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, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

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

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

Or tweet me @MilMileSecrets for a quicker response!

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

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

Daraius Dubash - Million Miles Secrets

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

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

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

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

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

Emily in Lake Como, Italy

Emily Used her Miles to Visit Lake Como, Italy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Million Mile Secrets is part of the BankRate family!

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

7,184 responses to “Contact

  1. Hi Darius, not to wear out my post quota for the week, but I did what you recc’d and reviewed my 3 credit reports. For Experian, I have a 775 but it also has 20 hard pulls in 2 years. Do you think I should lay low for a bit, or would this not scare you? My other reports had far less hard pulls as expected, and I did make a list of who pulls from each as you recc’d. Thank you!

  2. Daraius, I continue to love reading your blog. I’m not sure if this is an issue you’ve covered. Sorry if it’s a repeat. My wife and I have a 4+ hour layover at IAH in a few weeks (before taking the 787 to SFO!) and I’ve been researching United Club passes. On, a seller is selling a United Club One-Time pass for $8.70 + $5 shipping. The pass expires at the end of Nov. (which is fine for me), but do you foresee a problem in us buying these passes like this and using them at IAH? Is this allowed? Thanks,

  3. @Dluke – 20 pulls in 2 years is higher than average, but you could still apply if you’re able to call the reconsideration line and get approved for new cards. The inquiries drop off in 2 years, so you could have less than 20 in a few years.

    @Thomas – The only risk is not getting your pass in the mail, but otherwise seems fine. You could also enroll in the AMEX Executive Privileges program and get reimbursed for up to 12 passes a calendar year.

  4. Hi Daraius:
    You once wrote a great series of articles on award travel using AAdvantage miles. It has since became an invaluable reference resourse for your readers. Do you have any plans to do something similar for using United miles?
    I would be especially interested in learning the intricacies of international award travel with Star alliance, as it has a much larger international network than OneWorld.

  5. @Max – I’ll look into writing a similar series for Star Alliance, but can’t promise it will be complete soon! Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Darius, I have been trying to book a companion ticket with BA in Business Class and have become very frustrated. I am trying to get into a port city in southern Europe and honestly, at this point, am not so concerned where it is as I have not booked our cruise yet. My frustration is very limited business class seats and I have plugged in about 4 different BA hubs in the US. My question: does more award business class seating become available later or do they allocate all the seats right after award booking would open up for that flight? I figured the earlier I booked the better. My problem is not getting to London and beyond but back to the US from London. Any suggestions, I would be grateful for.

  7. @juli – It is usually much easier to get First Class seats than business seats. You can mix cabins with the Travel Together ticket, so perhaps you could try searching for First class seats. There are ~15+ BA hubs in the US, but Boston & Philadelphia usually have good availability. Award availability keeps on changing, though, so check back often. This could be a good project for an award booking service.

  8. There was a special code to open a Citi Bank checking account with sign up bonus of 50K American Airline miles, that expires, October 31st. I’ve misplaced the link. Can you help?

    My refinance has been approved so I’m ready to churn cards to earn miles. Where do I start?

    I’ve had Delta miles, but there is such limited availability for award travel after saving 300K miles the HARD way. I found it too frustrating to get business class tickets, etc, so I’d rather stay with Alaska miles to fly business class. Too bad American Airlines doesn’t have a mile earning debit card.

    Also I love the info re: American Express Blue bird card. Is it best to pick up a kit at Walmart or order it on line?

    Which Chase Ink card is best to use to get 5X Ultimate points on top of getting points for paying mortgage, etc. with the American Express Blue Bird card. There are so many Chase cards, which one is the best and of course which one has the best sign up bonust?

  9. Hi Daraius. First of all, thanks for the VERY helpful and informative posts. Two months ago, based on your what I learned on your site, I applied for the AAdvantage Cards (using the two browser trick–it worked!), as well as the Chase United Card. I now have 80,000 AA miles and 60,000 United miles. Next month, I plan to start my second churn and was looking for advice on which cards I should select.

    I put about $4000 a month on cards and my goal is to take my wife and I to Paris (3-4 days), Barcelona (2 days), and Madrid (2 days) next summer (more specifically, somewhere between June 25-August 5).

    A few factors: my wife can’t sign up for cards due to bad credit (before we were married); we need to travel during that time slot since it’s the only time we can both get off; we’re both comfortable flying coach since we both take ambien to deal with jetlag and can sleep anywhere; likewise, we’re both more concerned with hotels that are centrally located and clean rather than first class (though if first class is the same price, obviously we’d take the fancier option).

    What cards would you recommend me churning to ensure we pay the least amount out of pocket for the trip? And given that it’s the busiest time to travel, is it even likely we’ll find flights?

  10. @cheryl – Is this the offer you’re referring to? Citi may send you a 1099 for the value of the miles. Delta miles are really hard to use. You can earn miles with the UFB Direct debit card. I’d order Bluebird online to save the $5 fee for the temporary card at Wal-Mart. The best Chase Ink card to use is either the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus which offer a 50,000 point sign-up bonus (25K after 1st purchase and 25K after spending $10,000 within 3 months).

