One of the cool things about
Asia is especially enticing when you have frequent flyer miles because you can finally make that long-haul trip in the comfort of the first class cabin. Maybe you’ll jet off to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul or Singapore. If you’ve got Asia aspirations, we’ll tell you what to look for and how to plan it to ensure a happy and romantic trip.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a writer covering cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodor’s, Conde Nast Traveler online, and other outlets like Cruise Critic, Onboard, and Cruise & Travel Lifestyles. She also helps travelers leverage their miles and points at Frequent Flyer Toolkits.
She belongs to just about every frequent flyer program. She’s earned Lifetime Gold status with American Airlines and is a Hilton HHonors Diamond. Chase Ink Bold and American Express Business Gold Rewards duke it out for Andrea’s nod as her favorite rewards credit card. Her preferred use of miles and points is for first-class travel to Southeast Asia and southern Africa and OneWorld is her go-to alliance. Miles and points have taken her around the world to destinations like Bali, Tahiti, the Maldives, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Johannesburg. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens or on Google+ ( https://plus.google.com/+AndreaRotondo ).
One of the cool things about
If you’re planning a trip to the South Pacific and want to fly into Papeete, Tahiti (PPT) in French Polynesia, your flight choices are pretty limited. It’s a long haul from the United States–Los Angeles to Papeete takes about 8.5 hours–so you’ll probably want to fly in business class. Let’s compare two airlines that can get you from Los Angeles to Papeete in style: AirFrance and Air Tahiti Nui.
One way to quickly build up a stash of frequent flyer miles is to take advantage of limited-time offers the airlines promote. Oftentimes, airlines like Avianca and banks like American Express will offer a bonus scheme when you transfer miles between accounts. That means you may earn a bonus when you transfer your miles to your husband’s account, or to a friend or child. Sometimes the deals aren’t worth it but when they are, you can leverage the promotion to earn plenty of free travel for yourself and potentially others. Let’s look at this method of earning loyalty currency.
There is a fantastic new way to give the gift of education to any friend or family member. And, it’s even a method to help you pay down your student loan while earning miles and points. Gift of College is a college savings registry of sorts.
You can purchase gift cards from the company that the recipient (or you) can use to pay off a student loan, or establish or contribute to his or her existing 529 plan. For miles and
You may not be a New Year’s resolution type of person, but you’ll actually do yourself a disservice if you don’t make a few promises related to your travel hacking hobby. Earning miles and points that will help whisk you and your family around the globe in style isn’t easy, and it takes planning and organization.
Before you sing “Auld Lang Syne” at the dawn of the New Year, make a few resolutions that may help you get where you want to go in the next 12 months. Here are some resolutions shared by us at RewardExpert. You may want to commit to them as well.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your credit score is one of your most valuable assets and you should nurture it and protect it. You want a healthy credit score to help you accomplish all of your life goals, including getting a mortgage or car loan (with reasonable interest rates) or passing a potential employer or landlord’s background check.
You also want a high credit score so you can fully participate in the lucrative hobby of collecting frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty program points, or bank points (such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou points).
If Southwest Rapid Rewards is your main frequent flyer program, you need to be aware of Rapid Reward Shopping as well. This online shopping mall acts as a portal to all of your favorite online retailers, from Kohl’s and Old Navy to JCPenney and Ulta Beauty. All you need to do to earn extra Rapid Rewards points is visit the portal and click on the store you wish to shop at. Then, once you make a purchase, you’ll be rewarded with a certain number of Rapid Rewards per dollar spent. It’s that easy, but we’ll step you through the entire process.
You’ve been painstakingly saving those miles for a special trip and you finally reached your goal. You’ve got enough miles to book that award flight you’ve had your eye on. Booking award travel can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t done it before—especially when booking over the phone. But, have no fear. It’s easy to master the art of booking award tickets. Just use our handy script if this is your first time trying to book a free flight from your frequent flyer program.
