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 and Citi are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. 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

Million Mile Secrets shows 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.

They 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.  They present the information in a helpful way that anyone can understand.

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 Million Mile Secrets only has 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.

422 responses to “About

  1. Anthony DiBernardo

    I just wanted to say I love your website. You and I have a great deal in common. I am obsessed with points and miles. My wife used to think it was crazy until she saw the results. We too are a young couple wanting to travel the world. Keep up the great work!

  2. @Anthony DiBernardo – Emily used to wonder what I was doing, but that changed with the increased travel we’ve been able to have! Thanks for your kind words and don’t let being young prevent you from traveling the world!

  3. Oh I am not. For my new wife’s birthday I booked 5 days at the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives, all on points, and 10 nights in Paris in October, all on points. I just need to get into credit cards to secure more miles.The credit score impact has always kept me from going crazy. May I ask, do you and your wife have children. We often quote that as being a reason we can be free and travel, is lack of kids.

  4. @Anthony – Not yet, so we want to travel as much as we can now!

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  6. My partner and I have earned a half million miles for a year and have had to go through trial and error on redeeming them. I found your blog the most beginner friendly among the similar blogs. Thank you for sharing your hard earned knowledge free without even any cc ads.

  7. @Leo – Glad you found it useful!

  8. I am only 22 years old and travelling is my passion! I am going to hawaii for a 2 week vacation and am hoping to go to Europe later this year as well! I want to travel as much as possible before “settling down” with my business career. I am struggling to find a credit card with 50,000 75,000 or even 100,000 miles! I want to get one of these for myself and my girlfriend so that we can travel to Europe and back for free. Would you mind letting me know what the best one for us would be? Thanks so much for your help. You are an absolute inspiration.

  9. Love this whole concept. Great job, keep it up. I’m a fan….

  10. @Brendan - The 2 Citi AA personal cards for 75K miles each are the best cards right now. You can get up to 150K AA miles just by applying for 2 Citi AA personal cards at the same time. After that you could try the Chase Sapphire Preferred with 50K bonus miles. The links are in the “Hot Deals” tab. Everyone can travel the world for less!

    @Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement
    - Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Hi Daraius,
    I found out your blog day before yesterday and I can’t thank you enough for already teaching me so much. You have opened a whole new world to me !! I am very grateful. I am currently reading all the articles in your blog. Thank you. THANK you. THANK YOU !!

    p.s. Thank you for being such a wonderful writer for easy to understand articles, a wonderful person for not being one of those flyertalkers who think all “secret formulas” belong to them !!
    If there is ever a referral bonus, post it there and if I am applying for that card, I would rather the referral go to you.

  12. @drymartini – Thanks for reading!

  13. I think I am just saying what everyone else has said, your blog is amazing. Its a breath of fresh air to finally read a travel/miles/points blog that isn’t shrouded in arrogance. It is so easy to read and understand. Im 23, and I have been to 20 countries and 4 of the 7 continents. I love traveling and the perks/points/miles that come with traveling. I finally completed my first, first class trip to Spain. I dont know if I ever want to go back to economy. Thank you again for your wisdom. I look forward to learning more.


  15. I just want to say i love your website and congratulation to you and Emily on your engagement in London,i have been following you on your blog since last year, and you are an absolute inspiration, I want to know i am in Canada what can i do to earn free miles or bonus points, since we don’t have many credit card companies here and also, i am a begginer and i love to travel . Iwould be very happy if you can help me with your expertise to achieve my dream. Thanks Sammy

  16. Hi Daraius
    Just wanted to say that I have already benefited from your blog posts. I agree with drymartini that your use of normal English (vs flyertalk gibberish) is really helpful for the points beginner.

    One request – it would be great if you could spend a little more time blogging about how you book reward travel. I have become more adept at collecting points recently but I am still pretty weak at cashing them in. The parts that I don’t understand are:
    1) Do you pick your destinations opportunistically depending on deals, etc, or do you start from the desired destination and go from there?
    2) Do you have a “go-to” tool, like ANA or something else, for determining rewards?
    3) What are some ways of exchanging airline or credit card points for hotels?

    Just some suggestions for future blog posts. Keep up the great work.

  17. @Nick Mirante - I think I replied to you earlier via email, but thanks for your kind words! Her’s to visiting all 7 continents and many more countries.

    @KAREN - I replied to you via email, but your questions is better suited to Credit Boards. However, you could try calling BOA’s reconsideration department and see if they can help.

