Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express is a Million Mile Secrets advertising partner. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Daraius Dubash and Emily Jablon have earned and redeemed millions of airline miles and hotel points – most of which they acquired for free and without flying in airplanes or staying in hotels.

Daraius Dubash - Million Miles Secrets

At Restaurant Sant Pau Near Barcelona, Spain.  Daraius & Emily Used Miles to Travel for Free on Swiss Air to Europe

Daraius and Emily write the Million Mile Secrets blog to show time-starved folks how, they too, can acquire airline miles and hotel points, and travel very comfortably to see the world, for a fraction of what they would otherwise pay for such travels.

They believe everyone can use airline and hotel loyalty points to travel for free – whether it is a trip in First Class to Thailand or a family visit to grandma in Florida.

By reading Million Mile Secrets you will learn their secrets to fly for much less,  stay in wonderful hotels for much less, and rent cars for much less than retail price.

Daraius and Emily have visited over 30 countries in 6 out of 7 continents, and have flown on International First Class (where tickets costs about $20,000 per ticket) to Europe, Asia, and the US, many times for virtually no money.  They use their expertise and specialized tools to help their blog readers and their families travel and experience the world like they never thought possible.

Emily in Lake Como, Italy

Emily Used her Miles to Visit Lake Como, Italy


As a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Daraius roamed the world, as an auditor for a Fortune 500 company, to ensure that rules, regulations, and policies were enforced.  He also prepared many tax returns as a volunteer with the AARP.

Daraius now uses his ability to interpret complicated airline rules and marketing promotions – honed from mastering complex accounting rules – to make the most of airline, hotel, and rental car promotions.

But Daraius believes using your miles and points to travel shouldn’t require a degree in Accounting!  That’s why they started Million Mile Secrets.  Daraius and Emily present the information in a helpful way that anyone can understand.

Million Mile Secrets - Emily & Daraius at Carnival

Million Mile Secrets – Emily & Daraius at Carnival

Emily was a Project Manager for General Dynamics (a Fortune 100 Company) and completed her MBA in 2014. She has worked in the Operations divisions of 2 publicly traded companies.

Busy people don’t have time to study the constantly changing deals, strategies, and requirements.  That’s why Daraius and Emily only write about the best offers and most relevant news, including their easy-to-follow analysis that has earned the trust of over 16,000 loyal readers.

Daraius has worked in the Finance, Auditing & Global Marketing divisions of Fortune 500 companies.  He has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a Master’s in Engineering Management from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.

News outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, and Business Insider call upon Daraius and Emily for their expertise at Big Travel with Small Money.

You Dont Have To Pay To Upgrade To An Overwater Bungalow In Bora Bora

Miles and Points Can Get you an Overwater Villa at the InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora

In his spare time, Daraius loves to plan his future travels and plot how to increase their stash of miles and points (currently over 3 million).  He loves listening to classical music, reading non-fiction (history and biography), eating good ethnic food, and taking long walks.

Emily loves to Latin dance, listen to music, spend time with friends, and help plan future trips.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

397 Responses to About

  1. bruce glasser

    I want to travel to capetown in september/october using american miles for business class. Any recommendations as to the best routes to take. They all seem unavailable.

  2. @bruce glasser – Your main choice is British Airways, but they charge fuel surcharges.

  3. My husband is a retired CPA and loves doing tax returns for AARP. However, he’s really not interested in this game or learning how to do it. He leaves everything to me! So I do wonder what most of us who love this game really have in common? Most of my friends want me to play for them, but they don’t have any passion for learning. Most think it’s frustrating! My husband loves all the benefits but would never play it himself.

  4. Thanks so much for all you do! Exciting to be starting the points/miles journey. I got in on the SWA cards and am completing the spend on the second card right now. Unfortunately, my wife just started a new job and kind of blew it on her end. She missed the minimum spend on the first card by 74 bucks and applied for the same card twice! I am wondering if she should cancel the card and try to reapply again if those offers come through at a later time? What is the best way to proceed?

    Also, I got some kind of targeted offer in the mail, that still offers the 50K SWA bonus for the premier card and gives me 5K to refer them from Chase. If anybody is interested let me know and I’ll send you the code. Won’t work for my wife though because that is the card she already got!

  5. @Lynn – LOL! I suspect that many folks experience the same thing with their partner!

    @Todd – You could call and ask if they will give you an extension, but I wouldn’t count on it!

  6. @ Daraius What about cancelling her SW premier card with chase in hopes of being able to reapply when/if they offer the 50K again? How long would she have to have it cancelled for to reapply?

  7. Hi Daraius , the Citi American Airlines Executive card looks to be an amazing deal. I purchase alot of things in US Dollars so the no conversion fee is a benefit too. However, I am an Australian resident and therefore, can’t apply for this card as I don’t have a US Social Security number.

    Any suggestions on a a similar card that I can get with the same benefits?

