Do I Need a Loyalty Account Before I Get a Co-Branded Card?

TPG reader Barb sent me a message on Facebook to ask about when she should open a loyalty account: “I’m thinking of joining IHG Rewards and applying for the IHG credit card. Does it matter which one I do first?” The first step in my Beginner’s Guide is to open accounts with the major loyalty programs, since you…

When Does My Airline Elite Status Expire?

TPG reader Lisa sent me a message on Facebook to ask how long her elite benefits will last: “I earned United Premier Silver status this year, but I’m not clear on how long it’s valid. Will I lose my status in 2016?” As we kick off 2016, the cycle of elite status begins again for frequent flyers everywhere. Whether…

Does the Chase Travel Portal Let Me Choose Airline Seats?

TPG reader Erin sent me a message on Facebook to ask about booking flights through Ultimate Rewards: “When booking a flight using Chase Ultimate Rewards, are you able to choose your seat and pay baggage fees?” One advantage of Ultimate Rewards is the flexibility to book flights, hotels, rental cars and more directly through the Chase Travel Portal….

What’s the Best Way to Redeem Points for Merchandise?

TPG reader Bertie sent me a message on Facebook to ask about redeeming points for merchandise: “I have a sizable stash of Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards, which I’d like to redeem for TVs and iPads for my new store. What’s the best way to do this?” One piece of advice I find myself repeating often is that you…

Can I Earn Miles from Two Dining Programs at the Same Time?

TPG reader Eric sent me a message on Facebook to ask about airline dining programs: “If I join the Southwest and United dining programs and register the same credit card with each one, will I earn points/miles with both airlines when I use the registered card on eligible dining expenses?” Dining programs offer an easy way to boost your points…

Are Co-Branded Credit Cards the Best Option for Hotel Stays?

TPG reader William sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning hotel rewards: “What’s the best card to use for IHG stays: the IHG Rewards card, Sapphire Preferred or Citi Prestige?” Taking advantage of credit card bonus categories is a great way to rack up points quickly. I often recommend earning transferable points for greater flexibility in your award travel…

Is First Class Worth the Price on Flights to Hawaii?

TPG reader Travis sent me a message on Facebook to ask about flying to Hawaii: “I’m going Hawaii next year and debating whether I want to fly first class. Is it worth the extra cost, and if so, which airline would you choose?” I’m not a big fan of domestic premium cabins, as they tend to be a…

Should I Book My Stay with Ultimate Rewards or Hyatt Points?

TPG reader Brian sent me a message on Facebook to ask about booking a Hyatt award stay: “I’m using points to book a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency in Nice, France. The rate is 25,000 Hyatt points per night; however, the Chase Travel Portal is also offering rooms for 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points per night based…

Does Gifted Delta Medallion Status Count as MQMs Earned?

TPG reader Mike sent me a message on Facebook to ask about Delta Medallion elite status: “If someone uses their Delta Choice Benefit to give me Gold status, will the miles I earn on my own still help me qualify for the next elite tier?” One interesting feature of the SkyMiles program is that Delta allows upper-tier Medallion members to pick…

What’s the Best Strategy for Switching Hotel Loyalty Programs?

TPG reader Roger sent me a message on Facebook to ask about moving his loyalty to a new hotel program: “I’m switching from Hilton HHonors to Marriott Rewards, since Marriott has a better presence in my favorite travel destinations. I don’t want to start from scratch with my points and elite status; what’s the best way to make the transition?” On…