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


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

Daraius Dubash - Million Miles Secrets

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

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

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

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

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

Emily in Lake Como, Italy

Emily Used her Miles to Visit Lake Como, Italy


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

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

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

Million Mile Secrets - Emily & Daraius at Carnival

Million Mile Secrets – Emily & Daraius at Carnival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5,498 responses to “Contact

  1. @DaveL – Usually no. But you can add him as an authorized user to your cards to establish his credit score and build his credit. Then he can apply for his own cards later.

  2. Hi Darius and Emily.

    I am new to the credit card game, but I have some questions about long term vs short term credit cards. Do you have a list of cards that are keepers (even when they involve a annual fee) vs the ones that are for churning?
    Also, my wife and I are trying to get to Thailand for a thai massage certification in June. We could also add to this trip a visit family in Korea. We are departing from Philadelphia, but also could be Boston (we are going to Iceland using WOW air in May). I have 80,000 AA miles and she has 60,000 USAirways miles. We don’t know how to book an award ticket (never done it before). Any advice for any or both questions? Thanks in advance, I am a avid reader.

  3. Hi Darius,
    I just found out a friend of mine is getting married in Japan at the end of May! What are your top recommendations to get enough miles for a flight? I’d love to fly business class if possible as that is a loooong flight! The last time I applied for a round of cards was back in Sep. so I should be able to go for whichever cards are best! Though I don’t think Chase will approve me for another business card (when I tried in Sep. they said my business account wasn’t established enough).

    Any advice would be great! I certainly don’t want to pay $5k for a ticket!

  4. Hi Daraius and Emily,

    My fiance applied for both the Chase Southwest Premier and Plus personal cards in December 2014 to get the 50,000 Southwest points per card toward a Southwest Companion Pass for 2015 & 2016.

    Though he was instantly approved for the Premier card and received it in the mail, the Plus application page said it would take 7-10 days for review. We called the number (1-800-310-9967) a few days later and were told his application had been approved & the card was in the mail. However, we never received the Plus card so called again and now they tell us they never received an application for the Plus card.

    I have a snapshot of the Premier card application approval page and it has the Premier card logo on it. However the Plus card application ‘delayed approval’ image I have does not show the Plus card logo anywhere so I fear it won’t help.

    I want to call Southwest again and complain/have them honor the Plus personal card application WITH the 50,000 point offer at the time, but would be grateful for any tips you may have on how to approach them (should we cancel the Premier if they don’t honor the application offer? should we take the 25,000 current offer? etc.).

    Thanks and love your website!

  5. Darious,

    I am due to renew my US airways card from Barclays. They are offering me 15,000 bonus miles if I spend $500 in Jan, Feb, and March 2015. I also received another offer for 2500 bonus miles for Grocery stores and utility bill spending. My question is it worth the $89 annual fee to keep the Barclay card. I just recently go the AA card from Citibank and assume in time miles will be merged so should I just keep the AA card from Citibank and cancel the Barclay Card. I have never used the AA or US airways rewards that I currently have. I reviewed the website for AA and it looks like if I use the Miles SAAver they can bump me from the flight is this true?

  6. oops, I can’t edit my post. *Daraius so sorry to mispell your name!

  7. Hi Daraius,

    I am trying to get a southwest companion pass. I applied for a sw business card about 6 weeks ago at the same time as I applied for a personal sw card. I was turned down for the business card because they said I had gotten a chase ink card in the recent past (probably 6-8 weeks before that ) – but I got approved for the personal sw card. I really want to book some flights with sw starting in March, so would you recommend I reapply for the sw business card now, or still wait a bit longer? I wanted to have both business and personal to get to the miles quicker. It looks like the sign up bonus is now only 25k, but I could rack up points pretty quickly if I used it for business.




  8. Hello Darius and Emily,

    Not sure if you can answer this, but I’ll try. Do you know if the threshold crossing flight segment that earns you gold status will itself qualify for the bonus miles? Or does the bonus not kick in until subsequent flight segments? I’m referring to AA specifically.

    Does the answer change if you were doing a gold or platinum elite challenge?



  9. We are a family of 5 that need to travel from the US to Australia in 2015

    Can you provide any tips of using miles or the best way to finance this type of trip? We have some miles to possibly get the US flights covered but not the international flight.

  10. Hi Daraius and Emily,

    I have 20,000 miles in Alaska airlines and about 85,000 in Emirates. Is it possible to somehow transfer the miles in my Alaska account to my Emirates account so I can collectively use them to get a reward seat in the A380 business class?

    Thanks and Regards,


  11. Hi Daraius and Emily,

    Since I am new to this credit card game, I was evaluating between Chase Sapphire and Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (Personal). I live in Boston and we as a couple love to travel. I see that Chase Sapphire requires spending $4000 to get 40000 miles, however United Mileage requires just $1000 to get 30000 miles. What do you think would be a better option, if I would like to opt for one card?

  12. Hi Darius,

    Any idea what happened to the Southwest Mlife Gift card promo? I went to look at it again this morning after reading about it last night under their RR “promotions” and it’s not showing up this morning. It was supposed to be offered through Jan. 15, 2015.

  13. Hello,

    If I were to apply today, when could I make the first purchase?

  14. @ Debbie Traveling Well For Less … already been doing that for years, ie my son being an authorized user. what next, how does an 18 year old start? Thanks much!

  15. Hi Darius, I have been a loyal follower for a few years and have recommended your website to many family and friends. I just completed a 19 day first class trip on United to Europe/Turkey SFO-MUC(stop-over)VIE (open jaw)-IST-SFO and stayed at 17 hotels all for free on points for our 20th wedding anniversary. 295,000 United miles, 80,000 Barclay points, 90,000 Carlson points, 2 Hilton free award nights + 32,000 Hilton points, 35,000 Marriott points, 1 IHG free award night, $638.70 out of pocket Total trip worth $37,675 for the price of $638.70 for two. I would love to send you our itinerary. Please let me know how to send this pdf document. Thank you MMS!!

  16. Finally Moving

    Hi Daraius! We are in the process of moving and we are anticipating a nice payout for our house. Since we already have a place to move to, much of the $850k we’re netting from the house sale will be available to invest or deposit somewhere. I remember there used to be generous mileage awards for opening financial accounts in the past, though I’m not sure if those still exist. Are there any good offers that might help us make the most of our cash? Thanks!

  17. I just wanted to drop a note saying that I was looking through your deals, and was checking out the Amex Gold Business card. I already have a personal one I just recently finished the welcome offer and was wondering if:

    A) There’s a chance I can get this business card as well? I already have Chase Ink cards for my little side business; and

    B) Your link shows for only 25k bonus for the Gold, but when I went in search of the SPG card and ended up on Amex website and looked at all business cards, the Business Rewards Gold Card comes up with an offer for 50k after $5k in 3 months (also, I don’t get the little top browser drop-down/note saying I’m identified as an existing Amex holder and may not qualify for the bonus, like I’ve seen in the past just looking at the personal cards on their site).