  8. @Mark – Unfortunately, I don’t have suggestions for the Australian credit card market.

  9. Hi, thanks for your blog! It’s amazing. I have over 50k American airline miles, I would like to go to Japan in Nov but make a quick stop in Barcelona. I live in Fl. IS that possible? What do U think and what’s the best way to do it so I can find segments. Thank you.

  10. Hi, thanks for all the info! I am trying desperately to get at least 2 award seats to Dublin from JFK on American in December into January and avoid fuel surcharges. Had American dumped all their own award flights? I can only find BA. Is there a way to get around the BA fuel surcharges? I really can’t afford to redeem the miles and spend more than $175 per ticket on taxes and fees. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks

  11. @marsy – You won’t be able to have a stopover (unless you pay more miles). It is 60K for a round trip in coach to Europe.

    @Jennifer – You could set a seat alert on ExpertFlyer to let you know when flights on American Airlines open up.

  12. Daraius,
    Can you tell or do you know if chase will approve 50 k bonus miles twice on mileage explorer card? I had the older version of explorer card for which I got 50k bonus in 2010. Chase upgraded the old card to the current mileage explorer card which I cancelled in 2011. Today I logged in to my united airlines acct and found the 50 k offer for the mileage plus card. I’m curious to know if you have seen or heard from readers getting chase bonus twice.


  13. @Dev – It may be possible if it is a different version of the card.

  14. Hi, do you provide the names of the companies that provide affiliate payments for credit cards? I was looking to include some links to credit card companies on my blog. Thanks.

  15. @JC – The offers keep changing, so I don’t list every specific affiliate offer.

  16. Hey Darious, quick question.
    I want to use British Avios for redemption on American Airlines short haul trips for 4500 avios when the trip is <650miles. The distance between my city and my destination is 29 miles over (679 miles). Besides finding airports that are surrounding to the cities I want to travel to/from, is there any way I can still do this?

  17. @Pete Moss – You can check the miles required, since sometimes it lets you go a bit over. But there isn’t a way to get it to price lower if it doesn’t price lower online.

  18. Barbara Ann Symingon

    Do you have a contact name and number for Delta? I have over 200,000 Skymiles earned and I was unsuccessful in utilizing them without spending $ 1800 on a ticket. I need to speak to somebody.

  19. @Barbara Ann Symingon – You could ask an award booking service for help!

  20. Hi there. I know this isn’t exactly your schtick on MMS, but I would like to make a suggestion for a post that I think readers will find very useful. I have been collecting miles for about a year and I’ve been on some wonderful trips (thanks!). I’ve been very responsible at making sure to pay off everything in full, never accruing any interest. A couple months ago, however, I started to realize that because I was paying for LAST month’s charges with my money from the current month, I had essentially gained an extra month of income, OR in other (less fun) terms, gotten a month behind. On one of your interview posts, I learned about YNAB (You Need a Budget) and have started using their software, which I love. On their website I learned about the credit card float (http://www.youneedabudget.com/blog/2013/are-you-riding-the-credit-card-float/). I’m now working to get myself more current with my spending, ie using my cc as a debit card and only charging that which I have the funds in the bank to pay for. If -heaven forbid- we lost a job or something happened and we were a still paying off last month’s spending it could be devastating financially.

    The recent CVS/Bluebird news was a bit of a blow for more reasons than the common ones. Now that I cannot pay my rent with a BB check, it means I have to pay LAST month’s rent AND this month’s rent with my current funds. It’s okay. It won’t kill us and thank goodness we have the money to cover it, but I wish I had known about this concept of the credit card float when I started so I didn’t have to unbury myself now. I don’t know, but I wonder if the YNAB team might give you a kick back for any purchases made from a link you posted. ;)

    Sorry for the long comment. This seems to be the only way to contact you.

  21. Hi Darious,
    I live in Boston but my daughter and I go to BCN every summer to visit my family. Which credit card would be my best option?

  22. Hey Daraius,

    I followed you on and off but now I have a reason (fellow Kellogg alum) to follow you more regularly ;-)

    I got my HH gold thru the citi credit card but might switch to this so I don’t have to pay the annual fee.

    Awesome that you are able to help so many people navigate the FF game. And Congrats on figuring out a way to make this a viable business! You should go back and teach Prof. Rogers entrepreneurship class!

    Deepak R
    Kellogg ’08

  23. MMS Guru! I love the site.
    Question on cards that have been held for a while. I have an amex that I have had for around 7-8 years, but its high credit limit ($20,000) is holding me back from getting approved from other cards.
    Do you recommend:
    Requesting its limit be reduced to say $3000, to make room for new cards?
    Cancelling the card?
    Other options?
    Thanks again!

  24. My bluebird atm asked for a longer digit pin (7 or 8 spaces) after I entered the 4 digit pin I had registered with my vgc via phone. What could this be?

  25. i have 260,000 Amex points. How would you maximize the value of the point?