  11. Hi Daraius. First of all, thanks for the VERY helpful and informative posts. Two months ago, based on your what I learned on your site, I applied for the AAdvantage Cards (using the two browser trick–it worked!), as well as the Chase United Card. I now have 80,000 AA miles and 60,000 United miles. Next month, I plan to start my second churn and was looking for advice on which cards I should select.

    I put about $4000 a month on cards and my goal is to take my wife and I to Paris (3-4 days), Barcelona (2 days), and Madrid (2 days) next summer (more specifically, somewhere between June 25-August 5).

    A few factors: my wife can’t sign up for cards due to bad credit (before we were married); we need to travel during that time slot since it’s the only time we can both get off; we’re both comfortable flying coach since we both take ambien to deal with jetlag and can sleep anywhere; likewise, we’re both more concerned with hotels that are centrally located and clean rather than first class (though if first class is the same price, obviously we’d take the fancier option).

    What cards would you recommend me churning to ensure we pay the least amount out of pocket for the trip? And given that it’s the busiest time, is it even likely we’ll find flights?

  12. Hey Daraius,
    Does it matter how long you wait between applications if the banks you’re applying to are different?
    If I apply to Chase this month would I need to wait a few months to apply for a AMX or is there no wait?

  13. Hey Daraius!

    It was nice meeting you in Chicago and I am looking forward to seeing you at LAX.
    About 1.5 year ago I cancelled my Chase Marriott Rewards card. Could I get it again soon (with the bonus) without getting a new Marriott account?
    And given my situation, how would you go about getting the bonus for the Ritz Carlton card? Is it considered a different product? Should I get a new account?

  14. Darius – I’ve been looking at the Chase Fairmont Visa offer linked to from your site, but had a quick question before applying. Is it correct that if I wanted to stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui for 5 nights in January and I had four stay certificates from 2x Chase Fairmont card approvals that I would be able to book this 5 night stay with 4x certificates and 1x paid night? Are there any limitations on the number of certificates I can use per stay (ie. 1 free night certificate per stay)? Thanks!

  15. @Brent – Email me if you want to discuss more, but you already have enough points for a coach trip. It is 30K each way using United or AA miles, so you could travel 1 way on AA and return using United miles. I’d suggest booking the trips now – perhaps fly into 1 city and fly back to the US from another and take the train from one European city to another. You can search for award flights on or use my guide to find availability on AA. However, it could make sense to ask an award booking service to help since you are very limited with dates and their small fee could make or break your trip if you don’t find award seats yourself.

    In Paris, the Park Hyatt is 5 minutes walk from the Louvre and you can get 2 free nights with the Chase Hyatt card or by transferring 22,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, Ink Plus) to Hyatt. For Spain, the Starwood American Express card could be useful since they have nice hotels in Spain which are centrally located.

    – If you applied for only 1 card, it doesn’t really matter.

    – Nice meeting you too! You should be able to get the sign on bonus (but not the free night) if you use the same account number. I believe you can only enroll in the Ritz or Marriott program, but could set up a different account for the Ritz card and then apply.

    – I believe you should be able to do that since 2 nights would be from your account 2 from another account and you’d then pay for the last night. However, I don’t have personal experience with this.

  16. So am I understanding this correctly. I could pay my Credit Card bills, money that come out of my checking acct, with blue bird and get points not only from the credit card but also from the bluebird acct paying the credit card bill?

  17. If I apply for the Amex Hilton Card 65k, and put in on the application that I’m a H. Honors member but enter my wife’s account number would the Bonus points post to her account?

  18. @juli – You get points paying bills with Bluebird only if you use a miles earning credit card to fund Bluebird or if you fund your Bluebird account with a debit card at Wal-Mart.

    @ay – It could work, but I wouldn’t do that because you have no recourse if the points don’t post. You can always book a room for your wife with your points.

  19. One more question on Debit cards re: the Bluebird. My bank does not offer reward points. I see that you have an UFB Direct card. I checked them out online. Is this something that you open up online or is this associated with a bank? If needed, I could open an acct up at a different bank in order to receive the debit card to use with Bluebird if needed. Are there any banks/debit cards that you recommend over others?

  20. @ay I do this regularly, in terms of when I apply the wife and I for cc’s, I always give my FF #. I think only Hawaiian air (for both BoA and the BoHawaii) ” caught it and assigned wife a ff #. I figure I can always call them up later and explain I gave the wrong ff number. What I am scared to do though is transfer pts (eg Hawaiian/VA Atlantic to HH) from wife’s acct into my account, cause most have really strong warnings about that. If anyone has had luck here let me know.

