New York Times Travel Show Resource: Beating the System, Travel Pointers

Jan 19, 2013

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This is the resource post for the folks that are attending my first New York Times Travel Show presentation today (Saturday, January 19, 2013) entitled, Beating the System: Travel Pointers for a First Class Lifestyle on a Budget. Readers who were not able to attend should find this to be a useful compendium of the information I covered and a source of material to brush up on your points and miles strategy as well!

You can find my whole presentation here, and then read on below to find links to the pertinent posts that I mentioned:

The Beginners Guide – The place to start your one-stop shop for finding out everything you need to know to get a coherent miles and points strategy in place.


Here are the posts I referenced when speaking about airline miles – both earning and redeeming them, including information on general airline miles strategy as well as information on specific airlines.


Which Airline Frequent Flyer Program is the Best – A look at studies into frequent flyer programs’ values, and my ranking of frequent flyer programs including my value estimates of their miles.

Updated List of Airline Partners and Award Charts – Keep up to date on which airlines are in which alliances, and what their non-alliance partners are.

How To Keep Miles and Points From Expiring – It’s so easy and cheap to keep points and miles active, there’s no reason to let them expire.

Top 10 Mistakes People Make with their Airline Miles – Don’t let them expire, don’t make bad redemptions, and don’t put all your miles in one program! Learn all the things you should be doing to get the most miles and the most value out of your miles.

Tracking Your Points with AwardWallet – Keep track of all your points and miles balances in one place.

Sunday Reader Questions Series – Check out my series where I answer questions from readers since chances are I talk about some of the things you’re interested in learning.

Earning Miles

How to Find Cheap Airfares – Strategies for both beginners and more advanced readers on where to look for cheap airfares.

Choosing the Best Site and Credit Card For Purchasing Airfare – You can pull in multiple miles per dollar you spend on airfare by using the right card.

How to Get Elite Miles Without Flying – Contrary to popular belief, you can actually get elite status (or close to it) without setting foot on a plane.

Buy Miles Promotions – Although buying miles is usually a low-value proposition, in some circumstances, you can get great value out of purchasing miles, especially when it comes to premium redemptions.

Join A Mileage or Points Dining Program – Earn multiple points per dollar you spend when dining out.

Online Shopping Portals – Earn multiple points per dollar you spend when you shop online through your airline or hotel program’s website.

Using ITA Software to Find Cheap Flights – Get the most bang (and miles!) for your buck by using ITA Software to find cheap flights.

Attaining Airline Elite Status – The Basics

Top 10 Tips on Securing Airline Elite Status

Redeeming Miles

20 of My Favorite Airline Awards – Finding sweet spots in each airline’s award chart and maximizing the value of your miles.

Using ExpertFlyer to Search For Award Availability – There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to find the award ticket you want if you know how and where to search.

Tips for Searching Star Alliance Award Availability

How to Avoid Dreaded Airline Fees

Which Airlines Have the Highest Fuel Surcharges?

Tips for Using Frequent Flyer Miles for Family Travel

What Are Stopovers and Open Jaws – The Basics

American Airlines Stopovers and Open Jaws

British Airways Stopovers and Open Jaws

Delta Stopovers and Open Jaws

United Stopovers and Open Jaws

US Airways Stopovers and Open Jaws

Maximizing British Airways Avios Series – Learn the ins and outs of British Airways mileage program and how it can get you where you need to go.

Top 10 Most Valuable Ways to Redeem British Airways Avios – Learn about various redemptions that can pull astonishing value out of British Airways Avios.

Top 10 Ways To Redeem Delta SkyMiles – Discover those sweet spots in Delta’s award chart and maximize its airline partners.

Oneworld Round The World Tickets Using American Airlines Miles

Maximizing Off-Peak Awards on American and US Airways

How to Earn and Maximize the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass


Maximizing Miles and Points With Prepaid and Reloadable Cards – For more advanced readers who want to earn points and miles by using reloadable cards lke the Amex Bluebird.
Amex Bluebird Series – Strategies for earning points and miles through everyday expenses using this powerful new prepaid card.


I kept the hotels portion of the talk brief, but hotel points can hold tremendous value for travelers – more than airline miles in many cases. Here are a few key posts where I talk about all the ways that you can make the most of hotel loyalty programs.

Top 10 Best Hotel Point Redemption Methods – Learn about Cash & Points options, discounted awards, credit card offers and more.
Top 10 Hotel Loyalty Program Perks – From upgrades and free WiFi to bonus points and elite status perks, there are tons of value-added benefits you can get from hotel loyalty programs.

Maximizing Starwood Cash & Points Awards

Maximizing Starwood Airline Transfers

Maximizing Starwood Points For Room and Suite Upgrades
Maximizing Hyatt Gold Passport Points for Room and Suite Upgrades

Maximizing Hilton Points and Money Redemptions

Maximizing Hilton GLON and AXON Awards

Maximizing Hilton Premium Room Rewards and Room Upgrades

Maximizing Marriott Rewards Points for Room and Suite Upgrades

Maximizing Club Carlson Series

Maximizing Priority Club Points To Save on Stays

Priority Club PointBreaks Reduced-Price Awards


Credit cards are a major part of any airline mile and hotel point strategy. Here are some posts outlining what credit cards

Top 10 Airline Credit Card Perks and Mileage Benefits

Top 10 Hotel Credit Card Perks

Top 10 Business Credit Cards for Earning Points and Miles

Transferable Points – I gave another presentation in October outlining the transferable points programs of American Express, Chase and Starwood and how to pull the most value out of your points and miles with a savvy transfer strategy.


My South Africa Series – I just got back from a fantastic trip to South Africa using points and miles. Learn the tricks I used to do it and read about my amazing experiences here.

Top 10 Places to Visit in 2013 – What’s the point of miles and points if you’re not going to use them to get to some fabulous places?


Stay up to date with the top deals. Of course, read my site daily and follow me on Twitter. I also recommend reading the following other blogs:

There are also two main forums that serve as great resources for the avid points collector. is the oldest and has tons of information. It’s main downside is that it’s not exactly user friendly and the discussion in certain forums can be hostile at times. See also: 9 Flyertalk Tips for Newbies. is the new kid on the block. It was founded by Flyertalk vets who wanted to create a fresher new forum for newbies and experts alike. I know the founders and they are good people. While they have good intentions, the site does lack the deep levels of content that Flyertalk offers.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.