How To Combine Points From Two Banks To Book An Award

Since we started writing Your Mileage May Vary, several of our friends have started collecting points and miles. I feel a level of satisfaction when they’re able to go on that first award trip, partially because of our help. Just like any mentor, occasionally we’ll get a question about a topic where we don’t know the answer. While I could just say that I really don’t know about that, I like to use these situations to learn about things I hadn’t focused on before. Such was a question about how to combine points from two different bank programs.

While the answer may seem obvious if you’ve been collecting points and miles for a while, for someone just starting out this can be very confusing.

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When You Should(n’t) Use Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards To Pay For Airfare

All of the larger airlines in the U.S. offer co-brand credit cards. These cards, which provide extra benefits to cardholders, range from ones with no annual fee to premium cards costing up to $450 per year. While you’d think that using a co-branded card would be the best choice for earning points with your flight purchase, that’s usually not the case. For most airlines, you don’t earn any extra points for airfare purchases for having a more expensive card either.

In most cases, instead of using a co-brand card, it’s better to use a card that earns flexible points like Membership Rewards, Thank You Points or Ultimate Rewards. These cards provide the opportunity to earn more points as well as the flexibility to use points on multiple airlines. You’re able to transfer points from these programs into your airline mileage account when you need them.

Here are the earnings multiples on airfare for the main flexible points cards from each bank:

American Express (Membership Rewards)

  • Platinum card ($550 annual fee) – 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • Gold card ($250 annual fee) – 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

Chase (Ultimate Rewards)

  • Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee) – 3x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)
  • Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) – 2x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)

Citi (Thank You Points)

  • Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee) – 5x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
  • Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) – 3x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies

The AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige both offer 5x on airfare but the AMEX card only counts purchases direct from the airline or their website. When I had both cards, I used the Citi Prestige because I valued the additional travel insurance coverage but I know people would rather earn Membership Rewards than Thank You points. Of the $95 cards, the Citi Premier earns the most points on airline purchases at 3x.

So how many miles will you earn by using an airline co-brand card to purchase airfare and when does it make sense to do so? I’ve indicated which airlines are partners of one (or all) of the flexible currency cards so you can compare earnings potential between cards.

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Why You Need To Diversify Your Miles and Points Portfolio

As you may have read, we had a blowout trip through the American Southwest in 2017. For us, a fifteen night trip is an amazingly long time to be away from home. We could have stayed at the same hotel chain properties and worked our way towards some low level of status. However, it was much better for us to pick the best hotel for us in each location and use the most sensible form of payment, be it paying cash or using points. The same thing went for the flights, which were booked with a combination of cash and airline miles.

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This was possible because I had a stash of points in several hotel programs as well as had transferrable credit card points. Some of the rooms I paid for because the hotels either weren’t part of any point program or there was a promotion that made paying with cash a much better value than using points.

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I Used Points From All Three Banks And We’re Flying To Germany On Singapore Airlines!

It’s not often that I get excited about a flight. Remember, I’m the person who proudly wrote how we’re over flying in business class “just because we can.” However when all of the puzzle pieces fell into place and allowed me to book a flight I had my eyes set on for forever, I had to pull the trigger.

Here’s the post I wrote about how I wanted to book a flight on Singapore Airlines from New York – JFK to Frankfurt. I had the flight on waitlist for saver space but I kept checking to see if anything opened up. Saver space never showed up but one day when I logged in, I saw that tickets were available to book at the Advantage level.

Under the new Singapore Airlines chart, a flight from the East Coast to Europe costs 72,000 KrisFlyer Miles at the Saver level and 85,000 miles at the Advantage level. If I was willing to pay 72,000 miles for a ticket, what’s an extra 13,000 miles a ticket, really?

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Credit Card Review: Chase Ink Cash

If I have to choose what type to points to earn for purchases, transferrable points currencies will always be at the top of the list. Chase Ultimate Rewards, a form of transferable points, is always an account I need to replenish. Next to signing up for new credit cards for bonuses, earning points for everyday spending is the best way for us to earn points. One of our biggest monthly expenses is our internet and cell phone bill and by having this card, I can earn 5x points on both of those in my sleep.

I’m dating myself here but originally, we didn’t have this card. Back in the day, Sharon applied for the Chase Ink Business Bold card. Back then, the Bold was a charge card and you needed to pay the balance in full every month. Chase eventually turned it into a credit card and stopped new signups since it was exactly the same as the Chase Ink Plus. You can add the Ink Bold to the list of discontinued credit cards that we’ve owned.

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We kept the card for a while after it was phased out and eventually decided to downgrade to the Chase Ink Cash card instead of having to continue paying the annual fee to keep the Ink Bold.

I think it was the right decision, as the Ink Cash keeps all the benefits of its predecessor but doesn’t charge an annual fee. At the time, the Ink Cash card didn’t pay a sign-up bonus but now that it does, it makes more sense than ever to sign up for it.

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