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Please don't shoot the Newb! Tried stickys, still confused...

Please don't shoot the Newb! Tried stickys, still confused...

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Old Sep 2, 10, 1:16 pm
  #1  
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Please don't shoot the Newb! Tried stickys, still confused...

Hi folks, I'm a brand new member TODAY, and never even lurked here before. I know forum etiquett, as I'm a long-term member of other boards, but... I don't travel much and never needed advice on FF issues. I HAVE looked around in the stickys, tried to get some general answers, to find out if I even need to be here, but everywhere I look for general answers seems to be so outdated, I doubt if it's of any use. I have a couple of questions just to see whether I even NEED to find a FF program. Thanks in advance for any help.

1) I have two boys who just went off to college. They'll be needing flights 2-3times a year back and forth between Phoenix and Kansas City. I know this isn't a whole lot of flying, so should we look into some program/credit card, or just use Priceline/Orbitz etc. for each flight.

2) IF it would behoove us to get into some program, what would be the best direction, given that we won't be racking up miles often. Also, when they graduate, they'll be going into the military (ROTC now), so they won't need it then either.

Thanks again, and I apologize in advance if these questions WERE answered somewhere else and I just wasn't able to find them.

Pix
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Old Sep 2, 10, 1:30 pm
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Join Date: May 2003
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Welcome to FT.

To answer a couple of your questions:

1. It is always good to sign up for FF programs. Try and fly the same airline all the time to maximize the miles that they earn. You will still get miles for Orbitz etc. bookings.

2. Would probably suggest US Airways because they fly non-stop from PHX to MCI. Can also get miles in their US account if they fly UA or CO.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 1:42 pm
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Thanks deant,

I'm wayyy new to this so completely oblivious as to how you get miles from Orbitz, etc, or what a US account is reference CO and UA for US Airways. But what I DID get form your post is... US Airways has non-stops from MCI to PHX and they have a travel program, lol.

I wondered, if we do need to get on some FF program, is it better to do it through a CC that can be used on ANY airline, or to go with one specific airline. I am VERY cheap, and will search hours to get the cheapest flight/hotel/etc., and I've noticed that the cheapest flight is not always the same airline. I'm not sure I ill be able to stay true to one airline and try and benefit from racking up miles if I can get SWA for, say, $50 less (times 2 sons) round trip, you know? That's $100 savings. how long would it take me to "earn" $100 worth of miles to make it worth sticking with one airline, like US Airways?

Sorry if these are ridiculous questions, but I figured here would be the best way to ask them. However, I do feel like I'm asking a pro football player to explain the benefits of wearing a helmet, lol.

Pix
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Old Sep 2, 10, 1:51 pm
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You're not getting miles from Orbitz, etc - you get them from the airline on which you fly. Who you buy the ticket from really doesn't matter.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by PixieGal View Post
Thanks deant,

I'm wayyy new to this so completely oblivious as to how you get miles from Orbitz, etc, or what a US account is reference CO and UA for US Airways. But what I DID get form your post is... US Airways has non-stops from MCI to PHX and they have a travel program, lol.

I wondered, if we do need to get on some FF program, is it better to do it through a CC that can be used on ANY airline, or to go with one specific airline. I am VERY cheap, and will search hours to get the cheapest flight/hotel/etc., and I've noticed that the cheapest flight is not always the same airline. I'm not sure I ill be able to stay true to one airline and try and benefit from racking up miles if I can get SWA for, say, $50 less (times 2 sons) round trip, you know? That's $100 savings. how long would it take me to "earn" $100 worth of miles to make it worth sticking with one airline, like US Airways?

Sorry if these are ridiculous questions, but I figured here would be the best way to ask them. However, I do feel like I'm asking a pro football player to explain the benefits of wearing a helmet, lol.

Pix
As Stoughton said, you get the miles from the airline that you fly - not where you buy the ticket. It appears that there are 4 major carriers that fly the route: US Airways; Continental; United and Delta. The first 3 belong to "Star Alliance". With Star Alliance, if you fly any of the airlines that belong, you can get mileage credit when you fly any other Star Alliance carrier. For example, if you belong to the US Airways FF program but are flying on United or Continental. All you need to do is give United or Continental your US Airways FF number and you will get US Airways credit for the flight.

Delta is a different alliance and so there are no other carries that fly your route that belongs to that alliance.

Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 2:46 pm
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Hi PixieGal,

Welcome to FlyerTalk!

Your questions are actually quite common. Many people, who do not fly frequently, have to decide whether to save $$ or accumulate miles.

