About

Scott in Nairobi, Kenya

MileValue is the only miles-and-points blog that thinks systematically about the value of your miles and how to maximize that value! Scott Grimmer is a miles aficionado and avid traveler, born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and probably currently on the road. He has earned and redeemed tens of millions of miles for himself and others. Traveling in first class for free, the 26-year-old has been to 40+ countries and had a beer on every inhabited continent.

Bill at the Armory and Napoleon’s tomb in Paris

Bill Wilkes was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. The son of an American Airlines pilot, he grew up with airplanes being his home away from home. He currently works for the baseball team in Baltimore, MD assisting with Major League rules interpretation and administration. Some of his favorite destinations to travel (with miles, of course) are Spain, Argentina, and Hawaii. He hopes to visit all seven continents before he turns 30.

Bill joined the MileValue team in 2012 to contribute his expertise on miles and points and to help with the MileValue Award Booking Service.

82 Responses to About

  1. Pingback: Southern/Eastern Africa for a Solo Traveler for 1 Week - FlyerTalk Forums

  2. Really enjoy your site, particularly your “anatomy” series.

    I understand it costs money to run the blog. Please put up any credit card sign up links, and I certainly will use one of them when it comes time for applying. There are still some cards which I need to apply in September. Hopefully your links will be posted at that time.

    I learn a lot from your series. Keep up the good work and hope this site will blossom as much as TPG. You are one of the few who knows the “stuff”.

    • Thanks J. I am hoping soon to have links from credit cards to make a little off my time running the site. When I do, I won’t be shilling for the cards at all. Instead I’ll put up a long post for each one analyzing the value of the sign up bonus (based on my series valuing the major loyalty currencies) and a post analyzing the card’s value for continued spend.

      • Fantastic site. Have been a Star Alliance Gold holder for several years and have learned more in one hour from this site how to maximise awards on SA Gold than in years of frustrating web browsing – thank you.

        Two questions/requests:
        1. Following Aeroplan’s (my ‘home’ card) increasing restrictions, including notably its expanding stinginess in terms of allowing accumulation of Status Miles on overseas flights, I am looking for an alternative SA carrier in North America to switch my future accumulation home to. United seems good… but the rules are so complicated, and opaque, particularly for ‘complementary upgrades’. Do Gold Card members actually get these, or is it simply ‘in principle’? Will United or Air Canada allow me to benefit on upcoming flights from my current Aeroplan Gold Status (which expires in Feb 2014) – ie business check-in, extra bags, lounge access, etc – even if I ask that miles for these flights now get accumulated on United?

        2. You have such an impressive range of airlines covered and reviewed. Please won’t you take a trip to South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt – and places in between on these African carriers – and start working your magic in extracting the amazing deals on these Star Alliance partners’ program which surely are lurking somewhere deep in the rules and web pages of these airlines. Your African frequent flyer fans are waiting in anticipation!

  3. FYI—The “President” of AAdvantage is suzanne.rubin@aa.com

    If I could have an email address for you, I would be happy to send useful (I hope) info to you from time-to-time.
    Citi Business cards. Beware: The MC is primary insurance for rental cars. The Visa card is only secondary after your own car insurance.

  4. Tom / Sitinfirst

    Really great work in this blog. Impressive.

  5. Scott,

    Well, as a newbie, man your site is the bomb. I have learned sooo much s a beginner and we will have to use you for our Trip to Paris. My moms new husband served in the pacific campaign in WWII and we need to get him to Normandy beach, he had several friends there…he is getting up there in age. OK, back to my question, We just applied for the Chase Saffire and have met the bonus points; need to move to the next card. Sounds like United is the best one according to your blog and we will also apply for Chase ink bold. We can meet the 10K in3 months for all of their points. Any other cards that are hot right now? i assume CitAA is also a good pick for us.

    Thank you sir an keep up the great work? Marc

    • Get both Citi AAs at the same time to earn 100k per person who gets them. With all those United/UR and AA miles, you’ll have plenty for the trip. Thanks for reading.

  6. Hi Scott!

    What an awesome blog which so much useful information! Thank you so much! I just got into the miles game and can’t believe we have been spending so much money in flying economy. We can’t wait to travel once like this. Here is our situation:

    Me and my hubby will be flying from Mumbai to San Francisco (where we live) in January 2013. We would like to get a free one-way from San Francisco to Montreal or Toronto in July 2013. When I tried the Multi-city reward in AA.com, I got British Airways from Mumbai to San Fran and American Airlines to Montreal (for free) in 67,500 miles business. However, the BA charges very high fuel surcharge and we would not like to fly with them.

