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, Bank of America, Barclaycard, Chase, Citi, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

I love answering questions from my readers and want you to travel for less!

Please leave a comment below with any requests, travel anecdotes, or topics which you’d like me to cover on the blog.

Or tweet me @MilMileSecrets for a quicker response!

I’d be delighted to make your travel dreams a reality!

Daraius Dubash and Emily Jablon (formerly married) 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.

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

6,780 responses to “Contact

  1. Target Red Card and Bluebird Wal Mart card are getting harder to use (more restrictive about putting money on them/). So – I tried something today and it worked. If Wal Mart service agents are refusing to let you put gift card money on your BlueBird, just go online. I have a registered BlueBird card. I had a Master Card Debit/Gift Card with $500 on it. I went online ( and registered the gift card. I then went onto the BlueBird site to add funds. I put in the info from my MC Gift Card, asked to add $200 (the daily online debit card limit) and the transaction went through!! Gonna keep this up as one way to add money to bluebird from debit cards. (Not certain this will work with all gift debit cards, but it worked with mine).

  2. Do you have any update on Jet Blue branded credit cards? I know their arrangement with American Express ends this year. My card renewal fee will be coming soon.
    Will they be announcing an arrangement with another bank/card? Will there be new incentives to apply? Or will the AmEx cards/accounts be automatically shifted to another card/bank?

  3. Thanks, Daraius.

    Cathay Pacific is terrific if I can’t find a non stop flight from NYC to Seoul, Korea (ICN).

    Are you aware of any direct flights that I could find with my American Airlines miles?

  4. Why do your credit card tabs seem out of date? I found 50k southwest personal and business elsewhere but not on your tabs. Those tabs used to be reliable.

  5. I want to use points/mile for a domestic rental car. I have Thankyou and Chase UR. Where do I get the best value?

    Thank you in advance

  6. Hello
    I signed up for your email just last month and am amazed at the amount of information. It’s a bit overwhelming so I could use a bit of guidance to get started. I’m planning a vacation for my wife’s 50th birthday next year in June and need to plan a trip to Italy. We recently went to Argentina to visit family and the long flight in a less that comfortable seat in Aerolineas Argentinas coach had me wondering what options there were to upgrade. I was told recently Emirates flys to both Italy and Argentina from NY and was very comfortable and affordable. I’d like to plan my trips for the coming year and take advantage of anything I can do to make my wife’s bday as special as possible and future trips to visit her family a little more comfortable if possible. Any guidance would be appreciated on how to make the most of what’s available.
    Thanks very much

  7. There have been attempts to hack three different cards (two in my name and one in my wife’s name) in the past year. I received alerts from all of the respective banks for the cards and although some charges were successfully added to a card, the banks have covered all of the cost and re-issued the cards to us. Is it unusual to have this many attempts? It is making my wife very nervous and hard for me to convince her that what I am doing is safe.

  8. Hey Daraius,

    I saw that you posted this a few weeks ago, but looking at Bed Bath and Beyond’s November 2015 rebate form today, I noticed that it goes until 11/7. Only one per household, so I’m not sure if prior rebates will be honored if they got one in October.

  9. Hello,
    I enjoyed your talks at Chicago Seminars recently. Question: How far in advance should I book hotel award nights for Paris in August, 2016? I will have 2 free IHG nights earned by April, 2016, but am concerned that may be too late to book. Can I book them now as award nights and then convert to the free nights when I earn them? Thank you.

  10. @Ronaldinho – Yes! Your wife can sign-up and earn the bonus on cards that she’s had as an authorized user.

    @Stewart Clark – You can’t earn the bonus again on the same Southwest card if it’s been less than 24 months since you received the bonus. Or if you still have the same Southwest card open.

    If you’ve closed your accounts and it has been more than 24 months, it’s hard to say whether you’ll be approved or not. But it helps to keep a good relationship with Chase!

    @Brian – I do NOT recommend using gift cards to add funds to Bluebird online. Many folks have had their accounts shut down for this.

    @David – All I know so far is that Barclays will issue the new JetBlue cards. But there are no further details available yet.

    @Shay – I don’t know of any from New York. However, you can fly non-stop using American Airlines miles between Dallas-Fort Worth and Seoul:

    @Jon – Are you checking the Hot Deals page?

    The 50,000 point offers for the Chase Southwest Premier personal and business cards are listed there. I also have the Chase Southwest Plus 40,000 point offer (this may be a better offer for some folks because you can earn the bonus with less spending).

    @Linda – If you have the Citi ThankYou Premier, you’ll get 1.25 cents per point for rental cars booked through the Citi Travel Center:

    And your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer offered) card:

    Compare prices to find the best deal!

    @Dawson – Welcome to the world of Big Travel with Small Money! And happy anniversary to you and your wife!

    Emirates flies non-stop between New York and Milan. But I don’t believe they fly to Argentina from New York, just non-stop from Dubai.

