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Send In Your Reader Questions!

by on March 10, 2012 · 20 comments

in Sunday Reader Questions

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Tomorrow is Sunday, and you know what that means: time for me to answer some reader questions!

I’ve gotten a few good ones in this week, but I’m always looking for more. If you have a question about airline miles, hotel points and/or credit cards — the fastest way to earn points, the best ways to redeem them, and everything in between, I want to hear it. I try my best to answer every one, but even if you don’t get an answer right away, it might just be because I’m considering it for a future post.

To submit your questions, email me with READER QUESTION in the subject line so I can look out for it – and please try to be as concise as possible!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike March 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

Would like to know which current credit cards are possible to have more than 1 at the same time

Neil March 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

I’m about to spend $10,000 on camera gear. What’s the best way to maximize miles? I’ve already got a Chase Sapphire Preferred, AMEX Business Gold and Capital One Venture. Is there a new CC offer with a minimum spend? An ideal shopping portal/vendor? Is there a rule of thumb for maximizing the return on purchases?

RakSiam March 10, 2012 at 10:41 am

If you are shopping online I would go through the Ultimate Rewards shopping mall as they have some of the best bonuses out there. So in addition to the 10K points you get for the spend on the Sapphire card you also could get many multiples of that in bonus points. I think Ultimate Rewards is the best shopping portal I have seen in terms of bonuses. For example buy.com has 5 bonus points per dollar and they have links with other retailers so if you buy via buy.com you can get points for stuff from merchants that aren’t part of the program themselves. If you have a business you might want to go for the Ink Bold which sometimes has even better bonus offers in the UR mall than even the Sapphire card. And of course UR points are quite flexible.

Rebecca D March 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

Definitely the US Airways MasterCard from Barclays. I just got my second one (WorldmPremier) with all the same bonuses (40k miles, lounge pass, 2 $99 companion tickets, 10k anniversary miles, etc.).

Gregg March 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

Sitting on a huge amount of AMEX points as I always seem to find cheap tickets to buy and figure I’ll keep the points. As I’ve also got a bunch stuck in AA (paid a penalty to keep them sadly) I want to be proactive this year and get the best value I can. Also, I’m on Gold but now that there is Gold Premier to consider. I don’t know that I travel enough to merit Platinum but also not sure how to assess the minimum amount of travel that makes it worthwhile.

Funguy March 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Ive got a ton of miles / points etc, now what?? Ok, more specifically, whats the best /most efficient way to find award tickets, both within the US and internationally? I know there are several people who offer services to help find award tickets, what tools do they use that warrant paying for this service? Thanks!

RakSiam March 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I think the services shine in booking complicated itineraries and the best also understand all of the partnerships and alliances so they can think of unusual routings or partner bookings that might not be obvious. But in general with a little bit of work I think most people can handle it on their own. I find AwardNexus.com to be quite helpful and I like ExpertFlyer as well. Obviously some airlines’ website search engines are better than others. And you may need to make a call to book partner awards in many cases.

James March 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Though it ain’t B&H [which ironically used to be a part of Chase's UR portal], I remember seeing Adorama participate in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal where you can get two points for every dollar spent. That sounds like an easy ~20K points to me :-).

Just curious: what do you plan on getting?

RakSiam March 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

or even better Adorama (and I think B&H) are part of the buy.com marketplace. So you can get 5 bonus points per dollar that way.

Neil March 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

James, I’m looking at a Canon 5DMarkIII and some lenses. It looks like I should go through the UR Mall with either my Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold. I was hoping there was a 100k new card bonus with a minimum spend but I’ll take what I can get. I got 100k from the BA card and 100k from Capital One Venture so things are adding up.

Paul March 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Can you post your email address? I can’t open the link as I don’t have a “default mail client”……

Pdillm March 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm

With United changing their upgrade policy, status matters much less than fare class which is resulting in fewer upgrades for lower fare elites. Is there a major airline that is more favorable to elites that typicially fly on lower price tickets, but fly over 100k miles a year?

thepointsguy March 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Info @ thepointsguy.com

Julie March 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I want to use my American Express points to fly business class to Italy. I have about 250k points with AX and this is for two tickets. British Airways has non-stop from San Diego to London – that big “jump” is appealing. This will be our 1st trip to Italy, so Rome, Tuscany, Florence, and Venice are of interest so we are flexible on the cities in italy that we arrive to and depart from. Is it possible to do this?

cbdg9100 March 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

In one of your previous posts, I think you noted that one of the benefits of United Mileage Plus miles is that you can book a round trip with an open jaw — in one city, out another — and one stopover in a city that serves as a hub for another Star Alliance airline. This would give a round trip ticket three stops in Europe, with connecting flights in between, for example.

How would I go about booking such a flight?

MJLouise March 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I tried to apply for Citi Hilton 40K (after 1K spend) and Citi Hilton 50K (after 1.5K spend) using two browser trick. I ended up with two exact same Citi Hilton 40K cards, which ended up working OK for me. Everything the same, except different account numbers LOL.

RakSiam March 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm

UA allows you to book one way awards. So you can book one award one way into Europe for example and then book your return as a separate award from a different city. And get between them however you want…flight, train, bus, boat, whatever.

With regard to stopovers, etc (from the UA website)
“Two open jaws are permitted per roundtrip award. For example, you can fly from Newark to London and return from Paris to Washington Dulles.

A stopover is permitted on roundtrip award travel only. One stopover is permitted, unless otherwise noted. Additional mileage may be required for Saver Awards within the mainland U.S., Alaska and Canada.”

Typically you need to call to book anything other than a straightforward one way or round trip.

Paul March 12, 2012 at 4:02 am

In addition to the credit cards which you are already looking at, consider buying through ebates.com or mrrebates.com for cash back.

Kendra March 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Did you just have one credit pull or two?

Sheila March 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Could you do a destination of the week on Cusco, Peru? I took advantage of the BA 100,000 credit card and am excited to take my familty of 4 this summer to Peru. We are set on flights, Inca Trail hike but not on hotels yet. Need to know which hotel has the best rewards. I’m interested in the new Marriott hotel but sure takes a lot of points as Category 6.

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