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Monday
Mar162015

Getting miles without actually flying.


To be honest, I have been flying quite a bit but recently it’s been short flights going up and down the east coast of the US. I haven’t gotten any status by doing this and I’ve gotten very few miles/points this way either. Luckily there are other ways of getting your miles and points, my favorite is by way of credit card bonuses which can be very lucrative.

There are quite a few and I’ve changed my mind every so often on which ones are best over the years. I used to like the airlines credit cards, especially the American Airlines ones. You could apply for four cards on the same day and get 30k bonus miles on each one. That’s enough miles to go to Europe, South America or Asia in first class. All you had to do was spend $1k on each card in the first three months. You could also cancel the cards and reapply three months later and do it all over again. AA figured that out and shut down the deal. Now if you’re lucky you might be able to do it once a year - if that.

Other airlines didn’t really let you churn the cards this way but they had huge bonus sign-ups. So not even flying you could have enough miles to get an international first class ticket.

My strategy has changed somewhat in the last few years. The airlines have slowly made their miles less valuable every year. An example: United used to charge 160k miles to go from the US to South Africa. You had to fly one of their partners, in this case Lufthansa because United didn’t fly this route. Well, about eight months ago they changed it to 280k miles for the same award. How much would that hurt if you had 155k United miles and were just waiting for the other 5k only to realize how many more you would need? This goes back to my previous article about using your miles now and don’t wait.

So instead of banking your miles/points in a single airline we now recommend using a transfer partner bank awards system

More on that in the next article.

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