    @ Anon regarding Fairmont. Yes, they can align your and your signif others 2-free stays back to back and try to keep you in the same room. I have not used my vouchers, yet, but have talked to them extensively on the phone with questions like that. Just call them, tell them you are thinking of getting the card and have some questions. They are super cool and really accommodating. Oh and you will get a bunch of other upgrade coupons not listed. Boy I wish this was a recurring offer, almost worth going into the witness protection program over for the new SS #. hmmm.

  21. Hey Darius wanted to let you know your ink plus application doesn’t work. It let me fill the application out completely but when I submitted it to Chase they send an error message saying “this offer is unavailable.” If it makes you feel better the points guy link does the same. I had to apply directly through chase.

  22. @juli – I’m still investigating the UFB AA card and will write more later. For now, the Suntrust Delta card seems the best deal since you earn 1 mile per $1 spent on the card. But Delta miles are hard to use…

    @Dluke – Thanks for helping out! If you like it so much, your try with a new hotel loyalty number…

    @Ronf – Thanks for letting me know!

  23. Hey Darius. Some quick questions….
    1) How many Chase cars can I safely be approved for without getting on their bad side? This year I have had about 4 cards from them already…Would it be a bad idea to apply for one more? So far I’ve gotten the Sapphire Preferred, United Explorer Plus, Ink Bold Business, and the Hyatt..

    2) How much of the bluebird refills can I safely load up with the 5x bonus? I have mortage, tuition, car, and personal debts so I can easily do 4000+ a month if I wanted to…What would be a safe range?

    Thanks! 🙂

  24. @cory – It varies by person, so I can’t say. I know folks who have more than 4, so apply for another one if you feel that there is a good offer for you. For 5X, I’d do $2K to $2.5K a month, but you could do more if you more than 1 Ink card or have a partner with another Ink Card. But, as always, your miles may vary.

  25. Thanks Darius! Also, I accidentally exceeded my spending limit on an AMEX card back in August and this prompted a financial review. They reduced my spending limits a bit and stated that I wasn’t eligible for a credit increase for a few months. Does this mean I can’t ask for more credit cards either?

  26. @cory – You should be able to apply for more AMEX cards, but they may keep a closer watch on your account activities.

  27. Darius,
    Thanks for all your advice, tips and of course turning me on to this hobby. Once a vanilla reload is purchased, is it possible to take it back and have it reloaded?

  28. Hi Daraius, I need you expertise for my particular scenario. My wife wants to go to Hawaii (Maui or Oahu) next March for a week and I’m trying to keep the cost down as much as possible. Here’s what I have for miles/points.
    1. 76,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles (this will pay for the flight)
    2. 50,000 United Miles
    3. 100,000 Hilton Points (seems like these will only get me a night or two in Hawaii)
    Any cards you can recommend to apply for or a way to maximize my points?
    We spend about 500-600 a month on cc’s and pay them off each month.

  29. Darius:
    I want to book a oneworld flight around the world in business class.
    Need 300K points for both of us. Have both Citi AA cards. What would be the fastest way to accumulate the 300k miles? Are you aware of any of cards that allow points or miles to be transferred to AA?

  30. @Denise – Unfortunately, you can’t take a Vanilla Reload card back and have them reloaded since it is a single load card. You scratch the PIN number off the back of the card and enter it in at along with your Bluebird card number.

    @Brady – You can email me if you’d like to discuss further, but the Chase Hyatt card offers 2 free nights after $1,000 within 3 months with a $100 statement credit. So if & your wife get 1 each, that’s 4 nights covered. You can get additional Hilton nights with the Hilton Reserve or regular Hilton cards. For air, I don’t know where you live, but Hawaiian Air has limited routes from the mainland US. But do a dummy search on their website to see it there are flights from your departure city and how many miles those tickets are. If you need more air miles, the Citi American Airlines cards offer 50K miles each and you can get 2 at a time for 100K miles. You can also use Amazon payments to help increase the amount you can spend per month.

    @Marshall – The American Express SPG card has a 25K sign up bonus for both personal and business which transfers to 30K American Airlines miles. Your partner could apply for the Citi AA personal cards (2 at a time) for 100K miles and if it has been 18+ months since you were last approved for the AA personal cards, you could apply again. There’s also the Citi AA business card with 50K miles.

  31. Thanks for the info. I have approximately 250K Chase points which I can trade for United points. Is there an equivalent round the world package on United or on the Star Alliance?

  32. Darius any suggestions, I have a $5,500 monthly bill I pay for my Dad’s assisted living . They do not accept credit card payments, do you know anyway how I could pay this bill and earn the points on my Chase Sapphire Card?
    Thanks for any help

  33. Darius, I really like your post about the AMEX Bluebird card, it’s really helpful and thank you for your work.
    Here I have a question about paying property tax via BB, most folks probably can’t find the tax collector agencies from the search button, then if I add the property tax department’s information manually, looks like BB will cut a check to them, is that right?
    If it can work, it will save me a lot of money by avoiding the credit card convenient fees (2-3%) and help me reach the minimal spending.
    Thank you very much!

