I am not a points blogger. This makes me a little different from a lot of the blogs on Boarding Area, but I just don’t have any experience with it. Honestly, it’s never been a huge interest of mine, as I’ve been very focused on helping people travel for work with the minimum of stress. And it’s been about as much as I can handle to be on the road all the time and blogging regularly. And the points scene can be so intimidating! If you go on to FlyerTalk or other frequent flier message boards, there’s a lot of discussion of churning credit cards, intricate mileage runs, and advanced reward booking techniques. Where is a beginner to start?
Recently, however, I’ve begun to realize that with a few relatively small changes and some strategic planning, I can accrue points and status far beyond what I currently have. This realization coincided with my trip to Blog World this past weekend, of which I think a lot of points newbies would be super jealous. I was surrounded by many great points and miles bloggers, who were happy to share their knowledge with me, and who were also incredibly patient with my rookie questions. With them, I’ve developed a plan to maximize my miles, and I only have to go out of my way a little bit.
1) Apply for a couple of key credit cards when the bonus is right. Pay attention to which ones give 2x or 3x points for gas and groceries, and use accordingly. I plan to get the AmEx Platinum, which has a great bonus and gets you into lots of the airline clubs.
2) For trips with two or more nights, consider changing hotels to maximize stays during promotions.
3) When it makes sense, look for flights with two legs instead of direct flights. (If I had done this during 2011, I would have had Executive Platinum in six months. Sigh.)
4) If it’s available, and it won’t make me lose my mind, let them bump me.
I will be expanding on this plan in upcoming posts. Just know that you can get a lot more points with only a little more effort, and you’ll be that much closer to elite status or a free vacation!