    - Thanks for your wishes! Unfortunately, the miles and points deals aren’t that great in Canada, but I’ll email you to discuss further.

    @Tariq – I’ve got some posts on booking award travel planned. :) I usually book award travel well in advance so I get to choose which destination I go to. There are lots of tools to use to book award travel, and part of the fun (or exasperation) is to piece it all together like a puzzle. You can redeem Hawaiian Airline and Virgin Airline points into Hilton points at a 1:2 ratio. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points to Hyatt and Marriott (Priority Club is a bad value) and you can redeem the Citi Thank You card 50K bonus for hotel gift cards. Thanks for the suggestions!

  18. Daraius, thank you much for the invite!

    PS if you are in NYC ever, check out Seigo for limited (8 to a set), kimono grade silk bow ties. Fantastic stuff!

  19. @Joe – I’ll check them out when I’m in NYC. I liked their website. Thanks for the heads up!

  20. I used your 2 browser trick & got the AA Visa & AA Amex a couple of months back. I’m very close to hitting the $3000 limit for both cards to get the 50k miles x 2.

    If and when I get the 50k miles x 2 = 100k AA Miles, would it be a good idea to cancel both cards right away, since I don’t need them? Or, could AA deduct those miles for cancelling both cards after 2-3 months. Not sure if there a minimum number of months I need to keep the cards.


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  22. @James – I suggest keeping the cards for at least 8 or 9 months before cancelling them. Once the miles post to your AA account, you should be able to do what you want with them and not lose them if you cancel the cards.

  23. Daraius Dubash has earned and redeemed millions of airline miles and hotel points – most of which he acquired for free and without flying in airplanes or staying in hotels.

    Interesting definition of the word ‘earned’.

    Daraius believes that everyone can can use airline and hotel loyalty points to travel for free…

    For how long? It is clear you are an accountant, not an economist, and certainly not a business man.

  24. Robert Hanson

    @Zen Daraius “earned” those points by doing the things the credit card companies asked him to do. Things like meeting minimum spend requirements, participating in contests, signing up for newsletters, and buying things thru shopping malls. Not to mention just plain charging expenses on his credit cards and then paying them off by the due date.

    All legitimate ways to, yes, earn miles and points.

    You’ve made it clear on other threads here you don’t approve of Daraius’ blog, and those of us who enjoy reading it everyday have made it clear we don’t appreciate your hostile posts. How about you just go read and post on blogs and forumns you do like, and leave this blog to those who like it.

    To each his own, live and let live, hey hey, bye bye…..

  25. Robert Hanson

    On a happier note: I just activated my new American Express Hilton HHonors card. When I had the CSR confirm my 60K Hilton bonus miles, she commented “that’s the best points offer I’ve ever seen”.

    I thought it best not to mention to her that I have the 100K Hilton points Virgin Airlines card already on its way in the mail, along with the B/A Hawaiian Airlines 70K Hilton points card. The two cards approved on the phone by at the same time by the B/A CSR without any hesitation at all.

    All applied for on the same day, with links I got from you. Sorry you don’t get any bennies from those apps. Anyway, thanks for all of that. ‘I love you, man’.

  26. Figured you and your readers would be interested in this… Citi is reporting it’s customers to IRS that got the 25000 mile promo – as taxable income!


  27. @Zen – I earned them from meeting minimum spending requirements on my credit cards and via promotions. I’ve addressed one of your concerns in an earlier post, and Robert Hanson wrote a very eloquent explanation of why loyalty programs are so profitable.

    @Robert Hanson – You’re making me blush! I’m always amazed at how you can earn more Hilton points by not getting the official Hilton branded credit card! I don’t care about not getting a commission on those cards because they are really good deals for readers.

    @Jetsetter – Don’t worry about it. Your credit card sign up bonus will likely not be taxed.

  28. Hey D,

    Is it possible you can do a post or at least give me your thoughts on the Chase Freedom combined with the Chase Sapphire for regular spending when having a checking account with Chase. I just saw that the 7% Sapphire bonus always applies to Freedom transferred points. With Freedom, you get a 10 point bonus per purchase plus 10% bonus points each month, making lunch ad small dinner purchases not with using tr Sapphire on. My plan is if it’s under a $25 meal, use Freedom even though dining gives you double points on Sapphire. So it’s a end of year 10%, plus 10xall purchases then an additional 7% bonus when transferred. Can you think of any other card combination that matches that? In additon should I call Chase and ask for more Sapphire points right now to guarantee usage?