    Thanks sir!

  18. Darius,

    I love the site. I was wondering if you were aware of or might do a quick blog entry about how if you book an American or US Airways flight in the first half of 2015 and pay cash, you can actually receive miles from both the US Air and American loyalty programs if you request a credit. The loyalty programs will be combined in the second half of 2015 (according to AA’s website), resulting in twice the amount of miles at that point. I also found out the hard way that you have to be an AAdvantage Rewards member at the time of the flight to be able to claim the AAdvantage miles credit so I recommend signing up for both programs before the flight. I might try calling tonight to see if I can get them added.

  19. Daraius,

    I just received an offer from amex for a platinum card. It comes with 100,000 Membership reward points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. It also has a $450 annual fee, which seems quite excessive.
    If I understood you correctly, once I earned the 100k points, these could be transferred to an airline frequent mile account and redeemed for airfare tickets? Does 100k points convert to 100k miles? That would be worth the $450 annual fee for the first year…
    I have no experience with collecting points/miles, besides cash back points. I have the Chase Freedom card, where I have collected about 80,000 points. If I read it correctly, I could apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred, where I could transfer my Chase Freedom points to. Once on the Sapphire Preferred, I could then transfer the points to an airline frequent flyer account, in particular, to my MileagePlus from United, since I already have a balance of about 40k miles in that account.
    I would appreciate your advise.
    Thanks for sharing such valuable information,

  20. Hi Daraius!

    I was hoping you could point me in the right direction on an itinerary I’m hoping to book in the next couple of days.

    I have accumulated just over 1 million AMEX Membership points and would like to take 4-5 people on business flights from LAX to SGN at the end of January for about 13-15 days.

    What do you think is best? I would love to fly EVA, but is it possible? If not, maybe transfer the points to Delta?

    Thanks so much!!

  21. Hi Daraius,

    Regarding the SW companion pass:

    I signed up for 2-50k credit cards. Both bonuses posted to my southwest account effective 1/3/2015. Additionally, I transferred 30,000 Marriott points for 10,000 rapid reward points to top off the points needed, which posted on 1/4/2015. I was hoping that the companion pass would be active in a day or two after, but the website still shows “0% progress” even as of this morning.

    Do you recommend calling Southwest? Do the credit card bonuses still apply to the companion pass?


  22. @best_daddy – You’ll get 10% of redeemed miles back:

    @Denise L – Yes, that’s OK!

    @Marjut Viitasalo – I mainly discuss cards for people who live in the US. So unfortunately, you won’t be able to apply for them.

    @Michael K – I’m excited for you! Enjoy traveling on Southwest with your companion!

    @Ted – Thanks for sharing your tips!

    @Flyerdad – Chase makes the final decision but in general, they look at your overall credit worthiness and your relationship with them through the years. You can have different cards as long as they’re considered different card products: And you can get the sign-up bonus for Chase cards 24 months after you last received a bonus for that same card. Also, Chase has discontinued the Southwest Plus business card, so unfortunately that’s no longer an option. Remember, Chase will usually work with you so if you’re not immediately approved you might call and offer to close open cards or shift credit lines around.

    @Jim Albertin – Barclays makes the final decision about sign-up bonuses. That said, this post might help you decide: If you’re unhappy with the card after you’re approved, you MAY be able to cancel it and get a partial refund for the annual fee:

    @Max – This series might help you:

    @Doug Straka – That was an older deal. That said, the Hilton Reserve card is terrific! You can always find the most current and best offers on the Hot Deals page My award booking guides might help you: Or you can contact an Award Booking service:

    @Christopher – Thanks! I have a post about it:

    @DaveL – These posts may help you: and

    @DaveL – You might consider making your son an authorized user on 1 of your cards. And you might consider some of the cards here that are intended for folks with a limited credit history: Although being under 21 might make being approved for those cards difficult.

    @BLA – You can check the airline’s web site to see how they will award you miles for flying with a partner. Here is my page with frequent flyer programs:

    @Jose – This post should help you: To decide if I want to keep a card with an annual fee, I wait ~10 months. Then I see how much I’ve saved by having the card. This series should help you: Or try an Award Booking Service:

    @Penelope – These posts might help you: and

    @Heather – It’s unusual that you could get approved for 2 personal cards from Chase at the same time! If Chase said you were approved for the Plus card then they’ve already created an account for you. Speak with Chase about it. Also, the Southwest Plus card now has a 50,000 point offer so perhaps now is a good time to call.

    @Brad – This post should answer question: And you won’t get bumped just because you book a flight with points!

    @becky – The Southwest business card is back up to 50,000 miles: Usually Chase will work with you if you have a good relationship with them because you pay your bills on time, use their cards, and/or have a bank account with them.

    @Sam A – Here’s my post about it:

    @Jean – You can use United Airlines miles to get to Australia: You can earn lots of United Airlines miles with the sign-up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus cards. Those are listed here:

    @prajwal – Unfortunately you can’t usually transfer 1 airline’s miles into another airline’s account.

    @Bharat – It depends on your travel goals! Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for more than just United Airlines flights. I usually recommend folks start with the Sapphire Preferred card. You can find that card along with my review (that explains why) here: You can also find the Explorer card there with a link to my review. It sounds like you’re concerned about meeting minimum spending requirements. So this post can help:

    @sandy – I’m still seeing it here but when I click the link it says Not Found! I’d call Southwest to see if they can help!

    @Dayna – You can make your 1st purchase after you’re approved for a card. You can call the bank to ask them to expedite shipping of your card. Or ask if they’ll activate your card before you receive it so you can start making purchases immediately.

    @Jeff P – What an amazing trip! Happy Anniversary!

    @Finally Moving – I’ll have a post about this soon! Until then these links should help you:

    @Mike F – Yes, you can get both a personal and business card because they’re considered to be different products. You can find that card here: I haven’t seen a working public link for 50,000 points so please send it to me!

    @Kyle – You can get miles from 1 program or the other. And those miles will be combined.

    @Walter – This post will help you: You are correct about the Freedom and Sapphire Preferred. This post explains it: You can find the Sapphire Preferred card here:

    @Danielle – Here are the AMEX airline partners: My Award Booking Guides might help you: Or you might consider an Award Booking Service:

    @Shay – Usually it takes a few days. Here is more information: You might wait another day or so before calling.

  23. Hi,

    I bought a ticket on Turkish airlines(I know, I’m new to points flying) from ORD-IST-CAI. I have the United card with 50000 star alliance points. I am wondering if I can upgrade to business class , how I would do that and if it is worth it do so? I have a P fare which I gather is not great for this sort of thing. Any help would be most appreciated.

  24. Daraius,

    Has Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select® MasterCard lowered the minimum spending?


  25. Lindsey Finch

    Hi there!

