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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily in Lake Como, Italy

Emily Used her Miles to Visit Lake Como, Italy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5,978 responses to “Contact

  1. Hi Zack,

    I just did a quick write up of Marriott 4 & 5 properties to get great redemptions at with the MRP visa. Would love to contribute for the blog. Check it out here


  2. @Damieon – You could transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic and then to Hilton. Virgin Atlantic points transfer to Hilton at a 2:3 ratio:

    But you might prefer these other ways to earn Hilton points:

    Hyatt is also Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. So you could use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives, which is also an excellent hotel:

    @Zack – I don’t think this would work because you need to enter your Social Security number when you sign-up for a new account. An easier solution may be to have a close friend or family sign-up for an AMEX Serve, Bluebird, or Target Prepaid REDcard that you could use:

    Or you could buy gift cards that you know you’ll use for your remodel, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot.

    @Monica – Thanks for letting me know.

    @Anthony – Thanks for sharing your post!

  3. What airlines out there that operate like Southwest, meaning YOU GET to pick the date/time AND just apply the miles to fly for FREE? …whereas other airlines you have to SEARCH for when FREE seats are available to apply your miles for a free airfare…

    Thank you,


  4. hi Daraius,

    What is your plan of action and /or process that you do when you looked for award flights that involves using ITA?

    Thank you,


  5. Daraius,
    We applied for a Chase British Airline card almost three weeks ago. I continually check our chase web page to see if it has been issued and look everyday in the mail for a denial, but nothing seems to be happening. Is there a phone number we could call?
    This card is my wife’s name I received one about the middle of April and was approved over the phone after moving some credit limits around and within two weeks received the card.
    We have the credit and even if that is a problem she too can move some credit around.
    Any suggestions?

  6. Hi Daraius,

    What is American Airlines miles normally value at? I am trying to determine if it’s worth it to spend $100 more to earn 2500 AA miles.

    Thank you for your help.


  7. hi Daraius,

    If I fly American Airline’s partner airline, then MUST I become a member of that partner airline too and need to sign up with them?

    Thank you for answering.


  8. Hey Daraius!

    I was curious about points earned when overseas. Do the 3x and 2x categories still count? Also like the chase freedom 5x categories as well? I know certain ones like AMEX specifically say US gas or US supermarkets but was wondering about the other ones.


  9. @TB –

    1. I believe you’re referring to Southwest’s policy that if a seat is available you can book it with your points. JetBlue has a similar policy. Other airlines allow you to book seats but they may charge a lot more miles based on demand.

    2. Check out my post with steps on how to find flights using ITA to book paid flights. When booking award flights it’s a great tool for finding different routing options. You can take that information and then search for award seats on specific flights on the airline website.

    3. ~1.7 cents per mile. You can currently buy 3,000 American Airlines miles for ~$89:

    But I would only recommend buying miles if you just need a few thousand points to book an award. That’s because there are so many easy ways to earn lots of American Airlines miles:

    4. No, you don’t need an account.

    @Ed – They may just need more information from you. You can call Chase to check on the status of your application at 800-432-3117.

    @Adam – It depends on the card, like you said some cards, like the AMEX Simply Cash and AMEX Premier Rewards Gold, specify bonus categories are only for purchases within the US. Cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred WILL give you 2X points and even 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at restaurants on 1st Fridays of the month, even while overseas. You can find these cards here: Also, watch out for cards that have foreign transaction fees, because the fees can cost you more than the points are worth!

  10. What cc gives me the best points back value for use at Target Grocery & Kroger?
    American Ex Hilton gives 6% back in pts. but is that the best value?? What are a couple of good options?

  11. Thanks for being awesome!
    Do you have any articles on Thank you points? I have both Thank You Premier and Prestige. Prestige has a better redemption value for AA flights. I’m curious if there is a system to use all Thank You Points at the most efficient level? (Similar to using Freedom UR Points with an Ink/Sapphire account in order to be able to transfer them to United rather than for cash rewards)

    Looking forward to more great posts!

  12. hi Daraius,

    When was the last time Chase offer a bonus if you apply for its Chase Sapphire Preferred cc? What was the amount? It’s 40K right now on

    Thank you,


  13. Hi Daraius,

    I love reading your blog and appreciate all of your help and advice!

    I had two quick questions for you:

    1) Per your advice, in March I was approved for the US Airways Barclays card. I’ve read a lot about longtime users getting their annual fees waived but the couple of reps I spoke with were very adamant that the INITIAL $89 fee could not be waived because that is the only way to get the 50,000 miles. Has this been consistent with what you’ve heard?

    2) I also have the Arrival + Barclays world MasterCard. My annual fee for this card was waived for the first year. For the second year, I’ve heard that your annual fee will likely not be waived unless you’ve spent a lot of money on the card. Is this generlaly true? I have had no luck getting the annual fee waived and heard that the best way to pay it might just be to use the miles since this fee counts as a travel credit.

    Thanks for your help!