  26. Hi Daraius,

    I have a question regarding the bonus for adding an additional card member to a rewards credit card such as Chase Sapphire… Generally, my wife and I each open separate cards/accounts to take advantage of the large sign-on bonuses. Can we still add each other as an additional card member to our own account to receive 5,000 points? So for example, we each signed up for the card separately and each received 40,000 points upon spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. However, can we each get an additional 5,000 points for adding the other person to the card?


  27. @Rachel – No worries, and thanks for sharing. I’ll check out the site.

    @ Sandra – I’d consider American Airlines miles because they are partners with Iberia who flies out of Boston. Or United miles.

    @ Deepak – Thanks for your kind words!

    @ Bavikavo – You could ask to transfer the credit to a new card when you apply. If that doesn’t work, you could reduce it a bit (as long as you have available credit on your non-AMEX cards).

    @ Anne – I’ve never seen that before!

    @ Neal – Depends on your goals, but you could transfer to airlines or hotels etc. Or redeem for gift cads or pay with points, if you want a quick (but less lucrative way to cash out).

    @ST – You get the 5,000 extra points only if you sign-up via the new offer.

  28. Hi Daraius,

    Looking for your advice and what you think and what I should do. I am preparing this winter for an AA award FRA-DOH on QR (business class and stopover in DOH) than DOH-AUH. Now for DOH-AUH should I choose QR because of the upcoming new dedicated lounges at HIA or should I choose EY because I believe they give free overnight hotel if your transiting overnight from the Middle East. Then it would be AUH-IAD in F. Now I know this would be 120K AA miles under 2 awards. What do you think of this itinerary in general? I know its not the best mileage value in the world but to fly dreamliner on QR and EY F which is one of the best in the world seems worth it. What are your thoughts?

  29. @Dan – I personally choose flights based on availability and schedule. That said, this does sound like a great combination of flights!

  30. Hello Darius! As of two days ago Walmart stopped accepting any type of gift card as debit card to load onto Bluebird and/or turn into Money Orders. The gift cards automatically get read as a credit card and declined. Do you have any recommendations on how to unload gift cards (like One Vanilla or Vanilla Visa) now that Walmart is no longer an option? Thank you!!

  31. Hi :)

    I have stupid question,

    1. what happen if I apply credit card and doesn’t actuvate until last day of the expiration date, does credit card company still consider me as a cardholder?

    2. If I don’t activate, do my credit card still count as credit card when I apply another credit card? (I mean the system recogniz).

    3. When I transfer my balance from A to B. and B for the new credit card,
    Does B consider A’s balance as the spending?

    Please answer.
    Thank you


  32. @Nina – They updated their systems and I have a post on that soon.

    @ jeon – A balance transfer usually doesn’t count towards the spending. If you’re approved for the card, you are usually considered a cardholder.

  33. Daraius,

    I have an important & urgent question for you. I am expecting to buy a house in exactly 30 months (2.5 years). I live in an expensive housing market. Right now i have some high CC sign-up bonus offers like Ink 60k, AA 100k, Amex SPG. My question is, should I apply for these cards now or wait until I get the house? I know the general consensus is that you should not apply for CCs at least 1-2 years before getting a mortgage. My FICO scores are in the range of 710-720. Now that you have assistants, I would presume it should not take you long to respond :) Thanks You!

  34. I’m trying to help my parents get the Southwest companion pass. My dad applied for the personal premiere card and was approved right away. He then applied for the business card. After 2 weeks he received a rejection letter. He called the reconsideration, but was still declined. Should he just try to get the $69 personal card or do you think he will get declined for that too?

  35. Hi Daraius, thank you so much for such an informative blog! I am “very” new to this and eager to learn. So I have a question. I fall into the category of great credit and no debt and money to float. I guess I have great credit because when I look up my FICO score under my name it tells me what it is….my problem is I am a SAHM so how do I get credit cards just in my name since I don’t have my own income to list? Also if I can get my own cards which would be the best to start out with? I want to start out slow and not raise red flags that get me turned down for the cards? TIA

  36. @MMS Fan – Credit inquiries fall off in ~2 years, so it could be fine. But do what you’re comfortable with. Getting a house is more important than a few cards.

    @ Nan – He could try for that in a bit.

    @Patty. – See this post. I’d set a travel goal and then apply for cards. The Sapphire Preferred, Barclays Arrival or Southwest post are all good candidates.

  37. can evolve money be used to pay credit card bills

  38. @dave ricci – Not as yet, but it should be coming soon in November.

  39. Daraius, for one-way flights between SFO and Japan, what miles + points should I be collecting? We like to cruise to Japan, then fly business class home to SFO (in the fall), or vice versa in the spring.

    We have benefitted SO much from your writing – thank you!

  40. @Brooke – I’d focus on United miles.

  41. joanna mendoza

    Thank God for your website! We’ve been to a lot of places in 14 years so I wish I knew you sooner!:( What advice do you give to go fly to Bora Bora and stay for free? We are limited to school breaks.