  34. I purchased a $500 Vanilla using my Chase Ink Business MC and am waiting to get my card for the BB to activate it. I am not holding you to this, but do you think I would be safe in purchasing $2,000/month of vanilla cards on this card to put on my BB acct? I see you mention other Chase cards, can you a combination of cards or should I just stick with the one card? Would I be okay to purchase even more vanilla cards using other CC that are not Chase cards or is there a way they can track these. I am also thinking it might be worth opening up a bank acct, say BOA, that I could get a debit reward card with, so I could use this. Sounds like it would be a lot less risky and trackable? Do you think this is a good idea. I spend around $6,000/month that I can’t pay using CC. Any thoughts on this.

  35. @Marshall – Here’s information on the United Round the World awards —>

    @Kevin – You could use the Chase Sapphire Preferred to buy Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot or Walgreens (if they accept credit card for it) and then fund American Express Bluebird and use Bluebird Pay Bills to send a check to the payee.

    @James – Thanks! You got it – you can enter their address and Bluebird will a check to the Payee. Just be sure to allow extra time for the check to be mailed.

    @Juli – Do whatever feels comfortable to you. I personally wouldn’t push more than $2K with any ONE card (you can use multiple cards). You do have to fund your bluebird with a Debit card at Wal-Mart to avoid the fees. You only earn 0.5 miles per $1 spent with the BOA Alaska Air card, but could be worth it if you charge $6K a month, though I’d try to spread that amount on different cards.

  36. Absolutely love your posting about Bluebird! Thank you for the hard work!! Besides property tax, I wonder if Bluebird would also cut a check and mail it to IRS for my income tax. What do you think?

  37. @JW – I’d check with your accountant, but I believe you have to enclose a payment voucher with your payment, so having Bluebird send the check directly to the IRS may not work. But you could make the check payable to the IRS and have Bluebird send it to your accountant’s office or to you and then mail it to the IRS.

  38. Longtime reader of your blog.

    I was wondering if there’s a good way to book a Qantas flight using MR points. MR has several transfer partners (BA, Al Italia, etc) that allow Qantas bookings, but the redemption rates for a busines class tickets from the US to Australia are ~200K points + fees. Any suggestions?


  39. Hi Daraius!

    I was given a Hyatt Diamond challenge about two years ago, just when they started doing them. I had requested a match, but they gave me the challenge instead. I knew I was not going to be able to be successful and asked if (incase I failed) I could try again in the future. I was told yes, but now from what I have been reading online, I am not sure it is the case. So…. What do you know? Can I get a Diamond challenge again?

  40. @Eliot – Thanks for reading! No real suggestions since you will likely pay fuel surcharges and a high number of miles for the flight. You could try Cathay, but it could be better to book via Aeroplan or on Delta if you can find Virgin Australia availability.

  41. Found this AMAZING offer, thought I’d share – I haven’t seen it covered.

  42. @John – Thanks! I wrote about it here and it has been on the hotel credit card tab for a long time.

  43. Can you tell me whats good about this card? =US Air credit card with 40,000 bonus Dividend Miles?
    what can you do with that miles? only good at redeeming for US airways flight? can it be transfreed to united. AA or any hotel programs? anything else?


  44. @rob – You can’t transfer them, but can use them on Star Alliance partner airlines (United, Lufthansa etc.). I suggest looking at the US Air award chart to see what you can do with 40K miles.

  45. Which Lounge passes to use for following trip and at which airport and which club?

    have the UNITED LOUNGE pass i got from UME card, AA LOUNE PASS from
    Citi aadvantage card, I have INK BOLD, heared I can get lounge pass for

    I booked the following economy class ticket on I have UME
    card and received the 2 LOUNGE PASSes. Can I go to the united lounge
    club in Frankfurt airport with it? same way back? we are 2 people so we
    need 2 more passes right?

    You are currently holding a reservation for departure on Lufthansa
    flight 431, Mon., Jan. 7, 2013 from Chicago, IL (ORD – O’Hare).

    2 award 130,000 miles

    Ticket Taxes/Fees $219.20

    Total Price 130,000 Miles and $219.20

    Mon., Jan. 7, 2013 |

    Chicago, IL (ORD – O’Hare) to Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)

    Connecting in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)

    Thu., Jan. 17, 2013 |

    Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) to Chicago, IL (ORD – O’Hare)

    Connecting in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)

  46. Hey Daraius,
    For the Amx HHonors card, there are two tiers to the rewards. The first reward is after 750$ spend, the second is after 3k spend. My question is if the total is 3k for both or the total is 3,750$

    Get 40,000 HHonors Bonus Points when you spend $750 with your Card within the first three months of Cardmembership1

    Get an additional 25,000 Bonus Points when you spend $3,000 with your Card within the first six months of Cardmembership2


  47. @john – You can use the United lounge passes at any United lounge. You may be able to buy lounge passes in Bangkok and get reimbursed through the AMEX Privileges program.

    Here’s a previous post on the lounge access with the Ink Bold – you may want to apply for the lounge card and see if there are lounges in the airports you will be visiting.