  14. hi Daraius,

    How flexible is IHG’s refund policy with points? Last minute cancellations? Fees to pay to have points redeposited into account?

    Also, if my nephew wants to use his points to book a room for me/fiance, is that possible to do online so that when I check in, the process is seamless or must he called?

    Thank you for answering.


  15. Gerald Hirsch

    I can’t find it now, but I saw an announcement re your contest that will award miles(?) for the best comment on building miles. Here’s mine: To keep track of where I am with multiple rewards cards I attach an adhesive label to individual cards with useful info: example: “double restaurant miles”, $950 balance by 5/10 for 50K reward miles, “1.5% cash bonus”, etc.

    Love your site.

  16. Hi Daraius,

    You stated that when applying for multiple cards to apply on the same day and from different banks. What about if you have two cards on the same day but from the SAME banks? How does this affect your credit score? What are the chances of me getting those two cc (both from same bank) from that bank when I already have a card with them already? So that will be total of three cards from same bank.

    Thank you for answering.


  17. Hello. I have four children that have not traveled in almost 18 months and their American Airlines miles are in jeopardy of expiring. Will subscribing to a magazine for each child’s account prevent them from losing their miles? Thank you!

  18. As always your information is correct and the Chase British Airline is being issued.
    Another question, I booked First/Business Class ticket from Barcelona to London using American Airline miles, but booked on British Airlines. This was awarded probably 6 months ago. I have a confirmation, but no seat assignment, is this typical of British Airlines or should I follow up somewhere?
    As always thanks.
    When are you going to be in you old stomping grounds of Evanston/Chicagoland?
    We live about two miles from the Evanston/Northwestern Campus.
    I (we) would love to meet you and hear you talk – please keep us posted of your speaking engagements.

  19. @Charles – Groceries purchased from Target are NOT typically categorized as a grocery purchase. For purchases at Kroger, check out my post on the best grocery cards:

    @Aaron – You’re welcome! I have lots of posts on Citi ThankYou points. Here’s a few that might interest you:

    @TB –

    1. 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the typical sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, You can find that offer here:

    2. You can usually cancel up to 24 hours before check-in for a full refund. But you should read the cancellation policy carefully before you book!

    Check out my post on booking hotel rooms for others:

    3. It really depends on the bank. See my post on how many cards you should apply for and why it matters:

    @Thomas –

    1. Some offers of the US Airways card waived the annual fee for the 1st year and some did not. If this wasn’t included in the offer when you signed-up then, unfortunately, Barclays is unlikely to waive the fee for you.

    2. Check out Flyertalk to see what other folks have been offered:

    @Gerald – Thanks that’s a great tip! You must’ve seen an old giveaway that’s already ended. We have a new giveaway every Saturday.

  20. hi Daraius,

    You mentioned that in order to get the SW Companion pass, we should FIRST apply for the personal, THEN the business, both offer by Chase. Why is it important to apply for the personal first, business 2nd, but NOT the reverse?

    Thank you for responding.


  21. Hi there – I just received the Southwest Companion Pass and plan to use it a lot in the next year and a half. However, there are 3 of us in the family (me, wife, child). I’d like to maximize the CP advantage. Would you recommend using points for just 2 people per trip (using companion pass) and paying cash for the 3rd? Or using points for all 3 of us? Obviously option #1 is more $ in the short term but possible more savings in the long term as we could then take more trips with the points. Thx for your advice!


    I want to enter your drawing for miles. But I can’t find how to leave the comment! Help! I’m going to Hawaii!!

  23. Can I use Ultimate Rewards to book a hotel room for a friend? And I LOVE your blog. I have used it so much! We’re going to Hawaii for two weeks and taking another family of 4 with us using the points we’ve collected over the past year. We’re all SO excited! Of all the blogs I look at, I think yours is the easiest to understand. Thank you!

  24. Hello, this is Dennys from Venezuela. I’m talking to you because I saw you had a contest to win 20,000 miles to use with American Airlines while I was googling miles giveaways, because in my country it is really difficult to even buy airplane tickets nowadays, the situation (I don’t know if you’ve heard) is trickier every time. Last year I applied to a Canadian university, (York University in Toronto) hoping to get admitted on an amazing Kinesiology program. I got admitted and I’m right now struggling to prepare everything to go but it’s SO DIFFICULT so far to find the ticket. Our currency is worth nothing and airlines are not accepting it to pay. Getting dollars from the black market is impossible.

    I need 17,500 miles to accomplish my dream of studying in Canada next September. I really wish you could help me out with this. I know the contest is closed, but if you can’t consider me then could you please send me any tips to find miles? Anything is big help to me.

    Thank you so much.

  25. Hi Daraius and Emily. I have both the Barclaycard US Airways Premier MasterCard and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard. I know the companion ticket benefit will go away for the Barclaycard US Airways Premier Mastercard when it becomes the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard. Which card is better to keep – AAdvantage Aviator Red or Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select? Thank you for your help.

