Can I Upgrade a Ticket Booked with Credit Card Points?

TPG reader Jeff emailed me to ask about upgrading flights booked through a third party: “If I book a flight through Citi ThankYou Rewards, can I then use my airline miles to upgrade my ticket?” One nice aspect of credit card loyalty programs (including Citi) is that you can use points to book flights and still earn rewards in the…

When Can I Earn a Second Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus?

TPG reader Cindy sent me a message on Facebook to ask about credit card bonuses: “I earned a sign-up bonus from the Marriott Visa in September of 2014. Chase says I need to wait 24 months before I can earn another one. Do I need to wait that long before I open a new card, or just make sure 24…

Can I Earn Airline Miles from Someone Else’s Ticket?

TPG reader Tyler emailed me to ask about earning airline miles: “My wife and I each have our own frequent flyer accounts, and we each earn miles when we pay for flights. It would be easier if we could accumulate the miles in one account, since we’d build up a larger balance more quickly. Is there a way to get credit for both…

Should I Ever Use a Card that Earns One Point Per Dollar?

TPG reader Graham sent me a message on Facebook to ask about mile and point valuations: “I use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus since it earns two points per dollar on everything. Is there any reason to use another card (like Chase Sapphire Preferred) if I’m only earning one point per dollar? Isn’t it better to earn double the…

Are Airline Flight + Hotel Vacation Packages a Good Deal?

TPG reader Everett sent me an email to ask about flight and hotel packages: “A lot of airlines offer vacation packages online; are these good buys, and do they earn rewards like normal?” Even though I book a lot of my travel with points and miles, I’m always interested in paid airfare when a particularly sweet deal pops up. Vacation packages offered by airlines and online travel agencies…

Can I Book Rooms Separately to Earn Double Elite Credits?

TPG reader Oren sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning hotel elite credits: “If I need two hotel rooms, can I make two separate bookings and get credit for two stays instead of one?” Between upgrades, bonuses and other amenities, hotel status can be highly valuable, and I get a lot of questions from readers looking for ways to…

Should I Get Chase Freedom Now or Wait for a Larger Bonus?

TPG reader Hussain sent me a message on Facebook to ask about sign-up bonuses: “I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and I’m interested in also getting the Chase Freedom card. Would you recommend applying for the current $150 promotion, or waiting to see if the $200 bonus returns?” Credit card sign-up bonuses are a great way to…

Which SPG 50-Night Platinum Benefit Should I Choose in 2016?

TPG reader Alex email me to ask about Starwood elite benefits: “Which SPG 50 night benefit would you choose? I wasn’t impressed by the suite night awards I chose last time, as they never cleared. I’m also not worried about re-qualifying next year, so the 5 nights of elite credit aren’t worth much to me.” When Starwood introduced choice benefits for…

Is It Easier to Earn Airline Status with Miles or Segments?

TPG reader Matt sent me a message on Facebook to ask about strategies for earning elite status: “I’m trying to earn Delta elite status; is it generally more cost-effective to aim for the mileage or segment requirements? It seems like mileage would be easier, but I’m not sure, since I can get cheap, short segments from Atlanta.” Since Delta and United offer redeemable…

How Important Is Maintaining My Credit Utilization Ratio?

TPG reader Richard sent me a message on Facebook to ask about managing his credit score: “My travel has decreased significantly, and I’m thinking about canceling several hotel-branded cards with annual fees. Should I replace them with other cards that have no annual fee in order to maintain a low debt-to-credit ratio?” Your debt-to-credit ratio (also known as your…