    @Corey – My interpretation is that the $3,000 is cumulative.

  48. Hi,
    I have my Bluebird and am waiting for verification. I have a SunTrust Delta Debit card. What other airlines/hotels would have a debit card that I could use to get points on when reloading my Bluebird card?

  49. Bank of America use to transfer credit lines from 1 BOA credit card to another BOA credit card (at least 2 years ago). Yesterday I asked for a credit line transfer from one BOA card to another BOA card, they told me that they needed to do a “soft hit” on my credit report for this. Did BOA policies change or did the customer service agent not know how to process it properly….

    To make matters worse, I noticed by my credit monitoring system that BOA actually did a HARD hit on my credit report for this…Im pissed with BOA.

  50. New to gift cards:
    So let me get this strait, you buy a (VISA)$500 gift card with a points earning card and get the points, and help obtain the minium spend quota. Then you either use or go to an ATM use the GC you just bought and withdraw the cash from the ATM and pay the fee

  51. I have had conflicting answers regarding when and how we will receive our 2 free weekend nights now that we have met the required spend for the Hilton Reserve Visa card. What is your experience with this? Will we receive a certificate like Fairmont does…or is it like Hyatt in that it is available through your online account? Also, how long do you have to wait? We are hoping to use it for the end of February but I’m concerned about availability if it takes to0 long. Can I book the WA in Maui and then transfer it over to the free nights when it comes through? Thanks for your help!

  52. @Jane – The Alaska Air debit card from Bank of America and the American Airlines debit card from UFB bank both offer a debit card which earns 0.5 miles per $1 spent.

    @ricky – I really don’t know since I don’t have much experience with BOA, but it does stink that you were told that you’ll get a soft hit and ended up getting a hard hit.

    @Elliot – Not all gift cards work that way. You can load the Target American Express prepaid card with gift cards at the register and then cash out via an ATM. OR you can buy Vanilla Reloads for 5X points at Office Depot and load them to your Bluebird account and cash out. You can’t withdraw a gift card balance directly from an ATM.

    @Diane – I believe you should get an email with the certificate. If it has been a while and the statement in which you completed the minimum spending closed, you can call Citi to ask about your certificate.

  53. I’m currently about to hit my $1000 spending limit required for the 50k points bonus on both my Personal and Business card. That will give me 102,000 Rapid Rewards points. My dilemma is how should I go about getting the additional 8k points required to achieve Southwest Companion Pass? I’ve read a couple of the previous blogs describing how to achieve the Pass but I was wondering since both of my Southwest cards offer 1 Rapid Rewards Point for every $1 of eligible balance transfers made within the first 90 days your account is open (up to $10,000) should I just transfer $6000 from my two Citi AA cards ( which im close to spending in order to receive the 50k bonus miles) and use the Rapid Rewards Shopping Mall to make up for the remaining 2,000 points for the Companion Pass and if the points received from a balance transfer count towards the Companion Pass. Is this a cheaper method than completing the Marriott points purchase transfer to Southwest? The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5 on my Southwest Cards. Any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and I love this site!!!!!!!!!!!!

  54. If I use my Chase Southwest Visa to purchase Disney giftcards at Target for our upcoming trip to Disney World, will that help fulfill my spending requirement? Any info would help, I can’t find Vanilla Reloads at my local Office Depot (sold out) and time is running out in 2012 calendar year.

  55. Darius – love the blog! My wife and I both have around 15,000 Skywards miles from Emirates that expire at years end. We live in the US and are not planning any travel for a year. Is there a way to convert those miles to a different loyalty program, or any other creative suggestion as to what to do with them. Thanks so much!

  56. Pingback: Frontier Airlines Credit Card | Million Mile Secrets

  57. @Unrea – Balance transfer is absolutely NOT worth it. You’ll pay a 3% transfer fee, so that’s $300 right there PLUS you will pay interest on the amount transferred. The cheapest way is to just buy Marriott points and transfer them or you can send flowers to lots of folks and earn Southwest points from those!

    @Nick – That will work. It will post as a regular purchase on your Southwest credit card and those points count towards the Companion Pass status. You can also buy Marriott points and transfer to Southwest.

    @Greg – Thanks!

    @Pete – Thanks for reading. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is much you can do with those miles. You could try a trade on, but likely wouldn’t get a good value, but could be better than letting them expire.

  58. Darius:
    Barclay’s also has another card, the Choice Privlegs Visa. Not a great bonus, but get 32000 points with first spend & first stay. Choice hotels are at the low end, but have 1500 that give one free night for 8K points. Plus, another Barclay’s card, so can get it through Transunion pull and gives some options other than Chase. Also, Choice has hotels in Europe which are nicer. They sold points too in the Amex Daily Getaway seried this spring, so can get some good deals on their points.


  59. Whats the best way for me to earn delta skymiles if my credit isnt good enough to get credit cards. I already have the suntrust debit card for my business and usually get around 50,000 a month but want more! ha!