    I know both American Airlines and Jet Airways (I’m not sure about their fuel surcharge) fly from Bombay to the US but I can’t see them in AA reward search. Can you please tell me how I can avoid the fuel surcharge? Thank you sooo much!! I really appreciate your help!

    • To avoid the surcharges, don’t fly BA on an AA award. But if you avoid AA, you won’t get SFO as your North American International Gateway City, so you won’t get the free oneway. I don’t think there’s a cheap way to do what you want.

  7. Hello Scott I’m really excited to have found your blog. I’m a platinum on United on my way to 1K status this year. I met your parents on the plane and we had some fun discussions on you and your airline / travel endeavors which I’m sure will be wildly successful over time.

  8. If you type in your email address in the upper left and hit subscribe you get the error message “The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled”.

  9. Scott,
    Love the content, but digging the old site design slightly more. Either way, keep playing with it. When are you coming through NYC?

    Adam K

  10. 1. Here is my email address that you asked for.
    2. The CitiBusiness/AAdvantage World Master Card has been downgraded to secondary car rental insurance.

  11. Hi Scott,

    I signed up for the Citibank card about three months ago. Can I sign up with Amex now and get another 50K miles on American? Great blog!

    Thanks,
    Steve

  12. Thanks for the quick response!

  13. Scott,
    I have accumulated a lot of points through Chase. I need to book some flights ASAP.
    I would like some assistance. I have a flight from LAX to Paris, might need to upgrade from Coach to Business Class with points. Other trip is from LAX to San Salvador, and i want to use points. Possibly I can pay you for assisting me with the conversion of points to air tickets?
    Please advise.
    Randy

  14. This site has been officially bookmarked on all my wireless computing devices and telecom devices hehe…

  15. Hi there,

    I am working on a project and was hoping maybe I could impose on someone.

    My boss is a member of US Airways’ FF Program, which is a part of the Star Alliance Program. He likes to get upgraded using his miles. He has found that when he books certain class fares on Partner Airlines, his ticket is not eligible to be upgraded using his US Airways miles.

    I am finding that it needs to be a Y or a B Class Fare. Do you know anything about this? I have contacted most of the Star Alliance Airlines, and they don’t seem to know either.

    Any thoughts or insights you might have would certainly be appreciated.

  16. Pingback: 2012 Year In Review | milevalue.com

  17. Robert H Darley

    Hi,
    I am a chase visa “British Airways Executive club” card holder and for the last 10 or so years have spent around $800k per year on the card with my business.
    Since the new Avios has started I am finding it very hard to book trips with my miles.
    I am only a blue tier member as I am not purchasing BA tickets.
    Is this why there is so many black outs.
    Trying to book Business or First from LAX to Sydney anytime towards the end of the 2013 for 3 weeks and there is zero availability. 1 seat on Christmas day!
    I just booked San Diego to London and I can usually get 1st class out of SFO or LAX but there has been no availability for over 6 months.
    Ironically I have a friend who is crew and said they are half empty in 1st and business a lot of the time.Of course if I want to pay then they are available.
    I am so over BA now, can you recommend a better card with better availability. The hard part is it has taken me a few years to get my card limit up to 100K and a new card may not offer me that high a limit. AMEX offered me 15K which my company can spend in 2 weeks!
    Thanks,
    Robert

  18. what is the cheap award travel itenary from detroit to mumbai or delhi via either combodia/vietnam/nepal/thailand with a combination of avios/AA miles. I can get to chicago if necessary (but AA flies from DTW) and back (ideally wants to touch different country each way ) Any help is greatly appreciated….

    • To go on one award USA-India with miles you have to route through Europe or the middle east. To route through Asia is a second award. It’s tough to do cheaply; you probably want to book an Explorer Award.

  19. Hey Scott, what’s up my friend. Thanks again for your blog. I love how it’s grown and expanded. I’ve told many people about this blog.

    Two questions for ya
    - I’ve been re-reading all your posts about one of the US AIR sweet spots being from the US-Australia via Asia. I’ve seen routes through the pacific. Could you go through Europe to do this? Such as BOS-ZRH-BKK-SYD and then back through Europe?

    - Secondly, you talk a lot about how busy you are with your award booking service. What would it look like if you wanted to grow and have more people working with you on this?

