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Old Dec 10, 12, 2:57 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 11
Where Do I Start?

Hello, everyone! I am a new member and all of this information about miles and rewards is pretty overwhelming. I'm a senior in high school, and I love to travel and want to do more.

My problem is that I don't know where the best place to start getting miles is. Should I get a credit card for the bonus? Is there a better way to start wracking(racking?) up miles?

My ultimate goal is a reward flight to either Europe or South America.

Thanks a lot. I hope this is in the right forum.
Sundownerz
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:09 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Born and raised in South Carolina, now in New York City.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundownerz View Post
Hello, everyone! I am a new member and all of this information about miles and rewards is pretty overwhelming. I'm a senior in high school, and I love to travel and want to do more.

My problem is that I don't know where the best place to start getting miles is. Should I get a credit card for the bonus? Is there a better way to start wracking(racking?) up miles?

My ultimate goal is a reward flight to either Europe or South America.

Thanks a lot. I hope this is in the right forum.
Sundownerz
If you can get 1 credit card to start building your credit that's be fine I think. Most likely without a credit history and full time job it might be tough. Might want to look into a prepaid card that will help build credit.

You should probably also sign up for all the major programs and start getting miles into them however you can (promotions, shopping portals, etc) in addition to actual flights/hotel stays.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:15 pm   #3
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Sign up for an award wallet account.

Then sign up for airline, hotel, and car rental programs. Start with the ones you use, plan to use, or have generous signup bonuses.

Then enter your account numbers into the award wallet account. This will help with easy tracking of accounts and mileage balances.

If you travel, that is frequently and not just on awards, sign up for all bonuses with the programs you use. Consider signing up for credit cards that give bonuses with your spending / staying / flying patterns. For example, Gold Amex gives 3x points on airfare, Chase Sapphire offers 2x on all travel, SPG Business Amex gives points for stays at Starwood and cash back at Hyatt and Marriott.

Stay on top of bonus offers and max out the ones that make sense to you. Repeat - earn and burn, enjoy.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:16 pm   #4
 
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Also sign up for all the free programs like MyPoints and E-miles and E-rewards once you have Frequent Flyer numbers. Check out freefrequentflyermiles.com also. Gary has new things all the time for free miles and read FT and all the blogs for info. You can get a lot of miles for free, just lot's of shoeleather.


JudyJFLA
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:35 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Swagbucks can be pretty useful for hotel and Southwest Airlines GCs. While SWA won't get you directly to Europe, it could get you to a better airport for a cheap flight, or the gift cards could be traded for something on a airline with better options.

Keep an eye on the S.P.A.M. subfolder here. They got me 5K Priority Club points (good for a Holiday Inn point break free night) a few weeks ago using a loophole with a My Coke Rewards program game.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:36 pm   #6
 
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The OP is in high school.

IMHO, much of the advice given so far is bad. Fine for an adult with a steady job and good credit. Not for someone in their situation.

My advice would be: read up, educate yourself, learn what you can now. Don't jump in too soon. Get a job, slowly start working on establishing good credit before you go to try and exploit it.

Life is long and you have plenty of time. If you jump on a bunch of credit card applications now, you're probably going to only damage your credit and you'll then be starting off in the hole. There's no hurry, be patient (I know, try telling that to a 17 year old...).
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:47 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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There is plenty you can do to start that does not involve your credit. search through the airline forums, look for the threads like the one that gets 500 AA miles for likeing them and filling out a shrt survey on FB. or the united backstager dela that gets you 1000 UA miles for signing up and linking your twitter, foursquare,FB account. then even more for a few tweets. download a toolbar from aa, and hook it up to your account, ask you parents if they purchase online to gothrough the shopping portal linked to your account, or just set it up on thier computer with their permission with the toolbar that will automaticaly register it to your AA account, ask you grandparents if they shop on line and if you can add the toolbar to their computer so you can get miles, you can explain it costs them nothing extra and will reward you for purchases they would already make. get a topguest account and start doing "checkins" at hotels near you, Priority Club converts to many airlines at 10k to 2k i think. many ways to nicle and dime the poits system until you have a job and established credit.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:48 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Signing up for free programs and promos is a good start. If OP has some cash banked from summer jobs/pt work, he could open a checking account and get a points earning debit card like alaska air or delta (i know I had a debit card when i was a senior).

I would also sign up for a secure credit card to start building some credit.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:28 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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So many responses! Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply.

Obviously I can't go sign up for five credit cards. Student loans incoming! But is it a bad idea to sign up for one card? I'm not sure if they would accept my application or not, but I have had a couple of offers sent to me.

I do have a debit card. Can you get a points card through any bank or would I need to change banks?

Also, I tried to check my credit score and nothing came up, but I have been making payments on a car for a year. Shouldn't that count for something?
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:37 pm   #10
 
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Sundownerz:

As a scout leader I have dozens of young adults ready to get out in the real world. You will find that I have been dragging them around the globe and under the ocean, so now they all want to travel like that after they turn 18. Not too hard to do.

