Thursday, August 6, 2009

Airline Miles through Credit Card Offers

We promised we'll go more into depth concerning the "how to" so we decided the best place to start is at the heart of the matter.
The quickest and easiest way to earn a huge mountain of miles is to play, what we like to call, the credit card game. Now, before we start a quick disclaimer from our side - signing up for credit cards is a serious financial decision and shouldn't be taken lightly. Of course, if you follow our steps carefully and approach all this with a healthy common sense you will be delighted by the benefits.
We have applied, churned (closed and re-applied) for credit cards for years and our credit scores haven't ever dropped drastically....

Let's start the with the "Goldmine" of CreditCards out there, Citibank AAdvantage Credit Cards (there is a Mastercard, Visa and American Express). In addition there are business credit cards.
Select ONE of the Individual credit cards (annual fee free for 1st year) - apply - receive - activate and then STOP. If you looked closely at the Terms & Conditions. You have to spend $750 before you will be getting 25000 or 30000 miles (depending on the current promotion). Now you could spend this on a flight, nice shoes, groceries, etc...but there's a better way. The US mint sells presidential coins that they want you to get into circulation....well, you buy $750 worth of coins from the mint (shipping is free - it will say 4.95 for shipping but that will disappear when you go to the checkout). Pay for the $750 worth of coins with your new shiny Citibank Credit card. Wait 4-5 weeks for the coins to arrive by UPS and then deposit the coins in your checking account. Once deposited - pay your credit card with that money. You lost $0 didn't spend a dime but will receive 25 or 30K American Airlines miles....too good to be true...nope, we and others have been doing it for months! :) This can be done with any Airline Credit Card of course (most of them have a spending requirement of $250 to 750 until you receive miles) so order lots of coins! :)

The Citibank AAdvantage cards can be churned, for now, over and over again. There's only a 90day wait period between cancellation and re-application for each card. It might be longer for business cards. So what are you waiting for - sign up for cards, buy US mint coins and sit on a mountain of American Airline Miles in no time....

For United miles - Chase bank has a variety of credit cards. Most need you to spend $250 before receiving 25000 or 30K miles. The same is true for Continental Airlines and Chase Credit Cards...

Sometimes an annual fee credit card might be worth it - consider the Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines credit cards. Sign up for the Bank of America & Bank of Hawaii (two different credit cards) and get 20000 Hawaiian miles each. 40000 miles is enough for a free ticket to Hawaii... or convert those 40000 miles to 160000 Hilton points and get free Hotel nights.... The fee for the Bank of America and Bank of Hawaii cards are $50. So by spending $100 you get a free flight to Hawaii...not bad....

There are many, many more. Gary at has the best list that's out there. Simply click on Credit Cards on the left and find the Airline you want to start collecting miles in. First however, check the Registration page because sometimes you get bonus miles for signing up with a Airline loyalty program. :)

We will get back on the Credit Card topic soon (specifically about how to get Business Credit Cards without actually owning a business) - there's so much to discover! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Miles - Points - Deals - A short introduction...

Hi again!

Let's talk miles, points and deals. :)
This is only a short overview - we'll go into details in later posts.


You know the problem - you want to travel and see new places but the flight fare is just too much to bear. There's no other option but flying there but you get discouraged or don't want to wait for the fares to "possibly/maybe" drop. This blog will get you to those exotic, far-away places, all it needs is a bit of planning.

Nowadays, every national and international airline has some form of loyalty reward program. The point of these programs is to ensure repeat business ($) from previous passengers. Since the competition in the skies has only increased in recent years, the fight for returning customers has intensified. First let's look at the top 3 players (legacy carriers=have been around the block for a while) in the US skies: UNITED, AMERICAN and DELTA.

United's loyalty program is called United Mileage Plus and it's a great system if you work/live and travel in the United States. United is part of the Star Alliance (an alliance of 20+ airlines around the world). What does this mean to you? When you earn United miles for flying/shopping!!!!/dining!!!!, etc.. you can use those miles to fly practically anywhere in the world, either with United or with one of their partner airlines. How many miles you need per flight depends on the distance traveled. Currently 25000miles gets you a domestic ticket in the US, 55000 gets you to Europe, Mainland US to Hawaii takes 40000 miles and so on.... The amounts may vary depending on the airline you choose and if you are able to get the "cheapest" award seat. More on that later....