  42. Marcos@Florida

    Hello! Great website!!

    Question…I live in south Florida. What is the best card/miles program to travel to Europe?


  43. Daraius: Has anyone come up with a replacement program like the AMEX Blue Bird program that allowed members to load a prepaid card and then use checks for payments?

  44. Getting ready to send my oldest off to college with child number 2 ready next year! Any recommendations on credit cards that offer cash back for tuition payments, Daraius? My wife found Capital One Quicksilver at 1.5% unlimited. How do you view this card, please?

  45. Quick question which I hope you can answer. I want to book a flight for someone else on United. It is 20,000 miles for the Saver but she only has 10,000 miles. Can I book one way for her on her account for 10,000 and book the one way back on my account for the ohter 10,000? Just want to make sure as I know United has some funky rules :) Thanks!

  46. @joanna mendoza – That could be tough during school breaks. American Airlines and Delta miles can get you there and IHG and Hilton have hotels over there.

    @Marcos@Florida – Thanks for reading! I’d suggest United miles to avoid the fuel surcharge you’d pay if you were to use American Airlines miles.

    @ Gordon – Not that I’m aware off.

    @ Bruce – The Capital one Spark and Fidelity AMEX offer 2% cash back. And the Barclays Arrival gets ~2.2% if used for travel.

    @ Michael – You sure can!

  47. Hi Daraius,
    First time reader of your blog. My wife and I are planning an Apr/May 2015 trip to Bora Bora. I was excited to see that you guys saved $13K on the trip. Do you/Did you have a post on how you actually managed to do that? We currently have a combination of SPG Points/Hilton HHonors Points and United Miles. Any advice?

  48. Hey! It was great meeting at the DDS and post DO in Monsey. I have started following your blog since. Would you be able to hook me up with your business school email address, so I can get Hilton status? THanks and have a great day.

  49. Hi Daraius,

    First of all I wanted to say how much I appreciate your site and I send all my family here to sign up for the lastest high point offerings available. I’ve thought about a possible business collaboration that we can do and would love to talk about it with you. When you get a chance can you email me so we can discuss. Thanks.

  50. @John – Here our are Trip Reports.

    @ Joey – Nice meeting you too! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work any longer for more than 1 account.

    @Kam – I’ll email you!

  51. Hey! Big fan, I read all the time. I have some questions concerning reconsiderations, building credit, and using some of your ideas to do so. Do you have an email address where I can get in touch?

  52. @Zack – Leave a comment with your question and I’ll get back to you!

  53. Daraius, I wish you’d write instructions for booking an award flight that uses airlines other than United or American or British. I suspect there’s something I’m missing – it’s easy to find United seats in First or Business, but how do I find its foreign partners’ seats? I’ve searched and searched!
    On the other hand, following your many suggestions, I’ve just booked us on a flight home from Tokyo on First Class in United – we’re thrilled! Without the benefit of your advice, we’d be paying big money and sitting in coach.
    Thank you!

  54. @Brooke – Search for my United award booking series (which needs to be updated!). You can also search on United.com and should see foreign partners on the search result page.

  55. Daraius:

    Question: I have miles in several places…Amex 175000, Southwest 400000 plus companion pass, United 230000, Alaska 100000. Would really like to take my wife on a trip of a lifetime internationally included and minimize costs. Any thought? Was thinking of United’s round the world fare, but don’t know how to make this stuff work for me.

    Very much enjoy your blog.

    Thank you

  56. Hi,

    The only credit card affiliate links I can get from FlexOffers.com are for Discover and Barclaycard cards. Are here any options for small blogs to get credit cards links for Capital One, American Express, Chase etc. even if they have less commission?

  57. Hi Daraius,
    Thank you for this wonderful blog! I and my family travel to Karachi every year. In the past I have used CLT-IAD-DOH-KHI route by US Air and Qatar. I have never accumulated miles before, always redeemed points on my Chase Freedom for cashback . So, I signed up and was approved for the Sapphire preferred. However, I did not know that UR are not transferable to AA/US. So, I was trying to find a route (for my travel in May 2015) using *A members. Any suggestion?

  58. Manish Vanjani

    Hey Daraius,
    I was wondering if you can provide the list of credit cards (hotels and airlines) who allows a member to trade in their points/miles to other major airline/hotel reward programs?
    For example: SPG Amex Card which allows to trade in Starpoints to many major airline programs.

    Hope to hear from you soon!


  59. Hi, Daraius:

    My husband and I are planning to travel to China in the fall of 2015. What is the best way to upgrade to business class using milages?


  60. I have been subscribed to your blog for years.. recently, I stopped receiving daily emails. I tried to resubscribe but received a message saying that I am already a subscriber. What happened and how can I get you back?

