Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

Itching to fly

on April 14, 2012

I’m literally itching to travel. My sisters just got back from Hawaii for Spring Break. My other sister is in Paris. My mom is about to take a cruise to S. America. In addition, I’m sitting on a ton of miles at the moments as I’m earning faster than I’m burning (that’s a bad things in the miles world as a mile will never be worth more than it is today)

AHHHHH!  JJ, grow up already so we can go have some fun that you’ll remember! Delayed gratification I must continue to repeat to myself.

If you have the time, go travel for me so I can live vicariously through you. While you’re at it, go see a movie and eat at a fine dining restaurant that doesn’t allow kids (any of the Wynn Hotel’s fine dining options will do). Make an impromptu trip to _____ (the gym, Target, see a friend, get  a haircut, get your nails done) These are just some of the things that are hard to coordinate and in some cases impossible once you have an infant. The childless are so lucky! (I’ll do a future post on the joys of parenting, but Friday the 13th has put me in a certain mood and I’m just expressing it.)

OK, enough of that. One of the things parenting has allowed me to do is read. I feel like I haven’t read this much since when I last had a reading/literature class (10+ years). In addition to parenting, I’ve been reading a lot about my air miles hobby and there are some great offers that I wanted to share. What makes some of the offers so great is they offer Elite status for free.  Check them out:

STATUS OFFERS:

  • Free Accor Platinum statusfree Hilton Gold status, and free Hyatt Platinum status are all still available.
  • Click here to get Free National Car Rental Executive status. This normally requires 12 rentals and offers a better choice of cars from the “Executive Aisle!” AKA, pay for a midsize and et a convertible or a minivan depending on your needs.  Did I forget to mention that you won’t have to wait in line either?
  • In case you’re active or retired military, check out this post on deals for theme park tickets for military families.
  • Have a layover and need to kill time in an airport?  Go to the airport lounge! I can get into most US lounges with my AMEX Platinum card, however, United lounges in particular don’t accept it. No worries, get 12 airline lounge visits for $20 at your choice of lounge here.

CREDIT CARD OFFERS

I know there are a lot of credit card haters out there and I attribute most of that to irresponsibility and/or misinformation. The fact of the matter is that in the US, it is very possible to “use” your credit to your advantage to score tons of “free” travel with little to no effort.  I am a living, breathing example of someone who has personally earned literally millions of miles from simply responsibly and strategically obtaining and closing credit accounts.

As the economy south, credit card issuers ushered in the golden age of credit card churning. The sign up bonuses over the past few years have literally been amazing and have minted many a miles millionaire giving up little more that their birthday and social. The deals lately haven’t been as good, but they still kick the pants of what was offered as short as 3 or 4 years ago.

Back then, everyone felt lucky to receive 25,000 miles for a sign-up bonus, enough for a coach ticket anywhere in the lower 48 states.  During the golden years, this bonus went up as high as 100,000 miles for a sign-up, enough for a business class ticket from the US to Asia that would retail in the ballpark of $5K and up.

There are currently 2-100,000 mile card offers right now. The catch is that they require a lot of spending, so they are targeted to people with reimbursable expenses, companies, or the rich. That said, I know plenty of savvy people without the income per se who will complete the spending with no problem thanks to a little creativity. The two offers are from Chase’s British Airways Card and Capital One’s Venture Card.

Update: In preparing the links, I just found out the Capital One card is no longer offering its sexy bonus. Therefore, there’s now only 1, 100K card, the Chase BA Visa.

2 of my favorite bloggers cover it best. Gary shows you how to leverage the card for huge award travel  Mommypoints discusses if the card is good for a family. The short of this offer is that to get the 100,000 miles, you are awarded the first 50,000 miles after making the first purchase on the card, then you have to spend $10,000 within the first year to get an additional 25,000 miles, and an additional $10,000 to get the final 25,000 miles AKA 50,000 miles for $20,000 in spend.

When you add up all of your normal expenses that you can put on your credit card, I’m sure may of you will find that it’s not that hard to get somewhat close to $20,000 in a year.However, even if you’re short, Amazon Payments between yourself and a spouse of $1,000/month fee-free for a year would lessen the burden to $8,000 in a year. Basically, it wouldn’t be hard to get the full 100,000 points offered! More importantly, as the other links explain better than I can, the miles are super valuable.  For example, 100 K BA miles could get you 4 tickets to Hawaii from LAX in coach. It could also get you 1 ticket to South America in business. The unique thing about BA’s award chart is that it’s distance based so short distances are typically the best value.  Take DFW-IAH for example, 100,000 miles will pay for 10 roundtrips between the two with some miles left over.

Also, assuming you start getting status and points, a free service called Award Wallet is great at keeping it all organized for you. It’s literally a life saver for me.  If you use Mint.com, this is the same thing, but for miles! Check it out  here.

Well, there you go. At the very least, you should have some hotel and rental car status now.  If you signed up for the BA visa, you’d have some air miles too!  In future posts, I will show how to use points for free hotels and car rentals resulting in fee free vacations!  I’m sure I brushed over this pretty quickly and you may have some questions about what I’m talking about (Amazon Payments, minimum spend, etc).  Just let me know.  I’m happy to help!

FYI: Credit card churning means to apply for multiple cards in intervals to obtain sign up bonuses.  Sometimes, one may simply churn one card over and over if the issuing bank allows it.

 

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