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Old 12-07-2018, 08:59 PM   #1
 
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For 2019 I want to get a lot better with saving/ maximizing deals when travelling. Mainly flights. Jan/ Feb/ March are my biggest travel months planned so far. Going to Austin, Huston, maybe LA & Japan in January. Possibly Bahamas & Cabo in February. A few of these trips are for work and a few for fun. Looking at flights right now for my trip to Austin and they're about $100 more expensive than the same trip last year. I was considering waiting to buy the tickets as last year I bought them a week before so I'm hoping the price drops but I'm not sure I want to take that gamble especially when I have 3 other flights I need to buy as well.

Already been looking at the Southwest "deals" and I'm not too impressed. Should I be looking into a card to get airline miles?
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:15 AM   #2
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card sign up offers give you a lot more miles than butt in seat. you can plan out how you would like to accrue a lot of miles (i prioritize united) or just opportunistically grab all the miles you can of any sort (which i also do).

as far as miles for normal purchases or travel purchases, i think you get bonuses here and there but the reality is it's the sign up bonuses and transfer partners that rack up in your account. with all this travel you are doing it will not come close to even the lowest sign up bonus on a single card for example.

and once you do get the miles you can redeem them for flights, although how available the seats are and at what cost is going to vary on airline and itinerary, and sometimes it is better to buy cash - it is certainly more flexible. the points become particularly handy looking at international travel.

off season/cold japan in january is an easy find, lots of availability and my zero real effort search is this; good example to show the itinerary isn't always as nice as cash plan. although this is just one short layover and i'm sure i could have found direct other days or a quicker itinerary with an lax or west coast stop.





this citi business card (you can use soc sec# and sign up as a business, for selling your crap on ebay or whatever you feel like saying) is 70k miles after 4k spend in 4 months. business card means it won't touch your personal credit score - not that it would even matter. want the 70k quick and easily? you can just paypal 4k to a family member or buddy to then cut you a check and pay off the bill. paypal would take 116.30. now you've got 74k miles (bonus + spending). annual fee of 99 waived first year (cancel after if you want.)

so then you can go ahead and buy this ticket for 65k and 116.30+45.43; so a flight to japan for $161.73 and you have 9k aa miles left over. note a points ticket is also somewhat more movable and a lot more refundable than your typical ticket as well. if you use united miles you can even use some tricks and get extra flights/destinations for no cost. at least as of last year this time you could.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:29 AM   #3
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When you say you use United a lot which card do you use specifically?
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Old 12-08-2018, 01:25 AM   #4
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Miles from credit cards are the way to go. I fly Delta a lot, so I have their American Express card. I get an annual companion pass where I can bring someone with me for free on one flight per year. I usually get 10,000 bonus miles each year for spending a certain amount, plus I get a mile for every dollar I spend. I try to use my card for everything and pay it off monthly to rack up miles. I've gotten several flights over the last few years that were free or close to free.
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Old 12-08-2018, 11:34 AM   #5
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When you say you use United a lot which card do you use specifically?
i have used ink, ink bold, sapphire, united personal, and united business - all issued by chase. the chase cards that offer ultimate rewards points transfer 1:1 to united. so you can get quite a few points this way.

i primarily use them as traveling solo, redeeming for international business class travel. this costs about double the points, so it may be better to travel twice as much in economy or two people in economy.

i have a hard time ever seeing myself pay for business with $, but abstracted to points and after acquiring many, it's a lot easier a price to swallow.
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:19 PM   #6
 
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card sign up offers give you a lot more miles than butt in seat. you can plan out how you would like to accrue a lot of miles (i prioritize united) or just opportunistically grab all the miles you can of any sort (which i also do).

as far as miles for normal purchases or travel purchases, i think you get bonuses here and there but the reality is it's the sign up bonuses and transfer partners that rack up in your account. with all this travel you are doing it will not come close to even the lowest sign up bonus on a single card for example.

and once you do get the miles you can redeem them for flights, although how available the seats are and at what cost is going to vary on airline and itinerary, and sometimes it is better to buy cash - it is certainly more flexible. the points become particularly handy looking at international travel.

off season/cold japan in january is an easy find, lots of availability and my zero real effort search is this; good example to show the itinerary isn't always as nice as cash plan. although this is just one short layover and i'm sure i could have found direct other days or a quicker itinerary with an lax or west coast stop.