  29. Hey Daraius,
    Did you know about the Blue Savings program from AMEX for their Blue card? http://bluesavings.americanexpress.com/#

    Seems a lot like the OPEN program for AMEX business cards but applies to a personal card. I have had this card for over 5 years and never knew about it. Might be worth mentioning, some of the savings are pretty decent.

    Also, the comment above mine from Joe seems a little off. He mentions Chase Exclusives’ “10% bonus points each month” on the Freedom card when it is actually 10% bonus on base points, not all the points on your statement. I believe the Sapphire Preferred gives a 7% bonus on all points earned, including bonus points. For a $25 dinner, Sapphire would net you (25 x 2 for dining + 3.5 dividend = 53.5 total) VS. using Freedom (25 base + 10% = 27.5 + 10 per transaction = 37.5). I double-checked the benefits of both and am pretty sure this is correct. Sapphire is the best bet for all purchases unless the purchase is dining/travel (since those are doubled) and less than $10 (since you get 10 points per transaction for the Freedom card).

    Thanks again for all you’ve been doing with the blog. It’s one of my favorites,

  30. Hi, Daraius! My wife and I live in KC, and we’ve been enjoying reading your blog. We’ve been collecting points and miles seriously for the past three years, but I actually started accruing points back when I was in college and signed up for my first real credit card (since I don’t really count Visa-backed debit cards as real): a Citi Platinum Plus Thank You card. I think they gave me a free T-shirt and 1000 points for signing up. Hey, it was college–a free t-shirt and $10 worth of gift cards sounded great at the time! I still have that fee free card stashed in my George Costanza style wallet somewhere for posterity’s sake. Anyway…I am an orchestra teacher for one of the big KS school districts, and my wife is still a student, so we love using points and miles to take those trips around the country and world that we would never be able to afford on our own salaries. Thanks for the insight you’ve given us via your blog. We would love to meet you and Emily for lunch or dinner sometime. It’d be nice to spend some time with someone who “gets” the whole miles and points things, instead of most of our friends and coworkers who look on with envy as we travel, but do nothing to help themselves! Anyway, drop me a note or email if you want to grab some food!

  31. Hi Daraius,
    I’ve just found out about your website over the weekend. My cousin who lives in the US had highly recommended your blog and she and her family are able to travel to places with the points collected. I live in Canada & don’t know if your information is useful to me in collecting points and miles. If it’s not too much trouble, are you able to find out & direct me onto the right path in collecting for free travel & hotel stays?

  32. Hi Daraius,
    My family and I are leaving for 2 weeks in the Myrtle Beach area (so time is of the essence) and need a rental car. We are finding prices to be exorbitant! I seem to recall someone mentioning a website that will track prices for you and notify you if there is a better price. I would love to have info. on that website and/or any suggestions for finding a reasonable price for a car.

  33. Hi Daraius, i am still waiting for your discussion on the topic about Canada ‘s miles and bonus points
    best regards Sammy

  34. Hey Daraius! Just wanted to give you an update on my SP application. I was initially rejected for too many applications (even though my last application was 4 months ago), but called the reconsideration line like you suggested and was virtually instantly approved after calling! It seems from my experience and those of others that Chase is really scrutinizing who they’re giving cards to. Thankfully, this card worked out for me, and I can’t wait to get it and take advantage of the points!

    Quick question for you. When you and Emily apply for multiple cards (like in your last post about Emily’s App-o-Rama, do you apply for the cards all at the same time (like, within minutes of each other) or do you spread it out over a few days/weeks? I’m curious because I’m wondering if it affects your chances at getting the applications approved. I’m assuming it’s better to apply for them all at once since the inquiries hopefully won’t have posted by the time the other applications are placed, but since you have more experience I figured I’d turn to the expert. As usual, thanks a bunch! And congrats to Emily on her new bounty of points :-)

  35. Hi! I just discovered your site – I’m a newbie. I see that the easiest way to rack up miles is to sign up for credit cards, but I am not sure how the miles work from different credit cards. Can you COMBINE them from different cards for the SAME trip??? Thanks!