  26. Hello Daraius,

    How can I find out how many points I would need to fly Korean Air First Class from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo round trip? I’m trying to put a game plan (credit card applications) together to fly there next summer. Thanks for all of your advice!

  27. Hi Darius,
    I have subscribed to your blog for about 2 years and then suddenly i noticed i am not getting emails any more. I have re-subscribed twice now. The first time, nothing. I just did it again in case I did something wrong the first time. What’s going on?
    Because of your blog I have already been to Paris and I am going to Tahiti this September, all with miles and points. Thank you so much for your blog. It has changed my life, so I really want to keep getting your feed.

  28. I’m interested in tracking how credit card signup bonuses change over time. Ideally, I’d like to automatically create graphs for myself (and others, if interested) of how credit card bonuses change on a day-to-day basis.

    Are there any web APIs that you use to monitor credit card signup bonuses? Or, is it all manual (e.g. get an email from AAdvantage about a new bonus; type it into your website)?

  29. Dear Daraius,

    Thanks for all the great advice! Here’s a topic I would like to learn more about: switching FF plans. I have gold status with United this year (and just need a few more miles to get it for 2016), but I find myself more frequently wanting to fly on Lufthansa. Please note: I understand that I have Star Alliance Gold status and get some limited advantages from that, but there would be further advantages to me if I was Miles and More Gold rather than Mileage Plus Gold. I’ve heard rumors it might be possible to transfer my status from United to Lufthansa. Do you know of a way to make that switch without having to start over with Lufthansa? Ah, yes: first-world problems! Thank you!

  30. I am getting a head start on planning our summer 2016 anniversary trip to Santorini.
    And I’m totally stumped on the best way to get there (or at least on the transatlantic portion) in business class from RDU.

    I have enough points on either American or any of the Ultimate Rewards partners. I know the easiest thing is to take AA from RDU-LHR and connect to the BA LHR-JTR but I do not want to start my trip taking the direct flight from RDU to LHR as that plane is a dinosaur.

    I’d prefer only making two stops (i.e. one to a big east coast hub and a second in Europe). But I’m so confused because the partners don’t seem to line up to do that unless I am missing something. Aegean is a United partner but United doesn’t have direct flights to Athens. Austrian is an American partner but American doesn’t have direct flights to Vienna.

    Would love any advice on what I’m missing and how to improve my search technique. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  31. Love your sight, just started and am wondering if there is somewhere that lists which credit cards offer a referral bonus?
    I’m particularily intereseted in the SouthWest cards among others.

  32. Hi Daraius,
    SERVE stops accepting loads from others but AMEX. Have you tried if loading from Premier Reward Gold Cards or other Amex cards has the Cash Advace fee? Thanks.

  33. Hi Daraius,

    What is Chase’s reconsideration line? I performed a MMS search and came up with this link

    However, it does not provide the Chase reconsideration #.

    Thank you for responding.


  34. Hi, my Question is: how do I make points out of my mortgage payment? Please tell me there’s a way!!!

  35. Hello Daraius,

    Me again… how do you normally go about determining which is route to take, and which route uses less points, when planning a vacation? I’d like to see how many points it would take to fly to Brazil, from either DFW, IAH or LAX. The reason LAX is on the list is due to being able to fly Korean airlines from LAX TO GRU. Both DFW and IAH fly to GRU, however I am unsure how to find out how many miles would be needed to fly business/first class to Sao Paulo from DFW, IAH or LAX.

  36. My new job will reimburse my moving expenses, and I want to maximize points earned. Is there a card that you would recommend? I am hoping that the Chase Sapphire Preferred counts moving/relocation services as travel for 2x points.

  37. Dear Daraius!

    First of all, congrat for the blog and for your enthusiasm, its just enormously awesome!
    Me and my friends are travelling in the us this summer for fun. Not a long trip, just 13 days.
    But our driver is just 24 and it’s a oneway trip, and we found out that this is an extremly expensive couple…
    What could we do?
    We are take off in oklahoma city and heading to san fransisco, in 13 days.
    We thought we invite a few people from the camp where we will work so 5-6 people, we renting a VAN for 1.000-1200 bucks, we split the price and we are good. I used rentalcars for information, but i realised that its prices are not including the 24 age or oneway trip, however, its askin those informations before i looking for a car.
    Now im getting prices like 2500 bucks which we could not afford. We are students, we renting a car because we gonna visit many places and we are more then 1-2 so it would worth it..
    Any ultimate advice? We would honored if you could help us
    Thank you very much

  38. D: I don’t see in the T/Cs that the Hilton Weekend Night certificates can’t be used by someone else. Your blog stated that as thing to remember. Where does it actually say can’t be used by another person like spouse?

  39. Should I tranfer my Amex points to Virgin Atlantic since they are offering 25% bonus points? I need to travel from LAX to London this fall. If not, which airline is best for me to transfer the amex points to travel to London? Thank you for your help on this.

