A Ranking of Miles from Most Broadly Useful to Most Niche

I naturally categorize miles and points into two groups:

Broadly useful
Niche programs

The first type of miles are the miles you want to stockpile if you're hoping to follow a simple mile-accumulation strategy to meet all your future travel goals. Ideally these miles benefit from cheap award charts across all classes of service and to all regions without incurring fuel surcharges on awards.

By contrast, niche programs have some great values on their award charts, but lots of flaws.

Current State of Free Oneways

This blog became famous because I was the first to articulate how to book free one ways on United and US Airways awards.

A free one way is a one way trip to or from your home airport that is tacked onto another award for no extra miles.

Easy Round the World with Miles on Luxury Products

We've been getting bad news in the miles world lately, so let me state unequivocally: miles still offer unmatched value to travel the world more, better, and cheaper.

Here's a round-the-world (RTW) trip you can take with miles that took me me about 10 minutes to find the award space for.

There's nothing particularly important about the cities or even the regions where this trip stops. It just shows an easy RTW award using one way awards.

Easy Round the World with Miles on Luxury Products

We've been getting bad news in the miles world lately, so let me state unequivocally: miles still offer unmatched value to travel the world more, better, and cheaper.

Here's a round-the-world (RTW) trip you can take with miles that took me me about 10 minutes to find the award space for.

There's nothing particularly important about the cities or even the regions where this trip stops. It just shows an easy RTW award using one way awards.

Master Thread: Off Peak Awards

Off peak awards allow us to stretch our miles further by booking discounted awards to select regions during certain pre-determined dates. Off peak awards are offered by several airlines, and this post will put all the off peak awards I know of in one place.

While off peak awards are often less desirable dates, there are some off peak dates that are actually my favorite times to visit a country.

Five Underpriced Countries for Your Next Award

Sometimes you can go really far for not very miles by finding underpriced countries on your favorite award chart.

Award charts, by their nature, group several countries together for a single price. The countries at the extremes of each group are often underpriced relative to the rest of the group, leaving you the chance to get a great deal with your miles.

Here are five examples of underpriced countries on the American Airlines, United, Delta, US Airways, and British Airways award charts.
1.

Only 50,000 Miles for a Trip to Hawaii, Fiji, and Australia

Many people on the west coast can take a trip to Honolulu, Fiji, and Australia or New Zealand with stops in each place for only 50,000 miles one way.

If you live in a city with a direct Alaska Airlines or American Airlines flight to Hawaii

Combining Hawaii and Australia onto One Award is Easy with Great Award Space in 2014

There is:

widely available
underpriced
economy award space
for two passengers
for all of 2014
to Australia
with the opportunity to stop in Hawaii for a few days in either direction.

If you have 75,000 American Airlines miles and about $100, you can fly a roundtrip award from the United States to Australia on almost any day you want this year.

Asian Low-Cost Carriers Are So Cheap that It Affects United and American Award Bookings

I recently booked two flights for only $102 total on Asian low-cost carriers. Asian low-cost carriers are so cheap that there are effects on United and American awards you might be considering booking.

I booked Kuala Lumpur to Lankawi for $27 on Air Asia, and I spent another $75 on a Firefly flight from Penang to Phuket.

You Don’t Need to Be a Hub Captive When Collecting Miles

I think it's a big mistake to be a hub-captive. There's no reason that the credit cards you open have to be related to the dominant carrier at your airport.

Your life will be better if you instead open up the best card for the trip you want regardless of the airline that dominates your home airport.

Why should you ignore your hubby?

Imagine someone in Atlanta who wants to visit Buenos Aires.

Delta is the dominant carrier at ATL, and the only one with a direct flight to Buenos Aires.