Get the Most Family Travel When You Diversify Your Miles & Points
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Million Mile Secrets team member Keith recently used miles & points to book 6 award flights from Sydney to the US for an upcoming trip with family and friends.
I’ll let him explain why it helped to have transferrable points with multiple bank programs!Keith: Thanks, Daraius! I love to use miles & points to book once-in-a-lifetime trips. Like an unforgettable around-the-world honeymoon.
So for an upcoming trip to New Zealand and Sydney, I was excited to redeem my flexible points to book award flights for myself and 5 others.
I’ll explain how collecting miles and points with more than one flexible reward program helped me book award flights for 6 people!
Best Strategy for Miles and Points
Because these points give you the option to choose from several travel partners when you’re ready to book a trip. This can really help you achieve your travel goals!
You can earn flexible transferable points with these programs:
But beyond collecting transferable points with just 1 program, it can help if you diversify and have points in multiple flexible rewards programs.
Because each transferable points program has different airline partners. But thanks to airline alliances, sometimes you can redeem miles or points with one airline to book travel on a completely different partner airline.
This can make it much easier to book award flights for larger groups traveling together!
One of the biggest frustrations I hear from friends and relatives who collect miles & points is not having enough frequent flyer miles with a specific airline to book several award tickets.
So here’s the miles & points strategy that helped me get multiple award flights!
How I Booked 6 One-Way Award Flights From Sydney to Los Angeles
Before traveling to Sydney in September 2017, the first part of our trip will start in Auckland, New Zealand.
To book these flights, I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines for one-way Business Class award seats on Star Alliance partner airline Air New Zealand.
After this redemption, I didn’t have many Chase Ultimate Rewards points left.
But my goal was to book 6 non-stop United Airlines coach award tickets for the return flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. This award flight costs 40,000 United Airlines miles per person when you book directly with the airline.
So I transferred my remaining Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines, which was only enough for 2 award tickets.
But I also had a stash of AMEX Membership Rewards points. So I transferred points to Air Canada Aeroplan to book the remaining 4 award tickets on the same United Airlines flight. Because Air Canada and United Airlines are part of the Star Alliance.Note: Air Canada charges 45,000 miles for the same United Airlines award flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, which is 5,000 miles more than booking directly with the airline.
I calculated a savings of $5,500+ by using a combination of AMEX Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book the 6 one-way award flights. The savings takes into consideration the taxes and fees I had to pay for the award flights.
So collecting miles & points with different flexible programs can be a great strategy to save lots of money if you’re looking to book family travel!
Drawbacks to Booking This Way
While I was thrilled to book 6 international award tickets on the same flight using 2 different frequent flyer programs, there are a few drawbacks to this booking method.
For example, I can NOT combine the reservations. This means I have separate confirmations with different airlines. Should I need to make any changes to the award flights, I’ll have to deal with the fees and policies of each respective airline.
And this doesn’t apply to my situation, but folks with airline elite status might not like to book this way. Because certain statuses allow you to get seat upgrades for yourself and traveling companions.
But all passengers must be on the same reservation. So your elite status benefits will not extend to companions if you’re not on the same reservation.
How We Collected the Flexible Points
Link: Hot Deals
My wife and I used more than 620,000 points from different flexible programs when we booked our honeymoon last year.
To quickly boost our points balances after our big trip, we took advantage of a few new hot deals. This included earning the welcome bonuses on these cards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
Earning lucrative welcome bonuses with new cards is the fastest way to earn travel rewards!
If you are new to this hobby, I’d recommend checking out the Beginner’s Guide to Miles & Points, which has tips on applying for credit cards.
Personally, my wife and I apply for several credit cards every few months. But we’re very careful to only apply for credit card offers that help our travel and financial goals.
And paying our balances in full each month has actually helped increase our credit scores over 800! Seeing our credit scores improve helped dispel one of the many myths associated with applying for credit cards.
Keep in mind, certain banks now have stricter application rules for folks looking to get lots of new cards. This is another reason why it helps to diversify the miles & points you collect.
Using a combination of AMEX Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points, I booked 6 one-way United Airlines award flights from Sydney to Los Angeles for an upcoming trip with family and friends.
Collecting transferable points with multiple flexible programs makes it easier to book award flights for larger groups traveling together. Because you can take advantage of airline partnerships and redeem miles with airline partners.
To earn rewards with different flexible programs, my wife and I apply for several lucrative credit card welcome bonuses every year.
Before applying for new cards, remember to check out the Beginner’s Guide to Miles & Points if you’re new to the hobby!
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)