    Also what about hilton points?

  60. Hello! When I discovered your site, I already had some Delta miles from some random flights, so I started specifically looking at Delta mile offers. But I’m starting to notice that people don’t think Delta miles are very good. Also, I’m specifically interested in flights to the UK, so do you have any suggestions on the best airline or points programs I should look for? Thanks!!

  61. @Marshall – Thanks for the suggestion. I agree that Choice has nice hotels in Europe and that it could be a good choice since it is a Barclays card.

    – Besides flying, the Suntrust debit cards are the best way to earn miles and point. Not that the Suntrust personal Delta card earns 1 miler per $1 spent compared to 0.5 miles per $1 spent on the business Suntrust Delta card.

    @Nicole – American Airlines has lots of flights to the UK and partners with British Airways. However, you will pay fuel surcharges if you use British Airways to fly from the US to the UK, but they could be worth it in business or first class. United and US Air are part of the Star Alliance and can also be used to get you to the UK.

  62. Thanx for all the good you have done for the average joe! (thats me). Have a question i’d like to ask you, off blog. How would i do that? (and no worries, its legit… just prefer it non published.

  63. @jaime – Just email me at the address above.

  64. Hi Daraius,

    Love how everyone spells your name without the a. 🙂
    I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the recent US air Promo on Buy miles for a 100% bonus? Up to 50k +50k free for $1750.

  65. @Annie – I’ll post a bit on it tomorrow, but could be worth it for account top offs etc., but isn’t as good as their share miles promotion recently.

  66. Hi Daraius –

    Thanks for the awesome blog, I have been following you for a year and have racked up 200K miles in the last year following your advice, and that’s with me laying low on the credit card apps for the last 6 months due to a pending refi. So thanks!

    I recently began the process of adding additional miles via applying for more credit cards under my wife’s name (with her approval of course) and had a question about the frequent flyer account to use when applying for more traditional airline credit cards such as AA and Southwest – is it dangerous to put in my frequent flyer account number when entering her application? I know that a given person can book flights for others using miles but it would be much nicer to have the miles combined in one place, as I have 10K of miles in my account (for AA at least) that aren’t worth much on their own.

    For AA, we have already been approved – when I applied, I put in “I don’t have a AA account” but when I talked to customer service and asked about putting in a different AA account, they said they could do this once I have the card in hand.

    For Southwest, I am eyeing the Southwest companion pass and that extra 50K would definitely get me over the hump, hence the interest in combining mine and hers there. I know that I could do that on my credit from the business card, and that is an option for me once the refi goes through, but if we could get hers and mine combined, all the better.

    So am I taking a big risk putting in my frequent flyer accounts on her credit card apps/settings? Or is it a non-issue? Thanks

  67. @ Chris, I did exactly that and got a collective 100k from SW. Only difference is I always enter my ff # on wife’s application. Batting about 500 on assigning my ff# to wives apps, as sometimes they catch it and assign her a ff#. My motivation is to minimize the # of accounts. This did work on Southwest 3 months ago and yes I now have a companion pass thanks to doing this. I figure I can always explain how I got our #s mixed up. Never do something that you cannot explain away.

  68. @DLuke- do you keep track of which it worked for and which it didnt ? Id love to know….

  69. @Chris @Dluke @mike fein – You’re supposed to answer the questions on the application form truthfully, but mistakes sometimes happen. I know that a few readers have managed to get the Southwest points credited to a different account. The risk with entering a different account number is if the points don’t post, in which case you’ll be shuffling between Chase and Southwest trying to get an answer. As always, it depends on how much risk you’re willing to take. But do keep us posted!

  70. DarAius (wanted to be sure I got that second “A” in there):

    Is there any way to set up monthly payments so they go out automatically on BB?
    Also, is there a way to enter a payment date in the future when you want a payment to go out?
    Would be very useful, but i did not see a way to do it.

  71. I have a $5000 Navy Federal Car Loan @ 3.14% and need to know if I could use my Blue Bird account to pay off my car loan with Navy Federal. I’ve been holding back for a couple of months on paying off the loan by using cash because that wouldn’t net me any miles. I need to figure out a way to use my credit card to indirectly pay off the loan. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  72. @Marshall – Ha! Thanks for that “a!” Unfortunately, there is no way currently to set up automatic bill pay or to set a payment to a future date. It would be nice if there was, though.

    @Unrea – I’m sure you could pay it off with their Bill Pay service. You can buy Vanilla Reload cards with a credit card and load it to your Bluebird account and then use the Bluebird Bill Pay to pay your car loan.

