Win a Trip for Two to Australia’s Gold Coast!

G’day Mates,

Its here! The contest to win a trip for two to Australia’s Gold Coast starts today! This is an all expense and ALL taxes paid trip. The contest is being arranged by BoardingArea.com and is sponsored by American Express Gold Card. And in the true Mileage earning spirit of this blog, this will be a trip that earns you full miles!

Here is how you enter

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Leave a comment to this article with your answer to this question:

What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points?

That’s it. Leave a comment and you are entered. All details of the contest and trip are on the official contest page at BoardingArea Gold Coast Contest.

One fine print point to note is that this contest is only open to US residents. Sorry, rest of the world, not in our hands.

Leave and comment and may the best reader win!

You can also get regular updates on this contest and this blog via email or RSS by clicking on the RSS link here. Do follow us onTwitter and Facebook for updates on Airlines, Airline Miles and other Loyalty Programs.

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Comments

  1. Keep your points alive, even if you have not taken a flight recently, by using the airlines version of “the mall” or “marketplace”. Earning even a few points/miles will extend their life.

  2. concentrate one one or two programs and learn the rules so as to maximize earning opportunities and redemptions

  3. Use the Starwood AMEX to accumulate points, then transfer to your favorite airline program with a 25% bonus for 20,000 point exchanges. Alternatively keep Starwood Amex points in reserve so you can transfer smaller amounts to “top off” airline accounts to reach the award you need.

  4. Earn/consolidate to one frequent flyer program of an alliance. Always check the ‘Fare basis code’. Starwood Preferred Guest card is best credit card for earning miles, gives 5k bonus for redeeming 20k miles to 30 different FFP program.

  5. be sure to stay active with your different flier progams, so they will not dump you. Many have a two year activity period. No need to fly, just earn some miles through a credit card or shop with their shopping portal.

  6. Air miles and some hotel points expire. When you sign up to earn these miles, ask the related parties how long you have to accrue the points, how long they are valid and if there are policies on extending earned miles or awards. Be careful!

  7. Consolidate to one or two rewards programs, enter all promotions, and use points as they accumulate so much as is reasonable to counter any fears of inflationary pressures the points may face (and limits the need to worry about expiration dates).

  8. I am a big fan of Hilton HHonors for hotel loyalty programs. But use your points on the really really expensive hotels — you can get a $600 room for the same number of points as a $200 room. Also if you are the highest loyalty level (diamond) you can get a guaranteed spot even in a full hotel, and you pretty much get upgraded to the nicest room automatically. So pay for the cheapest room with points, and then get upgraded to an executive suite with lots of free goodies. Also you can earn points with them through their dining partners — pretty wide selection of restaurants.

  9. Partners and alliances are your friends. Bank in one program and redeem with all the carriers available that they are aligned with to get the best value.

  10. My top tip for ALL travelers is this — consider packing so lightly that you do not even bring a camera or computer with you. We get so wrapped up in our technology these days that we forget to really see and enjoy the beauty before us. When you leave the camera in the hotel or back home, not only can you walk and explore more lightly, but you take in the moments for yourself. Mental snapshots are a powerful tool for helping one enjoy any locale.

  11. If you only travel a moderate amount, make every hotel stay one night and then switch hotels for the next night. This is the quickest way to elite levels at the hotel chains. The hotels always require less stays than nights to reach elite levels, so by switching hotels nightly, you can earn elite status with just 2-3 stays per month. Once you have status, you’ll start earning additional bonus points and upgrades.

  12. If you find you are getting “spun” by the hotels and airlines when you try to use your points/miles, write directly (and nicely) to the CEO of the company (registered mail), with all the facts and details, enclosing all relevant documents. We had hundreds of thousands of points and miles but couldn’t use them for one reason or another for years… UNTIL I did that. We were contacted Immediately and got to have the honeymoon of our DREAMS, and the hotels and airlines treated us like GOLD! I have used this technique effectively with CEOs from several major corporations (inc. Marriott and Delta) to resolve a variety of issues. As my dad said “You don’t ask, you don’t get”! But ask Nice!

  13. The best advice I ever received is to pick one carrier/alliance and one hotel chain and stick with it. It’s much better to be the top of one program than the middle of many. You want all of the points you achieve to get you the most you possibly can, not spread out across different alliances or chains.