    For Big Travel tips, start with Beginner’s Guide:

    Check out my post on how to decide which airline miles to earn for your trip:

    Then see my award booking guides for details on how to book your flight:

    Sometimes it helps to work with an award booking service when you’re new to this hobby:

    @Joe – I encountered a similar issue around this time last year:

    Also read this Huffington Post article for more tips:

    Fortunately, you’re not responsible for fraudulent charges and the banks should refund your account.

    And credit cards are much safer than using your debit card. That’s because if someone hacks into your bank account, they steal your money, not the bank’s money. And you could be without it for weeks before the bank sorts things out.

    However, they don’t always catch everything so it’s important to keep an eye on your bills to make sure charges are legitimate.

    I hope that helps!

  11. Hey, I read your post on authorized users getting the bonus for a new card that they’re already authorized users on, my second questions is if being an authorized user counts as u having an account with chase for example since they only let u open 5 cards every 24 months

  12. Hi there,

    I am considering getting the Chase Hyatt Card for my wife this month as I have one of my own. I have read that in order to get the 2 free nights from the card with the $50 statement credit, you are required to have had a Hyatt stay after May 1st, 2015. Luckily we stayed at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun in September on my personal HGP 2 nights bonus. Will this count as a “stay” for her since she was physically there? The statement seems incredibly vague from the application.

    Thanks a ton!

  13. Cameron Eidmann

    I am considering getting the Starwood points related cards. Is 25K points the norm for these cards or do they ever go up?

  14. Hi Darius, my CX F award booking using AA miles has been downgraded to J. Who should I contact? CX or AAdvantage customer service? Thanks!

  15. Hi Daraius,

    If my spouse books a hotel on points with her account, but I have a higher status at the hotel chain (let’s say she has Hilton Silver but I have Hilton Gold). Could we utilize any benefits with my higher status (ex: complimentary Wi-Fi, Breakfast or access to the executive lounge)?



  16. Hello Daraius,

    Regarding the airline credits offered by the Amex Premier Gold card ($100) and Amex Platinum card ($200), where can I buy American Airline gift cards in order to use these available credits?

  17. Hey Daraius-

    Really enjoy the blog. Just one suggestion to cover in the future- I was recently approved for the Chase Fairmont card and discovered that with the two nights you earn after $3k spent (with no annual fee, no less), you can use a suite upgrade.

    We are going to Switzerland and between my wife and I, we should be able to stay at the Montreux for four nights, in a $1400 per night suite, for no cost. Just an insane redemption. Stateside, for example, the Fairmont in San Fran is $1000 per night in a suite.

    Thought I’d pass this on. Have a great day and keep up the good work.

  18. I know about after September 1, 2015 not being able to use American miles for Hawaiian Air flights between continental US and Hawaii- on American’s website – but thought you could still use American miles for inter island flights (5K) but found today can’t on advantage website. I think they must have cut off the inter island relationship also since then. I called a rep today and said could no longer use aa miles on Hawaii inter island. I am thinking this must be new because I did redeem 5 k miles for flight maui to honolulu MID September 2015. Huge disappointment as a Hawaii resident, makes my aa miles less useful. Now I have to burn 7.5 k on Hawaiin I guess? Do you know anything about this? Thanks for any info…

  19. Hi there! I’m new to all of this and could really use your opinion/expertise :-) I have about 220,000 Delta Skymiles, and I’m trying to book an awards trip in January (business class from NYC to Vietnam), Is it just me, or is 350,000 miles a bit ridiculous for this kind of trip? My dates are flexible within the month, but unfortunately they are telling me to stay within my miles I would have to fly China East Airlines (which i’ve heard is really bad). Do I have any other options when I’m stuck with Delta? And do I ditch my loyalty with this airline in favor of points elsewhere? I’m getting the sense that other airlines have a lot more to offer on much nicer flights for a lot less! thanks much!

  20. Hi Darius & Emily!
    My ride on my DH’s SW companion pass is ending Dec, so planned to get one in my name and let him be the ride-along for awhile. My Premier went through no prob, however my biz card was denied as “business too new” (I listed my biz as 1 yr old and $1500. income) . I have one other biz card – Chase Ink+ with a $20K limit. Is it worth calling back for ANOTHER re-con, or better to try for the SWPlus (what time frame?) Or… since Chase is being naughty about # of cards, should I just transfer UR points to make up the (gulp) 60K difference? Have a vacay planned in Cabo in Jan, and planned to use SW, however I do have AA miles, but from SEA it is more than 24 hours to get there! Please advise! Thanks!!!!!!!!

  21. Hi Darius and Emily,
    I have a random question that im hoping you could help answer for me. OK so i work at the post office and everyday i am mailing out alot of different credit card offers to alot of people. And by alot i mean ALOT like thousands of the same offers to people in just one zip code. The catch is that their offers are significantly more than the ones that are posted online. For example i keep seeing 60,000 bonus miles offer for the citi Aadvantage card but when i look online its only 50,000. Why do all of these people have the special offers but I can only get the 50,000? Also this is just one example, but im pretty positive i have seen it with every type of bonus mile credit card. I first noticed it right after i got my first Delta sky miles offer for 30,000 and went to work the next day only to mail out thousands of offers for 35,000 miles. Is there a way to get my name on their mailing list?

