Explaining Airline Status and the Benefits

Singapore_Airlines_Business_Class_lounge_2How does Airline Status work? This will give an overview of the complexities of different airline status benefits in a clear way. It will also explain earning and using the benefits.

While I’m cynical in regards to “status” in general, there are many great benefits and bonuses out there to be had. When thinking of crediting business flights, good fares, or mileage running, elite status can be very important. Status can give upgrades or just more miles, and if you know what you’re doing it can be really lucrative.

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6 Reason to Love British Airways Avios

British Airways, for whatever reason, isn’t as glorified as the other major points programs but it is awesome and completely niche. Some redemptions are terrible, most are okay, but there are so many amazing redemptions when using British Airways Avios.

It does need a basic understanding of fuel surcharges that need to be avoided, I suppose. But think of all the things that British Airways Avios does best, in terms of flight redemptions.

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I Could Travel The World On Two Types Of Credit Cards

Or I should say that there are two types of credit cards that I find especially lucrative and I find myself drawn to and using. This is a strategy that works for me (as someone who has been doing this for years) and that I think can work for anyone. So if you’re interested in the sport, do likewise.

I’ve said in the past that I know people want to hear more of my opinions on credit cards and while I’ve failed to write at least a little more about them… it’s pretty simple and I hate to be redundant.

Check out my post on how having more credit cards can affect your credit score (positively). And my post “A Data Driven Look At Credit Scores“.

In short, I have no problem trying out new cards and earning miles. But the system I rely on is two fold:

American Airlines miles & Chase Ultimate Rewards points (and then transfer to United)


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$0 Trip Series: Mistake Fare to Muscat, Oman

Drew at Grand MosqueEarlier I did a $0 trip all with miles and points to Latin America (Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala). The concept was to spend zero dollars on flights and hotels. That trip was nearly free in every other way too as taxis and what not were paid for via the hotel which I had reimbursed with credit card points.

I’m just finishing up another free trip, this time to Muscat, Oman. So let me introduce the trip with a quick overview.

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Big Contest/Giveaway!

UPDATE: The contest ended and I am reaching out to the winners so they can pick their prizes.

Congrats to David, Stephen, and Steven!


Carrie and I have been traveling since 2011. We’ve been able to live on a poverty level budget and we’ve done some free trips via miles from credit cards, best rate guarantees, mistake fares, and all kinds of things.

But I don’t have tricks for lots of things (like free food, health supplies, etc…) and even if I could, I wouldn’t do without this blog and the community here. Thanks so much to all who support us by reading or commenting.

So here is a big give away with Business Class upgrades for AA and Alaska, a free IHG night, Alaska Airlines status, and €100 in vouchers to Delta, Air France, and KLM. Here’s the big contest:

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The New Ways of Earning United Miles

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 1.32.37 AMMarch 1st is around the corner and people are planning out their next status move, so it’s about time I wrote something on United’s new status system and the huge devaluation of earnings.

The bad news is that United moved to a (mostly) revenue based system. Which means that all earnings of miles and status’ are determined by the dollars you spend and not the miles you fly. To show how bad this is for people like us, my last paid international flight would have earned me 1,000 miles. That’s nothing. And equally bad, earning top tier elite status will be impossible without spending $12,000 or more.

Let me first explain how these systems work, and then how to get around them. And make sure you see the chart below on earning United Miles on Star Alliance partners.

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Is Charging Taxes on Award Nights Legal?

Of course, this observation has nothing to do with any opinion regarding taxes… instead, I’m just super shocked how many hotels charge money after specifically stating in the award booking receipt I’d pay $0.00.

To go from zero to any amount of money means, at least to me, that there’s something really wrong. But when I’ve asked a hotel about this in person, nothing seems to happen, and it seems normal. But first let me explain what’s happened to me before, where I drew the line, and the results of the actions I took.

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6 Routes Even I’d Fly Business Class On

For those who fly a lot, every flight in “premium cabin” is a forfeit of money in the future. You’ll have to pay to earn back those miles at some point, you’ll have to pay for a flight in the future, or you paid to get those miles.

Now, people who need less miles on a regular basis can easily earn enough miles to cover all their flights. We probably earn half a million miles a year from our credit card spends and bonuses. However, we travel more than half a million miles worth. Therefore, it’s hard to twist my arm not to fly economy.

However, I hate flying. Nearly every long haul flight I mutter about how much I hate flying. I honestly can’t sleep. And then I remember my Cathay Pacific First Class flight and how it was more or less like teleporting and how it was easy to sleep and super comfortable.

As someone who sits in long haul economy quite often, (actually we fly 40,000 miles this month), I’ve noticed commonality between good flights and bad flights.

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10 Alternative Destinations That Are Less Traveled

My goal is to the see the world, so I’m hardly recommending skipping any place. However, sometimes I need to get away from the crowds. Sometimes I’m more interested in culture or beauty and less interested in having the option of pizza and tourist traps. Here are 10 great alternatives to the more crowded options, for equally beautiful (and sometimes more beautiful) destinations around the world.

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