  40. Hi – am trying to find Star Alliance availability on ANA. It seems the interface is different than you described. Did they redesign the site?? Can you still use it??? Thanks!

  41. Darius, We travel infrequently (perhapes once a year) from Richmond, VA to Dallas and/or Chicago, maybe Phoenix in a year and to New Orleans in a year or two. What hotel loyalty card(s) would you recommend for the best value?

  42. Daraius,
    Was wondering. I read about citi bank policy to allow signup bonus again after 18 months that an account is closed. I just downgraded a citi aadvantage platinum visa to a no fee citi gold card to avoid annual fee and keep credit line in tact. However, I was wondering does me downgrading considered me canceling my citi platinum. Can I keep this downgraded gold and apply for another citi platinum in 18 months or does downgrading still considered not closing the account and thus hindering me from recording a bonus again from the card I downgraded from?

  43. Scott Swinson


    Just kinda stumbled on your website and I’m very excited to follow your advice. I have a few questions for you though.
    1. Should I close some of the credit cards I currently have that don’t really offer much in the way of points etc.
    2. If I close those credit cards could it lower my score?
    3. So, let me get this straight. Your saying that you can constantly open new credit cards all the time and I’m assuming your closing cards before you open new ones.

  44. My wife and I have about 325,000 pts on Chase Ultimate Awards, 50,000 on Lufthansa, and 35,000 on United. We want to use these for a nice trip to Turkey in spring 2016.

    What credit card would you suggest for earning more points? We have the usual Chase cards, Barclays, and AmExDelta cards already. Our credit is very good.

  45. Daraius, new reader and by the way thanks for all you do with these great updates and info! Question for you, what’s your reccomended way to get the 100k bonus offer points with CITI? Apply for the personal first, then wait 65 days to apply for the business cards?


  46. @TB – It depends on the bank. Some banks, like Citi or Barclays, will NOT approve more than 1 card application on the same day. Others, like Chase, may approve you for more than one. But it also depends how many other cards you have, if you’ve reached the maximum amount of credit the bank will lend you, and other factors.

    @Leanne N – That should work! American Airlines miles expire if you don’t earn or spend miles in 18 months. Here’s a link to Magazines for Miles:;jsessionid=EE57CC731FE70AC8F5B3043F40F19BD8?execution=e1s1&lp=American and my post about other ways to prevent miles from expiring:

    @Ed H – You could try entering your reservation number under “Manage My Booking” on the British Airways website: or call them at 800-452-1201 if that doesn’t work. I sometimes speak at FTU – there was just 1 in Dallas but more are coming up soon!

    @TB – I suggest applying for the personal card 1st because it’s (usually) easier to get than the business card. If you apply for the business card 1st and are denied, it could be difficult to get approved for a personal card right away.

    @James Alan – If you want to make your points last, paying cash for a 3rd ticket is a good option, especially if seats are on sale. – Sorry you missed the giveaway! We have 1 every Saturday – just click “Leave a Comment” at the bottom of the giveaway post and enter your comment to be included!

    @Amber – Thanks for the kind words! Yes, you can use your points to book hotel rooms for others. This post will help:

    @Dennys – Sorry you missed it! We have a different giveaway each Saturday – just click “Leave a Comment” at the bottom of the giveaway post and enter your comment to be included. I don’t know much about Venezuela but you might find some miles and points ideas here:

    @Beth B. – The 2 cards have very similar features! If you cancel the Barclays Aviator Red, you won’t be able to get it again because it’s not open to new applicants. But if you’re interested in applying for other Barclays cards in the future, it might be better to cancel because Barclays usually only lets folks have 2 or 3 of their cards at a time.

    @Antonio – Thanks! You can see the Korean Air Award Chart here:

    @Gail – Very strange! Please try again (maybe with a different email address) – the system can be glitchy sometimes. Or check your Junk or Spam folder.

    @Forrest – It’s manual.

    @Cary – Lufthansa doesn’t normally status match, unfortunately.

    @FR – It might be worthwhile to subscribe to ExpertFlyer: or consider hiring an award booking service for more complicated routings: Good luck with your award search!

    @Bill Taylor – I don’t have a list, but I do write about referral bonuses occasionally when they come up!

    @Paul E – Loading with AMEX – issued cards should not have a cash advance fee, but you won’t earn any points.

    @TB – Check the comments on that post. :)

    @Rebeca – The easiest way right now is using the Target Prepaid REDcard:

    @Antonio – It can be complicated and it depends on the airline! You might consider trying an award booking service: Or check out my Award Booking Guides:

    @Nate – Chase says travel includes airlines, airports, car rental agencies (including truck, trailer, and RV), cruise ships, hotels and motels, timeshares, local and commuter transportation (including trains, buses, taxis/limos, ferries, bridges, tolls and parking), and travel agencies. If you’re renting your own moving van you could use a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which counts truck rentals as travel (and offers primary rental insurance: ) Otherwise I don’t know of any cards that offer a bonus on moving or relocation services.

