Free First Class 2014: Shopping Portals

This is the seventh post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

Most major airline and credit card loyalty program have a shopping portal. For instance, google “United shopping” and the first link is to the United Mileage Plus shopping portal.

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Shopping portals allow you to earn huge amounts of miles by making your normal online purchases through your favorite online stores. Just by starting at the portal and using its link to your favorite online retailer, you can get extra miles for your purchases.

The process for earning miles from portals is simple.

  • How do portals work?
  • How can you earn miles by shopping online exactly as you already do?

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Free First Class 2014: Earn Miles from Flying

This is the sixth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

The last few posts were about earning miles from credit cards, which is how I earn 90% of my miles. Folks who fly frequently for business or the occasional paid ticket for vacation should know the basics of earning miles from flying.

There are five takeaways that I want to impart so that you know

  • when you earn miles from flying
  • how many miles you earn from flying
  • and what choices you need to make about where to credit the miles earned

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Free First Class 2014: Transferable Points Basics

This is the fifth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

Transferable points programs are loyalty programs that allow a person to earn points that can be transferred to several different airline or hotel programs. The three most important transferable points programs are:

  • American Express Membership Rewards (MR)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints

Transferable points are extremely valuable for the two types of flexibility they offer.

  1. All three major transferable points programs have partners in all three airline alliance, which means you can book award space on over 60 airlines if you have Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, or Starpoints.
  2. You can use one transferable points account to top off several normal airline or hotel accounts that are just short of dream redemptions. These top offs are the highest value use of points since they take you from not having a dream redemption to having one.

I focus a lot on earning transferable points, and I am very happy when clients of my Award Booking Service come to me with transferable points.

  • How can you earn each type of transferable points?
  • What are the transfer partners for each type of transferable points?
  • What are my four strategies to maximize transferable points?

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Free First Class Next Month 2014: Best Current Credit Card Offers

This is the fourth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

There are currently some huge sign up bonuses that folks new to the miles game can pick up.

I’ve categorized some of the best offers below, but before applying for any cards, I recommend checking out my Introduction to Travel Credit Cards from yesterday.

I also recommend getting a Free Credit Card Consultation instead of picking cards on your own. It breaks my heart when people come to my Award Booking Service with the wrong miles for the trip they want. There’s no reason to Make the Biggest Mistake in Our Hobby.

  • What are the best cards for beginners?

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Free First Class Next Month 2014: Introduction to Travel Credit Cards

This is the third post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

If you’re new to miles and points, you could easily open credit cards today with sign up bonuses totaling more than half a million miles and points.

There are other ways to earn miles and points, but none is as easy, quick, and cheap as opening up travel rewards cards. I’ve earned over 90% of my lifetime miles and points from credit cards, mostly from their sign up bonuses.

A startling amount of fun I’ve had in life has been the direct result of trips taken with miles earned from opening a credit card and meeting its minimum spending requirement. I don’t want to over-sell credit cards, but I don’t want to under-sell them either. They are the bread and butter of this hobby.

Today’s post will be one of the longest of the entire Free First Class Next Month 2014 series because I want the entire introduction to travel credit cards to be in one place.

  • How do travel credit cards affect your credit score?
  • How can you get three free credit reports per year?
  • What are the three things I look for in a credit card?
  • How do I double my miles with business cards?
  • How long do I hold my credit cards?
  • What about annual fees?
  • Will you ever run out of credit card bonuses to get?

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