    I currently have companion pass status on SWA and earned a large part of this through the lower level chase visa that was $69/yr. I recall reading last year that people were having success with applying for the $99/yr chase visa to get the new car member bonus again. When looking into this, I found this statement on the webpage “This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new bonus for this product in the past 24 months.” I am wondering if phrase “this product” would include all SW Chase CC’s, or if the $69 and $99 credit cards are considered “different” products? I appreciate the help! If there are any other creative ways to get companion pass status a second time without the credit card would be great! I appreciate the help.

  26. Hey Daraius!

    I need to go to Kolkata (India) through Bombay (India) in November 2015. I live in DC.
    Is it possible to guide me the best way to do so? I would like to take the Etihad A380 business class for at least 1 connection.

    I have a bunch of miles so thats not an issue


  27. Hey Daraius,

    Love your site and use your links.

    I was interested to know if there is a list or an article about what charges were considered “travel” and therefore could be erased with Capital One Venture points. I think that Barclays works in a similar way. It is pretty clear that airlines, hotels, rental cars are but how about RV Rentals, VRBO charges, taxis, etc.

    I was able to have meals and drinks and gifts erased as travel because they were charged to a hotel room. I think this is a good trick to know. Any other tricks like that?


  28. Something that might be worth writing about: Bank of America has a cashback deal going now for 10% at K-Mart. It says it’s up to $150, but I don’t know whether that means a maximum of $15 back on $150, or $150 back on $1500. They sell $200 gift cards at K-Mart for a $6.95 fee, so if my math is correct then this could be quite profitable.

    Fine print: Earn 10% cash back on your Kmart purchase amount up to $150! Offer not valid online. Payment must be made on or before offer expiration date. Offer valid one time only. Offer expires 2/1/2015
    Note: Offer is only valid when you pay with your eligible Bank of America® card

  29. Hi Daraius,
    I recently opened a Bluebird account online, actually 2, one for my wife & one for myself.
    Bottom line, we spend approx. 10K per month on bills & would like to get starwood points.
    After reading so many posts & speaking with customer service at BB, it seems like the debit card card purchasing game has come to an end!
    Not trying to beat the system, just trying to find the weak link in order to earn points.
    Your insight is greatly appreciated & I look forward to your response.

  30. I’ve made business class award reservations through United on Scandanavian Air (SAS) and also on Lufthansa. I can’t select seats through United’s site and I can’t find a phone number to call or way to get the SAS website to allow me to pick seats. Frustrated, I must admit I haven’t even tried with Lufthansa. Can you tell me how to contact them? Thanks!

  31. Hey I have a question about the Chase preferred sapphire. I know it says 2x points of dining and travel. What does that entail exactly? Hotels and airfare? All dining? Is there a link to what exactly that covers because I’m having trouble finding it. Thanks so much! Much appreciated.

  32. Just booked an award ticket to fly AA to LAS and then Hawaiian Airlines to HNL. I used my AA card to pay for the fee. Will I get the 1st checked bag free for both airlines? Do I just show the card at the airport to get the bag checked for free? TIA!

  33. Hi! I’m traveling to China next month to pick up our adopted son. I travel in the states for work, usually 40k miles, but most is on company credit cards, though I do get the miles. I’m thinking of getting a credit card to put the tickets on for me and my son, and also rack up some points so my family might be able to take a vacation later in the year. Access to clubs would be nice…maybe a Delta Skymiles that would provide club access? Any guidance gratefully received…

  34. Hey Daraius,
    Had a question about the Chase Southwest cards since its the new year and I’m trying to get the companion pass again. This time around I applied for my girlfriend since I did this exactly 2 years ago so our pass has just expired. (I believe I could do it soon myself since its almost been 24 months though). Anyways, the personal card got approved, but the business was pending as expected. However, calling the reconsideration line she was not able to get the card approved, even after several tries. They pretty much told her the revenue of the business (since sole proprietorship selling some goods), was not high enough and that they needed to see a revenue of at least $5000 to approve the card. She tried to lower credit on some personal cards but they wouldn’t seem to budge on anything. At the moment she has 3 other Chase cards (including the SW card she just applied for), and none are business cards.

    I’ve pretty much given up on getting it in this case but was wondering if you had any advice on what to do or if you have heard anything about Chase being more strict on handing out the business cards. When I applied 2 years ago it seemed pretty easily and they didn’t care much about the revenue I made. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to call in this time, not sure. Do you think it is possible to apply for both personal cards, maybe a month or more apart instead of doing the business card if they are indeed more strict on that?


  35. Hi Daraius and Emily. 
    I am super new at points for miles. I need HELP please. I will be traveling to Romania in May(end of May till beginning of August) with my husband and my 2 kids-7years old and 4 years old. I need to know which cards to apply for. I have United chase with about 60.000 miles on that card. What should  my next move be, what cards to apply for to be able to get at least 3 tickets free if not 4. Thank you so much for all you do. Any tips and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
    Thanks a lot,

  36. Hi Daraius and Emily. 
    I am super new at points for miles. I need HELP please. I will be traveling to Romania in May(end of May till beginning of August) with my husband and my 2 kids-7years old and 4 years old. I need to know which cards to apply for. I have United chase with about 60.000 miles on that card. What should  my next move be, what cards to apply for to be able to get at least 3 tickets free if not 4. Thank you so much for all you do. Any tips and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
    I have looked at the chase ink plus, but I was denied this card in September . Should I still apply for this card?
    Thanks a lot,

  37. Well, don’t mess up like I did. I received a 70,000 point bonus offer from Chase Ink for spending $5,000 in three months. I spent a little over $5,000, but did not realize the annul fee does not count toward the spend so I am just under it. Now, I am outside of the three months so I may not receive the bonus points or be able to spend a little more to get them. I have talked to Chase and they are considering my situation, but it will be a week or more before I hear from them.

  38. Just got my companion pass!!! Already saved $1000 in tickets! Woo!!! All thanks to you!

    Some things that your readers would probably benefit from knowing:
    1) Don’t convert everything to points too soon in January. I did mine from Jan 3-4th, and SW was still doing all their tier pending status things. It ended up not counting points correctly, and I had to call up to get it fixed.
    2) I only got one SW credit card, and then transferred 100,000 Chase points to Hyatt> 60,000 pts to SW. However there is a known bug in the hyatt software where the bonus points (6,000 for every 24,000 transferred) does not transfer. I had to call up Hyatt so the “bonus” points transferred correctly.
    3) The hyatt transfer page has a drop down list of what point denominations you can transfer, however it doesn’t go up to your maximum number of points! I had exactly 100,000 points in hyatt, but could only transfer up to 98,750 points. I had to transfer an extra 1000 points from chase to hyatt so I could transfer all 100,000 points to SW. So it helps to have a little extra in your hyatt account if you plan on doing transfers.
    3) The points from the credit card posted within 2-3 days after the statement closed. The Chase to hyatt transfer was instantaneous. The Hyatt to Southwest took 1-2 days.

