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I am missing opportunities and now am ready to assimilate...

I am missing opportunities and now am ready to assimilate...

Old Jun 16, 10, 1:22 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: MCO
Posts: 167
I am missing opportunities and now am ready to assimilate...

I have been on this site for a while and when I read the posts about the hoops people will go through for points. The dollar coins opportunity, for example, was cool, but seemed like too much work for me. I am slowly realizing that I am missing out on points/miles at every turn, even though I consider myself a moderately knowledgeable traveler. Here's my pattern:

I fly weekly (Sun-Thu) to (normally) one city for about 8 months - 1 year. I fly out of MCO, so I am not captive to one airline. I have/have had elite status in many of those (I am currently flying Delta). My company has an AmEx travel website for us to use, but it is not mandatory. I usually book my own car and hotel through Hilton/Avis/Marriott/etc... If I book my own airfare, I will not be reimbursed until the flight is complete. If I book through AmEx, the fare is put on the company card. Pretty standard stuff.

Now, my question is, how should I start to change my pattern so that I can maximize my points/miles. Example, link through rebate sites for the car and hotel? I can afford to float my airfare on my own credit card and I have the Delta Platinum, so is it worth it to take on the added responsibility to carry the fare on my own dime until reimbursed while paying for the airfare on my Delta card?

I truly want to be like you guys, but I need some basics to get started. Thank you.
gatorray is offline  
Old Jun 16, 10, 5:26 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Programs: IHG Spire Elite, Marriott Titanium, AA Plat, WN A-List Preferred
Posts: 262
General advice would be to pay with an SPG AmEx. SPG points convert from 20k points to 25k miles for most airlines (look for the offer with 10k signup bonus and 15k bonus for 15k spend).

Then, if you really want to get fancy check your favorite airline's shopping portal to see if you can buy from giftcertificates.com. I'm wanting to get to lifetime Platinum on AA, so if I were in your shoes I would try to fly American and stay in Hyatts. Then I'd use my SPG card to buy American and Hyatt gift cards through giftcertificates.com using the Aadvantage e-shopping portal. This would mean 1.25 miles per dollar on the SPG card, plus 3 miles per dollar from the shopping portal. Of course if you prefer a different airline or Hyatt doesn't work you'll need to craft another strategy.

But in general you need to be flexible. For example right now Hyatt is offering gift certificates at costco for 20% off face value, and I think that much of a discount is too much to pass up even for 4 points per dollar. Who knows how long it will last? American is offering a nice bonus on hotel points transfered in at the moment, so keeping an eye out for those kinds of deals is wise. Hyatt had a very generous 5k miles per stay deal for UA and AA going. And depending on the time of year most hotels offer free nights for every 2 nights paid. So the most fundamental advice is watch this forum and the forums of your favorite airlines and hotels, because you'll need to shift your allegiance regularly (if you don't mind doing so) to take advantage of whomever is offering the top deals.
^^
maracle is offline  
Old Jun 16, 10, 6:25 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: OKC
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Originally Posted by maracle View Post
Then I'd use my SPG card to buy American and Hyatt gift cards through giftcertificates.com^^
I just checked with giftcertificates.com and it says they only take Visa/MC/Discover - can you use your SPG Amex?
rayhurst is offline  
Old Jun 16, 10, 7:48 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Austin, TX
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Posts: 262
I assume you're right about that, I only learned of the eshopping portal/giftcertificates.com method recently. I'm living abroad without traveling for a couple of months so I haven't put it into action yet So a quarter point per dollar less, using a Visa/MC rewards card....
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Old Jun 16, 10, 8:13 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 88
Anyone wanna provide details on the giftcertificates.com thing to accur points/miles?
cvfd1607 is offline  
Old Jun 17, 10, 7:45 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Pass the gcs and go straight to paper flipping (cds) and gold mining (coins) for the spend. Once you have those turbines spinning then hunt and seek plastic for spend bonuses and backfill missing miles with gcs and money orders. Your government needs to recapitalize the banking system - so get to work and log the hours you spend generating economic activity to end the great recession for the President's Volunteer Service Award. I hear Mr. Pickles is getting the Lifetime Achievement Award for giving over 4000 hours or more of volunteer service over a lifetime. Disneyland also offers free admission for such volunteer service. Ohhhh, that seems soooo appropriate!

