It is often debatable whether collecting miles and points is even worth our time and effort, given the existence of 2% cash back credit cards. TravelWhimsy and I just returned from a whirlwind long-weekend trip to Kaua’i, HI, with our moms. The entire trip was conceived and booked on a whim – 7 days prior to departure, to be exact. A last-minute trip like ours seems to indicate that miles and points could trump cash back, and we will let you be the judge.
Would you like to ski for free at a Park City ski resort of your choice this winter?
If you are not a resident of Utah and can get on a flight that takes you into Salt Lake City (SLC) at reasonable morning hours, you can turn your same-day boarding pass into a free ski lift ticket at one of the three Park City ski resorts, including the world-famous Deer Valley Resort.
Now that you have accumulated a sizable collection of miles and points in various programs and have learned how to manage them with the spreadsheets I provided in our “Miles & Points 101” series, you might still wonder when your hard-earned miles and points are set to expire. This post is meant to provide a quick reference for the expiration policies of major airline, hotel, and credit card loyalty programs, via a few tables with links to the official program rules.
At the end of the post, you will have an opportunity to sign up for a limited-time FREE LIFETIME premier membership for Usingmiles.com (valued at $29.99 per year!), a loyalty website that helps you manage all of your loyalty and reward programs in one place.
This is part 2 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.
- Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
- How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
- How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
- What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
- How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
- How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
- Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
- Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
- Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
- How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
- Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
- Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
- Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
- Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
- You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!
During our recent South America adventure, we each flew over 16,000 miles with 10 segments. Had we had to pay for those flights, it would have cost over $20,000 for 3. You CAN replicate our entire itinerary (in economy) for less than 75,000 miles/points per person (or 35,000 for Machu Picchu only), originating in North America (even if you live in Hawaii, Alaska, or Canada)!
Our Cost for 3 Adults (all miles & points came from credit card sign-up bonuses):
- 220,000 BA miles (including a few long-haul segments on LAN Airlines’ flat-bed premium business seats)
- 6,120 Southwest points (3 tickets from Los Angeles to Las Vegas)
- $580.22 (taxes, fees, and 2 tickets between Las Vegas & Los Angeles on AA)
A 3rd seat disappeared during the process of booking, so we had to split on the way to Lima. TravelWhimsy and I flew to Lima (LIM) via Los Angeles (LAX), and mom flew to LIM on AA via Miami (MIA).
Before we start, here is a quick index of the “How to Get Started” series:
- Things to Think about Before You Start;
- What Is a Mile or Point Worth?
- Is Your Credit Going to Take a Hit?
- What Credit Card(s) Should You Get?
- How Do You Keep Track of Everything?
- What Else Can You Do to Increase Your Mile & Point Balance?
As a beginner, you might find that there are an overwhelming number of travel-related credit cards out there. In the past year or two, credit card sign-up bonuses have become so good that a general rule of thumb is NOT to apply for a card unless you get at least $500 (which generally means 50,000 miles/points). Some of the best offers last year all came with 75,000 or 100,000 sign-up bonuses. To help you answer the question “What credit card(s) should you get?” I am going to start by giving you a quick rundown on the three different types of miles & points credit cards.