  73. Ever use your Bluebird buying something on the UR website?

  74. This past year thanks to your website I discoverd and applied for several CHASE credit cards. Got the British Airways card for both my wife and I. A month later got the CHASE Hyatt card, again for both of us. Another month later applied for the INK Bold Business card. Then last month applied for the Sapphire card, again for both my wife and I. This time we were denied on the basis of “too many inquiries and too many CHASE accounts”. I called the reconsideration line and got them to approve the card. I am interested in also eventually applying for the CHASE Southwest, CHASE INK Plus, CHASE United Explorer, and CHASE Fairmont cards. How long would you recommend that I wait before reapplying for another card. Also…. will they limit the total number of CHASE credit cards I can have open at one given time? During the phone discussion with the agent for the card reconsideration, they asked me if I would be willing to cancel one of my CHASE cards, which I was not interested in doing at the time. But going forward, will they prevent me from getting more CHASE cards because I have too many?

  75. @Robert – At some point they won’t approve new cards and you will have to cancel a card to get approved for another one. See this post for more details. I’d wait ~2 months before applying for another Chase card, but a lot depends on your profile with Chase.

  76. Do you have advice on the best way to protect yourself from stolen credit card numbers when churning? Banks are pretty good about catching it and generally protect you from fraudulent charges, now that I have a wallet full of new cards, all with autopay, I’m afraid that a stolen number that isn’t caught by the bank could wreak havoc on my checking account and could be quite a hassle to iron out if a $5k-$10k charge on a card gets autopaid. Any thoughts?

  77. Hi D!
    Thanks to you, my husband and I successfully applied and got approved for 10 credit cards. We have a cruise coming out of Rome/Rome from Jan 2-13 for our 25th anniversary. We are planning to go with our two not so kids, to Paris a couple of days before the cruise. Traveling MCO/CDG 26 or 27 of December and CDG/ROM Dec 31 or Jan 1 dependending on availability and price. I need to return from ROM/MCO on Jan 13 on the afternoon. My point is everything goes for $1,500 up coach and would love to go at least business or first on the long leg on our way out of MCO.
    As of right now I have 65K Amex HH points 50K Amex Gold, 25K SPG 100K Marriott Visa, 4 Hyatt nights, 2 Marriott Nights and depending on your response planning to apply for 2 AA cc for each one of us=8 AA total. Also I have 170K points to cover the cruise, points that I have from a Bank of America credit card that we been collecting for three years, the old fashion way, that could give me $1,500 if I want to cash out. As you can see many points, but other than booking the hotels with my free nights I don’t know what to do with them since I started chruning October 23 this year. Please help me get my dream 25th anniversary vacation with my family.

  78. Hello Daraius,
    Your posts in extremely informative and I try to take full advantage of it. I appreciate all the time and effort you put into it.

  79. Is it best to apply for both Chase Ink Plus and Bold Charge card at the same time or wait a few months between applying for them? What are the pros and cons against either approach?

  80. My husband and I are thinking about going to Israel in July. El Al doesn’t seem to have any partner programs that I can find. Do you know of any credit cards that I can transfer points to El Al? What would you suggest? I have the American Airlines Citibank cards but they no longer transfer points. Thanks for your help in advance. I love reading your blog.

  81. Hi Darius
    I got $23.70 incomm fee for $3000 vanilla card at office depot. does that sound ringt to you.
    Thank you.

  82. @Paul sounds like those $23.70 are the $3.95 x 6 for each card activation fee.

  83. Darius, thank you SO much for your invaluable information. My question is: I took your advice and registered additional users on my American Express cards for Small Business Saturday. However, I am currently in New Jersey working with the Sandy victims. My cards are at home in Florida. Do you have to literally make purchases in brick & mortor stores or can I make purchases on line. I am literally working from sun up to sun down and am afraid that I will not be able to visit a store.

  84. @Paul S. – I don’t worry about losing my cards because I can always dispute a charge. I check the activity on my credit cards frequently so I’m pretty sure I’ll notice if something happens. That said, you should always be on the lookout for suspicious activity, but I don’t of any system besides monitoring your activity online.

    @LOULOUBELLE – Thanks for reading! It could be tough to get seats at such short notice especially since you are traveling around the holidays. It costs 100K American Airlines or United miles for a return business class trip to Europe & 60K in coach. You can do dummy searches on or for award seats to see if there are flights which meet your needs. You can get 100K AA miles with 2 Citi American Airlines cards and you can get 55K United miles with the United Explorer card and transfer Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold/Plus to United.

    @Deep Shah – I’d wait a few months in between, but you could try for both at the same time and let us know what happens! I suspect you will have to call the reconsideration line to get approved.

    @Debbie – You can redeem AA miles for flights to Israel, especially Royal Jordanian to Jordon and then onto Israel. See this post for more information.

    @Paul – What LOULOUBELLE said!

    @Linda Brown – The terms just got published and I believe they say in-store purchases only. That said, you may be able to call the store and ask them to run your credit card over the phone and it hopefully could count as a purchase.