  22. Can you explain how to use a Home Equity Line of Credit per below?

    Kim | May 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    I don’t see it listed here, but having a Home Equity Line of Credit is a good way to meet spending requirements. It wouldn’t be worth getting one just for this (due to fees involved), but if you already have one, many of them offer checks and debit cards, and can be put in the $$ loop since they normally fall under the “mortgage” category and can be paid thru Bluebird, etc.


  23. So I am getting ready to book my first award travel and I am finding that all available award flights have three or four stopovers. I could go to Epedia and book the same flight nonstop or with one stop and it’s pretty cheap. Is this status quo for award bookings? (trying to book on American) I would almost prefer spending the $300 so that I don’t have to change planes multiple times and spend hours en route.

  24. Hi Daraius,

    I’m fairly experienced with this hobby now, and I’m starting to ask more long term questions.

    This hobby works very well. I sign up for 3-4 cards every ~91 days. My only concern is say 5 years from now when perhaps 6-8 of the 12 cards I open each year are closed. How long do those stay on my credit report?

    Theoretically, if I close 8 cards per year, in five years, I will show 40 closed credit accounts. While I don’t think that will necessarily hurt my score, do you anticipate problems for from other lenders who see 40 accounts closed in the past 5 years?

    I realize you can guarantee nothing, but I am very curious to get your opinions and inclinations.


  25. Darius, I need your expert help!

    I applied and was approved for a SW Business Premier card on October 12, and began using it when it arrived on October 20 (earning 50,000 point bonus if I spend at least $2,000 within the first 3 months). I thought that everything was aligned for me to slow-spend my initial $2,000 into the 3rd monthly billing cycle that I expected to end on or about January 12, 2016–thus earning the bonus miles in 2016.

    However, Chase unexpectedly ended my first billing cycle on October 23 (with a due date of November 20), only 11 days after application/approval and only 3 days of actual usage. This now means that my second billing cycle will end on November 23 and my third cycle will end on December 23. I am concerned that my $2,000 spend must be posted to my account by December 23 which will have me earning the bonus in 2015 instead of 2016.

    Does Chase’s definition of “in the first 3 months” mean the in the first 3 billing cycles? Or does it mean within the first 90 days or so (being approximately 3 months) from when the account was opened?

    What actions should I immediately take to be able to “push” the third billing cycle into 2016 so that my 50,000 point bonus will be credited in 2016?

    Thank you.

  26. Changing an SWA FF ticket with a companion fare:

    I recently found a lower miles rate on an SWA flight which I booked with Rapid Reward credits and also have a companion fare attached. To do this via the website, I would have to do the following:

    Cancel the companion portion. Cancel the primary flight. Wait for the companion cancellation to take effect. Wait for the primary FF credit to appear back in my account( I’m down to very few miles). Rebook the primary flight. Then add the companion flight, all the while hoping the fare didn’t change and that the flight is still available.

    I decided to call the 1-800-I-FLY-SWA number see if there was an easier way. After giving the flight information, the customer service person said she couldn’t see my lower mile flight listed. I gave her the number of miles and she said “How about if I just credit the difference back to your account?” Music to my ears. Much easier than the on line process.

    One hiccup was that my early boarding for the return flight didn’t carry over to the modified reservation. Early boarding is funny on SWA. You can’t use miles to pay for it and it is non refundable. I called the 800 number again and after about a 6 minute wait on hold, the agent was able to re instate my early boarding. So, still much easier than on line but be aware if you have chosen the early boarding feature. And this is way easier and cheaper than just about any other airline.

  27. my family of 4 and I are spending 7 months in spain for our children to learn spanish. We are planning on booking 20k american airlines tickets to madrid for the flight there, but are having a hard time finding any mileage tickets home for less than 60k miles using us carriers. I can get miles for just about any airline. I would appreciate any suggestions on other carriers to look at and how to find mileage tickets for the return for a reasonable amount of miles. I would even be willing to consider business or first on the return as long as they were saver equivalent tickets.

  28. Is this still effective? I have a cousin that is interested in applying for the 70,000 mile credit card. Thanks,

  29. Hello Daraius,

    How much would you recommend budgeting for food while in Bora Bora per person/per day? We have our trip booked for June 2016 (with miles and points of course)

  30. hi Daraius,

    In one of your article, you mentioned you like the flight deal when paying for cheap flights. How is the flight deal better than secret

    Thank you for responding,


  31. Hi,

    I have been following your website when it comes to miles/points and travel for less for more than a year now. Thank you for spending time to update us all great news.
    I have more than 50k miles from United MileagePlus, 120K from Southwest. I would like to use my miles to stay at a Hyatt hotel in Vietnam. Which account do you recommend should I use to get best offer for Hyatt?
    Greatly appreciate your comment.


  32. News from Chase. Starting Nov 15th, 2015 you can only transfer Chase UR points to yourself, no more transfers to your spouse.