  36. @Poppy- in general the answer is yes. you might want to start by focusing on a certain trip you want to take, how many tickets, where, how many hotel nights etc. That would be a great starting point so Daraius and some of the other wonderful souls on here can try to help

  37. i started my blog called out your blog links, i hope it’s ok with you. i started the blog because people ask me a lot of those questions and i am tired to reply. i am not inclined to earn anything, however, if I need to recommend a referral link credit card i will post yours. :-)

  38. Daraius, what state do you live in? I’m asking because you mentioned in one of your blogs that your credit doesnt get pulled from Transunion alot. I live in IL and looks like Chase mostly pulls from Transunion. I’ve applied for 4 Chase cards recently and was going to go ahead and apply for the Barclays US Air card but then noticed on Creditboards that all my recent pulls were also probably Transunion. You think its still worth applying for the Barclays USair card when I only want it because it might be an easy card to get since its not Chase?

  39. Hi Daraius, Great webstie! I currently have 3 cards. I have a MC, a gold Amex and now most recently got the Cap One Venture which gave me 100,000 miles. I like the 2 miles per dollar idea. The only problem I have is that the MC and Amex give me very high lines and the Cap One only gives me a $10,000 line. It’s hard to build points with only that small a line. Any suggestions for me?

  40. Richard Stern

    Dear Daraius,
    I live in Switzerland, but travel a minimum of 6-7 times per year to the USA (almost all for business, occasionally personal), and with other inter-European travel as well. I travel exclusively with Swiss or Lufthansa, or occasionally another Star Alliance member. In Europe my wife and I use personal AMEX or VISA that puts miles directly into our Miles&More Accounts. Currently, we have just over 1 million miles in Miles&More. However, for all my business trips I currently use AMEX Executive gold, and for many personal purchases in the USA I use AMEX platinum. Both of these cards give me points in Membership Rewards, where I have at present 570,000 points. I do not see the value to maintain Membership Rewards points, as they do not have Lufthansa or Swiss as airline partners. In fact, I do not even know what to do with all these points, as the exchange of points to pay an AMEX bill is not particularly good. And I have no interest in making online purchases with points. So I was thinking about one of two possible options: (1) Getting 2 Chase United VISA cards, 1 business and 1 personal, since the points can be used for Star Alliance members such as Lufthansa and Swiss. If this makes sense, which Chase card would work best for me? I see 3 cards, Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Mileage Plus Club Card. Or, better perhaps is option (2): Change my AMEX cards, business and professional, to Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from AMEX (business and professional). I have a Starwood Gold Preferred Guest Account, although with only 37,000 points remaining. In this way I could build up my SPG Account to use for hotels and/or Star Alliance miles. And I could transfer all my Membership Rewards points into Starwood when I close the Platinum and Gold AMEX accounts. I hope this is not too confusing, and thanks for your assistance. Richard

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  42. Hi Richard! You have 1 million points?? Seriously? Wish I could get some from you! :)

  43. Daraius –
    I just came across this site and it is awesome. On April 15, 2011, I opened a Continental Airlines One Pass Plus MasterCard from Chase but I did not receive a 50,000-mile offer bonus at the time because they had told me I had gotten that offer recently (which I’m sure I did). But, if I cancel this card now and then apply for the United Mileage Plus Explorer, also by Chase, which currently has a 65,000 mile bonus sign up, would I be eligible to receive this bonus? As you know, Continental has merged with United and I believe that by the end of 2012, I am supposed to get a United card that would basically “replace” my current Continental card. So, I was wondering if I should quickly cancel my current card and then apply to get the United Explorer card in order to get the bonus (I have never had a “United Explorer card”). Otherwise, I think I will miss out when they simply convert my Continental card into the United card sometime soon (I would then have a United card and wouldn’t qualify for a “new cardholder” bonus ?). Thanks for any advice.

  44. Daraius –
    Sorry. A follow-up to my question above. Can I simply apply for the 65000 mile bonus offer from United Explorer Card by Chase first, before I cancel my current Continental Airlines One Pass Plus card. Or would they say, “sorry, you already have a One Pass Plus/United Explorer Card”. I just want to make sure I can get the new bonus if it is even at all possible. But, again, I know they are soon going to be “converting” the One Pass Plus cards “into” the United Explorer cards and so I want to act before this happens. Thanks!
    Mark B. (again)

  45. @Mark B – Some folks have reported that they got the bonus for the United 65,000 mile card even though they had the Continental Airlines One Pass card. You may be able to get the bonus even if you have the One Pass card, but as always, your miles may vary.