  85. I just want to share some insight about SPG points. I just did some math and it turns out that SPG pts are better to transfer to airlines and redeem Business or higher grade tickets than using it for SPG hotels. I have about 120k in SPG pts and if I transfer I get a little over 150k miles. for 150k miles, its almost an F or a J class ticket. either way the values for those tickets are worth between $5k to $10k conservatively. for 120k spg pts, I can stay at Cat 3 for 17 nights, in $ term around $200 per night, a total of $3400. a difference of $2k to $6k. I ve been collecting Spg pts for years and spend on hotel stay without knowing this.
    does anybody have an opinion to this subject ?

  86. @choi- I totally disagree and here is why. There are manyyyy ways to get 150k miles on your favorite airline to to fly business class to wherever youd like. And it would be one flight. Now tell me how else besides starpoints can you collect that many free hotel nights in those kinds of hotels. Furthermore, from a purely financial perspective, the best use of starpoints isn’t with FREE nights. The highest value would come with cash and points. If you recaluate your category 3 nights at cash and points watch the value skyrocket. Also, each stay with cash and points (or with points alone) would get you a rebate of 250-500 points if youre gold or platinum with spg. Using your model that a category 3 would be 200 dollars a night, the net value in category 3 hotels is that a points and cash of 2800 points would be only 23oo points after the rebate plus 45 dollars for a savings of 155 dollars per night. with 120k points you could book 52 nights (43 nights if you have no status) saving 155 each night thats 8086 dollars and youd continue to be maintaing gold or plat level…. I know plenty of people that can go on vacation flying economy. Dont know too many who fly business class and then stay in the homeless shelter. As someone who collects points seriously my feeling is that it is CRIMINAL

  87. to use starwood points for anything but hotel stays. Their value for hotels is unmatched by any other program. Whereas airline miles are so easy to come by.

  88. Hey Darius…some quick questions…can I sign family relatives up for say AMEX Hilton and provide the application with my HHonors account so the points are pooled? How can I find the AMEX 5000 point referral page for SPG? Thanks!

  89. Darius – I’ve read several places that we should be careful with the Chase Ink/Vanilla Reload/Bluebird pathway and to not overdo it for risk of having our accounts shut down. What does this mean? Which account would be shut down and for what reason? And what constitutes overdoing it? I can’t remember if I’ve read warnings like that on here, but I know I’ve found them elsewhere in the blogosphere. What’s your opinion on the matter?

  90. @cory – I wouldn’t do that because it could be hard to sort out if the points don’t transfer to your account. I believe you can go to your AMEX Hilton account and search for “referral” to see if you have a referral offer to share. Note that it may not be as good a offer as the publicly available offers.

    @PR – I’ve written warnings as well, but you can no longer buy Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot. That said you can still buy them at CVS and a few other shops with a credit card, but I wouldn’t exceed $2K per month on the cards.

  91. Hi Daraius, I am interested in going on a cruise to Alaska. There will be 2 people and we’ll be coming from Sacramento, CA. I realize that we’ll be flying to Seattle to get on the ship. I will have 90k points from AA after I meet the minimum spend which will be soon. How do I book a cruise on points or miles? What cards should I apply for? Thanks a lot. BTW, my credit score is excellent so no worries there. Spending requirement would not be a problem. Look forward to hearing from you.

  92. Hey!

    I called to find out if my independent contracting work qualifies me for the Southwest Business Plus card, but they sounded really unsure at Chase and I would hate to get denied. I’m wondering though…I have the SW RR Plus Personal card and was thinking of applying for the SW RR Premier Personal card. Do you think they would approve a second SW personal card and give the 50,000 bonus points? I also recently got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and am worried about them denying me from having both those other Chase cards already or simply because they might not allow 2 personal SW cards?? I am so close to getting to my companion pass and I know I’m running out of time!


  93. Hi Darius..what about SPG referrals? How do I find the link for that? Thanks!

  94. @Eroica – I really don’t know much about booking a cruise with miles and points except that you can get 1.25 cents for 1 Ultimate Rewards point when used towards travel. I suspect you can use American Express Membership Rewards points or Citi Thank You points for 1 cent per point. You should be able to use your AA points to fly to Seattle. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

    @Robin – You should be able to apply for the business version as an independent contractor as a sole proprietor.

    @cory – I just checked the referral links and it seems to have expired –> I’ll let you know when I find a new one.

  95. Gah..I was just about to refer someone. Any idea how often these pop up?

  96. Hi Darius, are your links for the 50K AA Visa/AMEX card working or do they revert to the currently advertised 30K offer? I began to sign up, but saw no mention of the 50K bonus and the fine print basically says that they have the right to offer whatever they’d like. Can you please shed some light on how this works for me? Thanks, Steve

  97. Real quick, Daraius, just want to say I find your blog truly enjoyable and more than a little useful. Please ignore those gents with all the nasty things they say regarding you sharing information to us ignorant masses. I’m far from a novice, and I assure you that you’re doing nothing remotely wrong. Stay well, mate, and keep on blogging.

  98. @cory – I’d check your account every few weeks to see if there is a new link.

    @Steve – These aren’t my affiliate links (those are for only 30K), but take you to the 50K offer application page.

    @Gerard – Thanks, Gerald!

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