Why another blog about traveling? Well, most of the other blogs I read on the subject are written by people who make a lifestyle choice out of frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trips that I actually take and solicit feedback on what I could have (or should have) done differently to improve the experience. Whether than means using fewer points from a loyalty plan, using more points from a loyalty plan and having a better experience, or just something I should have seen/done while I was there. It also serves as a collection of trip reports for me so that I can go back over things if I plan repeat, or at least similar, trips.
As background on me, I am 39 years old, married and have 3 daughters (ages 2, 10 and 12). I belong to several loyalty programs and have miles/points in most of them. I target American Airlines as my airline of choice for miles and (currently, but subject to change) Priority Club hotels. My choice of Priority Club is based largely on number of locations. I am considering switching to something more posh (like Starwood) to make the stays better.
I am not particularly miles-rich in any program as I only just started. In fact, here is a quick list of my current balances and programs:
|Air Canada Aeroplan||–|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||156,192|
|American Express Membership Rewards||-57,171|
|Best Western Gold Crown Club||550|
|Fairmont President’s Club||–|
|Hertz Gold Plus Rewards||500|
|United Mileage Plus||–|
|US Airways Dividend Miles||–|
|Virgin America EleVAte||275|
|Wells Fargo Rewards||23,570|
* The American Express account is negative because I borrowed points to transfer into Delta to get a ticket for an upcoming trip to Europe.
As you can see, no program is really loaded with miles/points–again, I’m really just getting started into this “game.”
What advice would you offer a newcomer (other than to read FlyerTalk and View from the Wing, which I now do every day)? I signed up for 2 Citi cards last month (which is where 150k of the AA miles came from). I’m considering a Citi business card as well for another 75k. Is this the right approach? Should I grab a hotel card as well/instead?
I’ll post an updated balance chart about once per month (though probably trimming out the programs that are really only there because the points were free–the main purpose of which is to transfer into other programs to keep points from expiring.
Thanks for reading!