If you like the information here,
could you join the
programs through my links, or send me an email to refer you?
cost you a thing and I get some points or cash for my effort.
I had been meaning
to create a resource shopping portals and other sources of free and nearly
free cash and points, since I am officially an eggspert on them.
You don’t get a lot of something for nothing (and it isn’t really
your time) but it can add up.
Value your time. I love
doing this as a hobby. The rate of return
won’t be high enough for some people to justify the work. All
the same, one year I redeemed a business class ticket from NYC to Saint
British Airways, a coach ticket to Toronto on a reduced miles
nights at the Radisson and two at the Renaissance in St. Petersburg,
Marriott gift certificates, the next year a coach ticket to Southern
jetBlue, and the next a business class ticket to London and Barcelona
British Airways and tickets to Palm Springs, San Francisco and
well as gift certificates and money for rebates, surveys and cash back
totalling about $2,000. Not a bad hobby. To really work the system, compound your offers: You might
want to buy an
airline ticket on Delta. A few portals have Delta as a
Express Business cards – including my
Starwood business card, offer a 3% discount on Delta tickets.
Delta Business card offers 5% off.)
So a $500 ticket on Delta nets you whatever miles you get for the Delta
plus the 500 Starpoints for the purchase and a $15 discount (or 1000
if you had the Delta business card), plus whatever you got for
through the portal. It adds up.
biggest (non-flying or non-hotel) source for rewards is credit card
spending, particularly taking advantage of large bonuses for getting
the card. Right now, the cards I use most are the CitiForward and
Hilton American Express. CitiForward pays in Citi's proprietary Thank
You points. Each is worth about a cent, and CitiForward pays
back on restaurant and music store (including Amazon.com) spend. The
Hilton Hhonors American Express gives six Hilton points to the dollar
on groceries, gas and drugstores. I've redeemed Thank You points for
several airline tickets; I haven't yet redeemed Hilton points.
A while back, I received an offer from Hilton for 5,000
Skymiles to join
Delta’s program. A little research turned up a Delta offer running at
time to get up to a 25,000 mile bonus for using Delta’s miles partners
– and I
could get 5,000 for using 5 of them. So I got a Delta American Express card (with
a 17,500 mile initial
bonus and the annual fee waived for the first year).
Then I made a transaction for 100 points on
points.com, a 500 mile e-reward redemption (that I needed to make
the currency expired), a purchase at Skymiles mall, and ate one lunch
Skymiles Dining. Voila, another 5,000 miles. Total
about 28,000. Total outlay – $30 for the office paper I had
to buy anyway
and $6 for lunch. US Airways also runs a lucrative yearly "Grand Slam"
Over the years my earning patterns have changed. Once I
concentrated on miles, or reward flights. When flying now, status
matters more to me and miles have become less valuable; I need paid
rather than reward flights to maintain status.
rewards programs where you earn
points -such as Thank You points - that are not allied to an airline or
hotel, but are used to buy airline tickets or other
merchandise. The advantage is
that inventory is far more available than award tickets and
dip” the ticket; it still earns miles and importantly status in the
the airline you fly. The disadvantage is these programs are
deal for the holy grail of reward travel, long haul business class
But for economy travel or hotels, it's attractive.
Don’t give up entirely on airline frequent flier
programs. I use the
Thank You program to
buy domestic economy tickets and the airlines programs for either
long haul or cost-effective short flight awards such as cross-border
flights that are disproportionately expensive.
Final reminders - Points, miles and cashback credits are very
currencies. They can be devalued with little or no notice or even
rendered worthless by a company going out of business suddenly. Also,
only good if you can use them. I value Delta miles
than American’s and certainly Starwood Starpoints, because Delta is
much stingier with reward inventory. Keep that in mind –
I won’t make a large cash outlay (say, for an annual fee credit card)
accumulate Delta miles, but I probably would for Starpoints.
last updated March 23, 2012