United Mileage Plus is one of our favorite programs, not only because we are based in San Francisco, a hub for United, but also because of the strong partnership between United and Lufthansa. We travel to Europe a lot and appreciate Lufthansa's extensive destination list.

American's loyalty program is called AAdvantage and it is currently the best system to get lots and lots of miles fast (more on that later as well - look for our "Credit Card" section!). American is part of the One World Alliance of airline carriers. Members include British Airways, Quantas and many more....

AAdvantage miles got us to our Honeymoon destination, St. Lucia this year for FREE. The flight, as you can imagine, would have been quite pricey so we were happy to spend that money on a nice luxury, all-inclusive resort hotel instead! ;)

Delta's loyalty program is called Skymiles. Delta has an extensive international destination list - espcially with its latest merger with Northwest Airlines. Delta is part of Skyteam and partner airlines include among others: Air France (Paris anyone?), Alitalia (all roads lead to Rome, vero?) and Aeroflot (Winter in Moscow?). We mentioned the merger with Northwest Airlines - well, it's still not done, so if you can, take advantage of earning in both loyalty programs until they are merged into one. We have successfully created a Northwest Airlines Worldperks account, earned miles and transferred them, completely free now, to Delta. We'll show you how in a later post.

There are many more airline loyalty programs and we encourage you to sign up for them all! Some programs give you sign-up bonuses - we will post links for these bonuses shortly.


After following our advice (signing up for airline loyalty programs, shop for miles, dine for miles, etc...), you arrive at your destination only to be confronted with expensive and out-of-this world hotel room prices. Fear not fellow travelbandit, we got your back! :) You see, not only are there loyalty programs for airline passengers but there are also many, many programs for Hotels, rental cars, train name it....
The biggest money saver are of course the hotel loyalty programs. There's Hilton's HHonors, Starwood's Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG - Sheraton, W, Westin,etc..), Marriot's Marriott Rewards, Priority Club (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn,etc...), Choice Privileges (Comfort Inn), Best Western, etc...
There are, frankly, too many to list. Once you have stayed at a variety of hotels, you probably have a favorite "brand" of hotels that offer all the amenities you look for. We personally prefer Hilton, Starwood, Marriott and Priority Club but preferences for you may vary.

Points are earned the same way as for airline miles. You have to use their services or be a bandit and earn points for free (tip: credit cards - more to come). There are also various tricks in order to get "STATUS" in a hotel program. A certain memberhsip level or STATUS makes you eligible for extra goodies such as more points earned, late check-out, free newspaper, free water or gifts, etc... It helps to have status, it's nice to be special! :)


A lot of websites claim that they will provide you Travel deals. One of the best, that doesn't clog your email inbox with unnecessary messages is TRAVELZOO. Sign up for their email alerts - it's worth it. Just put in the destination and receive special deals from Hotels and flights to the destination in your inbox every Tuesday. It has saved us a lot of money so far.
As far as searching for flights/hotels: KAYAK has our vote. Sometimes VAYAMA can give good results too. BING,which is heavily advertised currently, is ok and we appreciate the fare price prediction function, formerly known as
We never had much use for Priceline since we try to get things for free but it comes in handy sometimes for rental car deals.
We'll go into more detail later.

So there you have it- our "short" introduction to the world of travel loyalty programs. Of course, it's completely missing a lot of programs, Amtrak or rental car programs for example. But we will highlight these programs if there are special deals to be had! :)
In the meantime, please visit two great websites (FRUGALTRAVELGUY.COM and This is were we got our free/frugal Travel schooling! :)

More on HOW to earn many, many free and/or easy miles to come!! Check back soon!

Let us travel - or else!!!

Hello World!

Welcome to our little travel blog! The Travelbandits are always on the lookout for a travel "steal"! We hope you will enjoy our blog and gain many insights in little-known travel tips and tricks.
Traveling the world is easier than ever - let's explore together!
Do you want to fly from mainland US to Japan for $40? How about to Europe for only $100? Luxury hotels for free and many more unbelievable deals are just around the corner! :)

Keep checking back - we will be adding more content soon. Until then, enjoy your travels! :)