    • Scott,
      Your information and blog is unbelievable. I have been reading and am truly a newbie…
      I have a question as I am just starting out and now reading that you should never pay an annual fee. I have a Delta Skymiles card for years- that I have paid an annual fee for years! I also opened a SW to gain bonus miles for a trip as well. The Delta I was saving for a trip to Italy. Should I cancel this card after all these years and will I still have my miles if I do?
      Then start with the beginner series on opening the cards you suggest. Thank you…

  20. Reposting the text below – I think I mistakenly sent it as a reply to a post from last year. Apologies.

    Thanks for this fantastic site. Have been a Star Alliance Gold holder for several years and have learned more in one hour from this site how to maximise awards on SA Gold than in years of frustrating web browsing – thank you.

    Two questions/requests:
    1. Following Aeroplan’s (my ‘home’ card) increasing restrictions, including notably its expanding stinginess in terms of allowing accumulation of Status Miles on overseas flights, I am looking for an alternative SA carrier in North America to switch my future accumulation home to. United seems good… but the rules are so complicated, and opaque, particularly for ‘complementary upgrades’. Do Gold Card members actually get these, or is it simply ‘in principle’? Will United or Air Canada allow me to benefit on upcoming flights from my current Aeroplan Gold Status (which expires in Feb 2014) – ie business check-in, extra bags, lounge access, etc – even if I ask that miles for these flights now get accumulated on United?

    2. You have such an impressive range of airlines covered and reviewed. Please won’t you take a trip to South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt – and places in between on these African carriers – and start working your magic in extracting the amazing deals on these Star Alliance partners’ program which surely are lurking somewhere deep in the rules and web pages of these airlines. Your African frequent flyer fans are waiting in anticipation!

    • I will be flying two longhauls in South African biz this year and look forward to reviewing them.

      You get the status of the program listed on your ticket. If you book a United ticket with your Air Canada status, you will get treated to the appropriate benefits. THEN IF YOU WANT TO CREDIT THE SAME FLIGHT TO UNITED after getting the Air Canada status benefits, have the gate agent change the frequent flyer number to United at the gate after getting all your benefits.

      • Interesting, thanks for this. I’ll try it out tomorrow. The only problem I foresee is flying from my home airport (Toronto), where most UA flights are codeshared with AC and the gate agents are AC… and a misery to deal with at the best of times. I can imagine them causing a fuss about redirecting the miles, ie refusing to do so for one ‘technical’ reason or another. I imagine it would be different if I were to have UA agents, eg somewhere in the States.

        Enjoy SAA biz. But while you’re on the mother continent, please try out Ethiopian, which now flies direct nonstop from the US and Canada to Addis on the Dreamliner. (Err, oops…) ET often does excellent deals on normal ticketing and fly everywhere in Africa. I wonder if their recent entry into Star Alliance offers new opportunities for Africa-focused travellers. Hamba kahle.

      • Re: SAA just wanted to mention they usually have a 2 for 1 in Jan. if you keep an eye on their site or sign up for email solicitations. Don’t know if it’ll apply to biz though… we were in coach… ;-( (prior to our now getting educated in points)
        Thanks for your insights and strategies!
        L

        • Yes that’s right, SAA always has deals in Jan-Feb. But no, they are not business. The GOOD news, though, is that if you book via UA’s website you can get some cheap SAA flights @150% MileagePlus status miles (as opposed to SAA and Air Canada, which give 50% for the same flight and same price… incredible). That’s one of the reasons I’ve switched from Aeroplan to MileagePlus: 2 cheap returns to SA on SAA and you get your gold card for the year.

  21. Good morning, I love your site. I just wanted to ask a question about a US air award to North Asia. I undertstand that I can fly NY to Japan, stopover for a bit, then continue on to Germany as my destination, and then complete the trip by flying back to NY. I need to be in Hawaii about two weeks later. Is there any way of adding on a free one way to Hawaii on that kind of award? Thanks so much for any help. Mike

    • NY-Japan-Germany-NY is fine for 90k. But that’s all you could do because that has a stopover in Germany and US Airways awards only get one stopover or one open jaw. Free oneways also require a stopover, which you would have already used, so no free oneway.

  22. Signed up for British Air (Chase) 100000 award points, plus with over $30000 charged in one year received free companion ticket. I now realize that any business class flights via London carry very large fees and taxes (over a $1000) and companion ticket cannot be used on partner airlines to avoid these fees etc. Also, available dates that will let you use companion ticket are almost non existent. Will most likely never use companion ticket and use my Avios points (have over 200000) to use partner airlines and fly though a different city then London.
    Can you do a stopover (a few days) on any of the partner or BA airlines?
    Please comment on BA miles and use of companion tickets.
    Thank you, Marc Butler

    • Every segment of a BA award factors into the price of the award AND that is the only factor in the price of the award. So you can have unlimited free stopovers on BA awards no matter what airline you fly. Why? Because booking a roundtrip award costs the same as booking every individual segment of that award separately.

