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 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


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.


  1. Know where you are going, research the award chart, get enough miles (a much easier job with Amex MR), finally be flexible and secure the award seat EARLY!

  2. Don’t let your points expire! It’s a great idea to get and hoard as many miles as possible, but make sure to know the rules of your particular program as they can all go to waste if you don’t meet minimum activity requirements…

  3. You don’t need to be a customer of an airline to take advantage of their loyalty programme – think alliances. For example, I am one of BMI’s best customers despite having never flown on one of their flights. The same has been true of Air Canada in the past.

  4. Keep a spreadsheet of all your point activity. That way if the program makes a mistake- and it happens- you can get it corrected.

    In addition, it’s a positive motivator and helps you manage your points (to keep them from expiring for instance.)

  5. Use your miles to travel to exotic places where the tickets are extremely expensive, but you need to plan ahead. Well, sometimes you don’t have to, because not many people book award tickets to those places 😀

    Anyway, this usually yields the best value for the miles.

  6. Take advantage of websites that are middle men for purchases (such as MyPoints) and web sites that issue surveys (Harris Polls), as points earned in those programs can be converted to miles or hotel points.

  7. Be smart about what you use your points for. International tickets and international upgrades tend to be the best uses of points.

  8. Get yourself a mileage earning credit card!

    If you are going to spend money, then why not spend it and earn something back at the same time?

  9. Take advantage of low fares to boost up your mileage total. Quick weekend trips can rack up the miles if you pay attention to what you earn versus what the trip costs.

  10. If you are able to be flexible when redeeming points/miles, use the flxible dates options for both your hotel and airline as sometimes even a day earlier/later can be obtained for half the points or a first class ticket could be available for what you were willing to pay (using miles) for coach if you just travel on a different day.

  11. Redeem your miles for premium class tickets to overseas, or Hawaii, and Alaska. These are among the best value of your miles. Always plan ahead, usually you can book your award travels 330 days in advance. Keep that information in mind whenever you are thinking a nice trip. Good luck to us all!

  12. Sign up for all the loyalty programs you can then track the detailed information, membership numbers, benefits, enrollment dates etc. Use this information every time you book travel or stays for frequent upgrades, perks and free stays. There are a lot of programs out there so search and track once you find them.

  13. Go at it from all angles – for instance, earn miles through a dining program, funnel your car rental miles to the same program, sign up for a branded credit card, use the appropriate mile-earning shopping portal, etc.

  14. Sometimes, travel companies have some incredibly lucrative promotions (like the LatinPass promotion, through which we earned a million miles, most of which were used on USAir, or transferred to Hilton and Marriott). When these promotions happen, DON’T delay! They frequently get pulled, or closed to additional entrants. You have to figure out the benefits and pull the trigger quickly.

  15. I use my hotel credit card to pay my elderly mother’s
    pharmacy bill each month then have her pay me back.
    I tell her it’s just easier for me to pay with the credit card than getting a check from her to pay the bill and I rack up a lot of points each year this way 🙂 .

  16. 1 Consider using your airline rewards for upgrades to first class or business class.
    2 Read flyertalk and the blogs like this
    3 Plan ahead for better availability
    4 some good luck

  17. Keep a positive attitude and the longview about reaching your destination. Actual airtime goes quickly when you are calm and content.

  18. The Best use of your miles are international Business/First awards, don’t waste your miles on anything less.

  19. Attend the 6th Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair DO. This year is devoted to discussing the ins and outs of award ticket booking. It is the perfect opportunity to network with fellow points and miles fiends. Details available at

  20. Purchase paper gift certificates at a Mom and Pop supermarket with a mileage earning credit card and redeem by buying a couple of small items; mine gives me change in cash. Rinse, repeat. (This is useful when you need to hit a spend threshold on a credit card)

  21. Its sort of a two part question. My TOP TIP FOR EARNING MILES is use the internet to access current information on opportunities which may exist like credit card and bank account sign-up bonuses, airline promotions and contests which have mileage prizes. I suggest sites like and to mention just a couple. My TOP TIP FOR USING LOYALTY POINTS is book your trip as far in advance as possible. You will be rewarded handsomely by getting the most convenient itineraries at the best times of the year and the best seat assignments. Factors which are extremely important to the frequent flier.

  22. Stick to one or two programs for each of air, car, hotel, etc and be completely loyal to those, for example, go with SPG + SPG Amex + stay only at SPG hotels and sign up for as many promotions as possible via milemaven/pointmaven

  23. Find a program and stick to it. Pay very close attention to the expiration dates on your rewards, especially the free car vouchers and such (like the 1 2 free promo by National, those things expire really fast.
    Especially when dealing with rental cars try and break into a higher tier as you’ll get better service and better cars usually.
    For what it’s worth I’ve found points don’t matter as much as the perks to me. I would much rather get upgraded on 20 domestic flights than get one free international flight.

  24. Do your homework! Know EVERYTHING about the loyalty rewards program you chose: one-time promotions, how to get bonus points, who are the partners, etc.
    Every time you make a reservation/pay for something (store, hotel, restaurant, purchase on-line, concert, trip to a museum, etc) remember to check if you can use your loyalty card. EVERY LITTLE BIT ADDS UP!!!