  39. Question on AMEX Gold Rewards ( Membership Rewards Card ) : To meet Minimum spend requirement of 5000 $, I bought 5000 $ of AMEX Gift cards. My statement closed and I dont see any points awarded for 5000 $ purchase or 50000 bonus points. We dont earn points for this ?


  40. AMEX Gold Rewards ( Membership Rewards Card ) : I bought 5000 $ of AMEX Gift cards hoping to meet minimum spend requirement and my statement closed and I didnt earn any points for 5000 $ charge or 50000 bonus points. I will not earn on this purchase ?

  41. Darius,

    Is it possible (or would you recommend) to get the Arrival card, downgrade to the no annual fee version after one year, and in the future get the arrival card again, while having the no annual free version still open? Thanks!

  42. Regarding Southwest bonus points when you buy MGM gift cards from your post on January 11:

    When I link to the Southwest promotions, I do not see this offer. Nor do others who have posted comments on the original post.
    The only other mention I could find of this offer was about a month old, so is it possible that it is no longer available? And on that thread, it stated “I just went to buy 2 $500 gift cards, they charge a $2.95 card fee per card, a $4.99 shipping fee, and a $45 dollar convenience fee.”
    Just want to say that as a loyal reader of your recommendations, I am disappointed that an offer that clearly seems to be no longer available and is posted without reference to pretty substantial fees. IF still is available why there has been response as to how to actually find the offer.
    Would appreciate a prompt response so that if it is still available I can take advantage.

  43. Hi Daraius,

    I got my Southwest Companion pass on 1/12/2015 thanks to you (two personal credit cards and a marriott transfer for 110k points)! (I had to wait over a week for them to process, but it eventually came).

    Separately, I just signed up for an AMEX serve account. I read many comments from your posts, and though you mention that many banks do not charge cash advances, some commentators mention getting fees from those very banks. Should I do a small amount “test” on each card first to make sure I don’t get these fees?

    Would you do a post about your experience getting charged cash advance fees? Your website is so good because of thorough explanations. I’d appreciate hearing about your experience with getting hit with cash advance charges.

    Thank you!

  44. Daraius,
    I’m getting ready to transfer some AmEx points to our Avios accounts. Am I able to transfer from my AmEx account to all five Avios accounts (as long as I transfer >1000
    points)? Will this serve to start the 36 month clock on inactivity for all five accounts?
    Thank you!

  45. Joe | January 12, 2015 at 3:05 pm |

    Well, don’t mess up like I did. I received a 70,000 point bonus offer from Chase Ink for spending $5,000 in three months. I spent a little over $5,000, but did not realize the annul fee does not count toward the spend so I am just under it. Now, I am outside of the three months so I may not receive the bonus points or be able to spend a little more to get them. I have talked to Chase and they are considering my situation, but it will be a week or more before I hear from them.



    Thanks for the reminder, that annual fees generally don’t apply to minimum spends.

    It’s small consolation, but you’ll earn points on your (almost) $5000.- spent.

    How is your relationship with Chase? Are you a long-term customer with a good usage/payment history?

    Have you applied for many cards, met the minimum spend for bonuses, then never used the cards again? This may be harmful.

    If your relationship is good, diplomatically, but persistently, remind them.

    Try escalating to a manager/supervisor. They may have more leeway than a front-line representative.

    As a last resort, tell them you will cancel the card if the bonus doesn’t happen.

    Good luck.

  46. Hi – I am new to this mileage stuff but am very interested in getting started. We’ve made a goal to go to Tokyo in October. I wanted to know what your thoughts were in opening the Citi AA 50,000 point MasterCard and the US Airway Premier World MasterCard that’s offering 50,000 points (since USAirway will be moving to AA).

    What are you thoughts on this? Or should I open the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead of the US Airway Premier?

  47. Long time reader here,

    I was wondering what you would suggest for this scenario.

    4 of us were hoping to get to iceland next year using AA points. We live in San Diego.

    It was looking like we could fly from lax to dus and then on to iceland. We became happy with spending time in Germany too!

    However, I cannot find any availability for us 4 at all on any date. Then, I looked for direct flights from lax to anywhere in Europe and barely found anything.

    Do you know of any good availability on direct flights from lax or sfo to europe without the fuel fees?

    Thanks in advance!


  48. Hi Darius,

    Found a better deal for the Citi AAdvantage Card. $2000 spending in 3 months for 50000 miles. Similar deal available for the business card.

    Thought I’d let you know!

  49. I booked two airline tickets on Priceline for Frontier airlines. Our flight were set to leave Jan 18th. I called yesterday to find out if I could assign our seat I was told our flights were cancelled and that Priceline was notified in November. I asked Frontier if there was anything they could do and they said I had to deal with priceline only. I called priceline and was told there isn’t anything they can do for me but to refund our money. I asked for a manager who then called Frontier and they came to the same exact conclusion there was no helping us. I cannot believe it took me over 2 hrs on the phone to get to this resolution. I cannot believe that I wasn’t notified that our flights were cancelled we could have showed up at the airport not knowing. I cannot believe that priceline or frontier didn’t foot the bill for our new flights. We were offfered literally nothing but a refund of money that priceline has held since November. I have sports tickets, car rental, and hotel all booked nonrefundable. I have days taken off work. Flights are now $850pp so we now are going to have to cancel our vacation and lose out on money from the nonrefundable items. I cannot believe the poor customer service this is completely unacceptable.

    I wanted to see if had any advice on how to handle this with both companies? I wrote to customer service and have received the same response. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

  50. Ken in Navarre

    Gift Cards
    Thanks to you I now have $600.00 in American Airline gift cards from credit card deals that I won’t be using. My wife is and airline employee and we try not to buy tickets. Any thoughts on how to turn these gift cards into cash?
    If I buy a refundable ticket with gift cards will they give me gift card codes when I submit for a refund?

    Love your site

  51. @autumn, it sounds like this was a mistake by priceline. You purchased a ticket on their website, and was not informed when the ticket was cancelled. . You have now ruined vacation plans as a result of this. There *is* something they can do for you, in that they can rebook you on a new flight out. They do, after all, have access to purchasing plane tickets. That would be my first suggestion. The one plus of purchasing through a third party is that they have access to several different airlines, so rebooking should be easy for them.

    I do wonder, though, did you get a refund on your credit card? No matter the circumstance, you should be paying attention to your credit card statement on at least a monthly basis to account for any discrepencies.

  52. @Jay – You can find the details for that card here:

    @Lindsey Finch – There are 3 Southwest credit cards. All are considered “different card products.” You can find those cards here These 2 links are creative ways to earn the Companion Pass without credit cards: and

    @Ron Bernard – This post should help you: Or you can contact an Award Booking Service:

    @bill – Each card is different but this post should help you: Some other “tricks” along those lines are using a card that gets a 5% discount at office supply stores and then purchase gift cards to Amazon, restaurants, movie theaters, and clothing stores. You can find cards like that here:

    @James – Thanks for letting me know! In the past with this offer you got $15 back when you spend $150 at KMart.

