Daddy Duty

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How to start seeing the world cheaply

on April 19, 2012

Gary from View from the Wing had a post about how to start collecting miles:

Over on Conde’ Nast‘s blog, I offer six tips for folks just getting started with miles and points.

The basics are:

  • Start with a goal, that motivates you and also helps your choice of program. Nothing worse than finding out you want to go to French Polynesia, but United miles only let you get there flying to New Zealand first.
  • Never pass up miles, always sign up for frequent flyer programs even when it’s not your primary program. The miles add up eventually. Lots of programs become easily manageable at a site
  • Choose a card that earns flexible points which transfer to miles (Starwood, Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards) and then earn miles for everything you do, I note Gary Steiger’s Free Frequent Flyer Miles is a good resource o make sure you’re earning miles for all of your activity and then EV Reward for online shopping.

It’s a short piece but if you’re new to making the most of miles and points you might check out that post.

Assuming this interests you, his other post on the top credit card offers is another must read.  Credit cards aren’t the only way to get miles, however, they’re the fastest, easiest way to bump up your balances.  That post is here!

  • British Airways Visa 100,000 point signup bonus
    : 50,000 points with first purchase, 25,000 more after $10,000 spend, 25,000 more after the next $10,000 in spend. Fee is $75, they offer a free companion award ticket after $30,000 in spend, and the card earns 1.25 Avios points per dollar spent. No foreign currency transaction fees. Here’smy analysis on how to leverage the signup bonus into being 350,000 or even 700,000 miles. (Note that there’s also an offer which Mommypoints flags that I haven’t been able to replicate, by test booking a British Airways flight some folks are able to get 50,000 points now, 50,000 points after a year, without minimum spend — you wait for the miles and pay two $75 annual fees but avoid a spend threshold for those miles.)



  • 50,000 American AAdvantage miles for a new Citi Visa or Citi Amex, each no fee the first year and miles awarded after $3000 in spend within four months. And consider getting them both at the same time using the two browser trick.



  • Chase Ink Bold small business card 50,000 point signup bonus 50,000 points after $5000 in spend within three months, fee waived the first year. Points transfer to United, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club, and Amtrak. It earns quintuple points on wireless/telecommunications services, cable and satellite TV and radio, and office supply stores and double points on hotels, gas stations, and with travel agencies, up to 200,000 points per year. The signup bonus on this card may soon require a higher minimum spend so worth grabbing this one soon.



  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa and Mastercard each offer no fee the first year, 40,000 points after $3000 in spend within 3 months, no foreign currency conversion fees, double points on travel and dining, points transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, Amtrak, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Marriott Priority Club, and Ritz-Carlton.



  • US Airways Mastercard 40,000 points after first purchase and fee waived the first year. This is from Barclay’s Bank so gets a plus for not being Chase/Amex/Citibank, and is generally churnable — you can get the bonus more than once in a lifetime for this card.



  • United Explorer 50,000 point signup bonus, fee waived the first year.



  • 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points for a new Platinum American Express card ($450 annual fee, but with benefits that make the fee worthwhjile).



  • Citi Thank You Premier Card with 50,000 point signup bonus after $2500 in spend within 3 months, no fee the first year. Currently points are worth only 1.25 cents apiece towards paid travel, though it’s expected that points will become transferrable to airline miles in the coming weeks.



  • Virgin Atlantic American Express with up to 65,000 points as a signup bonus: 20,000 miles after first purchase; 2,500 miles for each of the first two authorized users added to your account; 25,000 miles after $2,500 spend within 90 days; 7,500 for $15,000 spend within the anniversary year and an additional 7,500 if you hit $25,000 spend within the anniversary year. There’s a $90 fee for the card, not waived. Virgin Atlantic points can be transferred to Hilton, using them for travel on Virgin incurs some hefty fuel surcharges. A plus here because it’s a Bank of America card, so not Chase/Citi/Amex.



  • Southwest Visa 50,000 points after first purchase, $69 annual fee, it list this one last because while it’s a big headline number and though it doesn’ have a spending threshold for the bonus, it’s a Chase card and there are better Chase offers in my view and because I’m not excited about flying Southwest.

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