this citi business card (you can use soc sec# and sign up as a business, for selling your crap on ebay or whatever you feel like saying) is 70k miles after 4k spend in 4 months. business card means it won't touch your personal credit score - not that it would even matter. want the 70k quick and easily? you can just paypal 4k to a family member or buddy to then cut you a check and pay off the bill. paypal would take 116.30. now you've got 74k miles (bonus + spending). annual fee of 99 waived first year (cancel after if you want.)

so then you can go ahead and buy this ticket for 65k and 116.30+45.43; so a flight to japan for $161.73 and you have 9k aa miles left over. note a points ticket is also somewhat more movable and a lot more refundable than your typical ticket as well. if you use united miles you can even use some tricks and get extra flights/destinations for no cost. at least as of last year this time you could.
Setting up a business bank account has been on my list for a while anyway. I need to separate personal/ business expenses. So I may look into this. I've been looking into the Chase Sapphire Card since I already have the Freedom & Freedom Unlimited. Currently I mostly use my AMEX which gives me 2x Points on Gas & Restaurants. And Freedom Unlimited which is 1.5x everything else.
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:56 PM   #7
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Setting up a business bank account has been on my list for a while anyway. I need to separate personal/ business expenses. So I may look into this. I've been looking into the Chase Sapphire Card since I already have the Freedom & Freedom Unlimited. Currently I mostly use my AMEX which gives me 2x Points on Gas & Restaurants. And Freedom Unlimited which is 1.5x everything else.
if you have a real business - great - else you don't need anything but the car and your soc sec# as sole proprietorship and some remote claim of a business, which they probably won't really ask you much about. you can say 2 grand a year selling stuff on ebay or wrenching on cars. or again, if real business, great!

i've never had a freedom card. iirc one might give you chase reward points but not ultimate reward points, which are the transferable ones; although getting a card will allow you to make all points ultimate.

there's also a high annual fee sapphire reserve, although the benefits may not be worth it. i've been waiting for the original sign up offer to come back (100k points) although people say that is not likely to happen.

i keep it simple and use my sapphire as my standard go to top of the wallet card, except for gas and some bills that could be categorized as business expenses, as the ink bold gives me 5x points for those.
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:10 AM   #8
 
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I'm going to look more into this but if I hook directly through an airline verse Expedia or Priceline, does that hold more weight? I was reading a while back that hotels will give you extra perks sometimes when you book directly through them verse those websites. Curious if it's the same with airlines. Haven't had a chance to try it with hotels yet as most trips hotels are paid for by work.
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:23 AM   #9
 
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SWA has taken care of me.. haven't paid for a flight in a long time and have had companion pass for last 3 years.
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:20 AM   #10
 
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I feel like Southwest doesn't take me where I want to go or at least when I'm booking flights I don't see them pop up often. I definitely wouldn't use them to fly to Chicago. (Midway no thanks). American & Alaskan Airlines have been my go to the last two years. Just flew to Austin and booking my flight to Houston at the end of the month maybe later today or tomorrow, American Airlines consistently has the most flights and best prices I've seen. Going to look into more rewards with them and probably sign up for their miles card.
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:24 AM   #11
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I feel like Southwest doesn't take me where I want to go or at least when I'm booking flights I don't see them pop up often. I definitely wouldn't use them to fly to Chicago. (Midway no thanks). American & Alaskan Airlines have been my go to the last two years. Just flew to Austin and booking my flight to Houston at the end of the month maybe later today or tomorrow, American Airlines consistently has the most flights and best prices I've seen. Going to look into more rewards with them and probably sign up for their miles card.
swa is only available through their website
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:50 AM   #12
 
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Ha! Makes sense.
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:07 PM   #13
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I'm going to look more into this but if I hook directly through an airline verse Expedia or Priceline, does that hold more weight? I was reading a while back that hotels will give you extra perks sometimes when you book directly through them verse those websites. Curious if it's the same with airlines. Haven't had a chance to try it with hotels yet as most trips hotels are paid for by work.
It depends. Sometimes you can find some smoking deals on sites like Expedia. Other times you may be able to find better pricing and promotions going directly through the hotel brand or airline. I just got back from Cabo a couple weeks ago. My girlfriend was able to save us a good chunk of money by booking through Expedia rather than directly through the resort.
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