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Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Detroit, Michigan
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Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

My father in law believes they are a waste and I am sure he is right when you look at it from the big picture. Nonetheless, I still love using them. We have not paid full price for any airfare for the last 5 years and we only travel once or twice a year. You really start to accumulate them if you have a credit card from your favorite airline.

When Delta and Northwest merged, the US Bank Worldperks Visa became a Flexperks card as Delta already used American Express for their program. They gave is 25,000 points just for continuing on with them. The will do almost any airline and 20,000 pays for a $400 ticket - not bad. We just booked two tickets that were $475 and paid $360 total. That is a savings of almost $600!

I'd sign up for the Delta AMEX but we really don't want another credit card. Also, a flight to Cancun is 50,000 points with Delta and it is only 20,000-30,000 with Flexperks. Both cards earn points the same way but Flexperks gives you more for the money.

Are there any great programs out there or do you even bother with the programs?

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Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Eugene, Oregon
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861 posts
54 reviews
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11. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

We have banked with U.S. Bank for years (and no, I don't work for them, I work for another bank). They have a Flex Perks DEBIT card (not credit) so any purchases you would normally make with your debit card (filling the gas tank, buying groceries, etc.) earn miles. Before the Delta/NW merger, it was NW airmiles.

I've yet to use the new Flex Perks because we haven't had the new Flex Perks card for more than a few months, but we've used air miles earned with the NW program twice. Once for a trip to Puerto Vallarta two years ago, and we paid for our Cancun airfare that way as well (we leave next week).

We already have almost enough to buy another ticket to Cancun, even though we have only been on the Flex Perks program for a few months. We set up as many of our routine bills to pay via credit card - or in our case the debit card - so that we can maximize our miles. I think it's a great deal!

My husband also travels about one or two nights a week for work and stays exclusively at Marriotts. We've earned enough Marriott points to pay for several vacation stays, including our upcoming trip to Cancun. I think it's a great program, and they have a wide variety of hotels from Residence Inns to full resorts like the one in Cancun. Their hotels are generally good quality and in most locations that we would like to visit. We haven't had to pay for a hotel room in a long time.

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Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Jalisco, Mexico
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Omaha, Nebraska
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426 posts
31 reviews
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12. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

We have a Capital One card that we charge groceries, gas, and other misc purchases. We pay it off every month and we get to fly for free about every other year.

everett wa
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13. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

Ive been trying to use my Alaska Air miles for the last 3 trips but cant find good flights so I end up using another airline at sometimes 1/2 the price. Frustrating because I pay $75.00 a year for the credit card. Even the companion fare went up.

Illinois
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14. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

We've redeemed them for both trips and cash. Bought four tickets to Rome with air miles in January from American. Hubby does all the calculations before we use miles - miles are worth xx per mile vs. the cost of the ticket to buy it outright. If it's a better value, we use miles. If not, we buy our tickets. It was great to have them for our Rome trip. 4 out of 7 tickets were purchased with miles!

With our Visa points we typically just redeem for cash rather than buying things out of their catalogs. Their catalogs are not typically a great value (points vs. cash), and taking the cash makes for nice extra spending money on vacation.

So yes, we're big on taking advantage of the perks with miles and points whenever we can.

We use

St. Louis
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15. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

My name is aj_stl, and I'm a Pointaholic.

I'll echo what others have said about SPG with a little more detail. Although there are many other hotel programs, I'll compare it to Marriott. One of the main reasons I like SPG is it takes fewer points to book rooms. For example, the Le Meridien Cancun (wife and I are going there for third time next week...) is 10,000 points/night compared to the JW Marriott at 25,000/night. Similarly, the Westin is 7,000 points compared to the CasaMagna Marriott at 20,000 (I'm sure many will argue if the above properties are valid comparisons, flame away). Also, SPG has a "stay 4 nights, get 5th free" deal when you book with points. Finally, SPG has no blackout dates. If they have a room, you get one. I've booked a hotel room during Mardi Gras at the W in New Orleans before....

If you are a road warrior and rack most of your points up with stays, my first point is probably a wash since Marriott gives you more points for a stay than SPG, but I get most of mine through Amex spend. I'm not sure if other programs do this, but you can get Gold SPG status with $30,000 in spend on the Amex.

My "back-up" is the Citi AA MasterCard. Citi refunds my annual fee every year when I call them, although this is a pain. Amex does not refund the annual fee when I call ($30, I think?), but they give me 2,000-3,000 Starpoints. Redeeming AA miles is not the easiest, but I've been using them to buy Business Class upgrades when we have had European flights.

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The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun
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New Orleans, LA
New Orleans
New Orleans
Louisiana
Detroit, Michigan
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16. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

I am also a SPG and Hilton member but we don't travel other no we don't get many points. I do recall, however, that SPG would also transfer your SPG points to NWA WorldPerks. I had it set up automatically and it was point for point. Now that NWA is gone, I wonder if they are still doing something like that.

Houston, Texas
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for Solo Travel
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17. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

aj...you really need to look at more data when comparing SPG to Marriott. SPG offers you 2 Starpoints per dollar spend at hotels vs. 10 Marriott reward points per dollar - so that's a factor of 5x more based on your compared redemption rates of 3x - so Marriott actually wins. Marriott also offers bonuses for multiple stays within a period; they call it Megabonus and have a promotion or something similar once per quarter.

I will give you one point where I agree and that's availability of awards - SPG usually wins.

But, on the credit card front, Marriott has spiced up their credit card offerings through Chase and you can earn quite a bit by not staying. As a premier signature card holder, I earn silver automatically (15 nights credit) and the Marriott Visa earns me additional points and a free night a year.

It all comes down to where you plan to stay to determine what's best for you. Check out www.flyertalk.com for more details on each program.

vancouver, BC
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18. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

alaska airlines has its visa and mastercard and they reward you with a companion ticket once a year for $99 usd anywhere they fly. it used to be only

$50 but the cost went up this year.

Boston...
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19. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

I love my AAdvantage points and have received a million miles for my family churning Citibank credit cards. We've gone to Cancun almost 20 times and again in April thanks to them. Citibank AAdvantage used to have Cancun roundtrip specials for only 17,500 points a few years back, and they were easy to redeem, but no more!:(

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Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Philadelphia...
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20. Re: Frequent Flyer/Points/Miles: Do you use them?

I have a few dates that work for us in November for Cancun that are 17,500 each way on USAir which is much better than the 40,000 each way during peak times.

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Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico