Category Archives: Airline Programs

Airline Miles Secrets You Need to Know

Most people have heard about airline miles and that they can really change the way you travel and the way you spend your money. However, there are more than a few secrets how to make them work for you on a continual basis.

These secrets aren’t closely guarded, they are just known by people who have worked with miles for some time.

Here are a few of the closely guarded secrets of airline miles:

Credit to One Program Doesn’t Mean Flying On Only One

It is easier to earn airline miles on some airlines than it is others. Pick a program and stick with it, because it is better to earn on one than to spread them out. You can build your account as you go, but you can fly on some of their partners. Make sure to do research to see which ones travel your favorite routes.

You’ll Earn More on the Ground Than You Do In Air

For people who don’t fly all that often, don’t worry. Most airline reward credit cards, which is one way to earn points, you will be able to earn on what you spend rather than when or how often you fly.

Use your card to pay for everything and earn miles. Pay attention to the fine print to see what you earn more miles for, and then focus on those.

Know the Awards Chart

Understanding what you can get and how you can spend your points is key to learning and growing your points. Make sure you understand the fine print and the different meanings for how you redeem your points.

Don’t Avoid Business or First Class

Most people won’t or can’t buy first class or business class seats because they think they cost too much, but when you use airline miles, you can easily upgrade. Seats that would normally cost you two or three times the price of a traditional seat, you can get for a minuscule amount of miles by comparison. Some people will save their miles this moment.

Finally, the biggest secret to redeeming your airline miles is to pay attention and understand what you deserve. Stay organized and plan the best approach to earning and redeeming your miles. That will be different for each person, from using a credit card to linking to other reward programs.

How to Get a Seat Upgrade

If you are a frequent traveller, you may recognize the need for an upgrade — it will make your journey all that much more comfortable and relaxing. However, while it used to be quite easy to get an upgrade, that is no longer really the case. It is now more difficult and many airlines would rather the seat go empty before upgrading someone. But do not lose faith, there are a few ways to do it.

Buy It

The most surefire way to get an upgrade is simply to buy it. You can usually buy at least an economy plus ticket and hope to get an upgrade. Wait until you are checking in to see what your options are, and then try to buy your upgrade. Every airline has a different policy so do some research, including about whether or not you have to be a frequent flyer member. Some airlines offer their rewards program for free, so it does not make sense not to join, however you will have to weigh the pros and cons with the paid programs. It is a good idea to stick with one airline and become a member of their rewards program. Airlines are more likely to pick loyal customers for an upgrade.

Use Your Miles

If you are flexible, you can use your frequent flyer miles or your credit card reward miles to upgrade your seat. It is up to you to make the decision about when and where you want to fly, but typically there are a few ways to upgrade. Although not all tickets can be upgraded, some can. Make sure to take advantage of partnerships between airlines and rewards points as well as hotels. If you cannot be flexible about your flights, you can subscribe to different services that will tell you when a seat on your flight becomes available.

Get Lucky

Try your best to be nice to everyone you encounter on your way to your plane, and it just might pay off for you. Sometimes the staff on the plane or even at the airport can recommend you for an upgrade if one is available. Besides making someone’s day by being nice, it may pay off. And be sure to dress for first class. If a first class upgrade is available, they may be looking for someone neatly dressed.

No matter what you do, do not settle for less than you have to. Travel is meant to be relaxing, and few people are able to in economy.

Tips for Using Your Frequent Flyer Miles When Traveling with Your Family

When we were younger, it was so easy to sit down and book a flight (sometime on a whim) with very few struggles. Now with children, it is harder to plan on the fly. Traveling requires planning every detail, and usually includes finding deals and using frequent flyer miles, which can be difficult. However, it does not have to be impossible.

Free Companion Travel

There are a few airlines that offer free companion tickets during specific times of the year or for specific ages of children. You can use these to earn free travel for your children, as they are often in the target age group of the free companion travel feature.

Remember that if your child is under 2 years old, most airlines consider that child young enough to travel for free.  However they must sit on your lap, and if it is a long flight or a coach flight, it may be uncomfortable, so you might want to upgrade to business or first class if possible. Be prepared, you will need to prove that your child is under the age of two.