As others have noted, it costs nothing to join one or many frequent flyer program. Your only cost is a few minutes to log on to a website and sign up.

But to actually accumulate enough miles in a frequent flyer program to get a free flight is not as easy. You either need to stick with a particular airline or airline alliance and/or you need to get a credit card that provides bonus miles and miles for purchases.

Deant mentioned 4 choices. But American Airlines (AA) and Southwest can also fly you or your sons between Phoenix and Kansas City.

I mention AA because Citi and AA have a deal right now where you can get 75000 AA bonus miles for a new Citi credit card. That's enough for 2, maybe 3 free flights between Phoenix and Kansas City. And some people have succeeded in getting two of these cards. And other family members could also get these cards. So, there is a possibility that your sons could be flying for free for a couple years.

If this interests you, look at this thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/miles...-up-bonus.html

and this offer:
http://creditcards.citicards.com/usc...4A3E73DF159A8B

So, if you have good credit, I would advise you to get the Citi AA cards and fly for free.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 4:14 pm
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welcome to ft pixiegal....

you should first identify which airlines you will end up using & then go check out the threads in that section....you will get a lot of useful info there....
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Old Sep 2, 10, 4:32 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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There's no reason you can't sign up for multiple FF programs and still shop based on price. It will take a little longer to get the free flights, but if you save a few hundred dollars over the course of 5-6 flights, then you've basically gotten the free flight anyway.

Given your price sensitivity, I'd say definitely take a look at SouthWest Airlines Rapid Rewards program. They run direct flights between MCI and PHX, are a discount airline, and won't hit you with fees for checked bags and such, which you will get hit with if you're not an Elite-level flier on the major airlines. One thing to remember when shopping fares though is that SouthWest isn't going to show up on Priceline or Orbitz or any of the online travel sites. They don't participate in those sites, so you have to go to their website to get their fares. Only takes a minute, but you will never see them directly compared on the major travel sites.

Any member of the Star Alliance would be good, as noted by deant. That will let you price shop those 3 airlines, but still accumulate the miles in the same account.

The recommendation by onthego15 offers tremendous value, and will be hard to beat. If I were starting out with no previous allegiances then I would give that a long look. 75k miles will definitely get you a free ticket and then some, so you can start out ahead of the game.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 2, 10, 4:44 pm
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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Don't focus on saving $50.00 dollars on a plane ticket, just hang with these guys and your sons will fly for free.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 5:06 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Home Airports: CAE/CLT
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Welcome to FT!

Your problem is not as difficult as you seem to think. It just involves connecting a lot of dots.



Originally Posted by PixieGal View Post

1) I have two boys who just went off to college. They'll be needing flights 2-3times a year back and forth between Phoenix and Kansas City. I know this isn't a whole lot of flying, so should we look into some program/credit card, or just use Priceline/Orbitz etc. for each flight.

Every little bit helps, a few years of flying, along with credit card, will get them miles for a decent trip.

Don't limit them to the shortest flight home, a circuitous routing will help build miles.

Look for loyalty to one program, even if it means a few extra dollars for a ticket.

Originally Posted by PixieGal View Post
2) IF it would behoove us to get into some program, what would be the best direction, given that we won't be racking up miles often. Also, when they graduate, they'll be going into the military (ROTC now), so they won't need it then either.

Pix
Once they are commissioned they will still have the opportunity to fly and accumulate miles, the longer they stay in the more they will fly. I am in the Army and last year flew 130K miles, though I will fly much less this year.


But let's focus on you. You, dear newbie, have some wonderful opportunities to rack up some miles while they are in college.

Here is what I am doing:

I used my miles card to pay for my daughter's college tuition, (7000 miles earned) used the AA Mall (3 miles/dollar spent through Barnes and Noble plus 1 mile per dollar spent on my credit card) with the miles card to buy to buy her books. (1000 miles)

I will be flying from LGA-CLT to visit her later this month on AA and of course pay with my miles card, staying at a hotel reserved through AA as well as a rental car.

Here is a swag at the miles I expect to earn for that:

Flight: 540 miles, double miles bonus, double RDMs for elite status=4160 miles, RT. (about 3.9 cpm, not a MR fare)
170ish dollar ticket on miles card= 170 miles

500 point bonus, plus 500 miles regular miles at hotel through a special AA offer x 1 night=1000 miles plus 110 miles for using my card= total of 1100 miles

2 day car rental should yield about 250 miles plus 110 miles for card used=360 miles.

Dining out during visit and using the AA dining program with credit card, probably another 500 miles.

