Win a trip to the Gold Coast of Australia (Official Post)

Okay – it’s finally here.

This giveaway is sponsored by American Express Premier Gold Card Rewards card and the travel experts at BoardingArea.

The prize: Seven nights/eight days hotel accommodations, transportation, meals, activities and round-trip airfare for two people to the Gold Coast of Australia (Queensland). (And the trip is a revenue trip so it is points and miles earning ;))

Total value = $10,250!

Those that can enter: The contest is open at all United States residents, 18 years and older (void in US territories). For the complete list of full contest details and rules click here

How to enter: Post a comment on this blog post with an answer to this question: “What is your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points?”

You can enter between March 22, 2010 and March 28, 2010. Increase your chances of winning by posting a comment on the other 20 BoardingArea blogs that are participating. Only one entry per person per blog.

After March 28, 2010, I will randomly select one of the comments from this post to move on to the final drawing pool of 20 winners. So go ahead and comment!

Flight Diversions

Fly Gracefully

The Gate

Loyalty Traveler

Marshall Jackson on Travel

Miles Quest

Musings of The Global Traveler

One Mile at a Time

Pearls of Travel Wisdom


Points, Miles and Martinis

Points Wizard

Road Warriorette

Things in the Sky

TM Travel World


View From the Wing

The Wandering Aramean

Wing and a Prayer


  1. At the same time that you want to focus your earning on specific programs, remember — you didn’t get married to your primary frequent flier program. Sometimes you will be better off just buying the best available value even if that won’t earn points in your primary program.

  2. As amateurish as it sound, I go through my “travel checklist” before every trip that includes bringing a printout of all my FF and FH account numbers. Just in case I have to switch flights or hotels.

  3. Get miles by changing cell phone carriers every time your contract is up..or for renewing your contract with your current carrier. Example: United gives 5000 miles for this. Keep abreast of your progam’s promotions, which you can check out on their partner pages.

  4. I use Priority Club PointBreaks when a travel around the country for my photography. Many times my driving itinerary allows a lot of flexibility in where I spend the night. At 5,000 points per night my points go a lot further than they would using them for a standard stay. On a recent four week trip I used PointBreaks fifteen times.

  5. Use a credit card that awards points for money spent on it. It is an easy way to collect points each month without flying.

  6. Find several (in our family, three) credit cards that are free or very low cost, and that have good points programs with elite (silver, platinum, etc) bonuses. Then split up your charges (for us, reaching $20K per year on each card does the trick to get elite status.

  7. My tip is to use credit card offers as much as possible. I do that, earning sign-up bonuses, and occassionally retention bonuses. Some cards allow you to get the sign up bonus multiple times. I also transfer some AA miles I earn to Hilton to allow me hotel points also.

  8. Want to feel fabulous and sit in First Class?

    Then use your points earning credit card and enjoy your upgrade!

  9. Choose a card carrier that offers an online shopping mall ( i.e. bonuspointsmall, skymiles…). Stretch that extra buck for mileage at your convenience – allows you to continue to shop at your favorite stores, while earning double the points.

  10. When dining out with a group of friends and the bill comes on one ticket they always choose to pay cash. I take all their cash and then pay the entire bill – along with my portion of course – on my credit card simply to get the miles.

    I’m disciplined enough to put the cash in my banking account and make a payment towards the credit card right away.

  11. Plan in advance to maximize award redemptions. For example, even though AA essentially eliminated stopovers, they still allow stopovers in North American gateway cities for international departures. So, although my base airport is a gateway city, I’ve tacked on what is essentially a one-way from another trip as the “stopover.”

  12. If you have “world points” or any sort of airline reward points, use those for big trips. Use smaller trips you can pay for “out of pocket” on your credit card towards more reward points.

  13. When redeeming remember to use partner award travel options. Several times they will not be displayed online and the agent will not list them over the phone. Make sure you know the alliance and non alliance airline partners and try to create your own itinerary using a travel site. Once you have an itinerary call the airline and ask the agent for availability on those flights you’ve selected. Have several options in terms of airlines, dates, and flight times. For earning miles use your credit card for everything. I use my SPG Amex card for something as small as a 99cent purchase. The SPG Amex actually allows you to earn 1.25 miles per dollar as for every 20000 points transferred to an airline you received a 5,000 bonus.

  14. Focus Focus Focus. Two programs, a cc that generates reward points, put your hotel points into your airline program. I never buy anything, including a house, unless I get points.

  15. Don’t let your points expire! It’s a great idea to get and hoard as many miles as possible, but make sure to know the rules of your particular program as they can all go to waste if you don’t meet minimum activity requirements…

  16. You don’t need to be a customer of an airline to take advantage of their loyalty programme – think alliances. For example, I am one of BMI’s best customers despite having never flown on one of their flights. The same has been true of Air Canada in the past.

  17. Know where you are going, research the award chart, get enough miles (a much easier job with Amex MR), finally be flexible and secure the award seat EARLY!

  18. Use your miles to travel to exotic places where the tickets are usually extremely expensive, especially when only one airline fly to that small airport, but you do need to plan ahead. This method usually yields the best value of miles.

  19. Keep a spreadsheet of all your point activity. That way if the program makes a mistake- and it happens- you can get it corrected.

    In addition, it’s a positive motivator and helps you manage your points (to keep them from expiring for instance.)