    @Vismajor – See my series on rental cars for ways to save:

    @Rod – According the terms, you can request to have your Hilton free weekend night certificate issued to another person of your choosing.

    You can read the terms here:

    @Abby – If you have a specific redemption in mind, it may be worth it. Check out my post on AMEX 25% bonus on transfers to Virgin Atlantic for more details:

    @Pete – You can find a post about the new ANA site at One Mile at a Time:

    @Joe – It depends on how you like to travel and whether you want to splurge on luxury hotels, or make your points last in more budget-friendly accommodations. Check out my series on how to find out which hotel cards are right for you:

    @Niko – When you downgrade, your old account is considered closed. So you should be able to apply for another Citi Platinum card in 18 months and be eligible for the bonus.

    @Scott Swinson – These posts will help: and

    @mark jones – It sounds like your best option to Turkey is using United Airlines miles on Star Alliance partners like Turkish Airlines. (United Airlines is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner). If you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, Chase Freedom, and Chase United Explorer cards, you could consider applying for the business version of the Chase United Explorer card:

    Or a card like the Chase Ink Cash, which lets you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airlines as long as you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold card.

    Starwood Preferred Guest points also transfer to United Airlines, but I wouldn’t recommend that because the transfer ratio is poor (2:1). Good luck with your trip planning!

  47. Thanks Daraius for your response.

    If loading from AMEX-issued cards won’t earn points, will it count towards the minimum spending?
    I’m planning on applying for 2 targeted Premier Rewards Gold Card (personal and business).
    Thank you in advance.

  48. First of all, thank you for all the info that you put out there. It is quite helpful for guys like me starting with travel hacking or ‘efficient/effective’ travel planning.

    I am based in New Jersey. Newark is my home airport and JFK the next best thing. I plan to travel to India, Europe and Australia in the near future using mostly points/miles. I am currently at the crossroads on deciding on an airline alliance and sticking with it. Can you please guide me regarding the appropriate credit cards, points currency and airline to realize my goal. Here is a list of my points/miles earning credit cards.

    Chase Freedom
    Chase Marriott rewards
    Amex Everyday
    Amex Gold Delta
    The list of my current points/miles holdings
    Amex MR: 13000
    Chase UR: 30000
    Delta Skymiles: 70000
    Marriott: 60000
    SPG: 8000
    I have good credit and getting better credit cards should not be a concern.


  49. @Paul E – Yes, it will count towards the minimum spending

    @Vish – Sounds like you have some great trips planned! You don’t necessarily need to be tied down to 1 airline or alliance. Unless you take enough paid flights to earn elite status.

    I would start by looking at each trip individually and evaluating your options.

    Here are some posts that may help you with planning your trip to India:


    And Australia:

  50. Love your blog!

    I currently have the Chase Ink Business card and would like to cancel it before the annual fee comes up, but I would like to save my Ultimate Rewards points. If I get the Chase Freedom card, will I be able to transfer my points there until I’m ready for the next Chase card such as the Sapphire? Or should I get the Sapphire first and then cancel the Ink?

    Thanks for your help!

  51. In your post about the Hilton Bora Bora Nui you mentioned in the cost breakdown you took a Southwest flight from Kansas City to Los Angeles. Do you live in KC or were you just passing through? If you do live in Kansas City (I do) I would love to do a meet-up sometime.

    We love the Hilton Bora Bora Nui. We were there five years ago and heading back there in August. The GM is trying to get us into the same deep water, horizon view bungalow we had for our first trip.

    We are eager to get back there, especially because we’re traveling BC on miles.

    Barry Morris

  52. Chris johnson

    I’m new to the points game just started last year. My goal for this year is the southwest compaion pass. I just got points for this month and I am 107 points short of the 110,000 point requirement. Do you have a suggestion on how to get 107 points quickly that qualify for compaion pass and won’t take a month?
    Thank you

  53. Sandeep Raje

    You do a great job and provide a fantastic service. I have been religiously reading your email everyday and time and again have benefited from your tips.

    A couple of questions related to the Citi Premier Thank You and Prestige cards:
    1. While I have Prestige card, if I purchase airline tickets using say 50K points plus $250, would those $250 eligible for statement credit?
    2. If I have both Premier card and Prestige card, with 60K points on each card, would all 120K points get the higher 133% redemption rate and 160% rate for American flights?

    Rules related to Citi applications: You have said “Citi will only approve 1 application per day”. After applying for a credit line increase, (for which Citi said they will pull a credit report even though I was redistributing credit line between two cards), can I still apply for a new credit card?

  54. Nick Hillard

    Daraius, I have saved up about 170,000 AA miles. I want to take my brother to Scotland or anywhere in Europe this year before his wedding (January 2016!) and I am looking for some advice. Every time I try to find something I end up having fees/taxes over $550 each! I would love to go and find a way for fees to be as cheap as possible. I am not worried about seat class or anything like that. I am trying to surprise him with a trip to Europe because I spent a summer in London and I need to get him across the pond!