If you are a fan of online shopping and you’re a miles and points junkie, you have to get in the habit of using your favorite airline or hotel’s online shopping portal. Delta Skymiles Shopping is just such a portal, and we’ll show you exactly how to sign up so you’ll be rewarded with extra miles on purchases made through this venue. We’ll also show you how to spot deals at SkyMiles Shopping and how to know when to pass up that purchase.
If you’re not leveraging your
Sure, it might be easy to log in to your favorite etailer to buy that pair of sneakers for your kids, but if you go the extra mile and make one additional click at the airline portal, you’ll be rewarded with a certain number of miles per dollar spent—and that’s on top of whatever bonus your credit card offers you for making purchases.
Let us help you discover the value of online shopping portals. Today we’ll step you through American Airlines’ AAdvantage eShopping portal just in time for holiday shopping.
What Is the AAdvantage eShopping Mall?Like most airline
What Kind of Retailers Are Part of AAdvantage eShopping?Some of AAdvantage’s most popular retail partners include Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Target, Kohl’s, The Home Depot, Nike, and JCPenney.
But, there are tons of additional shops to browse, including those in the categories shown below, which include everything from apparel to flowers and gifts to travel.
Online shopping advances include some hidden gems in the category list, so you really need to explore the offerings. Otherwise, you may miss out on potential miles-earning opportunities. For example, under the Books category, you’d expect to find the popular chain Books-A-Million. But, you’ll also find indie bookstore AbeBooks as well as The Scholastic Store for youngsters and Textbooks.com for college students.
Hundreds of online retailers participate in the AAdvantage eShopping mall, so you’ll want to check out the directory to see if the stores you love are available.
How to Earn Miles (& Points) By Shopping at the AAdvantage eShopping PortalYou will love how quickly you rack up the miles once you begin shopping through the AAdvantage eShopping mall. It’s really simple to get started.
Sign up to be an AAdvantage eShopping member.
In order to keep abreast of the mall’s special offers and deals, be sure to check the box at the bottom of the order form that adds you to the portal’s email list.
Log in to the AAdvantage eShopping online shopping mall.
Search the store you want to make a purchase from. Let’s say you want to buy something at Sephora.
You’ll see a few offers from the store and a “Shop now” button. Click on the link that will take you from the portal to the store’s website. You must be logged in to your account when you click the link. Otherwise, your purchase won’t earn any points.
How to Find Deals and AAdvantage Shopping PromotionsWhile it’s great to earn a few miles per dollar spent on your purchases, AA eShopping portal also offers a variety of deals that can earn you additional miles. Here’s how you can find any special bonus offers:
Extra Rewards DealsWhen you log in to your account, look for the dollar icon on the right top of the page. When you click on it, it will get you to a page with special deals and extra rewards offers. The deal usually means an increase in the number of miles you’ll receive per dollar spent at a retailer.
OffersClick on the “Offers” tab at the top of the page, and you’ll get a menu that lists all of the current offers from every retailer that comprises the shopping portal. You’ll see deals for free shipping, gift cards, special holiday offers, and more.
Oh, this could be a boon for anyone that’s planning to spend at least $250 at Macy’s. You’ll earn an increased number of miles per dollar spent: 6 miles per dollar instead of the normal 3 AND you’ll receive 500 bonus miles if you spend a minimum of $250 at the store.
Seasonal BonusesIf you’re shopping during holidays or love seasonal shopping, be sure to check the home page for a link with deals. It will lead you to all of the special deals that vendors are offering during a specific—and limited—time period.
RewardExpert is publishing this story during spring season so there are a number of deals to consider.
Which Stores Offer the Most Miles Per DollarFinally, it makes sense to review the list of participating stores in order of the store’s earn rate. You can do that by clicking on “Stores” at the top of the page and then “Stores by earn rate.”
Be sure to sort the list by the highest earn rates; click on the tab that says “6+.” The miles per dollar payout changes randomly so it’s always a good idea to review the list before you decide to purchase through the portal.
