Where do you want to go?
My first travel tip before you start travel hacking is figure out, Where do you want to go ? One of the mistakes I did when I started was spreading my effort over so many different programs. We had miles with United, American Airlines, Southwest, Delta and even Alaska Airlines over the years. I am finally using my airlines miles after saving for four years for Alaska Airlines next month…on a flight to Las Vegas. By spreading my points all over it took longer to get those first free trips under my belt. In addition, I have miles in a couple airlines and hotels I have no idea if/when I would use them.
So what difference does it make?
The biggest thing to keep in mind is: Where do you want to go? That means knowing where am I flying from and where am I flying to? With living in Wisconsin I do prefer to fly out from a couple of the bigger airports such as Milwaukee or Minneapolis. My favorite line is “When I go to Vegas, I prefer to gamble when I get there, not if my connecting flight will make it.” I have had too many regional flights delayed over the years. This left me at the airport on the connecting flight that arrived hours later scrambling to secure a different flight. With miles, I tend to get better deals flying out of Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Flying from Milwaukee on Southwest to Orlando might cost me 12,000-15,000 miles, where flying Delta from my local Central Wisconsin Airport will cost me 25,000-50,000 miles round trip.
Where will you fly the most?
It is important to know where you would end up flying to most often. It doesn’t pay to collect Southwest Miles if you are trying to get to Europe as they don’t fly there. My two preferred airlines are Southwest and Delta. These are personal preferences. I do not like to fly through O’Hare as I have has most of my flight delays if I am routed through that airport. That is a hub city for United and American Airlines. But both do offer decent options such as Madison to Dallas for American Airlines and when I decide to do nonstop flights from Chicago such as Honolulu for United. Delta is a big hub city for Minneapolis and Southwest for Milwaukee. Also with Minneapolis, Southwest will run deals to ‘compete’ with Spirit and Sun Country Airlines (Two discount airlines I refuse to fly). This provides excellent options.
This year I have booked tickets for Delta out of Minneapolis for Joni to fly to Phoenix and myself to Vegas for a couple trips as low as 6,000 miles one way. Sometimes you have an option to sign up for a Delta Credit Card that could get you 60,000 miles within 3 months, that is enough for up to five round trip flights if you are flexible on the dates. We will discuss those options at a later time 🙂
Even though it sounds like a very simple question, it can be the most important one. Where do you want to go, and where are you coming from…
Want to learn more about Travel Hacking then see our blog post on What is Travel Hacking?
If you would like to learn more please contact us!