  55. Nick Hillard

    Sorry I forgot to mention…We live in Chicago and would be open to stopping over somewhere if we needed to to save!

    Thank you for all of your posts and over the past 2 years you have rreally inspired me to get involved with miles. My girlfriend was in Baltimore and I signed up for the BA card and used my 50,000+ miles through Avios and booked over 6 flights for only about $11 in taxes R/T every trip.

    You guys are amazing and I love your blog!

  56. Hi Daraius,

    Thanks so much for your awesome posts and blog!!

    My husband and I want to travel to Sweden from Chicago around 4th of July this year and are wondering what the best airline miles would be to use for this and what the best strategy would be to get to Sweden from Chicago, hopefully on business class, but we’re also ok with economy. We have a bunch of american miles and a bunch of ultimate rewards points.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  57. Hello Daraius,

    I accidentally was approved for two Club Carlson cards on the same day (l thought the first app didn’t got through). Then first statement closing date is May 19 and the other is May 21. What should I do? Should I spend on both and hope that I somehow get the bonus twice, which would be amazing? Or should I just assume that this would be impossible and try to cancel one of the cards to avoid that $75 fee and the hassle of trying to spend $2,500 twice?


  58. @Crystal – You can transfer your points to the Chase Freedom card. But keep in mind, you won’t be able to transfer them to airline and hotel partners until you get your new Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

    You can find our link for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card here:

    @Barry – We used to live in Kansas, we moved to Austin. We had a terrific time in Bora Bora, enjoy your 2nd trip!

    @Chris Johnson – Welcome to the world of miles & points! The fastest way to earn Southwest points is by making purchases with your Chase Southwest card or taking a paid flight on Southwest.

    You can also transfer certain hotel points to Southwest to earn the Companion Pass, most programs say it will take 4 to 6 weeks, but sometimes it’s faster:

    @Sandeep Raje –

    1. As long as you pay with your Citi Prestige card, you should get the credit.

    2. You can move all your Citi ThankYou points to your Prestige card and then redeem for 1.6 cents per point for American Airlines flights.

    3. Increasing your credit line, shouldn’t count as a card application. Plus, you’re limited to 1 Citi card applications per day, but you can apply for 2 Citi cards within 65 days:

    @Nick Hillard – What a wonderful surprise for your brother!

    It can be tricky to find award flights to Europe with American Airlines miles. That’s because many flights are on British Airways, which charges high fuel surcharges.

    You can avoid fuel surcharges by flying on partners like Aer Lingus, Iberia, or Air Berlin. See my American Airlines award booking guide for details:

    @Elena – Scandinavia Air Systems (SAS) has non-stop flights from Chicago to Stockholm. SAS is a United Airlines partner. So you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines and book from there.

    Check out my post using United Airlines miles to get to Europe:

    Once you transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines, you can’t get them back. So check to be sure there are available award seats beforehand.

  59. Hi Daraius,

    Thanks for your blog.
    I start my miles/point journey two years ago and I learn a lot from your blog.
    Now, it’s my turn to make contributions to miles/point community.
    Therefore, I and two friends designed a small tool called “Award ticket mileage calculator”.
    The goal for this tool is to help us maximizing the value of our points before booking award ticket.

    I think most of us have lots of miles from different creditcard plan or airline mileage plan.
    And our goal is to maximize the value of my points/miles when I want to book a award ticket.
    Here is what I usually do.
    1. Knowing my creditcard plan’s airline transferring partner.
    (Chase UR: BA, UA, SQ. Amex MR: ANA, AC, CX, BA …)
    2. Go to those parters website to collect all the award charts.
    3. Find the lowest miles redemption plan from those award charts.
    (Ex. HKG – TPE: BA needs 9k for economy, but AC need 20k for economy)
    4. Transfer points, check and book the award ticket.

    This process cost me a lot of time.
    And I didn’t find a good tool to help me.
    Therefore, I developed a small tool and would like to share with you guys.
    Basically, the tool is help you to decide which airline mileage plan is best for you before you transfer/redeem your points

    It’s very easy to use.
    Just type airport codes on From/To input box.
    And choose the right filters you want to apply(Cabin, Oneway/Roundtrip, Credit plan: Chase UR/Amex MR/Citi TYP/SPG) and press search.
    The tool will do the search for you and result is sorted by required miles.
    Now the tool support: AA, AC, BA, JL, NH, UA, CX, SQ, BR
    (Any other airline mileage plans you want me to add in the future?)

    Here is the link:

    Please give a try and let me know your feedbacks if any.
    BTW, the tool was just online two week ago and there are some issues.
    Please also let me know if you find any issues.

  60. Hi Daraius,

    A co-worker recently shared your blog with me and I have been reading up on it ever since. I am new and am extremely interested in learning how to earn points to travel cheaper. Thank you!