  46. Mark Bankert

    Hey Trav –
    I was approved for the United Explorer Card with a 60000 bonus !!
    Awesome. After applying on Monday morning, I called the reconsideration line this morning (Tues.), and was all prepared to give a good presentation, but after I gave her my social, she told me that it was approved !
    So, now, as you suggested above, I will send a secure message in a day or two perhaps, asking for the bump up from the 60000 to the 65000 + the 50 statement credit. Even though its only 5000 extra and 50 bucks, I thought I’d still ask for it, eh.
    Now, that I’ve been approved for the United Explorer Card, should I wait a while to cancel my Continental One Pass Plus card (from Chase which actually has already merged into the United Explorer Card) or would that look bad to cancel that Chase card. Perhaps it would look responsible if I cancel that since I just sort of got the replacement card for it ? Now that I have the new Explorer Card, and also a Chase Freedom from just a few weeks ago (I just have these two cards from Chase now), I wanted to attempt to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the 40000 bonus but I would like some advice on the timing of going after it. Thanks !!

  47. @Mark Bankert – I’d wait a few months before cancelling the Continental card and applying for the Sapphire Preferred. I’d apply for the Sapphire Preffered after a few months and offer ask the reconsideration folks to cancel your Continental card since you already have the United Explorer.

  48. Love your site. I regret that I turned down/ ignored several cards. I have an Amex Business Platinum card that I probably won’t use often, due to a job change. What card do you suggest I obtain for most mileage benefits? My husband has the AA Citi card that brought AA miles so far. Thank you.

  49. Darius – really enjoy the site and the variety of posts — interviews, trip reports and general info. Great to see fellow Kellogg alum doing well! I also love the recaps of your/ Emily’s churn. Maybe future topic could be churn
    Result where folks could post their own success/ failure as a “guide”

  50. Thanks so much Darius. Came across ur blog earlier this year. Was then able to get the 100k bonus using citi American two browser trick. And as a result found a first class ticket on qantas a380 from lax to syd using my miles to fly to Sydney for mardi gras in February. Thanks again!!

  51. @Sandhya – It really depends on what you’re goals, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good everyday card to use because of the no foreign exchange fees, double points on travel and dining, and the ability to transfer points to different airline and hotel partners.

    @Matt – That’s a good idea, but a lot of the process is subjective. Are you thinking of a post asking folks to list their successes or failures?

    – That sounds like an awesome trip. Congrats!

  52. Darius, can Chase Sapphire points transfer to Delta? Or do you have to use Travelocity to use the points? I’ve read conflicting reports and wanted to know for sure.

    Thanks! Wes

  53. @Wes – Chase Sapphire Preferred points don’t transfer to Delta, but you can use the Ultimate Rewards travel portal to redeem UR points for Delta travel, but you get only 1.25 cents per point. Or you could transfer to Korean Air and then redeem on Delta, but that could be harder.

  54. Thanks Darius, that’s what I thought. I live in Atlanta and usually only fly Delta so I’m always looking for ways to maximize my Skymiles. Waiting for AMEX to throw another bonus out there to convert MR points but I know we’ve all been waiting a long time for that!

  55. i love to collect miles and admire what you do.
    my only problem is that i live in INDIA where there are very little chances of earning points.
    please write of deals which are available to indian residents

  56. @vivek – Thanks for reading. Unfortunately, there are very few deals available in India, and I focus mostly on US deals.

  57. Hey Brad!

    First of all LOVE the website! I’m new to this. I just got the Southwest card for 50,000 miles and did the double browser AA trick also, cards should be coming next week. If you were me, how would you proceed from here? Any advice you could give me would be most appreciated!

  58. Sorry Daraius, I didn’t mean to call you Brad!


  59. Pingback: Sunday Success Story – Frugal Roadtrip | Frugal Travel Guy

  60. @Bill - It really depends on your goals and what you want to do with your miles and points. You could get another Southwest card in a few months and get 100K out of the 110K points required for the Southwest Companion pass. Feel free to email me!

  61. trying to find a promo code for southwest airlines. trying to get 6 of us home for Christmas to celebrate parents 50th wedding anniversary. thanks

  62. As a road warrior I find your blog very accurate and helpful. I saw a post about getting delta miles through resturant.com but can not locate the information, as I want to sign up. Any help?
    Have fun in Eurpoe

  63. @Scott – Thanks for reading! You can earn Delta miles by dining at certain restaurant –> http://skymiles.rewardsnetwork.com/
    And you can earn Delta miles for restaurant.com purchases when you go via the Thanks Again network. –> https://secure.thanksagain.com/skymiles/register.aspx

