I’m a college student living in Dallas and would like to get a credit card to help me earn miles for a trip to Europe or Central America as a graduation present to myself.
Which airline program should I look at for a credit card? Or would I be better off with an American Express card? I’m not sure which way to turn. I fly only about two to three times per year and fly any airline with the cheapest fares. I’ll have three years to build up the miles. I also don’t want to spend a lot on annual fees for a credit card—I’m living on a student budget. Thank you!
- Kandace Mason
I like where you are going. It’s good to see a college student starting early to recognize the value that can come from managing both your personal finances and the rewards that may be available through travel programs—Europe and Central America clearly are waiting for you. As for which airline program? That is really a dartboard choice since all the ones that will likely get you to those two areas will belong to one of the major global alliances. The question is where are the best bonus opportunities for you to kick start your goals and which of the offers will work best for you.
My one piece of advice is for you to begin to read a few bloggers who do a great service in reviewing credit card offers and who do well explaining the limits and opportunities of each. Among several for this particular sector, I feel comfortable referring you to read “Frequent Miler”. The author of this blog recently completed a unique challenge to earn one million bonus miles in a single month by applying for credit cards and I think he did it. But more importantly, leading up to his month long campaign, he wrote an excellent series of educational reports on the various credit cards he was proposing to apply for—one of the best series I’ve ever read. So I highly recommend reading his blog for his very well informed approach. Another blog that has a high ratio of credit card information is “Million Miles Secrets”. This author balances some of the most unique methods to leverage credit card acquisition and mileage accumulation. Between these two bloggers, you’ll get just about everything you’ll need to make the right decision for a credit card. And then you can earn more miles by flying the associated airline of the card to help you reach your goal.
If only all college students thought like this. Congrats and good luck.
I’m fairly new to earning miles and points with the new job I have and was wondering the best way to keep track of all of my memberships? I’d prefer not to have to pay for the service. I’ve also heard that some airlines don’t allow these mileage manager websites to have my information? How’s the best way to approach that? Thanks for your help.
- Chrissy Chaffin
Chrissy, kudos to you for thinking about one of the most important responsibilities of being a member of travel loyalty programs. Far too often members pay no attention to the accumulated value of their memberships or to watch for expiring miles and audit for missing credit. Deciding to actually “manage” your miles and points is one of the best things you can do for yourself. A few things. Follow the suggestions below, but if the service that best appeals to you has a cost associated with it, by all means pay it. I can’t tell you how many times readers have approached us asking how to undo the expiration of 100,000 miles or more. Paying a minimal amount to remind you when miles may expire is surely of value to you. While some airlines currently restrict access to your account for third parties, there are positive signs that these restrictions may be fading away as programs and service providers are finding common ground to assist you in managing your account and still provide security of your personal details. I suggest you visit AwardWallet, Superfly and UsingMiles and compare the benefits, the programs they manage and also look at affiliate benefits like an award search. While each is slightly different, all are among the top services being offered.
One thing you will notice is that these programs not only track your frequent flyer programs, but also hundreds of other types of loyalty programs. So while you may start out looking to organize your miles and points, you may find out your entire life of loyalty will be much better off because of the time you’ve spent comparing and choosing one of these services.