  20. Get yourself a mileage earning credit card

    If you are going to spend money, then why not spend it and earn something back at the same time?

  21. Be smart about what you use your points for. International tickets and international upgrades tend to be the best uses of points.

  22. Take advantage of low fares to boost up your mileage total. Quick weekend trips can rack up the miles if you pay attention to what you earn versus what the trip costs.

  23. I use Club Bing to put a few points in my son’s and husband’s accounts so that they won’t lose their miles. We lost them once, and it will never happen again!

  24. Enroll in every loyalty program you find then organize your records with enrollment date, program, benefits, log-in and passwords. Make sure to use your membership number when booking or checking in to take advantage of the benefits and upgrades.

  25. My top tip is to maximize your rewards is by combining flight miles, credit card spend, and hotel points – meaning if you are earning miles by flying in a certain program, go ahead and sign up for that program’s credit card. Additionally, sign up for any credit card program such as American Express membership rewards or the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, in which you can earn points in the program and potentially transfer the points into miles.

  26. Redeem your miles for premium class tickets to overseas, or Hawaii, and Alaska. These are among the best value of your miles. Always plan ahead, usually you can book your award travels 330 days in advance. Keep that information in mind whenever you are thinking a nice trip. Good luck to us all!

  27. Sometimes it makes sense to pay the fee to transfer points from one family account to another. Points sitting in your spouse’s account might help you get to the level necessary for 2 business class tickets to Asia, for example.

  28. Sign up for ALL rewards programs. It’s free, so you have nothing to lose. Plus, you never know…you may be flying one airline now, but if you move to a different city, you may have to switch!

  29. The Best use of your miles are international Business/First awards, don’t waste your miles on anything less.

  30. 1 Consider using your airline rewards for upgrades to first class or business class.
    2 Read flyertalk and the blogs like this
    3 Plan ahead for better availability
    4 some good luck

  31. My best tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points is to save your points for flights. Especially with American Express Points and Airmiles points, the miles go way further as far as value goes. For a certain amount of points you could get some merchandise or a gift card worth maybe a few hundred dollars, or you could get a flight worth almost double. Also, NEVER use cash if you don’t have to. Put your credit card on file at the hotel and charge EVERYTHING to your room. If you have the cash on hand to pay for something, keep it in your pocket until the end of the month and use it to pay the bill without interest. Using cash is basically throwing points (or free rewards) out the window – don’t do it unless you have no other option.

  32. Keep a positive attitude and the longview about reaching your destination. Actual airtime goes quickly when you are calm and content.

  33. Concentrate on quickly gaining the highest elite status in one program, because you can parlay that into status at others through matching. Plus it makes the travel that much more comfortable

  34. Don’t be afraid to check costs of adding additional legs (and miles) to your flight! I wound up paying a lot less by adding 2 more stops to my cross country trip, gaining me segments and EQM!

  35. Stick to one or two programs for each of air, car, hotel, etc and be completely loyal to those, for example, go with SPG + SPG Amex + stay only at SPG hotels and sign up for as many promotions as possible via milemaven/pointmaven

  36. Find a program and stick to it. Pay very close attention to the expiration dates on your rewards, especially the free car vouchers and such (like the 1 2 free promo by National, those things expire really fast.
    Especially when dealing with rental cars try and break into a higher tier as you’ll get better service and better cars usually.
    For what it’s worth I’ve found points don’t matter as much as the perks to me. I would much rather get upgraded on 20 domestic flights than get one free international flight.

  37. Track your points, miles and your bank/credit accounts with Yodlee! Spend your miles smart by reading flyertalk and boardingarea blogs.

  38. Do your homework! Know EVERYTHING about the loyalty rewards program you chose: one-time promotions, how to get bonus points, who are the partners, etc.
    Every time you make a reservation/pay for something (store, hotel, restaurant, purchase on-line, concert, trip to a museum, etc) remember to check if you can use your loyalty card. EVERY LITTLE BIT ADDS UP!!!

  39. There are so many good tips, and here is the only one that hasn’t already been said and resaid:

    When you have a lousy experience with an airline, CONTACT the airline immediately; often you will receive double miles or at least courtesy miles. And if you don’t, you’re not being descriptive enough!!

    I’ve had great experiences with Delta’s customer service responding to some horrid flight experiences (when you fly 80,000 miles a year, you’re bound to have a few ugly ones!)

  40. Keep it simple! Choose one loyalty program that best suits your personal needs. They sometimes change so get updates, because what you don’t know about your loyalty program can hurt you.

  41. Sign up for to keep track of your mileage balances if you are a member of several programs (like me!). The free version is great, but for as little as $1 for 6 months, you can also keep track of expiration dates for your programs, so that you don’t lose your hard-earned miles & points due to inactivity.

  42. Earn airline miles with one carrier/alliance but with at least two hotel chains to ensure that there’s a location you can use points on a trip and in case the hotel of choice has no rooms available, that way you have a backup to use when you want to cash in points for a trip.

  43. Here’s a couple of them:
    – Get an airline/hotel credit card and put all daily charges (from gas to jewelery) on that to earn the maximum number of points. Along with the promotions, specials, last minutes deals run by these cards/partners you are sure to earn a heck more points.

    – If time permits, fly in segments instead of direct routes to earn more points/miles and while edeeming, try and use flight segments which are usually easily available than direct routes

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