    @Michael – You might try AMEX Serve for paying bills: And Evolve: You might also get some ideas here: and

    @Katherine – Call the airlines you’ll be flying. Lufthansa is 800-645-3880. SAS is 800-221-2350. But read this post first!

    @Brett- To be certain, you can look up a merchant here: Check that they are listed in the Travel or Dining categories. Or you can call Chase Sapphire Preferred customer service to ask about a particular place. In general, you’ll get 2X points at all restaurants. You’ll also get 2X points at certain nightclubs and bars that serve food and are coded as dining. It’s doesn’t matter if you order food or not. In general, travel includes airfare, lodging, cruises, trains, tolls, parking, taxis, rental vehicles, travel agencies, buses…but Chase always has the final say as to what counts! You can find that Sapphire Preferred card here:

    @JW – These posts should help you: and

    @Mike Moreno – What an exciting moment in your life! Here are my favorite airline cards:

    @Jeff – Some folks are able to get approved for 2 personal cards in a short time but Chase makes the final decision! Your income is an important factor when banks decide how much credit to extend to you. Instead of lowering credit on other cards, you might offer to close those cards completely. But keep your oldest cards open. Read more here: You might find this Companion Pass post interesting:

    @Adina – It helps to be flexible with your dates when looking for award tickets. That said, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Case Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus to United Airlines. If you were recently denied for the Ink Plus it would help to know why before you try again. You can find those cards here: And here is my series for booking award tickets with United Airlines: You might also consider an award booking service:

    @Michael K – You’re welcome! And thanks for the tips!

    @Jack smith – Wait a few days after paying your bill to call AMEX about it.

    @Daniel – This post will help you decide:

    @Sue B – Thank you for being a loyal reader and for bringing this to my attention! I always do my best to let you know about any and all fees! My apologies if I missed any. That said, those fees were not in the fine print of the offer when I saw it. Also, that promotion appears to have been removed by Southwest before its published expiration date.

    @Shay – Congratulations on earning your Southwest Companion Pass, Shay! Do a small test with AMEX Serve to check! That said, some folks are reporting that the charge appears as a cash advance at 1st but then reverts to a purchase. So far it seems that AMEX Serve WILL permanently code as a cash advance with certain Bank of America Visa cards, certain Citi Visa cards, PNC Visa, and US Bank Visa.

    @Kim – This post might help you: Transferring AMEX points to your British Airways Avios account will keep it active:

    @Judes – Welcome to our hobby! You can use United Airlines miles to get to Japan: And you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus to United Airlines. You can find those cards here: When you have 1 of those cards you can also transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Freedom and Ink Cash: If you prefer American Airlines miles, this post will help you: Although remember that Chase Ultimate Rewards points do NOT transfer to American Airlines: So you should choose to collect American Airlines miles OR United Airlines miles.

  53. Hi, I think I was fortunately picked for winning 10k Hyatt points last Saturday (Jan 10). Someone going to contact me or I contact someone? Thanks!

  54. Hi Darius:

    Love your blog, thanks for all the points you’ve helped me get!

    I have a little Club Carlson tip for you in case you didn’t already know.

    I just made a 2 night reservation (using points from my Club Carlson account) for a friend, so the guest name is not my name. As a result of the guest name not matching my Carlson account name (or not matching my Carlson Visa name), the second night was not free like it usually is. So I called Carlson and the rep kindly fixed the reservation so the second night would be free.

    So it is possible to get the second night free when booking Carlson with points for a friend, you just have to call Carlson and ask for it.


  55. What are your thoughts on the Hyatt 40% points purchase promotion as it applies to the Southwest companion pass. I need 51K more rapid rewards points for a companion pass and already have/had all the SW credit cards. Should I buy points from Hyatt with the 40% bonus or transfer Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt to SW?

  56. Darius,
    Do you think I will need the assistance of Award Wallet in booking AA points for a flight to
    Ireland? Not sure if it’s one of those complicated award point-offers that’s difficult to get dates
    you want and seats.

    Thank you.

  57. Does the Wells Fargo Amex count towards your max amex cards allowed or is it considered a Wells bank card?

  58. @John – This series should help you: It helps to flexible with your travel dates when searching for award flights…especially for 4 at a time! You could keep checking to see if award seats become available (it’s always changing). Or you might try a paid tool that automatically alerts you: Or you might consider an Award Booking Service:

    @Abhishek M. – Thanks for letting me know. Although I already have those deals here:

    @autumn – What an awful experience! You should have at least received an email when the flight was canceled! You could contact Priceline and Frontier through their social media: Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes a very public communication will get results. As a very small consolation you might try selling your hotel room: You could also sell your sport tickets through a site such as

    @Ken in Navarre – You can try selling your gift cards on a site such as

    @Li – Emily will be in touch!

    @Bill – Interesting!

    @Christine B – This post might help you decide:
    Or you can order gifts & flowers:

    @Lana – Award Wallet helps you track your points: You might be thinking of ExpertFlyer, which is a paid service that notifies you when award seats become available: The complexity of your ticket depends on factors like when you want to go, how many seats you want, etc. This series might help you: Or you can consider an Award Booking service:

    @Brent – The issuing bank is Wells Fargo so it won’t likely count. However, there may or may not be a strict rule that limits your number of AMEX cards. Also, AMEX charge cards are treated differently. I explain here:

  59. Hi Darius, I’m trying to get started in this. I currently have all the big purchases(house,car) taken care with. I guess I”m worries about long term affects. Have you noticed how much you have taken a hit on your credit score, if you have 50+ cards of credit with many of them being closed due to cancelling before the annual fee? I guess I”m worried if I had a 800 credit, then in a period of 2 years, i have over 20 credit cards, would I get hit to low 700 hundreds?

    Thank you so much for you help!

  60. @Steven – This post will help: I still have excellent credit! Although you might not want 20 cards open at once…read the post to learn more! Also, check out my Beginner’s Guide:

  61. Aloha from Kauai…..we have been gifted 300,000 miles on United airlines..We fly a lot from California to Kauai….can we hire your company as a booking service.??I have to use these miles before March 15? Can we book after that day and be able to change our tickets as were not sure what dates we will be flying..I just don’t want to lose the 300,000 United Airline…I was thinking United or Hawaiian and paying coach fare and just usefor upgrades?…we are flying to India on Emirates but I Already bought the tickets…we have so many miles on all the airlines and hotels I need to start collecting and you please help…john

  62. Are there any strategies anyone knows of to increase your chances of getting targeted increased signup bonus offers? I have a high credit score and a good amount of accounts, history, available credit, etc. Are there some things I could do specifically to get more and better offers sent to me?