  64. Daraius,
    I am a HUGE fan and this is my first post. I became a serious junkie about a year ago after buying my home and not caring as much about credit inquiries. I have applied in the last year for 3 cards (Sapphire Preferred, Marriot, and United, and received 50k, 70k, and 50k respectively). I also referred my wife an SPG Amex and got 10k for that and she got 25k. She also applied for a Sapphire Preferred for 50k and a Freedom when it as 30k. So 6 cards total, 5 of which have fees. Between all points programs we have about 400k points, mostly in Chase and SPG, and we’ve taken 2 free trips (Hawaii and Aruba), with another lined up in January ( St John). I would love to get to 3 million like yourself but could use some tips on next steps. I need to cancel some of these fee cards as well. What would be your advice on our next 3 cards each since we are entering a new fiscal year? Also what is the impact on credit if we cancel 3 and open 3 new ones? In the past year we have gone from 800 to 780 from the inquiries. Thanks for any advice you can provide, and congrats on being engaged!

  65. @Ed – Thanks for reading! I would cancel the cards which have fees coming due or which no longer provide you with a benefit. For new cards, the 2 Citi AA cards for 50K are a great deal or the Chase Hyatt, Citi Hilton, or Chase Ink Bold or Plus cards. I can’t really give you an exact number for the impact to your score, but it could be a few points for each card opened.

  66. Thanks Daraius. I meant congrats on being married. I will probably go for the AA miles and Hilton, and then jump on the Hyatt when I know I will be staying there within a year. I am pumped to get the Hyatt card and then transfer some Ultimate Rewards points at 22k per night. That will be one of the better redemptions ever. Thanks again!

  67. Hi! Daraius, do you think is safe to have lots of miles on your account ? I have over one million united airlines miles on my account. And sometimes I wonder what would happen if someone hacked my account. Should I use some or keep increasing my mileage balance? How safe or good is the airlines policy regarding hacked accounts?

  68. @Cristopher – I wouldn’t collect miles and not spend them because the value of miles is always depreciating. I’m don’t know much about their policy about hacked accounts, but I’ve never heard of any instances so far.

  69. How to book 6 tickets with 250 british airways avios points from detroit (or chicago) to venice–>florence—>rome and back What are my best options (have AA 60K and Delta 60K miles too). Travel plans for June-july 2013

  70. @sri – You’ll pay ~$600 in surcharges per flight in coach which isn’t worth it when using BA miles. You’re better off using United or AA miles, but it is 30k in coach each way.

  71. hello,
    I got my southwest card for 50000 points but they don’t go toward the companion flight. Did something change? The point I transfer from chase and marriott does go toward companion flight.

  72. Btw , how does a card cycle yearly? If I apply in May would the renew fee be in May or at the beginning of next year in January?

  73. Daraius, last October I stumbled onto your site. My husband and I applied for the 75,000 AA cards using the 2 brower trick. I then used your helpful thread on how to use Qantas to see AA availability on Iberia. Now we have a cruise planned for our family of four going into Venice and coming out of Barcelona. We are saving $5,000 in airfare. The trip would not have been possible without that savings. Thank you for showing me how all this works.

  74. Hi! Great website. First time poster here. Just getting into the miles/points world. I am about 4-5 years from a home purchase, but would still like to avoid any huge hit to my credit, which at last check was >700. I know the whole churning thing is the best way but… I was planning on getting the Chase Sapphire to start. Me and my wife are willing to get a couple new cards. (Likely Chase Sapphire each and one other each). We would like to maximize our points for roughly one, week long first class trip to Europe a year. First trip to be next June (priority being on first class flights, although having points for hotel stays would be great.) Is there real risk of huge credit hit with a 2 card per year turnover? Also, what do you think is the best way to get to the goal we want each year? We don’t necessarily care what airline we fly or what chain we stay at (wife likes W or Westin, but I head Hyatt is great for rewards and have more otions in Europe). How many points should we expect for a couple of tickets and these types of trips? Whats the best way to get to that level? thanks!

  75. First time poster here and I was hoping for some guidance. I am a recent college grad with little to no credit history and have no idea where to even start in regards to all of this. Could you help me out with some ideas for a first card (or two) so I can begin building up my points and miles? I studied abroad in Europe and have been in love with it ever since and hope to do an extended return trip in the next year or so with just miles. I appreciate any help or advice in advance!