  33. Hi Guys,

    i was recently awarded 60k in hyatt gold passport points. Should i convert them to airline miles 2.5 to 1 mile or keep in the account and use for hotel use?

    thanks for the help, Ace

  34. Hi,
    I applied for promo for 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000. I was approved for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Mastercard. After meeting the $3,000 spending limit I called customer service and was advised that I did not qualify for the promo because I had cancelled a credit card less than 18 months ago, on 10/2014. Needless to say I was never notified that I didn’t qualify and I was very disappointed. Contacting you to see if you have any suggestions on how to get my promo for 50,000 miles reinstated?
    Really enjoy you Million Miles Secret website and appreciate your help!
    Thank you,

  35. hey daraius. seeking your advice: i’ve had the barclays arrival plus for two years now–and have gotten a lot out of it; it’s been great–but given the downgrade and my not spending quite enough to make the annual fee worthwhile, i decided to either cancel it or downgrade it to the regular no-fee arrival.

    then it occurred to me that if i ask them to just change me over to the other card, i’m missing out on an opportunity to get another bonus by signing up for the no-fee card as an entirely separate transaction.

    my question: is barclays likely to not approve such an application, given that i already have the arrival plus? also, is there any harm credit score-wise or otherwise in my trying to do so?

    if i try and get denied and *then* call barclays to cancel my arrival plus, do you think they will be less likely to agree to give me the no-fee card (or would that new card application not even show up on my account that the customer service rep is viewing)? or is that a no-brainer for them and they will always give you the lesser card if you want it (that is what citi does–offer you the ‘silver’ level card when you are canceling your ‘gold’ level due to the annual fee,) as it’s better for them than losing you as a customer?

    i’d really appreciate your input on this one. thanks!

  36. Hi Daraius, my wife and I are contemplating proposing to Omni Hotel management a request for aggressive room discounts in exchange for minimum annual stay (e.g., 50 days/year) commitments in a specific hotel in a specific city? Are you aware of such arrangements and do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

  37. Hi Daraius.

    My friends and I absolutely love and are addicted to your blog! Thanks for everything you do!

    although I’ve read your newsletter for about two years now I havent mastered cheap layover flights or multi city flights.

    For example, my girlfriend and I are traveling to Hanoi Vietnam, but first want to stop in Bangkok for a few days (or the other way around). How do we search and book flights with extended layovers so that we can visit both cities for the price of one flight?

    Background info: travel dates Feb 14-28ish, we have 85k AA MILES, 35k Starwood, 30k United, and 55 citi thank you.

    Thanks for your help!!

  38. Hi Daraius,

    Have you ever flown to Tel Aviv? I’ve flown coach, but would really like to go First or Business for a trip next year. Can you recommend an airline with the best First/Business classes? I’m in the Houston area, but flexible with connections to get the most value.


  39. Hi, I am having trouble buying prepaid debit visa from walmart and kroger. Both places are telling me it has to be loaded with cash or debit card? I actually got them to honor the 500.00 one I bought this evening. I loaded it to my blue bird card too. My question is there any other places that offer visa gift cards that I can add to bluebird? anywhere online?

  40. Daraius,
    Just wanted to let you know that Marriott is buying Starwood hotels I do not know when the deal will finalize.

  41. Marriott & Starwood boards unanimously approve Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood; coverage indicates expectations of deal closing mid 2016:–finance.html

  42. Good morning!
    I have found the information on your site to be invaluable as I’m planning my month long adventure to Norway next summer and this is my first time using rewards cards (and planning a big trip!). I don’t have a large income (live in a small town on a middle class income) but have followed your tips to put all possible expenditures on my cards to meet minimum spending requirements and earn additional points. I now have met the minimum spending requirements for the cards below but am curious which cards have the best return rates on points and therefore what card I should be using for all my daily spending from now on (I am hesitant to get another card with an annual fee as, like I said, my monthly spending isn’t great so I fear that annual fees will wipe out any benefits of my spending).

    Capital One Venture (currently have 58,000 miles, using for most daily purchases)
    Chase Freedom (currently have 23,000 points, currently only used on purchases that get me the 5% bonus)
    Citi Thank you Premier (just received the bonus 50,000 miles, am currently only using for gas and travel for the 3% back)

    Any advice on where to focus my spending and any tips on transferring balances between these cards (if possible?)

    Thank you!

  43. Darius, I thought of an idea of meeting minimum spending requirements, and I wanted to run by you to make sure I’m not missing anything. The idea I had was if I’m short on the minimum spending near the end of the promotional period, could I buy a relatively expensive REFUNDABLE plane ticket that is 4-5 months out? And then 4 months later, I get it refunded. By then, they would have already given me the promotional award, right? And on principle, 4 months later, I will have almost certainly spent more than the minimum amount.

  44. Hi Darius, thank you for such a great blog. It’s the ONLY blog I subscribe to and read religiously.

    I recently followed your blog and booked a ticket to London, taking advantage of the AARP British Airways deal + bonus avios promo. So, the ticket was paid for by cash + avios. I’m having second thought about the trip and wanted to find out about canceling. I found the page where you talked about cancellation info with British Airways (, thinking that it would be easy breezy. Guess what? They’ve changed the cancellation process. There is no definitive cancellation info to be found on its website either, only a simple calculator indicating the “service fee” to cancel would be $10 max.