  63. Hi Daraius,
    I got into the miles game last year, and again, I want to thank you for all of the invaluable I information that your blog has given me. My question is, do the credit scores that your credit card company gives you on your account page with them as a free benefit vary from what your actual credit score is with the same credit bureau they use? I get my Trans Union score from Barclay’s and my experian score from US Bank, and I’ve noticed that the scores on my Barclays and USBank apps tend to be significantly higher than the scores from the same institutions that are reported back to me after applying for a new credit card in the same month.

  64. Can you fix your newsletter please? It runs off the screen on ipad:gmail and chrome:gmail on PC. Here is a screenshot of what I am seeing…

    P.S. Contact me directly if you need more info.

  65. Hello,
    Two big questions:
    1. Do you have a post on how often specific credit cards can be reapplied for to get the bonus again?
    2. If you do not currently have an airline card, how do you prevent points from expiring while you are working to earn points and churn cards for that airline?
    Thanks! (I recently enjoyed a free flight to Thailand in August and have a June free trip to Vietnam for my daughter and I –all using your ideas and tips!)

  66. Hi D, Just want to share my experience in the Mileage/Hotel Points game for our July 2015 vacation. I was able to book a family of 4 from Dallas-Chicago-Toronto (side trip Niagara Falls) and back to Dallas with 3 nights in Chicago, 2 nights in Niagara Falls and 1 night in Toronto. We used our British Airways Avios point to book all our flights with American Airlines. In Chicago, we will stay in Holiday Inn in the Magnificent Mile. In Niagara Falls, 1 night is BestWestern and 1 night in Great Wolfe Lodge (the kids liked an indoor water activity) which both are paid in cash. Lastly, 1 night in InterCon in Toronto. Lastly, I also paid in cash our rental car for the Niagara Falls side trip. If we paid all cash for the trip (airfare, hotel, car rental), it will cost us $3810 but with the magic of points we end up paying only $742. Thanks for all the tips and write-ups in your site. More power! H@DFW

  67. Mahalo again Daraius!!!

    With your help, I was able to book 3 people on Delta’s Round the World award tickets before the program ended on Jan 1st. We have multiple stops in Europe and Asia this summer for minimal cost.

    – 540,000 Delta miles (AMEX Delta 50k cards & daily spend)
    – 120,000 Hyatt points (Chase Ink Plus 70k & 50k cards)
    – 250,000 IHG points (Chase IHG 80k cards & 100% bonus)
    – 140,000 Ritz Carlton points (current promo)
    – $690 Delta award ticket fees
    – $680 annual fees
    – $690 IHG 100% bonus points purchase

    Not bad for 3 people: $687pp instead of $6,000pp.

    This is going to be an EPIC summer!

    Aloha, Lea G

    P.S. Booking with Delta was difficult (hours on phone) due to peak season limitations. Luckily we were flexible with our dates and it worked out. The RTW team is awesome.

  68. Hi Daraius and Emily,

    I have been following your blog for probably 4 years and have flown all over the U.S., Europe, and Asia using miles thanks to your advise. Thank you for all the tips along the way!

    I need some advise on the best way to earn miles by paying off my student loans with a credit card. I have read some of your posts about this in the past, but everything has changed with Vanilla Reload and Bluebird so I feel like everything I can find is out of date. Not sure if there is a more recent article I need to look at.

    I have $21,000 in loans, and I have the money to pay them off completely. I would like to do so within the next month or so, but really want to find a way to earn miles while doing it if there is still a way to do so. Not sure if it helps at all but the loans are serviced by Nelnet. I have read an article recently about Serve, but I do not see any way to efficiently utilize it to pay off this amount while earning points.

    Any advise would be much appreciated! Thanks for all the help, and keep the tips coming so we can all continue exploring the world!

    Daniel W.

  69. Hi Darius.
    We just finished our Southwest Companion Pass ‘term’ that we had on my cards. I was the primary card holder – with my wife being an add’l card holder (and the Companion) As you have stated – best airline perk there is.

    My wife recently got both the personal and business SW cards under her her name – and I am now the additional card holder. ( applied when both had the 50,000 point promos) We have spent enough to make us eligible for a new Companion Pass under her name (and me being the Companion)

    Since we don’t really need to be using my own SW card, if I cancel, in 2 years, if I re- applied for new cards under my name, would I be eligible again, under current SW rules, to obtain the Companion Pass again?

    My secondary question is – I know canceling a card can hurt my FICO score a bit – but does it help me with regard to that score, by having the new SW personal card even though my wife is primary card holder?

  70. Darius, I wrote earlier about not spending enough on my Chase Ink card to receive the 70,000 point bonus. I took your advice and contacted them to see if they would allow me to spend a little more to obtain the points. After being turned down initially, I appealed and now they are allowing me some additional time to meet the spend requirement. I have let them know I have spent the additional amount required so now I will have to wait for them to manually add the points to my account. Thanks for your advice.

  71. BTW, what hotel card would you recommend for a trip to New Orleans?

  72. Hi Daraius,

    Did you receive your $25 statement credit from US Airways for going “paperless?” My bill cycled a couple of days ago, and I still have not received the bonus, even though I made a purchase last month.


  73. Valerie Christine

    I have a question I don’t see answered any where. When I’m an existing Southwest Credit Card holder how long do I wait between cancelling a card and then reapplying in order to take advantage of the bonus 50,000 points? Can I cancel my card and immediately apply for another on? Also I’ve had my current Southwest card for 3 years.
    Valerie Christine

  74. pinchas posen

    can I tranfer my hilton points to marriott ?

  75. What credit cards can you recommend as being most likely to receive if you have a credit score of 680-ish, as my wife does (due to a bankruptcy before we married). My score is 800+ so I routinely apply for and get lots of points, we always pay off balances, her credit is perfect otherwise. She just applied for the barclay US air 50K (approved), but was denied for the 50K citi AA and the 50K BA chase. I’m sure she can get some plain credit cards (especially with me on the app) but was wondering which cards with reasonable bonuses she might be able to qualify for. Are cards with AF NOT waived more likely for example? How about US Bank, BoA… thanks!

  76. Jennifer Silva

    I’m trying to book award flights using the United website. Is it possible to book HNL-Seoul stopover for a couple of days and then Seoul to DPS. When returning trying to book DPS to BKK stop over for a couple days before heading back to HNL?
    I’d prefer to book Business/First Class on flights over 7 hours and the rest can be economy/coach.

  77. @John – Aloha! See this post about how to prevent airline miles from expiring: And here are Award Booking services that can help you: You might get some ideas for how to use you United Airlines miles here:

    @zack h – It really depends on the bank. Sometimes banks target your account because they want you to use your card more often. Other times they’re testing out offers with a section of cardholders.

    @Zack h – Your score varies depending on different factors including how much you owe on your cards. So if your score is calculated when you haven’t yet paid your bills, it could be lower!

    @Scott Miller – Thanks for letting me know. I’ll see what I can do!

    @Molly – See these posts: and And thank you for sharing your travel success stories!

