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Old 01-23-2008, 08:44 PM   #1
Soulive
 
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SWMBO travels about 8 times per year domestically for work. She just started getting flier miles last month. How long until they start to pay off?
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:51 PM   #2
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I fly as a commercial passenger about the same amount or perhaps slightly less often. I only have an Alaska Airlines frequent flyer card, so I can only accrue miles with Alaska partners (about 50% of the time). After 6-7 years, I've only recently accumulated enough miles to redeem for anything worthwhile.

If I signed up for several frequent flyer programs, I could probably have doubled the amount of free trips/upgrades available to me.
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:57 PM   #3
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Well, depends on how far she's traveling. The carrier she's flying should have a break down of their rewards program and what she gets for each flight, and how many miles the rewards "cost".

I have several programs I use, but AA is used the most. I'd say it took me 5-6 years to get the 25000 miles needed for a frew domestic flight. But I only flew 2 - 3 times a year and they were low mileage flights.

 
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:58 PM   #4
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I used to fly more frequently, with annual or more often, trips. I used my miles internationally once, for a trip to Oaxaca Mexico, and domestically twice for trips to Florida.

The Northwest card claimed that you needed 25,000 miles to redeem for a roundtrip domestic ticket, but it never worked that way. Either the dates were blacked out (one time I called almost a year in advance and they had NO seats available on any flights in February or March at all to Florida), or required way more miles. I gave up on saving miles after my last free ticket.

Still, she may find that she can earn a free ticket, or more likely, get an upgrade, within a couple of years. My friend upgraded his trip to Hawaii to first class, which he thought was great since it was a long flight. It "only" cost him like 10,000 miles.
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:03 PM   #5
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I think its with Continental because thats who she usually uses. The trips are usually within 1500 miles but some are to the west coast. We're hoping to be able to get decent upgrades...
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:12 PM   #6
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Upgrades are tough. They only block so many rewards per flight and they get used up quickly. Once you start doing like 25k miles a year, you get "silver elite" and then you get complimentary first class upgrades if a seat opens up, first come first served. The problem is, it's actually too easy to reach the elite status and everyone that travels for business has it.

A free domestic round trip "costs" about 25-35k miles. I've used them to get my wife a seat to join me on some biz trips or I use them for 3-day scuba trips down in Ft Lauderdale. I usually stay free too due to Marriott or Hilton points. Signing up for these programs just makes sense, no cost.
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:50 PM   #7
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How could I forget about the black out dates!!??! Yeah, just cause you've got the miles doesn't mean you'll be able to fly when YOU want to. I got stuck flying out on Christmas day last month from PDX to Wash, DC with a nice layover in Dallas with a mileage flight.

 
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:55 PM   #8
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I fly over 100k miles each year. Upgrades are plentiful for Platinum flyer. I used to have over 1/2 million miles in the account till the daughter went to college and the in-laws started using them.

 
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:56 PM   #9
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I've never managed to get enough miles for a free flight, even when I was flying on business 2-3 times a month. The company was doing the booking, so I couldn't focus on one program. Then there was the idiot at Hughes that decided the miles belonged to Hughes because they paid for the ticket. Never mind that there was no way to transfer the miles.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:05 PM   #10
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It seems to me that the last best loophole is to find flights that will likely be overbooked and volunteer for the vouchers. Who has that kind of time luxury.
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