  25. When you have a lousy experience with an airline, CONTACT the airline immediately; often you will receive double miles or at least courtesy miles. And if you don’t, you’re not being descriptive enough!!

    I’ve had great experiences with Delta’s customer service responding to some horrid flight experiences (when you fly 80,000 miles a year, you’re bound to have a few ugly ones!)

  26. Attend Flyertalk DO events. The best tips and tricks I’ve learned have come about at those meetings.

  27. Sign up for to keep track of your mileage balances if you are a member of several programs (like me!). The free version is great, but for as little as $1 for 6 months, you can also keep track of expiration dates for your programs, so that you don’t lose your hard-earned miles & points due to inactivity.

  28. Keep it simple! Choose one loyalty program that best suits your personal needs. They sometimes change so get updates, because what you don’t know about your loyalty program can hurt you.

  29. Always know the promotions for your program and do your best to take advantage of them.

  30. My advice would be to “get loyal” with a favorite hotel chain/ airline/ rental car company – higher level loyal members, Starwood Platinums, Hyatt Diamonds, United 1ks, for example not only earn base points but bonus points for these member classifications, as well as other perks and upgrades (free) that rewards the loyal frequent traveler.

    Also, using a branded credit card to pay for these hotel rooms and plane tickets (United’s Visa, Starwood’s Amex, for example) have a way of being a point multiplier for increased earnings ad well.

  31. Earn airline miles with one carrier/alliance but with at least two hotel chains to ensure that there’s a location you can use points on a trip and in case the hotel of choice has no rooms available, that way you have a backup to use when you want to cash in points for a trip.

  32. Do the math. Even if a domestic ticket seems expensive, it’s almost never worth it to burn miles. Save them for your international trips.

  33. My top tip for using mileage points is to plan well in advance and to fully understand the specific restrictions of the program.

  34. Double-dip or triple-dip by using a site that gives you points just for using the site, and then pay for it using your points credit card, and if you can, use your frequent flyer number.

    For example, I had a recent trip where I used MyPoints to navigate to United (earning me a few hundred MyPoints), I booked the travel using my FF number (earning air miles), and I used my Discover card which was offering a 5% cash back on any travel charges. Triple dip!

  35. If you get a rep that says it cant be done, hang up and call again until you get a rep that will work with you and is knowledgeable. Try try try again.

  36. Do not let your miles expire for inactivity. Earn some miles through a retail or dining program if you are not flying enough to stay active.

  37. Be aware of opportunities to transfer miles/points from one program to another for free without devaluation.

    A good one I’ve used heavily is Amtrak Guest Rewards -> Continental OnePass. Limit of 50K per year – and even that might only be for Amtrak elite pax. Still, it’s a steal. For example, right now there’s a (possibly targeted?) offer for the co-branded Chase MC that yields 18K Amtrak points upon activation and another 18K with $2K spend. Easiest 36K Continental miles I’ve every heard of.

    Similarly know how much the miles/points are worth to you so you know when to earn and when to burn.

  38. Points are in the details, understand where the bonuses are and how to get them as cheaply as possible. So don’t spread yourself to thin between too many programs

    Then to spend them, plan as early as possible and do the research on miles required, could find a steal where you least expect it. (e.g. when was still up during transition)

  39. Be friendly with hotel/airline counter agents! You just may get upgraded – especially if you are traveling on a special occasion such as your honeymoon, anniversary, etc. Let them know!

  40. As I’ve gotten older, my time has become more valuable and I’ve had more disposable income. Therefore, I recommend being a little more willing to spend money instead of sacrifice time to build mileage balances.

    On Continental, I have the Presidental Plus credit card, which gives a 25% redeemable miles bonus. I pay in advance for the Extra Mile bonus, which is another 50%. I have Platinum status, offering a 100% bonus. And I frequently purchase B fares, which are upgradeable at booking and earn 150% EQM, good for keeping status.

  41. Make sure you come back here to learn all the latest insider info and best deals. I use my miles credit card for everything! I get miles for all purchases and it keeps any of my miles from expiring! Thanks.

  42. It’s not as glamorous as a free flight but consider using miles for magazine subscriptions, especially if you have miles in a program you rarely use. 2000-3000 miles can get you a $120 subscription, which is (in my mind at least) good value.

  43. follow travel sites on Twitter for special offers and be sure to know loyalty programs partners

  44. Know what your programs’ expiration rules are and what it takes to keep your miles/points from expiring. Even if you don’t have enough miles in your account to take a flight, you may have an opportunity in the future to get enough for a ticket. Keeping miles alive in many programs can also be done cheaply. For example, buying a song on iTunes keeps United miles alive for another 18 months.

  45. Many airline carriers allow for one-way award redemptions. If you have trouble finding round trip award availability at the lowest redemption level, do some one-way searches before ponying up the higher amount of miles

  46. What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points? At Christmastime, do all your shopping online for FF miles! I’ve racked up lots of points this way and have traveled to Europe and California using my FF miles.

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