  76. Bridget –
    I’m no expert as compared to Daraius, but I humbly offer up the following story from last month (August 2012).
    My daughter is 21 and a senior at the local university now. She had never applied for a credit card before and I decided to roll the dice and apply for the Chase Explorer Card for her (with a 65,000 mile, but realistically 55,000 mile bonus). So, we applied online and of course got the “we’ll have to review your app and we’ll send you our decision in writing with 10 business days” reply.
    Well, a few hours later, I had my daughter call the Chase reconsideration line. Before she called, I wrote out a “script” for her to follow once she got the chance to say something to the Chase rep. When she called, the lady initially told her “I’m sorry you were denied because of low income” (which we had listed $ 3,000). I had told my daughter to be prepared for an initial denial but to be ready for an opening to “tell her story”.
    When she got an opening, bam, she let our script fly and nailed it !! The lady was so impressed with her high GPA, her major (Music Education) and her leadership areas that my daughter was in that she said “wow, let’s revisit this here”.
    She then asked if my daughter would want to list any scholarships that she earned for school as income and also if she could add any income that she might get from her mom or dad and so we slapped 15 grand more onto to her income and so she now had $ 18,000. The lady put her on hold and then came back and said “great news, you’re approved and you have a $4500 credit line”.
    Bottom line, getting a Chase card with a big bonus can be done if you are prepared heading into a reconsideration call. But again, other posts by Daraius would have information on “reconsideration calls” if you are not familiar with this part yet.
    Thanks and good luck!

  77. My wife and I will not be using the following codes to receive 10% off for travel to the Caribbean on AA, so we figured we would love to share it with your readers: Codes: BFECD38P6W8R & BFECD346XL5G.

    T&C: Caribbean and Mexico Flights 10% Savings: Travel is valid from US48 and Canada. Travel is valid to Antigua, Aruba, Bermuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Kitts, Netherlands Antilles, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. Book your travel between September 5 and September 30, 2012 on AA.com. Travel must be between September 5, 2012 and December 12, 2012 and excludes travel from November 17-26, 2012.

    Same 10% for vacation packages on AA, but no restrictions on where to travel: Codes: 3B49DCDE-9CC0 & C1700995-ADE5
    T&C: AAVacations Package 10% Savings: Valid when you book a vacation package, with flight plus hotel, for a party of two or more persons. Book your travel between September 5 and September 30, 2012 on AAVacations.com. Travel must be between September 5, 2012 and December 12, 2012 and excludes travel from November 17-26, 2012. Not valid on flight only bookings.

    Thanks always for your wonderful advice!

  78. Daraius, Thanks for the great information on this blog. I recently got the Chase Ink charge card. To help with the $10K in 3 mos. initial charge, do you see a problem in paying a quarterly IRS tax bill of $6K via the the credit card payment services listed on the IRS web site? Thanks and keep up the excellent blog.

  79. Hi, It really a great news for me. I like to travel around the world. Today I know you on one magzine. Thank you very much for providing me this great way to travel the world.

  80. Oops…I’m just seeing all the comments!

    @Chirag – Thanks!

    @Robert K – I don’t see why that should be an issue.

    - Thanks for reading!

  81. Ok… Daraius, as you indeed are a master of the system I would like to ask you how I could best use my Aeroplan miles. Those damn things are sooooooo difficult to use unless you are able to book trips 366 days in advance!! Some may be able to do that but surely not me!

    Any tips for me? Anyone?

  82. Hi, the more I read your tips, the more I loved it. But I have a question, I am a Chinese and I live in China, How can I get the point or miles? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

  83. @Steve – Aeroplan is part of the Star Alliance so you can book on other Star Alliance partners as well. The online site is also pretty good at finding seats. Unfortunately, they do charge fuel surcharges for certain flights. Which routes are your searching for?

    @Betty – Unfortunately, most of the miles and points are earned via credit card sign-up bonuses, and I don’t believe there are many opportunities in China for credit card sign-up bonuses. Thanks for reading!

  84. Hello Daraius,
    I have points from the double AA Citi cards and the SPG card. Can I move/transfer some of them to get double points or increase my points? I don’t know where to find deals or how to do that. I saw references before about transferring to Amtrak and then to some other program, etc. and getting 2 for 1 points…
    Thank you.

  85. @Eric Wilkins – You can’t transfer American Airlines miles, but you can redeem for flights on their partner airlines. You can transfer Starwood points to certain airlines, but they could be more valuable used for cash and points awards at Starwood hotels.

