Best Hacking Tips

Travel Hacking Guide for Earning Points and Miles  January 18, 2016 – 10:26 am

Credit cards are a key component in this travel hacking guideTip 3: Consolidate Your Travel During Bonus Periods
When you signed up for the programs you gave them your e-mail address and they began e-mailing you (A LOT). You’re skimming those e-mails looking for special promotions and you ALWAYS sign up for every promotion (remember you don’t reap the reward if you don’t play the game). Even if you don’t think you’ll meet the minimums to receive the reward, you sign up anyway (because you can never predict your future travel). All of the major hotel companies run special promotional campaigns or bonus periods. To get the benefit you have to sign up (which takes less than 30 seconds). Another advantage to you, the bonus periods sometimes do not overlap, so you make the choice to consolidate your travel with the company that is currently running a bonus – and reap the rewards.

Finally, the airlines have experimented with this. Back in the early 2000s, United Airlines used to run a lot of mileage bonuses and U.S. Airways ran a Grand Slam program for many years, but those programs seem to have been eliminated. What you still see are selective promotions to launch a new route or on specific routes.

First class airline seatTip 4: Keep Your Points and Miles Active

The airline and hotel companies don’t want you accumulating rewards indefinitely. They want to see activity – ideally, they want you paying them money for more flights or stays. But they also want to see you using your points (it decreases their “liabilities”). So, in general, points and miles expire 12 months after you earned them, unless you have activity on your account. This seems to be a confusing topic for some people, so let’s look at an airline example.

If you took a flight on American Airlines in December 2012, those miles would expire in December 2013. However, you also took a flight in January 2013, so the new expiration date for both the Dec. 2012 and the Jan. 2013 flight is now January 2014. Every time you take a flight (or redeem your miles by taking an award flight), that expiration date re-sets. BUT, it doesn’t have to be a flight!

I have a lot of American Airlines miles and ultimately will probably use them for a free flight to South America, but I haven’t flown on American in years. I keep those miles “active” by accumulating “partner” mileage. In other words, I spend money with an American Airlines partner and chose to have the reward accumulate with American. Twice a year, like clockwork, my mother receives flowers on her birthday and on Mother’s Day. I order the flowers with the American Airlines shopping mall and get a mileage credit in my American account, which keeps my miles active.


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