I receive emails from people wanting to know how they can sit in the front of the plane too. These messages fall in one of two groups:
- Group 1) people that need to use miles/ points to travel to a specific city on specific dates on a specific airline, and want to know how they can get there for “free” or;
- Group 2) people that have heard about travel hacking, are flexible, and want to know how they can travel for “free.”
For those in Group #1, it’s going to very challenging. If the dates, locations, and airlines are non-negotiable, particularly if those dates are in the next week, you’re not flying there for “free” unless you get EXTREMELY lucky.
For those in Group #2, you’re going to do very well in this hobby because flexibilty is key.
BEGIN AT THE END
This concept sounds confusing…at first. But in this hobby, you want to begin with the end in mind. In other words, figure out WHERE you want to go first. Once you figure that out, ONLY THEN do you figure out HOW you’re going to get there.
If you’ve read the previous articles in this “Beginner’s Guide,” you are aware that the easiest source of miles are going to come from credit card signup bonuses. However, getting a ton of American Airlines miles from a signup bonus won’t help much when your destination is best served by Delta or United.
SO WHAT CARD SHOULD I APPLY FOR?
This is, by far, the most asked question I receive on a day-to-day basis.
“Depends…what are your travel goals?” is my standard response.
This may sound obvious, but everyone’s travel goals are different. Some people are more interested in QUALITY while others are more interested in QUANTITY [READ QUANTITY vs. QUALITY]. But when it comes to miles and points, identifying your travel goals first, will minimize the anxiety and hours of research finding the “perfect card.”
For example, an individual that wants to use their miles to visit family on the opposite coast, will have a different strategy than a family of five that is seeking to reduce the cost of a trip to Disney World.
Additionally, the family seeking to travel to Disney World has a different strategy than a couple that is planning first class flights for their honeymoon to the exotic and luxurious Maldives.
If we factor variables into the equation such as airline alliances, seat availability, and routing rules, it becomes obvious that a “one-size-fits-all” approach is unreasonable.
The points landscape is forever changing, however, with a good points strategy, you will be in a much better position for getting the flights you’re hoping for.
This is a BIG world and you may find that, like me, you suffer from “travel paralysis from too many options.” But if want some inspiration, you can check out my Instagram, my Flight Reviews, Lounge Reviews, and Hotel Reviews to see places I’ve been using miles and points.
For practice, I enjoy selecting a random destination, writing down my ideas on the “best” way to use miles to get there. Then, I get on my computer to actually determine if that was, in fact, the best way to get there.