    So, I called and was shocked! I was told that it would be $500 to cancel! I asked for the break down of the cancellation fee. The agent simply said that IS the cancellation fee. She also said at the time of booking I would already be agreed to the “terms”. What terms? I asked for proof for what I agreed to. She just repeated that I already agreed to the “terms”. I also cannot find anything in my confirmation email regarding the “terms”.

    You know, when you sign a contract of any kind, you would think it’s OK to ask for a copy. Is this extortion?! This cannot be legal?! Anyone else have this experience? Thanks.

  45. Darius
    You list our current bonuses and all time high bonus did not include the Wyndham Hotel credit card. Do they ever offer a better sign up bonus?

  46. Can anyone please tell me if the Bluebird option still works since I’m new to this and break it down for me. I don’t understand how to pay rent with it? Do I have to ask the office if they accept payments in this form?

  47. I’m surprised you haven’t reported on the devaluation to AA’s award chart that went out this morning.

  48. Hi,
    as per my understanding, Etihad airways offers 2 business class tickets to book on rewards points; what would be the best way to book 3rd seat using rewards or points? I have about 300,000 AA miles.


  49. Hi, I read your site for offers often and enjoy all the tips you and your wife give. Really great information.

    I signed up for the American Airlines Citi Card – 50k bonus for 3k spent. We know we will have 3k expenses coming up so we took the offer.

    While logging into the American Airlines website – I noticed there was an offer for 75K miles bonus for purchasing miles – listed in the link below:,US_BUY

    So, I would be buying 125k miles for $3,687.50 and get a 75k bonus for a total of 200k total miles OR I could just buy 102K miles for $3009 and get the bonus for 60k miles for a total of 162K miles.

    Would I still get the 50K bonus for spending 3k on the card? Sounds like an alright deal? I know usually buying miles is not a good deal but in this case I could technically get 250K miles..Any input/advice would be appreciated.

  50. I’d like to share the email with you that I am sending to AA Eshopping customer care — this being the 6th email sent to them fighting to get my “Back to School” Eshopping Bonus. Please email me with your email address & I will forward to you. I followed the rules precisely, and consistently find that I have to pursue them to get what is promised. I think consumers and loyal participants should know when certain companies like AA E shopping don’t follow through with what is being promised. Thank you for all you do with your blog site. Very valuable.

  51. can you please explain how bluebird works to pay rent? Can I use a credit card to load money the bluebird? if not, then how?

  52. Hi, I have a question about the southwest companion pass. I would like to earn the companion pass early 2016 so I can receive companion status for all of 2016 and 2017.
    So I received 2 SW credit card with an opening date of one being Oct. 6, 2015 and the other Oct. 13, 2015. I would need to spend $2000 in 3 months for the 50,000 bonus points on each card. I can spend $2,000 the beginning of January for the card that opened on Oct. 13th and I’ll be good with the bonus points posting in 2016. My question is for the card with the opening date of October 6, 2015, would I still be able to get the bonus points to post in 2016? With an opening date of Oct. 6, 2015, is it possible to get that bonus points to post in January? 3 months from Oct 6, 3015 is Dec. 29th.
    Please help!!
    Thank you.

  53. I just got a Barclay Wyndham card yesterday and completed the spend to get the extra points today. How soon could I cancel the card and how soon after that could I apply again to get the sign up bonus a second time? 790 credit score and not too concerned about losing a few points.
    Thanks in advance

  54. I’m coming up on my 1 year with my Chase Sapphire Preferred and have close to 100,000 points. I just dread the $95 annual fee. What would you recommend to avoid this fee and to keep and continue to accrue ultimate mileage reward points? Worst case I could transfer them all out to an airline I suppose, cancel the card and wait until I’m eligible to open a new one and get a Freedom card in the meantime.

  55. @Ronaldinho – Folks report mixed results. So it’s hard to say.

    @Parker – I don’t think that will count because it was under your name. Plus, Hyatt doesn’t give stay credit for award nights, so I’m not sure they’d treat it as a stay at all. I’d stick to the offer without the $50 statement credit just to be safe.

    @Cameron Eidmann – In the past the sign-up bonus has gone up to 30,000 Starwood points when you complete the minimum spending. This usually occurs in the summer.

    However, there is no guarantee this higher offer will return next year. Especially since the AMEX Starwood cards may no longer be offered now that Marriott is buying Starwood:

    See my post on whether or not it’s worth waiting to sign-up:

    @glenn – Unfortunately, this does happen sometimes. I would try calling Cathay Pacific to see if they can put you on another flight or compensate you for the downgrade. Otherwise, call American Airlines to see if you can get the difference in miles refunded to your account.

    Good luck!

    @Trent – Unless your name is on the reservation, there’s no guarantee they’ll honor your higher elite status. She could try adding you as a 2nd guest on the booking. Good luck!

    @Antonio – Technically, gift cards aren’t eligible for the airline credit on these cards. But many folks have had success. There are no guarantees!

