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Old 07-22-2014, 04:01 PM   #21
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I agree with Sarah and Chase has been quite liberal in the "churning" game. I think it is American Express that has tightened up recently?
One of the things some people neglect in the miles/points game is that using them wisely is as important if not more important than accumulating them. If I do not get at least 2 cents per mile (and I usually get much more) of value from airlines I will not use them. Of course with Southwest you would need the companion pass to get more than that (and the companion pass is quite easy to get and the best thing out there IMHO).
In this past year I have taken advantage of AA 100,000 mile offer with Citi and also British Airways (Avios) 100,000 mile offer with chase. Best ones of the year for me. I got the Southwest companion pass last year which was good through this year. I will pick that up again early next year to cover the next 2 years.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:46 PM   #22
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UPDATE: I'm sending this from our vacation spot. Sure enough, we had a hard time getting the free checked luggage but eventually we got it. Now we'll have to see what happens when we return home.
By the way, we did use our United credit card to pay the various fees for these FF tickets.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:26 PM   #23
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I also got the companion pass last January and have used it a few times, but much of our travel has been overseas in the past year and a half. I hope to get at least one more trip out of it before it expires.
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:29 AM   #24
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Sarah, you were wise to get it in January as I think it should be good for all of next year as well. Or do you have to wait to get it until February to be good for the following year, I forget.
I am sure you know there are some international destinations available now with Southwest. We are using them and have used them for 3 trips outside the US: Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Aruba.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:44 AM   #25
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Yep, I did the application in December 2012, and I'm on my second year of the companion pass now. It is a good deal, and nice that you can change the companion if you want to use it for someone else. I might have to do a Jamaican trip, now that you mentioned they fly there--we have a good friend in Kingston we haven't seen in years! Thanks!
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:19 PM   #26
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I was a long time Continental customer and felt it was a pretty decent airline. Since it was taken over by United, not so much. I'm still flying United a lot since it has the best coverage for the business destinations I go to. But I'm not too thrilled with them. DW and I took two trips so far this summer, and had plenty of miles to us for the tickets. Yet, despite trying to schedule a couple of months in advance, we couldn't get reward tickets for the dates we wanted. Ended up paying cash. What good are the miles if you can't use them? Also, in the past when I have been able to use miles, I have also incurred the booking fees mentioned by the OP.


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Old 07-23-2014, 05:05 PM   #27
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I've managed to get frequent flyer coach tickets with my miles many times. Virtually all of my travel accumulating miles was vacation, not business travel. However, much of it was long distance and was "big bang for the buck", mileage-wise. Most was on United or their partners, but I got at least 1 free ticket from 3 other airlines' programs. Free tickets on United miles from the East Coast US were to Europe (3 times, including this spring albeit with sub-optimal connections), 1 to Australia, 2 to Mexico, 1 to Costa Rica, and at least 5 tickets to the West Coast (SF, Seattle, Vancouver). I paid for tickets to Asia 4 times because they accumulated lots of miles for relatively inexpensive tickets. Same with 4 tickets to S. America. I got 2 separate tickets to Mexico within the past 4 years because the fare was ridiculous at $600+ each time, but I think the nonstop frequent flyer tickets were only 30,000 or 35,000 miles. Both times, my flights were 60% empty, which explained why I had no problem using my miles, but did not explain why the airfare was so high for a purchased ticket.

My ticket to Paris in late spring this year would have cost a minimum of $1,150 so I thought that 60,000 miles was good mileage usage. I just paid $92 in taxes. I booked it 2 1/2 months ahead of time and seats were only available on United's partners with lousy connections as opposed to a nonstop flight on United. With United's new mileage accrual rules based on ticket prices, I doubt I'll be getting many more free tickets in the future.

The airlines used to have good bonus offers at times for double mileage or bonus miles on certain routes at certain times. That worked out very well for me several times. One particular deal to SE Asia amounted to virtual perpetual motion. I haven't seen generous offers like that in about 5 years.

Unlike most of my friends, I've never used miles for upgrades or any other purpose.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:40 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txtig View Post
I was a long time Continental customer and felt it was a pretty decent airline. Since it was taken over by United, not so much. I'm still flying United a lot since it has the best coverage for the business destinations I go to. But I'm not too thrilled with them. DW and I took two trips so far this summer, and had plenty of miles to us for the tickets. Yet, despite trying to schedule a couple of months in advance, we couldn't get reward tickets for the dates we wanted. Ended up paying cash. What good are the miles if you can't use them? Also, in the past when I have been able to use miles, I have also incurred the booking fees mentioned by the OP.


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Summer is peak travel season so it is difficult to find seat as many people book as soon as the awards are loaded. the key to finding tickets during peak periods is to book ahead or be flexible
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:30 AM   #29
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I just accumulated enough miles to use on Spirit Airlines. It still cost almost $200 for a pair of 'free' RT tickets and 1 bag each, but it did save quite a bit too.

I was able to leverage buying Visa gift cards on the miles card, transferring the money on the Gift card to my Amex BlueBird account, and then paying the miles credit card off with my BlueBird account.

I bought 3000 miles for $6 total, and some running around, for a total cost of only .002 per mile. That's only 100x more miles than you usually get for $6.
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