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Travel Budget, Money Matters, Financial Talk Mom, can I borrow ten grand?! Gimme yo mastercard! How the heck can I pay for my trip?! Ideas for making money. How much dough do I need?

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Old 12-09-2007, 09:43 AM   #1
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Default frequent flyer programs?

question for all you TPers with frequent flyer programs.... I get how it works (in general) but I just wondered if it was worth it for someone like myself.

In general, I take one, maybe two big trips a year and fly CONUS 4-5 times a year. But the thing is, I am not exactly "loyal" to any one airline. If I fly within the US I do try to take American Airlines if the price is decent because I have always had great service with them, especially flying in uniform (got bumped up to first class on more than on occasion! :D ), but flying with them internationally is SO expensive and when I fly internationally, I don't give a shit who I fly with, it's more the price I look at.

That being said, who would I go with? I read about the alliance things, but I guess I don't really get how they work, is the miles thing the same? But I was thinking, esp now that I just bought my tickets to Europe, I should do frequent flyer soon if it's woth it, before I book my tix to Russia and on the trip with my sister.

Also, if I bought my ticket and my sister's ticket in one big purchase, would I get the FF miles for both of us, or no?

Anyhoo, if you do FF and think it's worth it, let me know!

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Old 12-09-2007, 11:39 AM   #2
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Well it's free so why not do it? You just go to the airlines website, sign up, and then give them the number when you book your tickets (you can also fill out online forms to request credits if you didn't give the number when booking).

The airlines all vary in the rules but generally you have to have some activity on your account every 18 months or they expire. If you tend to fly AA regularly, you should definitely get an account with them. I mostly fly AA because they run most of the flights from Austin, and I fly from Austin to Detroit 2-3 times a year for family stuff.

The way the alliances typically work is that lets say you mostly fly American...if you fly any other airline in OneWorld you give them your American number and you get credit in your American account for that flight. I've gotten credit for my Australia flight on Quantas (over 9000 miles, plus a few thousand for domestic flights when I was there), and for a LAN Peru flight I took earlier this year. It adds up pretty fast, I've gotten at least 50,000 miles in the last 4 years on American just from those 2 trips plus my holiday flights. I used frequent flyer miles for my flight to Peru earlier this year...the ticket would have been $950 and I paid about $150 plus 30k miles. So that saved me a ton of money and I didn't do anything I wouldn't have done otherwise to get the miles. The reason for the $150 is that miles don't cover the taxes so you have to pay a bit, and of course international flights have the most taxes.

I think in some cases you can transfer miles between airlines on the alliances, but I wouldn't count on it. I think someone told me you can do this with Star, but only in increments of 25k miles. I'm pretty sure you can't do it on OneWorld. As for your sister, you can only get miles for tickets in your name so she should open up an account too. I think as long as you open your account before your flight takes place you'll be able to request credit.

You can also get miles if you stay in affiliated hotels, rent cars through certain agencies, that kind of thing. There are also sometimes offers where you can sign up for a newsletter and get miles. I think I agreed to let them send me some kind of newsletter for 6 months to get 5k miles. It all adds up and can save some nice amounts of cash!
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:05 PM   #3
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wow I didn't know all that. I am definately going to do that! I love getting something for nothing.
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:23 PM   #4
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wait once you have some miles racked up do you have a certain amount of time before they expire or do they just stay with you until you use them?
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:37 PM   #5
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most miles expire after time.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:40 PM   #6
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Usually they expire unless you have more activity on your account...so if you have some miles and don't fly on that airline for a certain period (different for each airline) they'll all expire. But every time you fly the clock resets on all your miles, no matter how old they are.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:02 PM   #7
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Sa-weet~! I signed up for FF programs in each of the 3 airline alliances. if I would have done this before I booked tix to europe, I could have had an assload of miles with damn star alliance, cos flying to germany is with air canada and to krakow and to prague are both with lufthansa... damn.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:18 PM   #8
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I think you can still do it, just call them and ask to add your number to your reservation. Or, after you've finished all the flights you can submit a mileage credit request. Or, when you go to check in you can ask the ticket agent to add it.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:26 PM   #9
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I have a United ff account (Star Alliance). I was flying a lot for work, back and forth to Asia and it was great, I earned a ton of miles. You can also get a credit card for your airline (I have a Chase Bank United mileage Visa). You pay a fee, but you get 1 mile for every dollar spent. Also, this keeps activity going on your ff account so your miles don't expire. I use that Visa for everything and that also racks up a lot of miles. I used my ff miles to fly to Mexico, fly to Thailand and fly to Australia (pd for half, used half miles). The nice thing about star alliance is I can use my United miles to fly on any star airline. I used miles to get to Thailand and back last year and flew on Air Canada, Korean Air, Thai Air and United. Another perk is if you fly at least 25,000 miles a year, you earn status with them and gain some little perks. You can board the plane early, check in at the business class counter instead of waiting in the LONG economy line, some airports have expedited security for Premier memebers as well. One thing to make sure you do is only have one account within an alliance. For example, don't get both a USAir account and United account. They are both Star, but you cannot combine miles from two accounts to get a ticket. Due to this, you are better off to accumulate all miles in one account, they are good on all of them anyway.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by LiveFreeorDie View Post
You can also get a credit card for your airline (I have a Chase Bank United mileage Visa). You pay a fee, but you get 1 mile for every dollar spent. Also, this keeps activity going on your ff account so your miles don't expire.
yes I saw this advertised... was considering it since I have zero credit card debt. how much is the fee? I think this is an excellent idea. usin gmy credit card and paying it off monthly would probably help increase credit scores as well.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:15 PM   #11
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go to www.flyertalk.com and put the situation to one of them, they'll point you in the right direction!