Originally Posted by cvfd1607 View Post
Anyone wanna provide details on the giftcertificates.com thing to accur points/miles?
AlohaDaveKennedy is offline  
Old Jun 18, 10, 11:00 am
  #7  
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The consensus is that Delta has the worst FF program in terms of difficulty actually using miles you accrue for free flights, so depending on which airline best suits your travel pattenrs you might concentrate your flights on AA or UA, whose programs are much better. (Also note that UA and CO are merging and that US, like those other airlines, is a member of the Star Alliance, so if you are a member of one of those airlines' programs you accrue miles if you fly the other ones. But stay away from US, which is the pits.)

I agree about the spg Amex card being the best, all things being equal. The only caveat is that you might want to concentrate your hotel stays in one chain. If it's spg, then of course the spg Amex card is a natural for you. But if it's Hilton, then you should get a Hilton Amex Surpass card. There's also a Marriott Visa card if you go that route.

The point of concentrating on one airline and hotel chain if possible is that it gets you status that translates into extra miles or points, as well as upgrades.

Don't know about the giftcertificate.com thing.

Hope this helps!
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jun 18, 10, 2:05 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Originally Posted by gatorray View Post
I have been on this site for a while and when I read the posts about the hoops people will go through for points. The dollar coins opportunity, for example, was cool, but seemed like too much work for me. I am slowly realizing that I am missing out on points/miles at every turn, even though I consider myself a moderately knowledgeable traveler. Here's my pattern:

I fly weekly (Sun-Thu) to (normally) one city for about 8 months - 1 year. I fly out of MCO, so I am not captive to one airline. I have/have had elite status in many of those (I am currently flying Delta). My company has an AmEx travel website for us to use, but it is not mandatory. I usually book my own car and hotel through Hilton/Avis/Marriott/etc... If I book my own airfare, I will not be reimbursed until the flight is complete. If I book through AmEx, the fare is put on the company card. Pretty standard stuff.

Now, my question is, how should I start to change my pattern so that I can maximize my points/miles. Example, link through rebate sites for the car and hotel? I can afford to float my airfare on my own credit card and I have the Delta Platinum, so is it worth it to take on the added responsibility to carry the fare on my own dime until reimbursed while paying for the airfare on my Delta card?

I truly want to be like you guys, but I need some basics to get started. Thank you.

How quick do you get expenses turned around, and do you have sufficient money to carry expenses if they may be reimbursed after the credit card bill is due?

I would recommend putting everything you can on the Delta Plat Amex, until you've reached a $50,000 spend to earn the 10,000+10,000 MQM towards status.

After that, use whatever card suits your fancy - the Delta Plat Amex, a Hilton Surpass card, a Cashback card of some sort, etc.

Interest rates for money market and savings accounts are in the toilet right now so even if you have to dip into your own money for 10-20 days to pay expense related charges, you're still likely to come way ahead by paying the airplane tickets or other charges on your own points/money earning cards rather than use that corp card.
wbl-mn-flyer is offline  
Old Jun 18, 10, 8:02 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by AlohaDaveKennedy View Post
Pass the gcs and go straight to paper flipping (cds) and gold mining (coins) for the spend. Once you have those turbines spinning then hunt and seek plastic for spend bonuses and backfill missing miles with gcs and money orders.
I guess I have been missing out on something big (?, wouldn't be the first time...) Can you point us in the right direction relative to this "paper flipping" deal you talk of ?

Last edited by Scooby3597; Jun 18, 10 at 8:03 pm Reason: typo
Scooby3597 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 10, 8:21 pm
  #10  
ffI
 
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Originally Posted by gatorray View Post
I have been on this site for a while

I fly weekly (Sun-Thu) to (normally) one city for about 8 months - 1 year. I fly out of MCO, so I am not captive to one airline. I have/have had elite status in many of those (I am currently flying Delta).

I can afford to float my airfare on my own credit card and I have the Delta Platinum, so is it worth it to take on the added responsibility to carry the fare on my own dime until reimbursed while paying for the airfare on my Delta card?

I truly want to be like you guys, but I need some basics to get started. Thank you.
What do YOU want? These are the choices for anyone right now to ponder.
I want free domestic upgrades and so I fly DL - the extra Amex MQMs do not hurt for status.
I want lifetime status the easy way and so get SPG for AA miles. The OW awards are good as well with those miles.
I want a good choice of awards and so I use *A for my real travel and most of my awards.
I fly any one but credit to US for now, but if CO matches me for 2011, I will be gone!
ffI is offline  

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