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Where do I get started?

Where do I get started?

Old Sep 8, 13, 6:58 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold, SPG Gold, MR Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 49
Where do I get started?

Hey folks,

I've finally dipped my toe into the world of folks who find insane travel deals, and it's all a little overwhelming.

Do you have any recommendations for where I should start?
There's a ton of great info here, but I think my head would explode if I just tried to surf through the site.

Many thanks!
Vanessa
Vanessa Howell is offline  
Old Sep 8, 13, 7:14 pm
  #2  
Moderator: CommunityBuzz!, OMNI, OMNI/PR, and OMNI/Games & FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: ORD (MDW stinks)
Programs: UAMM, AA ExPlat, Marriott lifetime Titanium, IHG Spire/Ambassador
Posts: 22,766
First, welcome to Flyertalk !

Second establish goals, upon earning miles &/or points, what do you hope to do with them?
(fly First class to London, stay in an over the water bungalow in the Maldives, plan for a honeymoon, fly your friends or family someplace for a reunion? etc etc).

Third, figure out what program(s) will get you to your goal(s) by reading, reading. Most Airline & Hotel forums have threads that are stickies (meaning they stay near the top of the page), these are chock full of information about the programs, many forums also offer places to ask questions where folks that have been around for awhile can provide guidance.

Fourth, did I say read already???? Put some effort into finding out about the various programs because after all it is up to you to figure out if the game is worth it.

Good luck !
Sweet Willie is offline  
Old Sep 8, 13, 7:21 pm
  #3  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold, SPG Gold, MR Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 49
Thanks Sweet!
A great tip on the goals, I'll dig in to some of the airlines I use now, and poke around a bit.
Vanessa Howell is offline  
Old Sep 8, 13, 7:47 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Home Airports: CAE/CLT
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, National Executive
Posts: 5,443
Hi Vanessa and welcome to FT!

I agree with what what Sweet Willie said. Spending some time poking around and defining your travel goals will help you get maximum benefit from membership here. That as you gain experience you will be able to help others.

When I first joined my goals were maximizing the travel experience on multiple trans-Atlantic flights I was anticipating over the next few months. FT was priceless in learning about lounges and upgrades and priority lines etc.

Now my goals have shifted and I am focused on premium cabin flights to new and exotic places. FT has helped me maximize earning points and miles. I have been so successful that I am taking my family of five to Thailand on points and miles over Christmas/New Years flying up front. For the 12 days we will be in Thailand I am paying for 1 night of hotels and one connecting flight for a stop over.

Read, learn the lingo and as you develop specific questions ask. FTers are great folks and will always answer informed questions.
Gamecock is offline  
Old Sep 8, 13, 8:44 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold, SPG Gold, MR Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 49
Thanks Gamecock! Goals are going to be a fun exercise. I like the idea of overseas travel, but perhaps I should get specific, and then work towards that with my domestic travel and work travel.
Vanessa Howell is offline  
Old Sep 9, 13, 4:16 am
  #6  
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Sydney Australia
Programs: No programs & No Points!!!
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Notify me of the insane prices please!!! Ah, if only it was so easy. I never find any mistake fares. Darn!
Annalisa12 is offline  
Old Sep 9, 13, 7:51 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: PIT to MSP to PIT; repeat
Programs: Delta, United, AA, Jet Blue .... Whichever is Cheapest
Posts: 1,477
1. Sign up for the Frequent Flyer programs for the major airlines that serve the destinations you would most like to travel to.

2. Get on the email list of those airlines so that you are notified of their "specials".

3. Always check web sites like Kayak before buying tickets from an airline. Kayak will display deals that the airline web site will not show.
RRDD is offline  
Old Sep 9, 13, 11:13 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 105
Definitely read, read, read here at Flyer Talk. I've gotten quite a traveler's education here and the FTer's are wonderful with answer all your questions- from simple to complicated.

I've also learned so much from www.dansdeals.com -- how to get more miles by moving around credit cards, points and mileage programs available and how that all works, and crazy low fares that have just popped-up somewhere. His trip reports and how he achieved that trip are just amazing. (no connection to them, just have gained a lot from the sight)

Good luck and happy travels!
ALittleSurreal is offline  
Old Sep 9, 13, 12:40 pm
  #9  
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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A couple of more websites that might help you:

http://www.frugaltravelguy.com/

http://boardingarea.com/dealswelike/
Black Adder is offline  
Old Sep 9, 13, 4:08 pm
  #10  
formerly known as Tad's Broiled Steaks
 
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Originally Posted by RRDD View Post
3. Always check web sites like Kayak before buying tickets from an airline. Kayak will display deals that the airline web site will not show.
Unless it's China Airlines (CI) or Thai (TG), among others?...
BuildingMyBento is offline  
Old Sep 18, 13, 7:10 pm
  #11  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold, SPG Gold, MR Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 49
Thanks!
I did some research, and I've signed up for all airline/hotel plans.
I plan to mainly use Alaska (I have Gold status already with them), Marriott (currently at Silver), and Hertz for car rentals (I signed up for their free Gold membership last year)

I also applied for an Amex Platinum (primarily for the airport lounges, refunds on airline expenses & global entry - which I'll apply for soon, and their concierge services, SPG Gold is nice too) - I compared vs the Visa Black and Ritz Carlton, but Amex Plat came out ahead on many fronts.

I plan to stay primarily at Marriott (I've been treated better at their hotels vs SPG), but am debating a bit all the effort, since I get free Gold status on SPG w/ Amex Plat.
Though I did sign up for the Marriott Rewards credit card too (15 elite points, and an extra elite point per $3000 spent, and 5 points per dollar at Marriott).

Does this seem like a reasonable first step?
Vanessa Howell is offline  

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