  61. Dear Emily & Daraius:
    Wanted to write you and warmly say thanks for your great blog, site and info. Your tenacity , quality and purpose are greatly appreciated in my household. I have earned more points and $ because of your knowledge you share and my wife and I are very grateful. Follows, a link which I hope is new on a recent gentlemans record breaking points acquisition. Perhaps you can consult? lol http://news.artnet.com/art-world/chinese-collector-uses-amex-to-buy-36-million-chicken-cup-64150?utm_campaign=artnetnews&utm_source=072114daily&utm_medium=email

    If you are in NYC , we would love to host you guys for a drink or meal? please write or call 718-207-5852 , and safe, happy travels!

    Dave Stern & Christina Conway

  62. Hello Daraius and Emily,

    I’ve found your blog through an article on Money magazine and have been soaking up everything ever since. Thank you for sharing!

    I wanted to ask you whether there is a basic blog post that you could point me to, that would break down step-by-step the whole “getting money into a Bluebird account thing” (something other than having to read a flyerTalk thread of hundreds of replies). I’m completely baffled by it and I have only been finding snippets of information about it, here and there.

    I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!

  63. Hi Darius,
    I have a question. I thought I should ask you before calling United Airlines. Have you ever had a situation when a flight has been booked and pas a lot of money to us.id for, and then the customer couldn’t take that flight date and requested a credit (for the money) to be applied to a future date, and the request was granted?

    It is past the date of booking ( July 12, 2014 ) and payment, the flight is booked for August 29, 2014 in California ( San Jose to Ontario, a 1 day stay ) my husband booked his sister for a family reunion event. She said she would go. She is now backing out. Ticket: $325. It’s a lot of money to us.
    Thank you, Denise

  64. Hi Darius,

    A few years ago, you posted how to get gold status for HiltonHonors without staying the required number nights. It worked great for several years. Recently I received a new HH card and it reverted back to the basic blue status. Can you post how to get the gold status?

    Thank you!

  65. Darius,

    Barclay Bank just obtained Hawaiian Airlines card from Bank of America, and I just received notice of annual fee of $50.00. I had NO annual fee on this account previously. To avoid paying annual fee to call by July 31 to CLOSE my account. Wordage rather hard. Then they continued to state that next account renewal in 2015 will be increased to $89.

    They seem to be very “straight and to the point.” Very deliberate and seem very calloused and non-caring.

  66. I’m new at this so please forgive me if you have covered this before. I have 128,000 Aeroplan points but every time I inquire about a flight (via email) I’m told that it’s not available. I have had more success with Air Miles, where I am also a collector. Is there any way I can transfer my Aeroplan points to Air Miles? I realize it might be an involved process, but is it possible? I’d appreciate your comments.

  67. Terry from south Florida

    Hi Darius,

    I’m so impressed with your travel skills. I have been an avid world traveler for the past 25 years. due to a divorce I no longer will have these trips available to me. Traveling is my passion in life and its always reinvented my creativity as an artist. I have good credit. What cards would you recommend for international travel for hotels stays using points and airfare.
    Thanks so much. looking forward to your response.
    Best Regards,


  68. Hi Daraius –
    I have been working to gain points with just purchase until this year. I currently have.
    American Express Blue – 26,295
    Citi Thank You – 12,425
    Chase Travel Plus Platinum- 235,497
    Chase Ultimate Rewards – 125,354
    Marriott – 67,904
    I am trying to figure out the best way to get to Guam (2 weeks) with a week to Hawaii on the way this October to see our first grandchild (our son is in the Air Force). For 3 of us the flight alone could be $6,000. I have thought of breaking up the trip with AVIOS to Hawaii and then using the Chase Travel to get us to and from Guam. However, I do not know if breaking up the trip is the best way to handle it. Also, I would like to be able to cover at least some of the hotel costs with cards (3 weeks, pricey!). I don’t know if I have time to get other cards if they have spend requirements. I think part of my confusion is the points are on so many cards.
    Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

  69. Hi Darius,
    I want to book a mileage plus saver oneway to London from San Antonio and they just don’t exist on any of the the dates I need but they do from IAD or DFW and many other major hubs. Can I call and hope they can add the first segment from SAT for no additional miles if I use a milesplus saver flight out or am I just going to have to cough up another 10000 miles for each ticket? I would use SWA points but as you know they both go to different airports in those cities. What do the experts do?

  70. Hi Darius,

    I’m new to your site/blog and find it very interesting. My primary reason for signing up was to find the best way to earn 99000 miles that count toward the Million Miler award . I presently have 992,000 and it seem like a good perk to have a lifetime gold card for myself and my wife. So far I haven’t found a Q/A that deals with the lifetime miles that count issue, most are CC and award use related. Can you offer me any tips on Mileage runs, double mileage programs etc. I recently retired, presently have no elite status on UA and am Seattle based from May-Oct, So Cal from Nov -Apr. Also I have about 250K banked miles that could be used toward travel if the miles count toward my goal.