First question: where is your home city or where is you college city going to be? That will determine what airlines are going to be most strategic.

Second question: do your parents have the desire or ability to cosign for your credit cards? Until you are 21 they will have to do that unless you actually have income.

Third question: who is headed to South America or Europe with you? Best that you do not go it alone at your age.

Fourth question: have you a passport? You need one and they cost money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundownerz View Post
Hello, everyone! I am a new member and all of this information about miles and rewards is pretty overwhelming. I'm a senior in high school, and I love to travel and want to do more.

My problem is that I don't know where the best place to start getting miles is. Should I get a credit card for the bonus? Is there a better way to start wracking(racking?) up miles?

My ultimate goal is a reward flight to either Europe or South America.

Thanks a lot. I hope this is in the right forum.
Sundownerz
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:50 pm   #11
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Originally Posted by AlohaDaveKennedy View Post
Sundownerz:

As a scout leader I have dozens of young adults ready to get out in the real world. You will find that I have been dragging them around the globe and under the ocean, so now they all want to travel like that after they turn 18. Not too hard to do.

First question: where is your home city or where is you college city going to be? That will determine what airlines are going to be most strategic.
Currently my "home airport" would be MCI. It's impossible to say where my college city will be until those acceptances(hopefully!) come rolling in in April.

Second question: do your parents have the desire or ability to cosign for your credit cards? Until you are 21 they will have to do that unless you actually have income.
Yeah, I think my parents would trust me with one credit card. I've always been a pretty responsible guy.
Third question: who is headed to South America or Europe with you? Best that you do not go it alone at your age.
I've actually been to Europe twice and have some friends and family friends there. My hope it to travel with a couple of cousins, though.
Fourth question: have you a passport? You need one and they cost money.Oh, I need to get that renewed sometime...
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:51 pm   #12
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundownerz View Post
So many responses! Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply.

Obviously I can't go sign up for five credit cards. Student loans incoming! But is it a bad idea to sign up for one card? I'm not sure if they would accept my application or not, but I have had a couple of offers sent to me.

I do have a debit card. Can you get a points card through any bank or would I need to change banks?

Also, I tried to check my credit score and nothing came up, but I have been making payments on a car for a year. Shouldn't that count for something?
i may be in the minority here, but i would focus all your energy on limiting the amount of student loans you take and less energy on collecting some points. you state student loans incoming like its no big deal, many people also think making their min payments on a credit card and paying alot of interest is no big deal, its beacuse of the general populations attitiudes like this that the banks are so profitable and they want to entice new customers with these great sign up bonuses. many of us here are able to ake advantage becasue we have steered clear of making interst payments. you might be better off as a student to focus on limiting what you spend, finding part time work, and using some of that cash to both take fewer loans and pay for cheap tickets to your desired destination.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:59 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Hope you are applying for Scholarships.... But ask your parents for advice about banking advice. We don't need to know where your college is, but maybe there is a major bank in your town like a Chase, Bank of America, or Citi. They have good debit cards and credit cards to check into. Most of these credit cards with big bonuses (not much this year), have you spending 3-5k in a few months. You'll be broke on a college budget.
Try applying for a Southwest card first.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 5:05 pm   #14
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Originally Posted by particlemn View Post
i may be in the minority here, but i would focus all your energy on limiting the amount of student loans you take and less energy on collecting some points. you state student loans incoming like its no big deal, many people also think making their min payments on a credit card and paying alot of interest is no big deal, its beacuse of the general populations attitiudes like this that the banks are so profitable and they want to entice new customers with these great sign up bonuses. many of us here are able to ake advantage becasue we have steered clear of making interst payments. you might be better off as a student to focus on limiting what you spend, finding part time work, and using some of that cash to both take fewer loans and pay for cheap tickets to your desired destination.
Please don't misunderstand my intentions! I don't expect much in the way of student loans. I'm more worried about being able to get them if something unexpected happens. And I really don't have the intention of collecting a bunch of debt on a card if I do get one. My idea if I got a card was to get my parents to use it when they needed to buy something (my dad and step-mom are building a new house soon for example). The only thing I could really afford to use a card for would be living expenses that I could immediately pay back.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 5:08 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Originally Posted by Earthlings View Post
Hope you are applying for Scholarships.... But ask your parents for advice about banking advice. We don't need to know where your college is, but maybe there is a major bank in your town like a Chase, Bank of America, or Citi. They have good debit cards and credit cards to check into. Most of these credit cards with big bonuses (not much this year), have you spending 3-5k in a few months. You'll be broke on a college budget.
Try applying for a Southwest card first.
There isn't. I live in a small town. My mom and step-dad are both loan officers at the same regional bank so my account is with them anyway. I guess that may change when I move away and don't have easy access to said bank anymore.

Edit: Sorry, didn't mean to double post! I wasn't thinking.
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