Use Points to Book The Ticket

Some airlines will permit you to use your points to purchase your child’s ticket, but only under a certain age. Policies will differ by airline, but it should be fairly easy to find the policy. Try not to transfer points, if at all possible, because this could use up far more points than the ticket is worth.

Try Different Flights

You may be able to use your points to get a better deal if you look for different flights. Have mom and dad split up so that you can effectively use your points. Have the older kids go on the longer flight or the younger kids go with the parent that can entertain them better.

Search Websites

Search around different websites to find the best deals on your flight. Sometimes you will find amazing deals that you did not think was possible. However sometimes you may not find anything. It is really all in the timing and the luck of the draw, but if you start planning early enough, you are more likely to find something.

When securing cheaper tickets for a flight using frequent flyer miles, you are facing a challenge. However, it does not have to be difficult if you are willing to be flexible and you start planning early enough.

Best Ways to Game the Airlines

Let’s just admit it, flying is expensive and it is not always pleasant. Luckily, there are ways to make your experience better so you can look forward to flying instead of dreading it and putting off dream trips. One of the best ways to do that is to “game” the airlines so that you can avoid paying certain fees or higher expenses. Here are a few ways to do this:

Take it One Seat at a Time

Airlines sell seats at different prices on the same flight. If you are booking seats for a few people, you will only get access to the lowest prices for those that fit your lot of people. Instead of searching for four seats that are together, look for the lowest number of seats that you need together. A group of adults or teenagers could possibly all be booked as individual seats. However if you have a child, you will probably want at least two seats together. You will have multiple reservations, but you will also get the lowest fees.

Checked Baggage Fees

There are a few ways to avoid checked baggage fees, but the most important thing to do is make sure that your luggage fits size and weight requirements. You can gate check your suitcases, as airlines do not always charge a fee there. You can also look for specials for certain airlines, which are sometimes offered when you sign up for a loyalty program.

Partner Award Seats

Sometimes airlines will work with partners to award seat levels. It can be extremely difficult to find the seats, especially to some popular destinations. However, you can find them if you get a little creative. Search using websites of the partners, not the actual airline. You will be able to find better deals at better locations than you would be anywhere else. Make sure to keep checking too, sometimes new seats will pop up.

Keep the Middle Seat Empty

One of the best ways to ensure that you will have some extra space is to book an aisle or a window seat. If your plane isn’t full, there is a chance that the middle seats will stay empty. Do this even if you are traveling with someone – you’ll likely be able to offer up one of your seats to sit together.

Switch Up Airlines

If you do not like the way you are treated by an airline, do not be afraid to look somewhere else. There is plenty of competition and airlines are at your mercy. Also, do not be afraid of complaining or asking to talk to someone who ranks higher, you might be able to get a deal.

Just make sure to read the fine print and learn the ins and outs of what you can and cannot do on certain airlines.

Transferring Reward Points to Family

Transferring rewards points to your family does not have to be completely frustrating. Instead, it can be something that is simple and easy to do once you know what to do. But it is possible for you or a family member get the vacation of their dreams.

Note that most U.S. airlines rewards programs only allow transferring of miles to another person’s account for a fee.  The HawaiianMiles program is one of the few that allows transferring of miles for free by their credit card and debit card holders, with stipulations.  Here is how to go about transferring your points and miles:

Get a Family Account

Some international frequent flyer programs allow you to easily pool points and miles between family members, including Asiana Airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA), British Airways, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air. jetBlue is the only US airlines that offers family pooling, and while Qantas does not have a family account, they allow you to transfer points to a family member. Be sure to do your research and read the fine print as program stipulations vary.  For example, some allow up to 2 degrees of kinship while others only allow immediate family members, some allow up to 8 family members while others specify only 2 adults and 4 children.

Redeem Reward Points for Others

Most reward programs allow you to redeem points for someone else for no additional cost, except the usual ticket fees.  All you need is their travel times and dates, and their personal information required to issue a ticket. These are usually things like their full names, birthdates, addresses, etc. You can also use a family member’s account, like a child your child whose miles may expire if they travel less often, to book a ticket for yourself.

Transferable Points

Some of the other travel rewards programs, like the Starwood Preferred Guest program, allow account holders to transfer points to other members of the same household. There are specific conditions, but generally points may be transferred between members with active accounts and have shared the same residential mailing address for at least the last 30 days prior to transfer. If your ultimate goal is frequent flier miles, you could then redeem those points for flights. Starpoints can be transferred to over 30 airlines or they can be redeemed for tickets themselves on over 150 airlines.