    Thanks for any suggestions! Kent

  71. Hi Darius, loyal reader here!

    I recently found out (at a huge price) that AA allows you change or cancel your flight without penalty if there’s >90min in schedule change, while US Airways (just called to verify) and probably United would allow free change / cancel even if there’s only 1min schedule change.

    This is quite appalling. Since most people only put ~2h between connections, 90min in schedule change can ruin many people’s life. I should have booked the same itinerary with US Airways at the same price!!

    I don’t think I saw any FF blog about airline’s policy in schedule change, and I never realize how important this can be until today. This is the first time I book an AA flight, and definitely the last. What worries me more is the pending merger; will US Airways go with AA’s terms in future?

    Thanks for reading. It makes me feel much better telling this story to you :)

  72. @Steve Smith – Start here: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/07/15/use-united-miles/ for ideas on how to use your United Airlines miles! Your AMEX points can be transferred to British Airways. British Airways points are great when used on American Airlines or LAN flights to South America. Or use them on Aer Lingus to Ireland. Or on Air Berlin to Europe. AMEX points also transfer to Singapore Airlines. Here are some ideas for where you can go with Singapore Airlines miles: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/05/28/new-chase-ultimate-rewards-partner-singapore-airlines/ For more help you can hire an award booking service: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/01/15/award-booking-service/ I’d consider a trip to Europe or Asia depending on your travel goals and preferences.

    @Richard – You’d have to talk with the folks at FlexOffers about that!

    @Memon – Thanks Memon! You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways. Then you can use your British Airways Avios points on their partner American Airlines. You may find an award booking service helpful: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/01/15/award-booking-service/

    @Manish Vanjani – That’s a great idea for a post, Manish! But for right now these posts will help you: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/05/15/ultimate-rewards-transfer-partners/

    @Helen – Using miles to upgrade isn’t a great use of miles because you pay miles as well as a cash co-pay. Or you can contact an award booking service: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/01/15/award-booking-service/

    @Barbara – Please check your spam folder if you haven’t already. Does this happen if you sign-up using a different email address?

    @Dave Stern – Thank you for the invitation (& kind words)! I’ve removed your telephone number so that it does’t publicly display on the blog.

    @Gisele – Yes it can be confusing because the rules keep changing! Here’s my latest post about Bluebird: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/06/23/you-can-no-longer-load-vanilla-visa-cards-to-bluebird-at-walmart/ Although I prefer AMEX Serve now: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/07/03/breaking-news-you-can-load-gift-cards-to-your-american-express-serve-account-at-family-dollar/ That said, start small and do small tests with low denominations to make sure it works for you!

    @Denise – Unfortunately you would have to pay the change fee and the credit would be in the ticket holder’s name.

    @Bernie – You can get Hilton Gold Status from the Citi Hilton Reserve card or Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express. You can find them here: https://millionmilesecrets.com/hot-deals/#hc

    @Harold Nagase – You can message them publicly about your feelings! https://twitter.com/Barclaycard https://www.facebook.com/Barclaycard

    @2BarA – Usually you can’t transfer miles out of one airline’s frequent flyer program and into a different airline’s program. I’d ask an award booking service to see if they can find flights for you. http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/01/15/award-booking-service/

    @Terry from south Florida – These are my favorite hotel cards: https://millionmilesecrets.com/hot-deals/#hc I also like collecting Hyatt points: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/05/16/hyatt-credit-cards/ For international trips, I’d collect American Airlines and United miles. But it depends on your travel goals.

    @Tisha – You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways Avios and United Airlines. This series may help you http://millionmilesecrets.com/2013/07/10/earn-united-miles/ The Chase Travel Plus could get you cash back towards some hotels. I’d price the ticket out separately with a stop in Hawaii and then as 1 ways using Avios and United miles to see which is more cost effective.

    @Gary – I answered your question on the Contact Me page. :)

    @Kent Bailey – I don’t like to go on Mileage Runs but these folks do: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/mileage-run-deals-372/ Which airlines are you trying to earn million miler status? Most airlines count only flown miles, so credit cards won’t help.

    @me – Sorry to hear about this and thanks for sharing! It’s hard to predict exactly how the merger will affect travelers like us but I’ll keep you posted on all the news!

  73. Manish Vanjani

    @Million Mile Secrets

    Thanks D for replying.
    Just wanted to share my recent App-O-Rama (July/Aug) with you.
    I applied for total 8 cards :

    Chase SP (40K), Chase United (55K and & $50 statement credit), Chase Marriott (70K), Chase IHG (applied for 60K but rep confirmed that it’s 80K), Barclay US airways (40K) , Citi AA Platinum (50K), Citi Hilton (60K & $25 statement credit) and AMEX Delta Gold (latest offer 50K).

    All got accepted but AMEX Delta, when I called recon number, rep said coz of toooo many recent inquires and less than one year of relationship with AMEX. If I want they can send it for recon, but there might be another hard pull. Do you advise for getting one more hit for recon?