    @Ryan – Thanks for reading! That’s Big Travel with Small Money! I do have a post on that card:

    Enjoy your stay in Switzerland!

    @Roxanne – The agent is incorrect. I just tried searching on for inter-island award flights using American Airlines miles on Hawaiian Airlines and found plenty of available award seats. They’re 5,000 American Airlines miles each way.

    @Kim – Yes, this is the downside to earning Delta miles. They can be tough to use at a reasonable rate or at all. You’re doing the right thing by being flexible with your travel dates.

    The good news is the agent was able to find flights that work on partner airline, China Eastern. While there are more luxurious Business Class seats with other airlines. It’s still better than flying in coach, not to mention it’s almost free!

    However, if this airline just doesn’t work for your needs, you may want to consider checking with an award booking service to see if they can find a better flight:

    Sometimes you don’t have to pay unless they find flights that work for you.

    Or save your miles for another time.

    You may want to consider earning bank points instead, this will give you more flexibility in the future:

    @Susan in SEA – It doesn’t hurt to call again and see if you get someone who’s more helpful. Unfortunately, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest will NOT count towards the Companion Pass:

    But you can transfer points from some hotels:

    You could try applying for a Chase Southwest Plus card. There are no set rules on how long you have to wait once you’ve been denied for another card.

    I hope it all works out for you!

    @Angie – Banks sometimes target folks they already have a relationship with. There are some things you can do to give yourself a better chance of being targeted:

    @Rod – I believe what Kim is referring to is withdrawing cash from her line of credit, then using Bluebird to pay back the loan. I don’t have any experience with this, and as Kim said, it’s probably not worth opening a line of credit just to earn points because of the fees involved.

    @Gerry – In cases like this and if you have the money, it’s better to pay for your flight and save your miles for another trip.

    It’s best to book award flights well in advance (~1 year), especially if you’re traveling around the holidays. Or be more flexible with your travel dates if you book closer in. This will give you better options.

    Check out my Beginner’s Guide for more tips:

    @Cori – Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    @Shay – Banks are usually more interested in the accounts you have open. I have plenty of closed accounts on my report! Check out my post on how applying for lots of cards can affect your credit score:

    @Ajay – “In the 1st 3 months” means 3 months from the date you were approved for the card, not billing cycles. You could try calling Chase to see if they can move your statement end date for you. Good luck!

    @John Zaroff – That’s good information. Thanks for sharing!

    @Kevin Sanders – You might consider using an award booking service. They can help you find the best options for your flight home:

    Or consider signing-up for Expert Flyer. It’s a paid (~$10 per month) service, but you can set up Flight Alerts which will email you if award seats become available:

    Good luck!

    @Leticia – Which card are you referring to?

    @Antonio – Bora Bora isn’t cheap! But it’s been 3+ years since we’ve been there so I’m not sure how the prices have changed. We saved a lot by having elite status that gave us free breakfast:

    Enjoy your trip!

    @TB – I like both and have referenced both sites in posts on cheap fares in the past.

    @Nancy Ng – Congrats on earning United and Southwest miles and points! However, I recommend saving them for award flights. This will give you the most bang for your buck!

    If you’re interested in award stays at Hyatt, there are lots of great ways to earn Hyatt points:

    Also, be sure to read my Beginner’s Guide:

    @Ken – Thanks Ken! I have a post on this:

    You can still transfer points to your spouse’s frequent traveler account, as long as they live in the same household and are an authorized user on your credit card account.

    @Ace – I like to use Hyatt points for stays at Hyatt hotels. They have some terrific locations. In fact, it’s 1 of my favorite hotel loyalty programs.

    There’s a lot you can do with 60,000 Hyatt points! That’s enough for 3 free nights at an all-inclusive in Mexico:

    Or use it stay 2 nights at a top Hyatt hotel like the Park Hyatt in Sydney where I took my mom for her 60th birthday:

    @Joanne – Sorry to hear you didn’t earn the bonus. This is typically the case with Citi cards:

    It doesn’t hurt to call and talk with someone else to see if there’s anything they do! But often they are unwilling to budge on bonus qualifications.

    Good luck!

    @mia – You could get approved as long as you don’t have a lot of other Barclays cards. Also, check out my list of cards that are good replacements for your Barclaycard Arrival Plus:

    @John – I haven’t tried this. It’s a good idea though, if you have plans for an extended stay!

    Let me know what happens!

    @Kevin – Wonderful, thanks! American Airlines no longer allows stop-overs. So if you want to visit more than 1 city you’ll have to stop for less than 24 hours or book a separate ticket.

    But United Airlines allows more 1 stopover and 2 open-jaws:

    You can do this by searching for separate 1-way flights.

    Travel Is Free has a great rundown of the stopover and open-jaw rules for different airlines:

    If you need some help, an award booking service could help you the 1st time. Then you’ll feel more comfortable to book yourself next time.

    Have a great time in Southeast Asia!

    @MLK – Lufthansa & United Airlines have great Business and First Class flights from the US to Tel Aviv.

    See my post on deciding which miles to earn for you trip:

    @Ryan – Staples, Office Depot, and Safeway are a few spots that typically allow folks to purchase gift cards with a credit card.

