PG: Let’s shift gears and talk about my favorite topic: airline mile. You can earn miles for everything short of breathing and they’re continuing to offer me thousands of miles just for signing up for a credit card, but it’s so hard to redeem these miles.
CH: I was walking through the airport this afternoon and at the Southwest terminal in Dallas a guy offered me 50,000 miles, that’s the equivalent of about two round trips on Southwest, if I would sign up for their credit card.
Of course, it’s harder to redeem those miles. You’re probably never going to be able to go to Hawaii on your miles with four of your children and your wife. But there are ways to redeem those miles. There is even a guy who is in business who will help you redeem your miles for $150. Peter, do you use miles for your tickets?
PG: No. It’s ironic that the people who earn the most miles are the least likely to redeem them because we don’t have the flexibility of planning nine months in advance. I have millions that I have never been able to redeem. When I try to redeem them I get angry because the 25,000 miles tickets are impossible. And sometimes 50,000 mile tickets are impossible.
CH: There are a couple ways around this. First of all, maybe you’re going to places that are way too popular. I’ve always had good success redeeming my miles going to places in South America on American Airlines. It’s really easy to do that and it doesn’t take that many miles.
The other thing is American Express, which I’m also a member of their flier miles club; you can use your points for airline tickets. You can also use it for hotels. So that’s another way that you can be rewarded for your loyalty.
PG: And I’ll give you a tip that most people don’t know. Both United and American have special desks. They even have their own 800 numbers for RTW, which stands for Round The World.
Believe it or not the round-the-world ticket sometimes costs less miles than it would be cost you to go point-to-point between two destinations. They may also be more likely to have available seats because they do it with their mileage partners in their strategic alliances. I know a lot of people who have actually been able to benefit from that and it really works.
How has 2012 travel treated you? Are you struggling to redeem miles or being hit by new airline fees? Sound off in the comments.
For more information on these topics, check out:
- Airline Fee Transparency Debate: Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza Responds
- DOT’s New Passenger Rights Rules
- The DOT’s New Air Travel Rules Explained
- Navigating Airfares and Frequent Flier Programs
By Peter Greenberg for Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio
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