    Total 2 inquires from Chase for 4 cards and 2 from Citi (6 on Experian) 1 from Barclay on Transunion.
    Chase IHG was denied initially but called in recon number twice. 1st rep was surprised that how did I even get approved for 3 cards as Chase only issues 2 cards in 30 day time period as per policy. 2nd call did the trick when I gave reason (fake) that my employers preferred hotel partner is IHG chain so she was ok approved but had to move 5K from United which I’m fine with.

  74. @Manish Vanjani – I can’t comment specifically, but depends on how comfortable you are with hard pulls.

  75. We can not load blue bird card at walmart with gift card.
    What should we do?

  76. Darius – I am looking at staying at the Liberty Hotel in Boston in October. It is a Starwood hotel, and I am a Starwood member. I just don’t have many SPG points. I have about 150k Amex rewards points and about 25k Chase UR. It appears to be 16k SPG points per night at this hotel. What is the best way to use my Amex or Chase points to stay at this hotel? Transfer them to SPG somehow or would it be better to use my Amex/Chase points to purchase the nights? thanks so much.

  77. @Chris – I wouldn’t transfer AMEX points to SPG because the transfer ratio is low. I’d see if there is a Hyatt hotel in Boston and transfer Chase points to Hyatt.

  78. Darius – I want to fly to HNL, Hawaii from RDU, Raleigh NC using my united points. I want to make a stop in San Fran for 3 days and then continue on to Hawaii. On the way back, I want to make a stop in Los angeles for 3 days and then home to Raleigh. Is there a way to do that ?

    Thanks so much


  80. Hi Darius,

    My travel goal for my family (2 adults and 1 toddler) is to fly business and obtain hotel upgrades (four seasons, the one & only, Aman, Parrot Cay..etc). We only fly about 3 or 4 times a year and typically with the same airline (Asia via Cathay, and everything else is just what is available). My question is how I can leverage my everyday spending so that I can collect more points/miles. I don’t belong to any loyalty program and hardly collect any airline points (since they expire), should I go out and apply for everything? Also, should I be applying for my family individually? Lastly, what is the best strategy to obtain business class tickets for our future travels (anything over 5 hrs).

    thanks for your help,

  81. Hello!
    I am currently in nursing school for one more year and wanting to do lots of traveling when I graduate (international and throughout US). I would like to use my rewards mainly toward flights but currently spend most of my money toward tuition, gas, groceries, etc. What would be the best credit cards to apply for with my current position?

    Thank you!

  82. Hi Dariaus–

    I recently flew on a Turkish Airlines flight from IST-ICN, I had booked it on the TK website and it entered my Miles & Smiles number. When I checked in for leg one of of my flight, ORD-IST on TK, I asked her to input my MileagePlus number instead. This worked and I got the united miles but I forgot to do it again when I was headed to ICN and so I now have 5,000 miles in my TK account that I am wondering what to do with…..

    Are there any credit cards that transfer miles over to TK? I travel often to IST so if I could build up enough for a free international flight booked with Miles & Smiles that would be great, but I don’t think it will be possible without involving a credit card bonus. Any help would be appreciated!

  83. Hi Daraius,

    First, let me say that I have received far more timely, useful information and answers to my questions from your blog than any other blog I have read, and I have a read a lot. Thank you for that! I have stopped reading several other blogs because they have become so impersonal and questions do not get answered. If we readers had, or could readily find, all the answers to our questions, we would have no need for reading blogs.

    Having said that, I have some concerns and truly hope your blog will not become one of those! There have been many questions posted in “Comments” concerning your August 27, 2014 post, “Do You Know About the 140,000 Points Ritz-Carlton Card?” I, among others, are awaiting answers before making a decision about whether to apply for this card. Timing is very important as I want to do a round of apps before some of the good offers expire. When can we expect to have answers to our questions?

  84. Hi Daraius,

    My concern with all these travel credit cards is do you apply and then cancel them after a year to waive the fee? or Do you just put your hands on lets say 20 credit cards, and let them expired? Cause as far as I know, your credit score will be lowered little by little each time you apply and cancel a credit card?

    Please provide insights from your experience.

    Thank You,

  85. New southwest promo
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    To take advantage of this promotion, simply register, book, and travel.
    Register between September 18, 2014 and November 20, 2014.
    Book your flights through Southwest Airlines® between September 18, 2014 and November 20, 2014.
    Complete your flights between September 18, 2014 and November 20, 2014.

  86. Dear Dariarus:

    I am a new addition to your email list. I have been using your suggestions and really appreciate
    your insight and advise. I have a number of chase credit cards. For example two united explorer cards, one for business and
    one for personal use. I have had each for over three years. If I cancel one how long must I wait to apply for a new card to obtain
    another signup bonus??