So during a 2 month period I will have earned around about 14290 redeemable miles, by taking AAdvantage of bonuses, paying tuition and travel I was doing anyway. Repeat the process for spring tuition. Plus as a fortunate recipient of the Citibank AA 100K miles offer for a $10K spend I just may be at 114,290 points!

Now if you kids are on scholarship your results may vary, but look for ways to maximize credit card use to pay their tuition.

-You can send them an "allowance" through the US mint and pay for $1 coins with your miles card

-Apply for the SPG Crdit Card. They will transfer 25K miles to most airlines for every 20K points earned. They will give you 10K miles right now for a $1000 spend (I think) Get your kids one and get an extra 1000 miles per kid, plus whatever they spend. (Obviously there is some risk for high pizza bills there.)

-Or go over to the discussion on the AA credit card offer and look for a link to one of the high mile offers. Just make sure you have an AA FF number before you apply.


Hope all of that gives you some ideas.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by PixieGal View Post
I am VERY cheap, and will search hours to get the cheapest flight/hotel/etc., and I've noticed that the cheapest flight is not always the same airline.

Pix

Cheap?

Start think about the miles you will accumulate as having value.

There are numerous threads where the exact value is debated, but you are entering a world where more than dollars spent count.

For example, the value I am placing on miles is relative to a trip I want to take, around the world in 1st class, when I retire from the Army in a couple of years.

I could never afford to pay for this, but with miles I will be taking the trip of a lifetime.

Points have value. You have to decide what that value is.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 5:55 pm
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Join Date: May 2004
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All good advice but I just want to congratulate you for posting when you were obviously terrified that someone was going to chop your legs off!

I've been around this group for a few years now and learned a whole bunch. I've tried to do my part by contributing when I thought I had something to add. I've found there are very few people who will actually attack a "newbie" and many, many more who will welcome them. Most of us remember being in the same situation.

As for me, get the Starwood AMEX and charge everything you can!
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Old Sep 2, 10, 6:42 pm
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Points are worth from less than 1 cent to over 10. Depends on how you use them.

Starwood points have multiple airlines and great deals at Starwood hotels. Recently had a $500 room in Venice for $99 (tax included) plus 4,800 points. Now if I really would have paid $500 (and that was the discount price - run book was 500 Euros) I got around 8 cents per point.

But Starwood points take time to transfer to airlines. Wanted to use them with US Air and was told to expect three days to a week. US Airways would not hold ticket that long. So I either transferred first and hoped to find a seat or lost the seat.

I also has some Amex points. They do not transfer to US Airways but did instantly to Air Canada. I got seats confirmed with Air Canada (Business class to South American for just 75,000 miles!) and got better than 6 cents in value.

But with Amex I could not have done the hotel so their our trade offs.

My typical use of miles has a value of under 3 cents each and sometimes as little as 1.5 cents. Around here most people value miles at 1 to 2 cents each. I value Starwood points at 2 cents (20,000=25,000 miles on many airlines) and AMEX points at 1.4 cents.

BUT reward card for hotels and airlines cost money. Starwood is first year free and then $65. At $10,000 a year in charges I'd have a net value at 2 cents of just $135. For some a free cash back card makes more sense.

For those doing a lot of business travel, the fee is quickly recovered. A spend of $100,000 on Starwood would get you 125,000 miles - enough with luck for a free business clas seat worth beween $1,500 and $9,000. A cash card with a mix of travel, gas, groceries, etc. could be worth $1,000 to $3,000.

So you're call and good luck.

PS-I have no cash cards. Collecting points is fun, you can use them on things you'd never pay for, an small amounts of cash just disappear without being segregated for fun use.
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Old Sep 2, 10, 10:13 pm
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Join Date: Apr 2000
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bang bang
I missed

Here is some related info
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/miles...-students.html
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Old Sep 2, 10, 11:27 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Programs: AA, AS, AV, B6, DL, F9, WN
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Welcome to FT PixieGal,

Don't stress about being a newbie. All the info is here and everyone at FT is here to help. To help you with FT lingo and codes please see the HELP tab above and check out the Glossary.

Here are some important codes used on FT:
AA-American Airlines
CO-Continental Airlines
DL-Delta Airlines
US-USAirways
UA-United Airlines
WN-Southwest Airlines

As stated above in another post, US, UA, and CO are partners in Star Alliance. You can fly anyone of these airlines and earn miles in one program. You can choose which program to deposit all your miles. Star Alliance is NOT limited only to these three airlines, there are other foreign airlines as well.

Good luck,
Open Jaw
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