As someone who would collect miles and points in various airlines and hotel reward programs it is inevitable that there are times when your miles/points are expiring and you want to extend it if possible. One of popular currency is Avianca Lifemiles. Lifemiles keeps having promotion every 3 months or so where you can buy miles cheaply for as low as 1.375 cents/mile when you buy 50k+ miles. But what if you have miles in your account but no travel plans and then the time comes when the miles are about to expire?
The easiest way to extend the life of your expiring miles is to purchase miles at the cost of US $33 + tax per 1000 miles or to transfer small chunk of miles (Starting at 1000 miles) to friend or family account at a cost of US $15 + tax per 1000 miles. There is another option though where it does not have to cost you any money and that is by donating your miles.
Most of the programs requires you to donate minimum of 1000 miles or more to participating charitable organization, but Lifemiles allows you to donate 1 mile and extend the life of your miles by ~24 months. You can go to the homepage here and go to "Donate Miles" as shown below or you can go to the Donate Miles link here.
So next time you are close to expiration of your Lifemiles just donate 1 mile and extend the life for 24 more months without buying or transferring any miles. If you are interested in subtle tips and value on lifemiles check out this flyertalk thread.
Disclosure: Miles And Money could earn referral bonus for sign up through some of the links above. Some of the links may or may not be publicly available links.
Upside is the new business travel website which aims at reducing business traveler expense while at the same time providing incentives in terms of gift cards for travel package (flight + hotel) booked through their website. The way it works is they will encourage you to choose "alternative options" which might still work for you while providing you with $100 or more in known brand gift cards (You can select which gift card you want).
They nominally charge $35 booking fee which is potentially offset by the gift cards they offer for the booking done through their website. As of this writing their are offering a minimum of $200 in gift cards for the "flight + hotel" package regardless of price booked through them and also waiving $35 booking fee if you use some of their launch partner promotion code (google it and you will find few of them easily and you can enter them here). Although their primary target audience is business travelers you could still book the trip through them for leisure and earn the gift cards. So potentially it can be very lucrative offer to give them a try if you are looking for a weekend outing somewhere close by where you can essentially earn $200 in gift cards easily.
Their package cost are usually equal or less than the cost of flights and hotels if booked separately but at the same time providing you with good value gift cards. The biggest return is if you book international itineraries but even domestic itinerary would give you good value for your money. Also you do have option of making your trip "refundable" but at a higher cost. Below is one of the examples of available trips which looks very attractive using their promotion.
As you can see from above example your actual cost is close to ~50% factoring in the gift card rebate. If you are flexible in your days and are looking for vacation close by, you could easily reduce the above cost more than 50%.
So, take upside for a ride and see what you can find for your getaway.
Travelling using miles is a great benefit where you could fly to destinations which otherwise you might not dream of going to (as it would be too expensive for you to afford it). But there are times when you want to change those award tickets or completely cancel the trip you once planned with so much of time and effort. Most airlines would charge you a fee to cancel the award and redeposit the miles unless you have some sort of elite status with them which would waive off those cancellation fees. Let's face it, airlines wants to monetize any opportunity you throw at them as that's one of the revenue generator for them. But most often you will find creative ways of getting around this limitation. Although I do not provide any guarantee that it would work 100% of time and YMMV, but I can guarantee that it would work more often than not if one thing falls in your favor, and that thing is "Schedule Change".
What is Schedule Change?
Most airlines allow you to book award tickets for almost 330 days in advance. Since airline industry is dynamic in nature there could be routine changes to the schedule due to certain route additions/deletions or change in partnerships between the airlines or some changes due to airport maintenance requirement. All this could entail change in either departure or arrival time of flights which accounts for "schedule change".
How does schedule change help you?
Since each and every airline has a different policy regarding schedule change (and this info is often unpublished), its hard to predict what would work and what would not. But below are few instances which could very well help you to be qualified for a full refund of miles with no cancellation fees for your award tickets:
How to increase the probability of schedule change to affect your itinerary:
So knowledge of above would help you save your buck in the inadvertent circumstance where you could no longer take that trip and would still want to avoid those hefty cancellation or miles redeposit fees.
One of the way’s to accumulate miles in the airline frequent flyer program is to collect points in one of hotel programs which allow point conversion to miles. Most often than not the conversion ratio from points to miles is bad but still there are few exceptions to this. So, why would you want to transfer points to miles?
Let’s look into more details about the good hotel programs purely from points to miles conversion perspective.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG): SPG is one of the few programs which provides great transfer value:
Wyndham Rewards (WR): WR is another program which provides great transfer value:
Apart from Starwood Preferred Guest and Wyndham Rewards there are bunch of other hotel programs which could potentially earn higher miles at times due to lucrative seasonal promotion offers. Some of the hotel programs which are useful for points to miles conversion are listed below.
Hyatt Gold Passport
You want to get the best rate on next big loan? Or want to buy the car you are longing for at an awesome bargain? Or want to get the Credit Card for the next free domestic flight? All these needs you to have an excellent credit. But how do you know you have great credit history?
There are three different credit monitoring agencies in the US:
Getting to know the scores of them would help identify your credit score and get the next big bargain you are looking for. But how do you find these scores for free? You can at least get the score of two of above for free.
1. Credit Sesame (Experian) : This is a website where you can create a free account and plug in all your details and it will help you get your credit score. The pull done to get your score is a soft pull and as such does not affect your credit score. The score is a close approximate of your actual Experian score. Here is the link: http://www.creditsesame.com/
2. Credit Karma (TransUnion) : Credit Karma has lot more better features in my opinion and provides tracking of various scores including Auto Insurance score as well. Again they do a soft pull on your credit and as such does not create a credit inquiry on you. It closely resembles the TransUnion Score. The link is here: https://www.creditkarma.com/
So armed with information about your credit score you would be able to make the next big decision with ease.
Disclaimer : The links provided does not earn me any commission or referral. To keep great scores make sure you always pay your dues on time.
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