  23. Thanks for the reply. I have one other question. I am in the process of completing my 3rd month of $750 spend on the Barclay’s US Air card. My statement closes on the 17th of this month, and I notice that the monthly points post instantly. If I do my $750 of spend this month by the 17th, do you have any idea of how quickly the 15,000 bonus miles will post? Is it along with the normal spend, or a considerable amount of time afterwards? Thanks!

  24. When searching for first class tickets, and seeing only one available, does the following tend to happen:

    1) Reserving the lone ticket, and the carrier opens up a another lone ticket soon afterwards… or

    2) Does the carrier release additional tickets based on other factors?

    Thanks.

  25. I am trying to utilize American’s free one way. I will be in HNL and want to return to NYC, and then later in the year add on a free one way with a trip to say London. The only flights I can find back from HNL to NYC are ones that connect in LAX. By connecting, does that eliminate my chance of adding on the free one way later to London? Thanks.

  26. Pingback: It’s March Madness and That Means One Thing–Tournament of Bloggers Time! | Point Me to the Miles

  27. Pingback: 7 Countries, 26,000 Miles & First Class on 3 Airlines. A disaster in the making! - FlyerTalk Forums

  28. Shane Peltzman

    Hi Scott,
    My girlfriend and I saw you interviewed at Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles during a Facebook improv show last year. We are currently trying to book travel and just wanted to see what kind of service you offer and how we could go about getting your help.

    We are trying to fly from LAX-PHL (or Atlantic City) on July 3 or 4, returning on July 7. I currently have 60k miles on my credit card, and another 68k with British Airways. Not sure how this helps but thought we would give you a buzz and see what you have to say.

    Please feel free to email me anytime.

    Thank you,

  29. That image of Scott kissing the giraffe is:
    Dimensions 4608 × 3456
    File size 5.3 MB

    You really should shrink it…

  30. Hi Scott,

    I was referred to you by Greg of Frequent Miler. Can you send me the links on what’s the best way to route flights? I had such a headache getting out of LAX with BA miles. It was truly an awful experience.

    Cheers,

    PC

    • This whole blog is about the best way to route flights. You may be interested in my paid award booking service –> milevalue.com/award-booking-service

  31. I am travelling to New Zealand on June 30, 2014. I have business class tickets from canada to Australia and should be able to get a seat with points all the way to Auckland. However, no Star Alliance seats available on the 30 other than the 9:40 which does not make the connection time. Does Air New Zealand typically release more seats closer to the travel date? Or should I just buy a ticket?

  32. Hello, I love your site. I live in Austin, TX do you think that collecting AVIOS miles for domestic travel make any sense?

  33. Hi – I was wondering what the best usage/ valuation for my ChaseSapphire would be. I am going to Rio and have about 95,000 points plus whatever I get in transfer bonus. I have three choices:
    1) I can either buy a ticket with the points (benefit that I get status miles – I am trying to hit 1K) on Coppa which gives me 125% status miles. 2) I can transfer them to United and book a business class ticket an no extra costs. 3) Buy a United ticket but would have to pay significant extra costs for a biz class ticket so probably wont do that. Any recommendations to get the best value for my miles? Anyone have ideas?

    • @KC, If I were you, I’d just buy a roundtrip economy class ticket on Copa Airlines to go to Rio from the USA. They’re a good airline and since you’re already an elite member in United’s Mileageplus program, the likelihood of you scoring a complimentary upgrade on Copa is quite high. I’ve flown Copa a few times and even as a UA gold elite, I’ve always gotten complimentary upgrades.
      However, if you do wish to use your UR points on ChaseSapphire, I suggest perhaps researching how much Avios it will cost to fly LAN from the USA to Rio. From Scott’s recent blog entry, there are no fuel surcharges on LAN flights within the Americas. Hope this helps!

  34. Scott & team, great site! I recently started reading your blog from learning about it at Chicago seminars this past weekend and I love how you focus more on the value of the award and hitting the sweet spots of the different airline frequent flyer programs and alliances.
    @Bill, I hope you achieve your goal of visiting all 7 continents before age 30! I had the same goal too and am glad to have achieved it! :) I literally cried upon my arrival in Antarctica.