    Thanks again Gary L

  87. Emily Richards

    Hi Daraius, I am brand new to this and am just about ready to start applying for my first rewards card/s. I usually travel from SLC to ANC, SLC to HNL and have a lot of interest in going to more of the Pacific Islands. Which cards would you suggest would be the best to sign up for for these destinations? Thank you for your help and for such a useful blog!

  88. Cindi McTaggart

    Hi Daraius, Would you please inform me if there are any specials that we might get in on for extra points on SWA. We recently retired and are unable to qualify for the companion pass on our own. Is it too late for 2015? Thank you.

  89. Cynthia McTaggart

    Hi Daraius, Since we recently retired, we are unable to accumulate enough points for a SWA companion pass. Is there any suggestion you might have to increase our points before the end of 2014? Thank you.

  90. Hi Darius, Thanks for all the information that you post. It’s been very helpful. I have a question where I’d like your expert opinion. I purchased a bunch of gift cards on my Target red card (5% off!), and I was wondering if there’s some way to get additional points/discount when paying off that bill. For instance, is there a card where you get points for transferring a balance? Or can I buy a visa gift card (with my Chase Sapphire) or something similar and use it to pay off my red card? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Thanks!

  91. Marcos Gonzalez

    Hello Darius.

    Question…From Miami…what miles should I get to fly to Malvides and Bora Bora?

    Thank you!

  92. Hi Darius!….I love your website and having a family of 4 I always look for ways to get more miles and travel as frequent as possible. Having said that, I have 2 questions:
    1. If I apply for a card, how do I know if I’ll get the sign in bonus points ahead of time (of course, by meeting my min spend)? I’m asking specially if I had applied for the same card before and dont want to apply without knowing if I’ll get the points….you know what I mean?
    2. If i dont apply for credit cards that much, let’s say 2-4 a year, would I be ok with my credit score?


  93. Hi,
    I have been signed up on your website for maybe a couple of years with good advice. My wife and I both signed up for the Delta AMEXP gold card offering the 50,000 mile bonus that expired 9-9-14. We both met the requirement within the first month of the spending $1,000 within 3 months. We both received letters from AMEXP stating we had been approved for the 50,000 mile bonus.

    Yesterday, we received letters from AMEXP, each with an enclosed check for $200 which stated, ” We are sending you the enclosed check as reimbursement for the value of Delta Sky Miles that we were unable to apply to your account at this time.” The letters had the last four numbers of our old account numbers which had expired some 2 years ago. I called AMEXP and talked to customer service. She stated the fine print said if we ever had the gold card, we were not eligible for the bonus miles. I told her we both had entered our sky miles number based on our old gold cards and it was still approved. $200 does not make up for the 50,000 bonus lost. They waited until after we had met the spending requirement. They approved the cards and have now denied.
    Do we have any options before cutting up our cards and never using AMEXP again or can you help?



  94. Hi,

    I got an email from square to refer friends, for each signup both will get 1000$ processing free of charge valid for next 180 days. I referred my wife and few friends and scored almost 7k of free processing which can be used for new card signup. As amazon payments is no longer available this is a great way to manufacture spending.

    May be others readers can benefit from these so it would be great if you can have an article on this.

  95. Hi Daraius:

    Do points transferred from Ritz-Carlton Rewards package offerings to Southwest, qualify toward the companion pass?

    You mentioned very briefly in a post a couple of months ago that points transferred from Ritz package deals starting at 200k points to Southwest and other airlines would count toward the total miles needed (110k) to earn the companion pass.

    I’m looking specifically at the 220k package deal from Ritz, which includes 7 nights stay and 70k miles on Southwest. Can you please confirm that the 70k miles would go toward my total needed for the companion pass on Southwest? Thanks.

  96. Hi Darius,

    Love the blog. Nice work. I have a brief question. I have the Westin Maui reserved under the previous cash + points rates at 6000 per night + 110 per night. I am stay 4 nights with taxes for $500 + 24,000 points. I have located a rate of $1035 for the 4 nights. Would you recommend using the 24k points or paying the $535 difference and try to get a better value for the 24k points? Basically, should I hold on to the 24k Starwood points for a better redemption rate than 2.2 cent per mile?

    Thank in advance for any advice.


  97. Hoping you can offer some direction to help me clear up some confusion on how to secure award tickets for a vacation to Europe next year.
    I am hoping to secure business award tickets and have identified the following route/airlines that could get me to/from my destination.
    Departure: JFK -> Frankfurt on Singapore airlines
    Frankfurt -> Istanbul on Lufthansa
    Return: Athens Greece -> Frankfurt on Lufthansa
    Frankfurt -> JFK on Singapore airlines
    For the below questions I will assume availability of award flights for each of the 4 flights.
    Both airlines are members of the Star Alliance. My confusion is how to determine which airline I make my flight reservations with? Can I reserve both Lufthansa & Singapore flights thru Lufthansa or vise versa all the flights thru Singapore airlines?

    Having miles/points with both Chase and SPG for transferring, any suggestions on what considerations I should take into account when determining which airline to make my reservations with?

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