Frequent Flyer Hacks!
I've always been fascinated by how people use their reward miles, so I've recently been doing some research to see what I could learn. Here's a brief takeaway:
First, determine where you want to go in the future.
Use Google flights to see what the flights to your destination cost.
If you can get more than 2 cents per point in value, then use miles. Otherwise, pay cash.
Search 9-10 months in advance. Then again 10 days in advance.
Use a flexible, transferrable credit card to pay for everything you purchase, every day. Look for big sign up bonuses. Watch for promotions.
Chase Sapphire Preferred, Premier Rewards Gold AMX, Ink Business Preferred by Chase and Starwood Preferred Guest AMX are some of the best transferrable cards.
Sign up for loyalty programs for all airlines you might possible use.
Stick to one hotel group and be loyal!
Earn and burn your points, don't hold them. Programs get more restrictive over time, not less. Your points may lose value.
Computers may not always be right, and may not offer you many awards options. Call and chat with customer service reps. Be very polite - they may give find a way to get you want you want! If they say no, call back and try with another representative.
Focus on using your miles for international and premium travel - you'll get more value for your points. Domestic economy is very restricted.
Be creative! Purchase gift cards to use later if you're struggling to meet the deadline to earn a new credit card's sign up bonus mileage.
Use a travel concierge to do all the work for you!