31 PM
Marc David Miller
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What difference does your balance make to mileage accumulation? Isn't it based on the amount you charge?
Dec 5th, 2002, 08:54 PM
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Yeah, I don't understand the connection. It's the $ amount you charge that determines how many miles you accumulate.
Dec 6th, 2002, 02:59 AM
Jim Rosenberg
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Since you're posting this on the Europe board, is it correct to presume that you are talking about trying to get free tickets to Europe? If so, then you might want to re-think your redemption strategy.

I set a value of 1.5 cents per mile on FF miles to make comparisons. If a minimum award level seat to Europe costs you 50,000 miles and you add in the 8,000 or so miles you won't get because you flew non-rev, that's 58,000 miles per ticket in play: $870. I can beat that price every time, so I purchase those tickets and earn the miles. Why? Because I can regularly acquire two domestic tickets for 50,000 miles or less and I'm not giving up anywhere close to the earning capacity on those short hauls. Mileage balances don't earn interest, so waiting years and years to cash in a much larger balance is not really making the best use of your assets.

Beyond that, look for promotional opportunities on your card that can leverage your miles-earning power. The best way to stay on top of it -- other than regularly checking the website for your carrier(s) and scouring everything you are snail or e-mailed relating to your card and carrier(s) -- is to monitor the applicable sections of the Flyertalk board:

Good luck!
Dec 6th, 2002, 04:17 AM
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There are lots of ways to get extra miles. Look for promotions on the FF program websites, they run them alot.

Join the "idine" program, which lets you earn bonus miles at participating restaurants (often 10 miles to the $). Most FF programs participate in it, check the website of your program.

Charge big things. And charge everything (note - I'm only saying this because you indicate a discipline to pay off your balance every month. I would not recommend this to people who don't do that!). If your bank allows it, charge your mortgage every month. Charge your car payment if you can (and if you have one). Charge things you might normally pay cash for - groceries, gas, phone and other utility bills. I get doubles miles from AMEX for charging gas and groceries for example.

Use hotels and rental car agencies that will give you FF miles when you travel. (I get Delta miles when I stay at Marriott, for example).

Also, paying off the balance each month doesn't have any impact on earning miles. You don't get double credit by holding a balance.

Good luck!
Dec 6th, 2002, 05:18 AM
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See the above reply. My wife and I do just that and accumulate miles very quickly. We also pay off our balances every month.
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:08 AM
Sheila O'Brien
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Re: FF miles and credit cards: I DO get miles for balances on my credit card, but I agree that paying off monthly charges (phone, gas, etc) is a MUST even if you carry a balance intentionally on a big ticket item.
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:39 AM
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If your airline is one of the ones that participates in the Idine program, it is a great way to pick up free miles.

I recently signed up with my American Airlines account.

They have about 150 restaurants in my metro area in Idine. Most give 10 miles per dollar spent (including tip and tax) the first time I eat at given restaurant during the month. All I do is pay with the charge card which I registered with Idine.

No need to get a new card, no fees, and you don't have to say anything to the restaurant. I even bought some restaurant gift certificates as Christmas presents and got the miles.

Some restaurants have restrictions on the times or days and some give 5 or 7 miles per dollar, but most give 10 miles whenever they are open. The ceiling is something like $600 per restaurant visit.

And it is a full spectrum of restaurants from pizza places and bar & grills, to some very fancy ones.

Dec 6th, 2002, 07:27 AM
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Concerning idine miles, be aware that if you choose the mileage option, then you don't get the 20% discount on your meals.
Dec 6th, 2002, 07:28 PM
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Thank you everyone. Registered for Idine and did my Christmas shopping through the United "mall" from there to Nordstrom. A bit more hassle but definitely worth it. I also am cruising Randy Perterson's column. Thank you!!!
Dec 6th, 2002, 08:26 PM
John H
Posts: n/a
Hi, Alan,

Obviously, if you do a lot of travel on business, that is a great way to earn miles on a credit card tied to FF miles.

As others have said, charge all personal expenses that you can (groceries, gas, ....) but pay bill off monthly. (Frequent flyer miles cannot make up for the interest charges).

Refer people to FF-linked credit cards. (I have earned 15,000 miles by refering friends/family to sign up for the First USA Mileage Plus Card).

Build miles on a single airline rather than spreading across multiple airlines

Because flying is probably still the best way to earn miles:
- Try to hit premier or higher FF status each year so that you get bonus miles of 25%-100% on every flight. (I am taking an e-fare flight next weekend with the sole purpose of hitting the next FF threshhold for next year).
- Fly off-season (now to before Christmas and January - March) or take e-fares to build flight miles at lowest cost

Also, use FF miles for international Business Class or First Class tickets, where u get the most "bang for your miles" (as opposed to using them for domestic flights).

Good luck!

John H
Dec 6th, 2002, 11:20 PM
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If your company pays for the credit card, then it's ok. If you pay for it, the annual fee for the card is often not worthwhile. Shell Mastercard and other oil companies offer cards that give back 1% in gas and 5% back in gas for gasoline purchases.

If you don't mind paying the high annual fee for an airline credit card, start using the card for all your purchases. Food, clothes, gas, everything. I think if you don't pay the entire bill, you can get more miles, but you will be paying a very high interest rate.

Miles may not be as wonderful as one thinks. Spring and winter airfares to Europe are cheap. Award tickets during the summer are hard to get.
Dec 7th, 2002, 06:16 PM
Posts: n/a

When you pay it has nothing to do with the miles you accumulate. I use Delta SkyMiles card (Am Ex) -- and they offer double points for grocery stores and gas stations; and sometimes promotions like this month is double points for all charges on the weekend. Also, if you travel, using the card to buy the plane ticket can double the points; as can the particular hotel you stay at.
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