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Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by ero2, Aug 19, 2003.
Or do I just stick with Amex MR and forget about these others?
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I have been very satisfied with AA, but have not had any problems with United, just has been easier for my travel to redeem AA points. I have a lot of both United and Delta that I can't seem to be able to use.
I've never had trouble with United. And if you have activity on your account, they roll your expiration date to three years from last activity for all miles in your account. Activity doesn't have to be flying. Using the credit card to accrue miles counts, so my date to use miles is always rolling out.
American may have changed, but their miles used to expire three years from when you accrued them (each year's group of miles), so it wasn't the whole account that had an expiration date. I ended up donating miles to charity one year and using them for magazine subscriptions another year because they were expiring. Never did get enough at one time for a flight.
Where do you live?
Where do you want to travel to?
I would suggest accruing miles with the airline that "hubs" with a good connection to you and a good connection to your favorite destinations.
i.e. I live in northern Utah. Delta has a major hub in Salt Lake City, making it very convenient to travel to most any major city in the U.S. United hubs in Denver, about a 1-hour flight away. This provides an alternative route to major cities - but the sleeper is that it provides connection trough the hub to most of the smaller airports throughout the Midwest. This doesn't sound important unless you price the tickets into an area that is only served by United. A round trip ticket can easily be $400-$600 or more into an area like this. Go online to Expedia.com and price out tickets to destinations you might visit - compare a 21-day advance purchase and see what schedules/prices the various airlines offer. You might really be surprised!
I travel every week, so I accrue miles on most of the major airlines over time. I ONLY use my miles if PURCHASING the ticket would cost more than $300-$400. It doesn't make sense to me to use my miles for a $199 ticket when I could use them for a $600 ticket! My wife have had a number of cheap trips to wonderful destinations because we didn't have to PURCHASE the tickets.....
Another thing to consider is keeping enough miles in reserve for an emergency, where you have to book just a day or two in advance. When a family member passed away last year I got on the phone and compared "bereavement" fares (as little as 1/2 price) with paying a $100 short notice fee and using my miles. I saved almost $2,000 on just 3 tickets!
I view miles as money - 25,000 miles = 1 free ticket. HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT YOUR MILES TO BE WORTH???
Lastly, I bucked my policy this year and will use up almost all of my miles to travel with United, Northwest and American. It is a crapshoot if these companies will emerge from their financial difficulties. Any airline could also discontinue ffmiles, increase their "blackout dates", decrease the number of ff seats on each flight, or implement any number of measures to keep you from using your miles if they need the revenue and can fill all the seats with paying customers. This is quite unlikely as long as the airlines must remain competitive with each other, but all rules could go out the window if one or two of the majors close their doors! (Before someone flames me - I had THOUSANDS of dollars worth of tickets/miles - I simply hedged my bets.)
The last thing to look at is the annual fee for the card you intend to accrue miles on. You have to add that fee to the cost of the "free" miles you receive. I have the Delta/American Express card. For $75/year, I rack up one mile for every dollar I spend and TWO dollars for every Delta ticket I buy. I fly Delta most weeks and average about $2,000/week in expenses reimbursed by my employer. I mail a check to American Express every week after submitting my expense report and never pay interest on my purchases. That $75/year fee is a CHEAP way for me to get 4-6 free Delta roundtrip tickets a year. At this point, I can't see having more than one "miles" card and diluting what my annual fee buys.
If anyone has any neat "mileage" tricks they would like to share - please respond to this tread or start a new one.
Warmest regards to all CreditNetters.........
As far as the airlines going bankrupt--if they do, another airline will pick up the frequent flyer miles. When Pan Am went bankrupt, all of their miles were transferred to Delta. TWA's went to American, I think.
I agree on comparing prices. I have the same philosophy. If I can get a ticket for a few hundred dollars, why waste my miles.
Right now, I'm saving my miles for two business class seats to Europe. And I have enough Marriott points to stay at Marriott hotels for several weeks. When my husband and I can both get a couple of weeks off at the same time, we can have a nice, cheap vacation in Europe.
AMEX DELTA just finished DOUBLE MILES...(MAY 15-JULY 15)
10,000 SIGN UP
UNITED VISA (BANK ONE) has DOUBLE MILES from time to time...
15,000 or 20,000 SIGN UP
I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT AA (other than it got me in CITIBANK BDD)
I have not seen any DOUBLE MILES FOR AA...but since I don't have one...I don't really pay attention