  35. thank you for all your valuable info. I’m a newbie when it comes to trying to plan a trip using miles. will be getting additional cards to earn the most miles I can for trip to South Africa. I already have Chase Sapphire Preferred card for use with Star Alliance. Is there anyway to maximize my miles to do a routing something that might include stopovers/open jaw? I want to go from US (east coast) to JNB stopover, JNB to Capetown stopover, Capetown – JNB, JNB-US., or maybe just Capetown -US. I don’t have the itinerary within SA yet, so not sure exactly what else might/might not include. I’ve read about using Lufthansa, BA(but fuel costs)etc. any help with trying to plan best RT in business class . Best options for least amt miles, without taking forever to get to SA? Just don’t know where to start for all flt options.

  36. So could I do the multiple destinations starting from Fll-JFK-jnb-cpt-jfk?

  37. But i’m not doing a stopover until I get to JNB? Starting trip in Fll to catch flt out of JFK and then returning to Fll. do you have any recommendations on how to acquire seats for JNB? We are not planning to do trip until 2015 so can’t check availability yet but trying to figure out how to look for flts, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated? Thanks

    • You get one stopover and one destination. That means there are two places you can stay for as long as you want. If you want CPT, JNB, and a third place, choose the other place as your stopover, JNB as the destination, and return from CPT. That means you will have to book a separate ticket JNB-CPT with cash.

  38. ok think I have it now lol sorry hazards of being newbie and trying to figure all different ways.

    • @Sally, my friends are flying to RSA on United miles using South African Airways in December. They literally booked it a year in advance just when the business class seats opened up so I suggest monitoring the United site to see when they add seats, etc. There are low cost carriers within South Africa as well so in case you want to go to other cities like Durban, Port Elizabeth, etc., it’s quite affordable.

  39. Thanks Joey appreciate the info. Do you know where they are flying out of and when they actually found out that the Business seats had opened? by the way–RSA?? Have been looking into other carriers within SA to see who flies what legs. Maybe try to use some other miles within. Thanks Again

  40. Hey guys,
    Just found this page as I was researching my upcoming trip to South Africa from the USA. My choices are between Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. This would be the first trip not only to S.A. but also on top rated Middle Eastern airlines. So now on to join the frequent fliers clubs for above said companies. I still haven’t read all your pages yet but have you flown on Etihad and Qatar yet? Looking forward to doing some more reading and now good research on your site. Thanks again!

    • DO NOT join their ferquent flyer programs. If you choose Qatar or Etihad, credit the miles to American Airlines. If you choose Emirates, credit to Alaska. These miles will be far easier to use than the Middle Eastern miles. They’re basically all AWESOME in every cabin.

  41. Thanks for all the great info on the site! I tried to submit a form for the free credit card consultation, but don’t know if it went through. I keep getting error messages from the reCaptcha feature. Have tried on a couple browsers with the same result. Just an FYI that it’s either keeping people from submitting a form, or giving the impression that forms are not being submitted. Thanks again!

  42. Hi Scott,

    Love the blog. I’m looking for some advice about which Star Alliance FF Program to credit my upcoming RTW in Business to. Got a great deal on the Swiss / Lufthansa RTW and fly Syd – YVR-MUN-LHR-ZUR-SIN-MEL.

    I’m VAustralia platinum and have requested a status match with Aeroplan but have yet to hear. I’m Australia based for now but will be Canada based in 2015 so looking to stash some miles away. I’m temtped by United but it’s difficult to accrue UA miles in Canada / Aus.

    Advise would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers!

    • United is the best because there are no fuel surcharges on any award tickets. Can’t say that about many other Star Alliance carriers.

  43. **Definitely** United and NOT Aeroplan, which has introduced for 2014 signigicant new restrictions on use of miles, upgrades, etc. … in addition to current fuel surcharges, which render several Aeroplan benefits effectively void. I’m a long time Aeroplan member, but have switched to United MPlus because of the tight restrictions introduced by Aeroplan – and because United’s reward chart is better (cost, availability, charges) for many of the sectors for which I wish to use reward travel. BTW it’s easy to collect on CAN-AUS on MPlus; just fly AC, UA or ANA.

  44. Thanks Guys for the quick response.
    Is it worth trying to status match with UA prior to the trip to get the bonus miles? I probably won’t pass the status challenge as not flying with UA – but double miles is nothing to be sneezed at! Possibly a quick status run from YVR if time permits..The 4 UA qualifying flights will be the problem.

    Are there UA credit card options in Canada / Aus?

    Thanks again,

  45. Pingback: MileValue Dinner in Honolulu: Report

  46. Hi Scott,
    I searched and searched but couldn’t find a search bar on your blog home page. I like your blog! I might find more to like if I could search for it without leaving and doing a general Google search having the topic and your name!

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