Transferring miles between family members can be tricky, but it can be extremely rewarding as well.

Cash Back or a Miles Credit Card? Which is Best for You

What is the better option as a reward: a cash back credit card or a miles credit card? It is a question that many people have been debating for years, and it really depends on who you are as a person, for the most part. However, there are some important things to consider before you make a decision either way:

Travel Rewards

Earning and redeeming your travel rewards might seem complicated, but it can also be extremely fulfilling and allow you to do things you have not done before. Most travel rewards will offer up bigger bonuses and rewards than other types of rewards because they partner with specific names and brands.

Even better, travel rewards tend to give more value per dollar than other types of rewards. You will sometimes get up to three or four cents per point, which is extremely high, especially when comparing it to cash back. Even better, you will sometimes get higher rewards or perks when you do check into your hotel, airline, or car service.

You will have to pick and choose the credit cards that will give you the best options — there are many that have no blackout dates. Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to find an option that will fit your wants and needs. If you travel with a group or you are looking for shorter flight rates, you may struggle to find something.

Cash Back

Sometimes cash back may be a good option, especially when you are not a traveler or do not shop at any particular store. Many cash back cards are free, while other reward cards have high annual fees. However it is very basic and will usually only give you 1 cent per 1 reward point.

Cash back points normally never lose their value, nor will they expire on most programs. You can store them so that you can get larger amounts of money to pay off some of your bills.

It depends on what you want to get out of your credit cards — do you want money to pay your bills or do you want experiences? There are plenty of options out there. Consider whether you want to use them quickly or if you want to save up for some time, as saving will allow you to travel farther.

Getting the Most Out of Your Citi ThankYou Points

Are you using your Citi ThankYou points in the best possible way? Citi is constantly altering and changing the way we use our points, and almost always for the better. The competition that they face from other companies is huge and because of that, they work extremely hard to keep their clients happy. That’s where hacking Citi ThankYou points comes into play. What can you do to take an already good program and make it a great one? Here are some tips

Book Travel

One way to use your ThankYou points is to go through the Citi Travel Center. You will be able to redeem your points for a certain amount, depending on what kind of card you have. For example, a Citi ThankYou Premier card can get you 1.25 cents per point while a Citi ThankYou Prestige can get you between 1.33 and 1.6 cents per point, depending on the airline. Most cards will give you 1 cent per point, but it is still a great way to save up for travel.


Many retailers have partnered with Citi to allow you to spend your ThankYou points. You may want to do some investigating to see if it is really worth it, but sometimes you can get great deals.

Points for Cash

Low on cash? Sometimes the most valuable way to redeem your Citi ThankYou points is for money. However, the value can be pretty low, especially when you compare it to some of the other options like travel. But if cash is what you need, then it is a great investment to make. With Citi, you can look forward to getting back 0.5 cent per point.

Gift Cards

Have a place you shop frequently or somewhere you want to go? You can sometimes find gift cards that are a better deal than if you just exchange for cash.

Paying Bills

One of the best, but sometimes underused perks offered by the ThankYou program is the ability to pay off your bills through an eligible Citi checking account. While the points and the cents are typically equal in value, it is a way to seamlessly pay off some of your bill, especially for those months that get a bit tight.

How will you use your Citi ThankYou points? There are many different ways, but if you want to get the most out of them, consider using a few of the hacks above that will help you.

Is it a Good Idea to Save Reward Points?

Should I save or should I spend my reward points? It is a question that many people ask themselves as they start to watch their points rise and find great ways to use them. The best advice for your reward points is probably the opposite of what you have heard in the past: spend your reward points now so they do not lose their value. You can save them and hope that they retain their value, but you are likely to get more for your money if you spend them sooner.

Do The Math

The first thing you need to do is look at how your points operate. Before you spend anything  — whether it is on experiences, tickets, or gift cards — calculate the exchange rate to see if you are actually getting a good deal. If you are buying a material good, it is easy to determine if you are going to get a good value versus paying for it with cash.

For example, something worth 250,000 points is likely to be a better deal than something worth 2,500 points. That’s because most people do not earn enough or save enough points.

