I spoke this past weekend at the Frequent Traveler University in Newport Beach, and very much enjoyed meeting many of you and sharing tips on using miles.
As we were going through the materials during my sessions, I found myself referencing several other posts and resources. While I’m not going to post my slides from the event, I did want to put together a list of tools that will be useful in constructing itineraries and redeeming miles.
Hopefully this provides a handy reference list, and even those who weren’t at the event should bookmark some of these posts so you have them at hand when you go to redeem miles in future!
I feel quite strongly that the best way to learn about miles is to actually try to use them. By doing so you’ll develop a stronger sense of which programs make the most sense for you, and will be able to focus your mileage earning. To help you get started:
- Where to Find Award Space (lists key airlines, and where to search availability)
- How Many Miles are Needed for an Award Ticket? (so you know what it will cost when you’re planning your strategy)
- Deciding Which Miles to Use (an art, not a science, but here’s the thought process)
There are also times when it makes sense to buy miles (particularly if you don’t have access to or interest in the credit card programs in the US), and the Alaska Mileage Plan program can be a particularly good option right now.
For more in-depth explanations of some programs and their quirks, these are good program-specific resources:
- How to Redeem American AAdvantage Miles (remember, you want to do this before March 22nd!)
- How to Redeem Korean Air SkyPass Miles (a great option for travel to Asia and Australia)
- How (and why) To Use Alitalia Miles (all about the upgrades from Premium Economy)
- How Delta Really Prices Award Tickets (this is hard, don’t feel badly if you have to read it a few times)
- Waitlisting Singapore Awards (both the basics, and experiences with upgrades clearing)
If you run into problems, have a quick question, or just want to share tips with others, the Ask Lucky forum is a great place to get extra help.
You can also check out Ben’s Tips & Tutorials for more detailed explanations of search tools and strategies.
While we didn’t have time to go in-depth on many of the hotel programs, there’s a ton of detailed information out there. In addition to the resources here on OMAAT you’ll want to check out posts from the other speakers:
- Starwood Preferred Guest
- Club Carlson
- Leading Hotels of the World
- Other hotel programs
For those looking for information about trains in North America, you can learn more about the Amtrak program here. Keep in mind that today is the last day to transfer points from Ultimate Rewards, which is worth considering if you’re hoping to take your family on a cross-country adventure.
And while there’s no single source for those considering some more exotic travel experiences, I think Matthew’s trip report to Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan is a good place to start to learn more about the kinds of obstacles and challenges you might encounter when visiting more difficult destinations, along with Stefan’s tips on becoming an expert traveler.
Want to attend a similar event?
Who doesn’t want to meet other like-minded travelers, really? While OMAAT and the other blogs cover most of this information on a daily basis, some people really like the in-person format. And of course, getting the chance to meet other people who are interested in miles and points is always fun!
Photo credit: Tahsir Ahsan
The next event will be in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 29 through May 1, 2016. Hopefully we’ll see many of you there!
Thanks again to everyone who attended, and hope you had a nice weekend!