    It looks like the Vanilla Roload card that allows you to load to your Bluebird account online (without going into Walmart) is no longer working. So I was curious if there is a new method to reload your Bluebird account online?

    Thanks again!

  61. Hola Darius,

    New to the mile and points club. I will be doing lots of business traveling in the coming months to Mexico, central and South America and all airline tickets will be purchased through the companies travel agency. My goal is to travel to bora bora using mileage. I don’t have any travel credit cards as of yet and only belong to delta and AA mileage program. What card do you recommend and what is the best way to achieve my goal.



  62. Hi Daraius, thank you for helping us all out on the blog!

    I’ve been reading your tips on how to use Avios points, but I’m still a bit confused. When I try to book a domestic award flight, almost everything is unavailable. I’ve tried rountrip, one way, select different dates, but everything is very limited. What am I doing wrong?

  63. Sandeep Raje

    In 2013 and 2014, my wife Vaishali was my southwest companion. This time around using the Ritz Carlton 140k times 2 followed by Mariott Miles (southwest) and hotel, my wife met the companion pass requirements and I am her companion for 2015 and 2016. We were already able to use the companion pass for part of our trip from Hawaii to Chicago and we have planned one more trip for this year. Next year, we plan to visit Jamaica or Bahamas. Late last year, our trip to New Orleans was planned only because we had companion pass and it was a great trip.

  64. Hello Daraius,

    I would like to go to Japan with my family. I am not sure how to use my Chase UR points to book tickets to Japan from Los Angeles. Also on this route, is there any stopover that I can do? Thank you for any help you can give me.

  65. Haven’t been reading your blog in awhile but always my go-to place. now that AA and US Airways have merged, when will miles combine? I have about 200k in us airways and 200k in american. Will it become 400k soon? when I log into, i only see 200k. Thanks.

  66. My wife has some dietary restrictions that require us to prepare most of our own meals, but I’m not sure what my options are to redeem rooms with kitchens/kitchenettes using reward points. (For instance, I just found out that I can use Marriott points to book a room at one of their Marriott Vacation Club villas – do any of the other chains offer this too?) Would you be willing to do an article on this topic?

  67. Hi Darius,

    my daughter needs more SW points and the offer has been 25.000 to sign up, but I notice on your site it says 50,000. Is your link correct? Thanks. Love your blog.

  68. Hey Daraius,

    I would love some help with choosing which credit card to use to pay for a cruise. I’ve booked a cruise for 9 people and the final deposit is due in 4 weeks. Would I get 3x points using the Citi Prestige? I received a targeted offer for this card which says 3x points on air, hotel, and travel agencies (we booked the cruise through a cruise travel agency). The other card I was thinking of using was the Chase Sapphire for 2x points. Or is there a card I’m overlooking?


  69. Chrys Hansen

    Hi Daraius

    I had an Avianca credit card which I was in the process of cancelling due to the annual renewal fee that was approaching. I originally received 50,000 points from the sign-up which I decided to use to book a trip to Japan.
    (I paid an additional $450 to make up the difference as the r/t flight was 70,000 points via ANA). This will be my first trip to Japan. My question is this: About a week later I realized that there was no way that I could visit all that I wished to see in just one week. I’d like to extend my stay for another week but would like to achieve this somehow without paying another $200 for the change fee. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could charm ANA into extending my return flight for another week after I arrive in Japan? (I know this is a long shot but you are the expert). Thanks, -Chrys

  70. Hi! I need your expertise on how to book my Ultimate Rewards. I am going to school in the Midwest and the airport of my city only has Delta, United, American, and US airways. I only have Ultimate Rewards through my Sapphire and I am not too sure what’s the best way to book tickets going to and from school. I am from California if that makes any difference. I really appreciate your help and I am not too sure what to do. Thank you!

  71. I only fly AA and partners. Here’s my question. I do all my personal and corporate day to day spending on SPG Amex to enjoy the 1.5 transfer to AA for miles. I buy all my AA tickets direct from AA with Citi Exec MC for 2 miles per dollar & pass threshold on it for the EQM. I also have a platinum Amex. With this, knowing the above am I better off booking all my flights through Amex, considering bonus, etc. ? should I just do all my spending on the platinum, rack up points there instead of AA miles and use them to buy AA tickets still gaining EQMs. Can you advise on which is best and why? Thanks!

  72. Hi!
    We are booked for a safari trip with specific dates. i have amex, delta, and chase UR points. available flights are delta and klm ($1800). I’m struggling to figure out how to use all the miles. any help would be greatly appreciated! From what i understand, amex i can transfer directly to delta, then use for klm. for chase, i can transfer to korea and then use for delta/klm?

  73. Hi Darius, you’re my new hero. Up there with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I was wondering what you thought of the Discover It Miles card. Currently I am using Discover It for cash back, but from perusing your website I realize it’s not a good idea and I need to make a switch.

  74. April Howard

    Can you provide details on what to include in an email to a hotel’s general manager to request a free upgrade for a special occasion? Mention my platinum elite status? What other details to mention?