I have 2 FF accounts, one with BMI (star alliance) and Continental (skyteam). CO are the only company to fly direct from belfast to the US so I like to keep in with them plus they can get miles for virgin atlantic.

At the mo I have enough miles for a first class ticket with virgin to tokyo which hopefully I'll be able to take late next year

Oh and most miles last 3 years if you don't use the account within that time
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:23 PM   #12
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You might want to wait a bit and see what kind of junk mail you get. I just signed up for an American frequent flyer card and got 20k miles after the first $750 spent on the card and no fee for a year. I'll probably ask them to waive the fee once my year is up (sometimes they'll do this if you threaten to close your account) and if they wont do it I might cancel and wait for them to send another nice offer!

American has various pretty good offers...sometimes 25k miles, sometimes 20k miles, I've seen them offer 20k initially and 10k bonus each year you spend at least $10,000 on the card although thats quite a bit even if you charge everything possible.

I'm not sure what airline you're interested in, here's the link for American cards: https://www.citicards.com/cards/wv/s...ILY_AADVANTAGE

I get a junk mail offer for these cards about 3 times a week and they do have 25k up front that comes at least once a month, so you might want to wait for that assuming you don't spend 10k a year on your card.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:29 PM   #13
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watch this thread and it will give you all the credit card details you need

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=266902
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:34 PM   #14
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yeah I definately don't spend 10K a year on a credit card. I dunno what airline I am looking to go with because although I do like to fly American, the little alliance with US Air and all those (Star Alliance), I've seemed to flown those more frequently... I dunno I guess miles are miles in the end, and AA is going to be my cheapest so far when I go to Russia in September. Argh. I don't know. LOL. But I was looking at one Master Card through US Airways, with an annual fee of 79 bucks and some 25K free miles or something, with vouchers for 2 99 dollar tickets for other people to travel with me somewhere each year. I think I'll shop around a bit, through AA an see what they have. I am torn between the two. Oy vey.
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Old 12-09-2007, 04:02 PM   #15
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the APR on these cards are out of hand... over 17%?!

thank god for the service members civil releif act, I get a ceiling of 6% APR on all credit cards...
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:00 PM   #16
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Has anyone ever thought of buying big ticket items for their friends in order finance a trip?

Like say a friend of mine is going to blow 2k on a LCD TV. If I buy it, I get 2k miles. If you have a lot of friends doing that you can rack yourself up a free ticket to some place far every year.

Also does anyone know if you have to maintain the balance of miles in order to be bumped up to elite status? Like if you earn 30k miles on a RTW and you blow it on a domestic ticket, do you still get elite status at 40k miles once you fly 10k miles? I think yes but am far from sure...

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Old 12-09-2007, 06:26 PM   #17
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You just need to earn them for elite status, but regular miles is not the same as elite miles...you have to actually fly to get elite miles, and they usually have a bunch of extra requirements like minimum segments so you can't qualify with just a couple really long flights. There are also a bunch of multipliers based on your ticket class...economy tickets from expedia you get less than 1 mile for elite qualifying per regular mile, full fare tickets get you more, business class more than full fare, etc.

Basically you'd need to go read the rules of your airline's program because they usually make it hard to qualify for these with a lot of special conditions. They're trying to make sure only the most profitable customers qualify I assume.
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Has anyone ever thought of buying big ticket items for their friends in order finance a trip?
OMG no but that is such an excellent idea!!!!! I didn't even think of that.

I read you can do free upgrades if you have like 15,000 miles but it's so stupid because you could use those miles for, oh I don't know... a plane ticket to somewhere? why waste the miles on an upgrade? I guess if you have the money to travel a lot or only travel for biz and don't care, then it makes sense but that's crazy to me!!
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:44 PM   #19
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There is a lot of handy information here. Thanks guys!
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:07 PM   #20
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Hicham has mentioned to me that I can charge his things on my credit card to earn points - I don't have a miles card, though.
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