  14. Read Flyertalk and blogs like this for the latest advice on mileage earning and burning opportunities.

  15. Stick with one alliance to maximize your mileage earning abilities; make sure you check mileage earning on partners (you never know which airlines/rental car companies/hotels/credit cards/etc. partner with one another!). Save those miles for your dream first-class trip anywhere! Luxurious air travel is the best way to get the most out of your miles. 😀

    Thanks!

  16. Focus on your goals – what kind of experiences are you looking for? Once you know that, you can focus on particular loyalty programs that will get you to your goal quickest!

  17. Pick an alliance, use it. Pay for everything with your miles card. Use any opportunity for double and triple miles offers. Use up the miles before the airline goes out of business.

  18. Focus on a few – preferably one loyalty programs – for flights and hotels and try to maximize the amount of points you can gain for these programs. Like George Clooney says in “Up in the air” – never spend a dime without trying to gain points for it. Taking advantage of the excellent resources on the web – like boarding area blogs that will help you find all the ways to earn those points. Then use ’em quickly and enjoy!

  19. Earn every chance you can and credit to as few programs as possible (consolidate). For example, credit flights to one airline program per alliance and when staying at a hotel outside your “preferred” hotel program(s), try to credit to an airline rather than holding just a couple of points in every program.

  20. Read Boarding Area blogs – they boil down the fluff into the nitty gritty. Join Flyertalk and forge invaluable friendships with people who can help cover all the bases. They got my back!

  21. I use my rewards card to pay for almost everything, and then have my wife book trips. It just works better that way.

  22. Study flyertalk.com and sign up for every program. I sharply regret the stays and flights I made before enrolling thinking a one night stay here and there it was not worth it.

  23. Obtain the credit card for your favorite airline. If you’re going to be spending money anyway you may as well get something for it. Also the program I use you can use mile to upgrade to first class on international flights. For example on a discount economy ticket from New York to Tokyo, which can run about $900 roundtrip, you can upgrade to first class for 60,000 miles and $1000 roundtrip. That same first class ticket would cost over $11000 and because you still earn miles for the flight that means it only costs you 45000 miles to save $9000.

  24. My Tip:
    Finding award availability on the internet is not always easy – each airline website has its own quirks. Some don’t show partner award availability, some have a very poor search feature, and some don’t make it easy to look at multiple days at a time. I like ANA.co.jp for most Star Alliance availability, BA.com for OneWorld, and you have to work a combination of Airfrance.com and Delta.com to find SkyTeam awards. Each has its pluses and minuses. Sometimes you have to search segment by segment and piece together the whole trip. It can be frustrating, but assembling this information will be essential to finding the award you want.

    Once you have the data – and a few alternatives – pick up the phone and call an agent. You will pay a few extra dollars, but if you are looking for Business Class or First Class it will be well worth it. And, try not to overpay for awards: often times the easy way to find a seat is to pay extra miles for the “Flexible” awards but with patience and the right search tools you can usually do much better as long as you are flexible.

  25. Don’t let your accumulated miles take on too much OR too little importance; use them as a tool that fits your personal circumstances. If you don’t often travel internationally, resist the urge to hoard miles for international vacations. If you need a quick, last-minute flight to visit an ailing relative or get to a job interview, use your miles! Put your miles to work for the things that matter to you.

  26. I tell my husband to buy lots of stuff on our rewards card and then I use the rewards for trips!

  27. Don’t ignore the hotel side of award trips. A one-week vacation will set you back just as much in hotels as airfare, so maximize your hotel stays. I like the Starwood American Express card because of the flexibility of the points, good award availability and options (eg. cash+points, redeem 4 nights and get 1 free), and the nice properties. And you can transfer the points to airlines if you want.

    Kim

  28. To garner miles, put every possible necessary charge on an airline-affiliated credit card and sign up for every offer that provides increased miles, such as double for groceries or drugstore purchases. Don’t be afraid to be the person who quarterback’s the end of group dinners by putting them on your card and receiving cash from others, even if you hate math.

  29. Leave good instructions for your heirs on how to access your miles in all your accounts. You don’t want them to go to waste– rather, you want your kids to be able to use them should you die unexpectedly. Once the airline knows you’re gone, they will probably lock your miles.

  30. Try and sketch out your years travel at the start of the year. This lets you calculate your flight miles goal and predict when you’ll reach it. You can then estimate when you’re likely to reach your goal and look into other methods (hotels, car rentals etc) to speed things along.

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