If at any point during The Beginners Guide you have any questions, big or small, feel free to email me at FrequentFlyerUniversity@gmail.com. I typically respond within a couple of minutes.
Lesson 1: Where To Begin
As with starting any new endeavor, it is easy to get over excited and just start blindly applying for a bunch of Credit Card offers.
From answering tons of emails from Beginners, I have found that the number 1 mistake that Beginners make when collecting frequent flyer miles is that they either don’t know their usernames and passwords or even worse, they have let miles expire in the past.
I think most people know that frequent flyer miles are valuable, but at the same time they don’t treat miles as if they were an actual currency.
I can’t imagine anyone who has a bank account would neglect to check their balance for 2 years, so why do they do that with their frequent flyer accounts!?!?
The first thing I always ask when people email me with questions about how they can use frequent flyer miles to fly to a certain destination is, how many frequent flyer miles do you currently have and in what programs are they in?
9/10 times they don’t know!
Therefore even before picking a primary mileage program or Credit Card to earn frequent flyer miles with,
Tip 1 is to sign up for a free online points tracking service!
This advice extends to people who currently have no frequent flyer accounts!
Once you sign up for a points tracking service, enter all your frequent flyer accounts and passwords.
For many people, this will involve either registering their account numbers online, trying to remember their password, or even worse, having to figure out what their account number is. Although this is a huge pain in the butt, you will only have to do it once. After you have entered your information into your points tracking service, then you can use that to remember your account numbers and passwords in the future.
Once you have entered all your information, then you will be able to clearly see what all your balances are across all the different programs.
If you see you have 45,000 United miles and only 5,000 Delta miles, it would probably make more sense to focus on earning some United miles first, since you are technically closer to earning an Award Ticket with United.
This is the exact reason you don’t just want to go blindly applying for credit cards without knowing your current mileage situation!
Picking A Points Tracking Service:
As for picking a points tracking service, for the last few years I have exclusively used AwardWallet. There are other points tracking services out there like UsingMiles, whose CEO I met at StarMegaDO 3 in October. I manage so many accounts with AwardWallet and really have never had any complaints about their product that I’ve exclusively used them for a couple of years now.
Personally, AwardWallet is my favorite points tracking service because:
- Free (at least most of the features)
- You can manage multiple people’s accounts all under one login. This is extremely useful if you have a family. (I mange 7 different family member’s accounts for a total of 60 separate loyalty programs)
- Reminds you if miles are expiring
AwardWallet has really made my life so much more convenient. Before AwardWallet, I literally had an Excel sheet with all my usernames, password, current balances, and when the miles expired, which I all updated manually.
These days, I just log in, hit update, and within a couple of minutes I have an exact snapshot of all my mileage balances along with any changes in my balances.
If you aren’t signed up for AwardWallet, feel free to sign up below.
Please continue to Lesson 2 below.