    Also, Simon Malls:

    @Tony @Scott – Thanks for letting me know! I wrote up a post on this news and what I expect from here:

    @Sally – Thanks for reading!

    Take a look at the list of my favorite no annual fee cards:

    Sometimes cards are well worth paying the annual fee:

    So IF you can afford it, I would suggest signing-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi Prestige. That’s because this will unlock your Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Citi ThankYou points and enable you to transfer them to airline and hotel partners for Big Travel.

    @Victor – I like the outside of the box thinking! But I do NOT recommend doing this repeatedly! It may not work, and your account could be shut down.

    @Traveler101 – You’re welcome!

    The AARP discount tickets are paid tickets, not award tickets. So the cancellation fees are high, just like on a regular paid ticket. The cheap cancellation fee referred to in the post is for award tickets only. I’m sorry you’re having trouble!

    @Michael – They’ve just increased the sign-up bonus on the Wyndham card to 45,000 Wyndham points after meeting minimum spending:

    @Savi – Bluebird still works. You can buy prepaid PIN-enabled gift cards at certain office supply stores or grocery stores with a credit card.

    Use the gift card to load your AMEX Bluebird card at Walmart. You can use your Bluebird card like a debit card to pay your rent or send a check through the online bill payer system. Or you can write a paper check.

    @scott – Here’s what I think you can expect from these changes and what you should do next:

    @Pranav – Check out this post by One Mile at a Time for tips:

    @A.B. – Yes, buying American Airlines miles does NOT impact your ability to earn the sign-up bonus on American Airlines credit cards.

    Like you said, buying American Airlines miles usually isn’t a good deal, but it could make sense in certain situations. For example, if you already have plans for a paid flight, this could save you some money.

    Make sure it’s the right move for you before you buy.

    Here’s my review of a similar previous offer from US Airways:

    @Robert – I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble getting your miles! I know how frustrating this can be. Unfortunately, this happens occasionally with the shopping portals.

    So I try to look at them as just an added bonus. You may try reaching out to American Airlines on their social media accounts. Here’s the link to their Twitter:

    Sometimes this prompts companies to be more helpful!

    Good luck! Let me know what happens!

    @Ann nguyen – See my post on the timing of the Companion Pass:

    December 29 is cutting it close! I’d call Chase to see if they can move your statement closing date past January 1, 2016, to be sure your bonus points post in 2016. Good luck!

  56. Did I see an article on your site about buying SPG points inadvertedly by cancelling cash and miles rooms? wouldnt that just give you back your original points?

  57. If I cancel my Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card. And then re-signed up for it later, am I entitled to the 50,000 bonus point special they run once in a while? Or no since I use to be a SW RR CC holder?

  58. Thank you for the many useful articles on your blog. I was wondering if there was a way to pay for an all-expense paid holy land tour with credit card points. I can see ways to pay for the airfare, and there is probably a way to do hotels in Israel with points, but the tourguide, etc. is not that easy to figure out. Would this be a good post to write?

    Thank you,

    Thomas Ross

    What is truth? Find out at!

  59. Hey, daily reader here. Have learned a lot and will learn more in the future.

    Quick question: I am getting plenty of mail offers for cards with $200 bonus cash back after spending $500. For example – BofA Cash Rewards, TD Bank, etc. Are these offers no brainers? Since it is so easy to complete.. Or is the hard inquiry not worth it? Would appreciate your opinion. Thanks!

  60. Mr. Clarence C. Fallmouth


    I am inquiring about the “once in a lifetime policy for Delta Gold Amex Branded cards”. What does this policy actually look like? Is it really one bonus in a lifetime or will they allow another bonus in +2 or +5 years time. I received a Delta bonus about 2 years ago and was wondering if it was worth putting in another application.

  61. Hi,

    I haven’t seen a lot of VLOG style reviews of first class routes purchased with miles and I just created one for Cathay Pacific First class from Boston to Hong Kong. Feel free to use it in some way if it can help you out!


  62. I read that you can earn 5X points when making a purchase of office equipment at stores such as Staples. So, if I purchased a computer at a Staples-like store, I would earn 5X points, right?

    However, with many of the shopping portals offering special deals, what is the best card (personal or business) to purchase a computer from the shopping portals to maximize points?



  63. Trying to get to Paris (CDG or ORY) in October 2016 with AA miles in Business Class. Seats just opened up, and thought I could use the AA miles (on AA) in Business Milesaver (50k/one-way/person), but no seats under Business Milesaver… Only seats in Business Anytime (62.5k/one-way/person). I’m 22k miles short and my wife is 13k miles short to make this happen as-is.

    Should we both try to cycle another round of AA credit cards? Or is there another way on one of the One-World Alliance partners to make this happen with our current balances? (I have 113k AA miles… my wife has 122k AA miles…. need to get to 135k/ea for the AA flights R/T in Business Anytime).

  64. I signed up for the Barclays us airways card and received the lounge pass. Are these still being accepted by American Airlines lounges?