  86. Hello I am a few days ago on the magazine to see your blog and I especially want to travel around the world but I am a beginner what all don’t know say is a student I hope can be in a few years to have a free overseas travel do you have any Suggestions? I should open what bank card to do what to do if you could reply me your busy time I will be very happy

  87. @Steven - Welcome! Unfortunately, much of the miles and points earned in the US if from credit card sign-up bonuses. I don’t know much about credit card sign-up bonuses in China.

  88. I especially want to go to the outside world to see but I’m a student no savings I am the magazine to see you after looking very excited
    Yesterday I immediately in the online search your blog to know some information I can go to open a citibank bank card is hope you can give me some tips and help remind me what should I do I and my friends say the things they are interested in involved in the plan to thank you very much for you

  89. @Steven – Thanks for reading. If you’re based in China, I won’t be able to help very much because I am not familiar with credit card offers there. Sorry, I can’t be of more help!

  90. I live in China but I am interested in this matter your experience are in India or the European and American countries to implement the credit card
    You can put your experiences roughly and I said it to me to be drawn lessons from my friends and I will learn from your experience in China and find suitable for the Chinese way, you will be able to say your first know where to airlines activities and the information about the activities of the grand slam
    I can still from what web site or blog in understanding of the relevant information
    Finally you can add me a QQ or MSN? So that it is convenient for ac thank you very much for your time back to my message

  91. Not sure how you are calling Citi AAdvantage card the best card….they just screwed me by reporting a wrong number to the IRS on the $ value of frequent flyer miles…now I have to pay taxes on miles I never got from Citi

  92. @Ballu – I don’t believe Citi issues 1099s for miles earned from credit cards, only from bank account. If you didn’t receive the miles you can always dispute the value of the 1099.

  93. Thanks Daraius…I already filed…They are basically telling me that they got my miles redemption information from American and used that for my 1099…funny thing is that the bank only gave me 30k miles and ended up showing 75k on the 1099. When I call the Citi 800# the associate is not willing to give me details on how they came up with the 75k #

  94. @Ballu – Consult your accountant, but you can file an amended return and value the miles based on what you can trade them on Points.com

  95. there was a chase promotion back in aug for 50k ba miles for first purchase and another 50k on your first purchase , on your first year anniversary of the card . I only got the 50k promotion but chase supervisor told me if i can produce the promotion code ,he would give it to me. does anyone have the promo code??

  96. Daraius,
    I wanted to thank you for keeping your links up. My wife was able to refer me on the AMEX offer with SPG. What was strange, on the last day of the offer, it wouldn’t allow her to refer me. However, with your link, she was able to refer and we received the points. We proceeded to use YOUR link for the Hilton Reserve. You should have received credit for that approved app. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I could get 2 cards.

    Anyways, we are awaiting for the Hilton free weekend nights to post to complete our 30th anniversary trip. In May, we will travel to Tahiti ( AA from IAD to LAX then Air Tahiti Nui to Papeete). I transferred my Hawaiian airline miles to Hilton ( 2 for 1). We have the 1st 4 days confirmed (again awaiting on the 2 free nights for a Friday and Saturday stay). On that Sunday we take a non-stop to Honolulu on Hawaiian airlines (I transfer points from AMEX to Hawaiian) and have the certs for 4 nights at the Hyatt ( awaiting for the stay 4 get the 5th free offer). We fly back on AA via AVIOS points.

    Again, THANKS! Keep on blogging!

  97. @dov - I don’t have the promotion code and the only way you could access it was by booking a ticket on the British Airways website.

    @Larry – Thanks for using our link! Sounds like a great trip – Tahiti and Hawaii all in one trip! Safe travels!

  98. Darius, I appreciate your efforts to share your knowledge and wisdom to all of us.
    I am curious to know your opinion about earning 5% with INK Bold vs. earning 7% annual dividend: Wonder why one uses Ink Bold to earn 5% while having UR with 7% earning opportunity, assuming that the one has both cards and except trying to meet minimum spending that you already have covered.

  99. @Marie – The 7% annual dividend means that you effectively earn 1.07 point for all purchases on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. However, you get 5 points or 5X (or 500%) on the Chase Ink cards when you use them at Office supply stores and for telecommunications. And if you load a prepaid American Express using Vanilla Reloads bought at Office Depot you effectively earn 5X (or 500%) on all purchases. So maximizing the Ink is a bit more work, but is more profitable.

  100. hi Daraius,
    i posted a message in the SouthWest companion ticket comments area, but it does not show now. Is there a reason? I saw it listed in the “latest comments” area at the top left hand side of the the screen just after I posted it, so it went through. Thanks, Maria

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