    @Hermie Odra – That’s terrific, Hermie! Other folks who’d like to make similar trips with British Airways Avios points can take a look at

    @Lea G – Wow! Thank you for sharing your success! I love hearing about incredible trips like this! Enjoy your Big Travel with Small Money this summer. :)

    @Joe – That’s great news! This post will help you locate hotel chains in New Orleans: In that post I also explain which cards will help you get points for hotel stays. Besides the hotel cards here: I also like using Chase Ultimate Rewards points for stays at Hyatt. You’re allowed to transfer when you have 1 of these cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold cards. Those are listed here: This post will be useful if you want Hilton points:

    @Shay – Wait a few days, then call Barclays to ask!

    @Valerie Christine – Please see the Chase section of this post:

    @pinchas posen – Unfortunately you generally can NOT transfer hotel points like that. However, if you’re looking for more Marriott points, you CAN transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott when you have 1 of these cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or the no longer offered Chase Ink Bold. You can find those cards here: And here are lots of ways to earn Hilton points:

    @peter – This post will help her (skip down to part 3):

    @Jennifer Silva – This series should be useful to you: Or you might consider an award booking service:

  78. Greetings Daraius,

    Last year I purchased SWA gift certificates with my amex plat and was reimbursed within 3 days. This time, 18 days later, no credit. Any guidance? Thank you for your insight.

  79. Dear Daraius and Emily:

    Thank you very much for maintaining such an informative and enjoyable blog — which is usually my first “go to” source for knowledge with which I can maintain my own miles-and-points hobby. I also subscribe to your daily e-distribution, and, over several years, it has been my pleasure to support your work by applying for credit cards through your referral links. I did so most recently this morning — for the Barclay Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard. I am happy to report that, following an immediate follow-up call to the Barclay reconsideration line, my application was approved.

    In the spirit of helping you maintain up-to-date information on your Web site, please be advised that the information you provide on this page, about the above-referenced credit card, is now inaccurate:

    The annual fee is now $89, not $79, and the $1,000 minimum spend must now be completed in 3 months, not 4. Most importantly, from my perspective, the transfer ratio to Hilton points (alas!) has become less attractive. See:

    Here is the specific language describing the new ratio: “Starting at 10,000 miles, in 10,000 increments. 1 HawaiianMile equals 1.5 Hilton HHonors points.”

    In closing, I have one question that I’d like to see you address in an article: How will United Airlines’ conversion to a revenue-based FF program impact customers who purchase a ticket on a partner airline that maintains a FF program based upon distance flown (e.g., Asiana Airlines) and who choose to earn United FF miles on that partner airline’s flight? I find the explanatory language on United’s Web site ambiguous.

    It might also be interesting to speculate on how United’s conversion (and Delta’s too, for that matter) will impact travel habits of budget-conscious folks, like myself, who seek the lowest-cost travel options. For example, I live in New York and occasionally travel to cities on the west coast. Henceforward, when I purchase tickets for these long-distance flights, I’ll be giving priority consideration to airlines whose loyalty programs are based on distance flown, *not* the purchase price of the ticket. There is fierce competition out of New York to the west coast, and prices are comparatively low (considering the distance flown), so I cannot help but wonder if United and Delta will discover that the changes they’ve made to their FF programs render their flights on these specific routes a little less popular (and therefore less profitable) than in the past!

  80. @James B. – Other folks have had success getting refunded for Southwest gift cards, usually in ~5 days. Officially though, gift cards are not part of the $200 airline reimbursement benefit. You might wait 5 business days, then call AMEX to see what they can do for you.

    @Peter Allemano – Congratulations on your new Hawaiian Airlines card! And thank you for letting me know about that old post from 2012! I’ll update it! Interesting post ideas, too.

  81. Hey Daraius,

    When you took your Etihad First class trip to India, how many bags and how much weight were you allowed? I am getting conflicting information online.

  82. @Ron Bernard – Here is the current baggage information. It depends on status too:

  83. Hey Daraius,

    Just a quick follow up:

    Etihad states 2 bags 32 kgs each. US airways states 3 bags 32 kgs each…how many were you guys allowed?

  84. Hi Darius and Emily,
    We’re about to go through a home remodel and will be spending lots of money in the next couple months. A few things such as appliances and the 50% deposit for the cabinets can be paid with a credit card without a fee. I’m wondering if it would be possible to make the initial purchases (15-20K) with a miles card (which I’ve been following your blog and have a few great cards with high limits) and then transfer to a 0% interest card. So my question is, what recommendation do you have for using a miles card for a large initial purchase and then what card to transfer to for the 0% interest benefit? Is it even possible to do that? And do you know which cards allow a large transfer without a fee? Thank you so much!

  85. @Katie F – Yes, you can do that. As always, be sure you can pay the balance in full when it’s due or else the interest fees will most likely negate what the miles are worth! The Chase Slate is the best card for balance transfers. Here is my post: And I’ve listed my favorite miles & points cards here: Enjoy your newly remodeled home!

  86. In your experience, or do you know, when booking award travel with United, how likely is it that a lesser award option would become available again? I’m preparing to book a flight from Michigan to Rio de Janeiro in May 2015 and for a couple days saw an option for 30,000 economy saver award from GRR through IAH to GIG; and it’s now not available. It is available for 65,000 economy standard award, which is still good, but certainly not as good. Return flights are available for 30,000 miles, so to do it for 60,000 total would be great. I do have a little more than 60,000 miles available with United, so prefer to just use those. And I have Chase miles I could transfer, but would prefer not to. Thank you!

  87. Hi,
    I have been following you blog for a few months and during that time I have been able to get 80,000 miles in ultimate rewards and $800 for travel from Barclays Arrival. I would like to go to Dubai in February our chill who is turning two and my wife. What is the best way to book tickets to make use of all the points.

  88. Darius! I’m planning a trip through Italy next year, and notice that there are more Best Western hotels there than perhaps any other chain. I’d like to build up my point balance, but the Best Western Mastercard, presently offered by Barclays, is quite week both in sign-up bonuses and award spend. However, I notice on the website that there is a moderately splashy announcement which indicates “COMING SOON! Best Western is excited to announce our NEW Best Western Rewards® credit card for U.S. residents coming to you in the Spring of 2015.” Do you have any idea as to what this might be? If not, can you at least speculate? Thanks!

  89. Hi Daraius,

    I am having some trouble with a sign up bonus problem and wanted to get your thoughts…

    Let me preface this by saying I have been an AMEX customer for a few years and have been in very good standing with them.

    I signed up for the JetBlue AMEX, which as the time, and I still think it does, have a sign up bonus of 20000 miles and a waiving of the $40.00 annual fee for the first year.

    I was shocked to find that they only were giving me 10,000 bonus points AND charging me the annual fee. I HAVE NEVER SEEN THAT OFFER ANYWHERE.

