Rookie Corner

MILES MOMMA
ROOKIE HANDBOOK

Are you new to all this miles/points stuff?  Then this is the section for you.  I was new once in this hobby and I learned from many other experienced miles/points gurus out there.  I’m happy I can now pass along that knowledge and help others live their travel dreams.  Below are my suggestions of how to get started earning miles & points; what to do and where you can start earning miles/points.

COMMUNITY

Join the Flyertalk & Milepoint sites. (Free to join)  Both these communities have a huge wealth of resources.  You can always find your answers here to any question you could possibly have.  The collection of thousands of travelers makes these two sites an important part of any serious mile & point collector resources.

FREQUENT FLYER/LOYALTY ACCOUNTS
Open up accounts with the major airlines & hotel loyalty programs.  Before opening accounts though be sure to check my list of airline frequent flyer enrollment bonuses.  Also you can search Flyertalk for any sign up bonuses and use the appropriate link or code for the bonus.  Or wait and open these accounts as the promotions/deals come out related to each program.  Sometimes if you wait a sign up bonus will come out that wasn’t there a month ago.  Be sure to write down your membership/account number & password.  Now go and register at AwardWallet.  This is a great free tool to track your miles and points.  Input all your loyalty programs account information into this site.  After you have finished download a copy for yourself either in Excel or PDF for a hard copy.


DREAMING & SETTING YOUR GOALS
Now you need to decide your goals.  Do you want miles?  Do you want points?  What do you want to do with your miles/points?  Where do you want to go?  What do you want to pay for and what do you want FREE?  If your goal is FREE airfare then you need some air miles.  But where you want to go is important to decide and what airline is the best option to take you there.  So I suggest reading my “Award Charts & Partners” page under Resources.  This page will give you the information on exactly how many miles you will need to reach your destination.  If you want to earn FREE hotel nights than check out the Hotel Rewards Charts page.  It’s an easy reference that provides links to the major hotel chains reward charts. After doing a bit of research, you should now have an idea of where you want to earn miles & points.

CREDIT CARD BONUSES
Signing up for credit card bonus offers is the quickest way to jump start your miles & points accounts.  If you want to start traveling for FREE very quickly then I would take this route.  Check out my Credit Card section and see which cards best suit your needs.

Before you apply, I’d recommend that you check your credit.  Remember that your credit is one of your most important assets you have.  Be sure all your accounts are in good standings and you have no issues that need to be tended to.  To check your credit scores for free visit my “Credit Monitoring” page under Credit Help for some great options.

GENERAL SPENDING
Use your miles & points credit cards for all your expenses.  Use cash only when you absolutely have to!  Be sure you pay off your cards every month.  Charge only what you would normally buy with cash or your debit card.  Remember when you pay cash or use your debit card it earns you nothing back unless of course you have a debit card that is tied to a miles or points program which there are some. Example: Perkstreet Financial Debit Card and Alaska Air Debit Card.

DINING
Register for dining programs.  They are free and once your credit card is linked, you will automatically earn miles/points every time you dine in any participating restaurant all over the U.S.  I am registered with United, Delta, American & U.S. Airways and earning in all programs.  Just be sure to register different cards for each program.  You are not allowed to double dip.  Bummer!  You can always change your favorite most used card as your earning needs change.  For all the most current dining bonuses be sure to check out my “Dining Bonuses” page.

SHOPPING

Earn miles/points through all your online shopping.  Never buy anything directly through a retailers website.  You can almost always go through a miles/points shopping portal and then click to the retailers site.  You will then automatically earn miles/points for all your purchases.  This can really add up!  Plus if you are using a mileage or points credit card you are double dipping and this is what we call the icing on the cake.  You can view all the shopping portals here

HOMEWORK

Read, Read and Read!!!  If you want to know about the best miles and points deals you must stay up with the top news.  Be sure to follow Miles Momma on Twitter, subscribe to the blog via email or a reader.  Check out the site regularly for new offers and hot news.  You can also check out my list of “Recommend Bloggers” on the home page to add to your daily reading  I recommend creating a free account with Google and using Google Reader.  Then just add the blogs you want to read.  This platform is easy to read from and checks everyone’s post daily.  Instead of trying to remember web addresses or going to several sites, your information is in one organized place.  You can easily just click on the posts that interest you that day.

Begin to read and educate yourself on award redemption.  How to actually turn your miles or points into free travel.  I suggested actually doing this while setting your goals.  Why earn a bunch of miles or points somewhere that aren’t redeemable in a way you want.  Also use the Miles Momma site as it has an extensive resources of tools and references.  Miles Momma is updated daily.  You can count on seeing all the latest deals and top news here.

I firmly believe that if you use all the tips & resources I’ve outlined here you’ll be quickly on your way to FREE travel to the destination of your dreams.  You’ll be amazed how fast you can really achieve the goals you’ve set.

Now start dreaming of your next adventure and imagine yourself there!  Good luck!  And remember, if you have any questions along the way; don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.  I am always available to help.  It would be my pleasure!

Happy Travels!

Faith Case
Miles Momma

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