  75. Please show me a sample email to a hotel’s general manager to request free upgrade for special occasion. What details to include? I am a platinum elite member. Should I include that too?

  76. Dear Daraius,

    I love Miami and have been admiring your Miami Z Ocean trip,
    So I tried to book Z Ocean Hotel through IHG, but it is now whooping 45,000 points per night.
    Did IHG points increase for Z Ocean Hotel? Or did you book through some promotion? because I don’t think 20,000 points increase is reasonable… (I have recently purchased 100,000 IHG points through Daily Getaway, plus my gf and I have 80,000 points each from sign-up bonuses to spend, but I want to be wise in spending these points, since I want to save these points for Bora Bora or Maldives trip as well..)
    Any insights will be greatly appreciated!


  77. Dear Daraius,

    I received a promotional invitation from to become an independent travel agent and gain significant savings on nearly all travel (the advertise 20%). There is a start-up fee of @$200 and a monthly fee of @$20. Is this real or a scam?
    Thank you for your help.

  78. @Phil – It could be worth a try to see if you get the bonus on both cards. But note the US Bank terms say, you won’t get the sign-up bonus if you’ve had the card or another Club Carlson card within the past 12 months.

    @Ryan – Thanks for sharing! The site is currently giving me a server error. But it’s good to see folks coming up with new tools for using miles and points

    @Jason – Unfortunately, there is no way to load your AMEX Bluebird card online. You can however, purchase a PIN enabled Visa gift cards at grocery stores, office supply stores, or Simon Malls and add the funds to your card at Walmart:

    @Emanuel – Welcome to Million Mile Secrets!

    Using American Airlines miles on Air Tahiti is a great option for getting to Bora Bora. You can find tips for how to book these flights here:

    See all the ways to earn American Airlines miles here:

    And check out our trip report of your 2nd honeymoon in Bora Bora:

    Also be sure to check out our Beginner’s Guide:

    @Crystal – You’re welcome! You can book American Airlines flights with British Airways Avios points. The best way to search for these flights is by looking for saver awards on the American Airlines website.

    And then calling British Airways to book.

    Keep in mind, that I usually recommend folks book award flights ~1 year in advance. Especially, if they plan on traveling during busy travel times (such as holidays).

    This post may help you:

    @Sandeep Raje – Congratulations on earning the Southwest Companion Pass a 2nd time! Happy travels!

    @Samsntha – You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines. Then check out my post on all the ways to get to Japan, North Asia, & South Asia with United Airlines miles:

    @webazoid – Make sure the information matches on both accounts. Then log into your American Airlines account and on the Profile summary page, there is a link to merge your accounts:

    @Jonny K – Thanks for the post idea! In the meantime, other hotels that include kitchenettes or kitchens: Marriott Residence Inn, Staybridge Suites (IHG), Candlewood Suites (IHG), Hyatt House, Homewood Suites (Hilton).

    @Marcia K – You can currently get 50,000 points when you sign-up and complete the minimum spending on the Chase Southwest Premier card. You can find the card here:

    @Dahlia – You should earn 3X points with the Citi Prestige, but it depends on how the charge is categorized on your card

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred is also a good option for 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

    Or if you prefer cash back, you could use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card for 2.2% back when you redeem for $25+ travel.

    You can find those 3 cards here:

    @Chrys Hansen – You can cancel your award flight through Avianca for a $50 fee, which will save you some money. But there’s no guarantee that the flights you want will be available.

    @Kareem A – Check out my post to see what you can do with Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

    Transferring your points to United Airlines is a good option, but make sure you can find an award flights that work for you 1st, because once you transfer your points you can’t get them back.

    See my United Airlines Award Booking Guide for tips on how to book award flights:

    Also, make sure you check out the Beginner’s Guide:

    @chad – You’ll get a higher dollar value from your American Express Membership Rewards points by transferring them to airline and hotel partners as opposed to using “Pay with Points” to book American Airlines flights:

    However, if you’re close to earning elite status with American Airlines, it may be worth booking flights with AMEX Pay with Points.

    @kg – You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Delta or KLM.

    You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air which is a Delta partner. However, you can only book round-trip award flights with Korean Air partners.

    Find the award flights before you transfer the points because once you transfer you can’t get the points back. And sometimes finding award flights for specific dates can be difficult.

    @Chan – Neil deGrasse Tyson is a pretty cool guy, so thanks! The Discover It Miles card is a great option for folks who want to earn cash back! You can read my full review of this card here:

    @April Howard – Here are my tips on how to write a letter to the hotel general manager:

    And yes, if you have status with a hotel, it’s a good idea to point that out in your letter.

    @Louis – The Z Ocean Hotel was previously a Starwood hotel, but it’s now an IHG hotel. IHG charges more points for this hotel.

    But there are lots of ways to earn IHG points. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG. It sounds like you already have the Chase IHG card:

    You can also buy IHG points by using the points & cash trick:

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