Welcome to another entry in my “Beginner’s Guide“, which is a series of posts written with beginners to miles and points in mind, and totally ripped off borrowed from Stephen Covey (it’s Habit 2, people!!).
- The Basics
- How does signing up for credit cards affect your credit score, Part 1
- How does signing up for credit cards affect your credit score, Part 2
- Meeting spending totals on credit cards
- Tracking signup bonuses (and making sure you GET them!)
- Earning miles through shopping portals
- The truth of the travelers's triangle: The relationship between time, price, and location
- Begin with the end in mind
Two groups of emails I often get
I often get emails or tweets from people wanting to know how to get started. There are 2 common groups of people I’ll hear from. First, it’s people that need to use miles and 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. For those people, there’s the Traveler’s Triangle, which explores the relationship between how flexible you are with your dates or your location and the price you’re going to pay
Answer: If you’re super rigid with your dates and your location, ESPECIALLY if those dates are next week, you’re not flying there for free, unless you get EXTREMELY lucky 🙂
The second group of people have heard about travel hacking, and want to know how they can travel for “free”
Begin with the end in mind
So what does it mean to begin with the end in mind? Simply, if you’re going to get started, you need to figure out WHERE you want to go first, and only THEN figure out how you’re going to get there. If you’ve taken good care of your credit, your easiest source of miles is going to be signup bonuses from credit cards, but it doesn’t make sense to just sign up for a credit card because it has a big number of points in a letter you got in the mail.
It does no good to get a ton of American Airlines miles only to find out the place that you want to go is best served by Delta or United!
So, FIRST THINGS FIRST (oh no, more Covey! :-D), figure out where you want go. Pick somewhere for next spring break, or summer vacation. Figure out if you’ll need airline miles, hotel points or both, and then come up with a plan for how you’re going to get there. If you need help, I’m always willing – just drop me an email at dan at pointswithacrew dot com
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Hi Dan. Loved your segment this morning! I have one place in mind that I need your best advice. My daughter is having a baby so I plan on flying from the Elmira-Corning airport in BigFlats to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix AZ at least once per year but hopefully twice. 99% sure I will always fly Delta. I have great credit, score 840. What would u suggest for me? Can’t thank u enough for your advice.
I want to bring my crew (wife & 2 daughters) to Hawaii. We live in Louisiana. Apparently I can swing the lodging costs, but I just can’t wrap my mind around the cost of the flights!! Please advise.
Best would be to sign up for [followemail] or join our miles and points Facebook group, rather than corresponding over comments on random blog posts 🙂
Hi Dan! Thanks for your the great ideas. Does your strategy work well for international as well?
What do you mean? To fly internationally or if you are not a US citizen? The short answer is yes for the first, no for the second