    I called them to let them know what the sign up bonus was but they’re saying I clicked on a different link, which I see as impossible since that 20,000 bonus points link has been plastered everywhere. They won’t give me my points or waive the fee. I really feel mislead by AMEX and am wondering if they will short change me again.

    Is it a common thing for credit card companies to short change you on your sign up bonus? Should I be calling them to confirm the sign up bonus before I start using it?

    Would love your thoughts on this.


  90. Hey Daraius!!

    Can you recommend the lightest (but very sturdy) bag that can maximize 70 pounds of weight?

  91. helo my dear friends. . I reli appreciate what your doing. . your passion for travel and great deals. . I doing great w this. . God Bless you! my question is can you give me a templete or outline on the spreadsheet to keep track of all this information! so many variables. the good news is i keep getting every card i ask for and i got a United Airlines invitation for 50,000 in the mail Saturday! i was hoping that would show up just like you said. what i did is i got my United Airlines miles membership about a week ago and then it happened.

  92. Hey Darius,

    I’m looking to book a trip for Korea and Japan. I’m using Delta for trans-Pacific legs (starting east coast US), and have found award availability [haven’t actually booked yet]. But I’m having trouble trying to find availability on JAL for the Seoul to Osaka leg (I’m trying to use Avios to book this part – should only be 4500 miles + some taxes and fees). What’s odd to me is that when I search through either JAL or British Airways award calendars, there’s award availability most days of the week, from now until March 28th. But after that date, there is literally no award availability through the end of this year.

    Does JAL only open up their award space two months in advance or something?

  93. Daraius–

    Question: I have a stack of 3 US Air $99 Companion Passes (that are admittedly tough to use–blackout dates and high carrier surcharges making it not the cheapest option), but I’m wondering what will happen to them later this year once AA and US combine frequent flyer programs & credit cards become all AA cards? Would it possibly become easier to use them?

  94. @Ron Bernard – We had only 2 bags each and booked with American Airlines miles.

    @Aaron – Award seats open up (and are taken!) all the time so you have to keep checking back. Being flexible with your dates helps a lot. Some folks like to use this paid tool to get an automatic alert when an award seat becomes available: Or you could consider the help of an Award Booking Service:

    @Mazzini – Welcome to our hobby! You can buy an airline ticket with your Arrival Plus card and then redeem your points to get a statement credit. Or you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines to book an award flight to Dubai. First check to see that you can find an available United Airlines award flight before you transfer your points! This series should help you: You might also consider an Award Booking Service:

    @John – It’s tough to accurately speculate on that. What I can do is remind you that American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Best Western at a 1:1 ratio so if you’re able to get a cheap room with points that way, it could be easier for you. You can find my favorite cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points here:

    @max – It’s my pleasure! And thank you for your kind words! To track all the credit card information, you can create a spreadsheet that includes the date your application was accepted, when your minimum spending requirement is due along with your progress. Also keep track of when the annual fee is due. You can set up a calendar reminder to alert you a few months before so you can decide if you’d like to keep the card. You might also find this service to be helpful:

    @Fiby – Unfortunately you’ll have to keep checking back to see when award seats become available. That said, you might consider this paid service that automatically alerts you when seats open up:

    @Thomas R – I explain in this post:

  95. Thomas | January 25, 2015 at 1:13 pm |

    Hi Daraius,

    I am having some trouble with a sign up bonus problem and wanted to get your thoughts…

    Let me preface this by saying I have been an AMEX customer for a few years and have been in very good standing with them.

    I signed up for the JetBlue AMEX, which as the time, and I still think it does, have a sign up bonus of 20000 miles and a waiving of the $40.00 annual fee for the first year.

    I was shocked to find that they only were giving me 10,000 bonus points AND charging me the annual fee. I HAVE NEVER SEEN THAT OFFER ANYWHERE.

    I called them to let them know what the sign up bonus was but they’re saying I clicked on a different link, which I see as impossible since that 20,000 bonus points link has been plastered everywhere. They won’t give me my points or waive the fee. I really feel mislead by AMEX and am wondering if they will short change me again.

    Is it a common thing for credit card companies to short change you on your sign up bonus? Should I be calling them to confirm the sign up bonus before I start using it?

    Would love your thoughts on this.




    The following should not be taken as legal advice. I’m not an attorney, just a frequent traveler who’s learned the hard way.

    Don’t feel singled out, that the offer you signed up for, isn’t being honored. It’s common. I’m having trouble getting Southwest Rapid Rewards Points. This is for a purchase I made on their shopping portal, a month ago, while following all the rules.

    Part of the problem is, that outfits like Amex have so many offers going. Their front-line representatives can’t keep up, even with the best of intentions.

    There’s small consolation. You earned points on your purchases, to qualify for the bonus.

    Yes, you should call and confirm bonuses before starting to spend. Make a note of whom you spoke with, the date of the call, and what was said.

    Have you tried escalating to a supervisor or a manager? They usually have more leeway. Remind them of your good relationship.

    Be politely but assertively persistent. Be a good-natured pest. They may compensate you, to get you to stop calling. Each call costs money, and it isn’t cheap.

    As a last resort, tell them firmly that you’ll cancel the card if they don’t make things right. It’s your right to cancel anytime.

    If you cancel, you can always wait a few months and apply for some other card.

    Use the power of social media to advertise your problem. They may make things right, to keep their online reputation from being tarnished. If you use social media, stick to the facts, and be brief. Don’t embellish, as this weakens your case. Again, keep your tone polite, otherwise, you’ll come across as a troll.

    For the future, take screen shots, of all on line offers, sign-ups, etc. There are several applications, which take a snapshot of whatever is on your screen, and save the image, often as a “GIF” file.

    Screen shots has saved my bacon, several times.

    Happy travels!


  96. Hi Daraius,

    I’ve been reading for a couple of years now and thanks to your blog I’ve been in several airport lounges (via Amex) and I’m awaiting my companion pass from SW. Since I started subscribing I have taken some small trips domestically but I’m planning a first class around the world trip in 2016 with my girlfriend. Doing this I’ll be booking the following reward flights:

    first class on Emirates via Alaska
    first class on Eithad via AA
    first class on Cathay Pacific or Qantas via AA
    first class on Singapore via Kris Flyer
    first class on JAL via Avios

    Obviously the best flights will go pretty quickly but I’m trying to come up with a good strategy for booking these flights (booking the Eithad first on the phone while looking up Emirates and JAL on two separate browsers with an eye on Singapore or some amalgamation of that).

    Any suggestions on the best way to book a complex itinerary between multiple programs? I want to ensure that the flights I want don’t fill up or it will throw off the days of the trip.

  97. Artemio Herrera


    Longtime follower! Much indebted to you for your site and for allowing my family of seven to travel virtually free of charge the last three years.

    I would like to make our next trip a memorable one. Having amassed a great deal of British Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, as well as American Airlines miles/points, what would you recommend we use to fly out to Hawaii from Chicago. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated.

    Best Wishes to you and Emily,

    Art Herrera

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.