Which Credit Card You Should Use at the AA Shopping PortalWhenever you shop online you’re faced with the decision of what credit card to use. When you buy anything through the AAdvantage eShopping portal, you’ll most likely want to use your Citi / AAdvantage credit card that rewards you with AAdvantage miles for every dollar you spend. That’s in addition to the miles you’ll earn for shopping through the portal.
Let’s look at an example. If you send flowers from FTD by clicking on the link at the AAdvantage eShopping portal, you’ll receive 20 miles per dollar spent. So, if your total before tax and delivery was $89, you’ll be rewarded with 1,780 AAdvantage miles from the portal.
Now, when you charge this purchase to your credit card you’ll earn more miles or points. If you use the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you’ll receive 1 mile for every dollar spent on your purchase. The flowers were $89 but with tax and delivery your total was $104.95. Citi will reward you with 105 AAdvantage miles for that purchase.
So, when all is said and done, you’ll receive 1,885 AAdvantage miles for your purchase (1,780 miles from the shopping portal and 105 miles from Citi for using its AA-branded credit card).
If you’re going to make purchases anyway, it’s a no-brainer to do so through the AAdvantage eShopping mall. You’ll earn a healthy number of miles each time you shop.
Best and Worst Deals on the AA Shopping MallAn informed shopper is a smart shopper. Just because there is a “deal” at the AA shopping mall doesn’t mean it’s the best deal. You’ll need to determine if you’re best off making the purchase through the portal or elsewhere.
Money-Off CouponsSometimes you’ll receive a money-off discount code from your favorite retailer. Oftentimes, those coupons can’t be used in conjunction with an online shopping portal that rewards you with miles or points. You’ll need to read the fine print for each shop to determine if you can use a coupon that was sent to you. Otherwise, look for coupons and deals right at the AAdvantage eShopping portal. You may find the same, or better, options.
Fixed Rate OptionsMost stores offer a certain number of AAdvantage miles for each dollar you spend. However, there are a few dozen retailers that offer a fixed number of miles for a specific purchase. For example, you can earn 25,000 AAdvantage miles for switching to Sprint through the portal. Or, you can earn 250 miles for buying a membership to AT&T TV NOW. You’ll need to look at all of your other buying options outside of the shopping portal to see if it makes sense or not.
Bottom LineOnce you get the hang of how the AAdvantage eShopping mall works, you’ll be earning miles on all of your online purchases. To find the best use of all those AAdvantage miles, use RewardExpert, a free service that will help you figure out the best partner airline to use American’s currency on based on where you want to go.
If you’re amassing American Express Membership Rewards points, it’s because you know how valuable it is to have
When it comes to stockpiles of frequent flyer miles, it’s safe to say that many of those miles are earmarked for a special trip to Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands are one of the most popular destinations in the United States and it’s a no-brainer to
When the travel hacking bug hits, most newcomers to the hobby only think about
Do you have an American Express business credit or charge card? If so, have you delved into everything the company’s OPEN program offers? Probably not because it’s not as sexy as earning a ton of points via a sign-up bonus. But, you can definitely earn additional Membership Rewards points through the program so let’s talk about how you can benefit from some other really valuable Amex perks.
Paying a fee to check your luggage on
Mileage Plan elite members can check a certain amount of luggage for free on Alaska Airlines flights. The rest of us may need to cough up some cash. Here’s a look at how much checked bags cost on Alaska Airlines and ways to skirt the fee whenever possible.
Delta Airlines is not immune to the dreaded checked bag fee. If you aren’t careful, you could pay a ton when checking bags on your next Delta flight. Here are a few methods to help you avoid those extra fees.
Paying extra to check your bag on
Many frequent travelers—especially small business owners—focus their loyalty on the American Express Membership Rewards program. That’s because of the myriad airlines that participate in its transfer program.
MileagePlus elite members score free baggage allowance on United Airlines