When to Save

If you are close to reaching a big milestone like 250,000, it could pay to save your rewards points. There are specific programs that offer bonus points, like getting new members to sign up, which could help you grab those extra points.

When to Spend

Many credit card companies will run promotions when it actually pays to use the points in small amounts. They give you a lot more for less points, which can allow you to stockpile things like gift cards, smaller items, and things you would not normally spend with real money.

Remember that you also have to think about taxes when you redeem your points. If you earned points normally, through time and purchases, you will not have to worry. However, if you earned quite a bit of points in exchange for things like opening an account or recommending it to a friend, this may be considered taxable income and you will have to fill out a 1099 form.

If you have earned miles and reward points, instead of saving them you could redeem them for cold hard cash. For more information on how you can easily sell your points with The Miles Broker, click here.

Tips for Picking the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

credit card rewardsAlmost everyone has a credit card today, using them to pay for pretty much everything. The best part about cards — other than not having to touch dirty cash — is the bonuses and rewards system. You get points for signing on, spending money somewhere, and even just keeping your account balance paid. One of the best ways to spend those points is travel. But how do you find the best travel rewards credit card?

What to Look For

When thinking about a card, look for the following:

A Sign on Bonus: The bigger the bonus when you sign on, the better. If one card does not offer a bonus, continue looking for another card.

Category Spending Bonuses: Most cards offer an even exchange rate of one point per dollar spent. For certain cards, however, you can get up to 5x the amount in certain categories. There are cards for business spending, grocery shopping, and traveling, so make sure to find one that matches what you will use the card for.

Low Spending Minimum: In order to get these great bonuses, you do have to spend a minimum amount of money. Look for the least amount of money in the longest amount of time if you are not planning to put a big purchase on your card. Some cards will require a single, no-minimum purchase, those are the best!

Special Perks: Some cards will offer you status within hotels, airlines, or other branded locations. If you are going to frequent one specific place, consider getting their card.

Annual Fees: You should not have to pay to spend money, but that is how it works. If you do your research, you should be able to compare annual fees to find the lowest ones. Aim for around $50 in your annual fee. It might seem smarter to go with no fee cards, but the rewards are usually not nearly as good.

Which Credit Card Should You Get?

There are so many cards to choose from, so how can you pick the best one? Look at your goals. Do you want to get free rewards or do you just want to avoid fees? Are you going to use for travel for things like airline tickets or hotel rooms?

The best cards to sign up for will vary depending on what you really want to use your card for — airline specific cards are the best if you prefer American Airlines, for example. If you do not fly all that often and would prefer hotel accommodations, get a hotel specific card.

Earned Chase Ultimate Reward Points? Best Ways to Redeem Them

So you have amassed a number of Chase Reward Points, but what can you do with them? There are plenty of options out there, but if you want to make the most of it, there are a few approaches you can try that will allow you to earn money, get the chance to experience different events, and even travel the world.

Here are our choices for the best ways to redeem your Chase Reward Points:

Air Travel

This is probably the obvious way to redeem your points, which is why it also one of the best. You can use your points to get airline miles to go just about anywhere, if you are careful to save and redeem wisely. Make sure to always look for the best deals if you are pressed for money and do not want to travel without using your points. Otherwise, you can use miles to upgrade your trip to one of luxury — look for flights on Korean Airlines for a special treat. Make sure to book through the Travel Portal and look around for the best deals.

Cash Back

You can also redeem your points to get money to pay off your account. At a rate of 1 cent per point, you will have to wait a while to really see a difference, but using 50,000 points to pay off $500 of your bill can be life changing for some people.


If you frequently travel domestically, you can use your points to book hotels. You can look to book through Ultimate Rewards or the Travel Portal, and even compare them to see which one will give you a better rate. Use it to upgrade your trip to a nice hotel.

Chase Experiences

For people who have the means to travel with their own money, or those who do not really like to travel, a unique opportunity may present itself with Exclusive Cardmember Events. You will never really be able to know what might pop up because Chase curates these events and you would not otherwise be able to access them on your own. Still, the events change often and you can find some pretty great experiences.

Rental Cars

When you rent a car through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, you will get 1.25 cents per dollar to choose whatever car you want. Chase has some of the best rates around, so you will be able to use your points to get a great car. On top of that, you get some pretty great benefits with your account. However, make sure to read the fine print and follow all of the rules.