I don’t know about you, but I hate flying on award tickets. If I’m in the air, I want to be earning awards and I can’t do that on frequent flyer awards. Those frequent flyer tickets are for far away vacations or giving to friends and relatives. When I have a desire to roam, give me a revenue ticket every time (particularly when I don’t pay for it).
We earn lots of miles here, but sometimes forget that in order to continue the game we occasionally will need to buy a ticket. Particularly if we are trying to attain status on an airline. Hence the Bank Rewards card.
Many of us crushed them with the Citi Thank You points program before they put a limit on the redemption of their points. They are still a viable option for earning points that can be turned into revenue tickets.
Other bank cards that earn you $ that you spend on the flights you redeem for are the US Bank Flexperks card, Chase Freedom, Slate and Sapphire card, All the Citi Thank You Points cards, Bank of America Worldpoints cards and the Pentagon Federal Travel Card. There are many more. Here is how it works and I benefit.
If I apply for a Bank Rewards card, am approved, and earn the sign up bonus I can typically use those points to obtain a ticket on the airline of my choice. And that ticket is a revenue ticket that earns frequent flyer miles and those flight miles also earn Elite Qualifying miles. I love EQM’s as they via status, get me the upgrades to first I want and the other associated perks of loyalty to an award program
This year I have 49,200 elite qualifying miles earned or already booked and paid for. If I’m going to keep 1K status on UA again for 2011 I need to up that number to 100,000.
I just checked my UA voucher pile and I have $1200 in bump vouchers, 4-$250′s and one $200 voucher. I will use those vouchers to get me to 100K. If I’m short, here are my choices:
1. Pay for additional tickets to reach the goal (Ouch!)
2. Earn additional vouchers by way of bumps (Oh, yeah!)
3. Earn additional vouchers by customer service issues
4. Apply for and earn free flights with Bank Rewards cards that earn miles (Now we are talking!)
#1 just goes against my grain and is my last choice. #2 and #3 are out of my control and are usually successful to some extent, but not guaranteed.
#4 I can control and use to my best advantage on the airline of my choice.
Assuming I don’t score any #2′s or #3′s I need more flight rewards from Bank Rewards cards.
Can you see where this is leading me? I need to take advantage of the premium card offers from the bank programs and possibly even move some of my spend over to these cards (if they are bonus categories) to reach my goal of 100K on United.
The PenFed Premium Rewards Travel Card with no first year fee will be one of them for a $250 ticket.
I’ll do the Chase Sapphire Preferred card later this year when I’m back in their good graces after the BA and United cards age a few months. That is also worth 25,000 points which should get me a revenue ticket.
I think I’ve got 1K status covered for 2011