  65. I just bought two $200 US Bank Mastercard gift cards at Office Max and received a $10 promotional credit off each card. I can’t find any ads about this promotion and I’ve found nothing on-line about it. I thought you might be interested in this.

  66. Got a promotional email from American Express today that you can purchase American Express Gift Cards online and use promo code HOLCNL to waive the service fee charge of $3.95. When I went to check it out, it was allowing you to buy up to a $3,000 card and only have to pay the $8.95 shipping fee. Could be a money maker on a 2% cash back card or a way to meet minimum spends.

  67. I can’t be the only person that felt your “divorce announcement” was in bad taste and a bit of oversharing of information that I didn’t need to know. In addition, it’s a one-sided announcement. To add insult to injury, it was tied in with advertisements. Really? I like your blog and I like the emails, but please don’t send personal information like that again.

  68. Hi Daraius, thank you for your valuable secrets! Last year my wife and I took advantage of the Ritz Carlton 140,000 point offer (280,000 total with no fees…thank you!!!). We also have a Marriott rewards credit card that helps with gaining Gold level status. This year we fell short of the 50 night minimum (42) for the Gold level. What options are there to become Gold members without hotel stays or credit card spending credits (1 night per $3,000)? Missing my Gold Status :( Tom

  69. Hi Darius. Thank you for your awesome secrets. Last year my wife and I took advantage of the 140,000 no fee Ritz Carlton points (thank you) which is transferable to your Marriott account. We also have a Marriott Rewards credit card that helps us achieve Gold Status. This year we fell short of the 50 night tier (42). What options are there to achieve Gold status without staying 50 nights or credit card spend ($3,000 = 1 night)?
    Thank you for your help, Tom


    Daraius and Emily, these two lovely human beings, have done nothing but share their knowledge of a hobby that we all enjoy and along the way they shared their thoughts, hopes, feelings and adventures with us as well. In a moment of honesty and openness, they BOTH decided to be vulnerable and share something deeply personal with their readers.

    In that vulnerable moment, YOU turn to cowardice and hate. I am deeply saddened and truthfully sickened with your approach towards two wonderful people in a moment in their lives when they both can use support. Now, as the adults say to the children, if you have nothing nice to say, need not say anything at all.

  71. Total agreement with @G27.
    @Nancy Vetter must never had had a broken heart, or maybe a heart at all…

  72. Another Question ! If I go to Germany with Delta, I belief that everybody gets one free suitcase ( International) So now I have this golden Delta Amex card also. Do I then get the 2. One for free?

  73. Jacques vieyra

    Hello, You mentioned a web site that tells you all the hotels and points required. Hotel ? I forgot the name. Thank you, Jacques vieyra

  74. Daraius,
    I want to say I have been thinking about you and Emily since you announced your news about your divorce and I feel so sad for the both of you, no matter how it might seem that it is for the best. I have been married for 20 years and I know it can be tough at times, but I have always thought it was worth the effort.
    In any case, I had to write to say I’m thinking about the both of you and you run a great website that has increased the quality of our lives.\
    Thank you and good luck during these times.
    Your beard looks great!

  75. Good morning,
    I am a frustrated user of Lanpass. Their Customer Service is pretty bad and I never get straight answers to my questions about miles or kilometers?? I’d like to know, please, which credit card offer the best deal in miles, easy to redeem and good customer service?
    Thank you

  76. Darius/Emily: I have been reading your blog for several years now and appreciate all the great info! I ran into a question I haven’t seen answered on your blog or any others I could find. I applied for a Citibank Platinum AA card in April of 2014. After the recent US Airways/AA merger, I had both the Barclays US Airways (soon-to-be AA) and Citi AA cards, so when the annual fee came due for the Citi card in May of 2015, I called and requested that it be downgraded to the no-annual-fee Citi AA Bronze card rather than pay the annual fee on 2 AA cards with basically identical benefits. My question is this: the terms for reapplying for the Citi AA card state that I can’t get the bonus again if I have opened or closed the card in the last 18 months. How does downgrading my card effect that date? It has now been over 18 months since I originally applied for the AA card in April of 2014, but when I had it downgraded to the no annual fee version in May of 2015, does that reset the 18-month clock and count as “closing” the card or not, since it actually keeps the same line of credit open? Any insights would be greatly helpful! Thanks, Nate

  77. Hello,

    I’m booking my first trip. I will be flying from LA to Perth, and staying there for a week and then flying from Perth to Phuket. I have booked my tickets using points and I’m wondering if there is a way to upgrade with points or go from economy to business/first class, or is it too late??

    My second question is related to hotels in Phuket. I’m having a hard time finding the best way to get the most out of my points and stay at a nice place and island hop. Any recommendations??

    Thanks so much -Leah

  78. We were able to get upper class seats on Virgin Atlantic using points by asking for one seat at a time instead of two as couples would normally do.

  79. Considering getting 50000 pterodactyl offer on hawaiian airlines to fly salt lake city to koa big island hawaiian doesn’t fly out of salt lake best use of miles? Is there a partner airline I can fly or do I need to use different miles to get to hub for Hawaiin air say Portland would like to upgrade to business or first class possibly

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