5* EVA: Hong Kong to California, Seattle or Chicago on Xmas or NYE from $449!

Spend Xmas and NYE in USA  flying with one of the World’s top 10 Airlines! Book 5* Eva Airways flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago or Seattle from only $449 for a roundtrip!

If you have long been planning to visit the United States this is the chance! A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes — San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine.

Great chance to visit sunny California! Enjoy the famous beaches of Los Angeles or head to Hollywood and the Walk of Fame. Pay a visit to Universal Studios, Rodeo Drive and the Griffith Observatory. This is gonna be a really exciting journey!

Chicago, also called ‘The Windy City’, is considered one of the most dynamic cities in the United States. Located in the shores of Lake Michigan, the city has a great urban atmosphere and a beautiful contrast between the water and skyscrapers. While Miami has undoubtedly a latin vibe, Chicago is very European, with that influence reflected in the gastronomy, its beautiful parks, great museums and unique monuments!

Seattle is America’s Cinderella city. Founded 75 years after US independence and overlooked until the 1960s, it’s been making up for lost time ever since. The city that invented Starbucks coffee is also one of the best dining spots in America. When you visit this city you have a good opportunity to see the American cultural riches and diverse neighborhoods. Amongst the best things about Seattle are the iconic mountain views…

Travel dates:
September 2017 – January 2018

Sample dates:
Sep 22 – Oct 6, Oct 12-19, Nov 9-23, Dec 21-28, Dec 21 – Jan 10, Dec 25 – Jan 10, Dec 28 – Jan 10

Routing:
Hong Kong – Los Angeles – Hong Kong
Hong Kong – Chicago – Hong Kong
Hong Kong – San Francisco – Hong Kong
Hong Kong – Seattle – Hong Kong

How to book:
CLICK HERE >> or follow the links below and adjust travel dates.

Baggage policy:
One cabin bag and one checked in bag per passenger.

Sample reservation:
Hong Kong – Los Angeles – Hong Kong >>>

Hong Kong – Chicago – Hong Kong >>>

Hong Kong – San Francisco – Hong Kong >>>

Hong Kong – Seattle – Hong Kong >>>

Accommodation:
In Los Angeles, you can consider booking Extended Stay America hotel with good rates for $86 per night or $90 per night with breakfast. This well reviewed hotel offers free Wi-Fi. The numerous facilities this cosy property has to offer include a BBQ/picnic area, on-site parking and a 24-hour reception.

LAXhotel

Car:
Find the best prices on Rentalcars.com.

Photo: Shutterstock

6-night stay in a top-rated B&B on splendid Sicily + flights from Brussels for €164!

Check out this interesting 6 nights-package deal to Sicily for only €164 per person (on two adults basis)! The price includes return flights from Brussels Charleroi and accommodation in a very well-rated B&B!

Enjoy your holidays on beautiful Sicily! This package, based on 2 travelers, with Ryanair flights departing on 6th May and returning on 12th May will cost you only €164!

Warm weather, astonishing beaches and great food, ancient ruins and enchanting architecture: that is what you will find in Sicily!  This suggestive island, in the past crossed and ruled by many civilizations, can praise a huge historic and cultural patrimony summed to an incredible amount of natural attractions! The best option would be to rent a car and explore all of them: Riserva dello Zingaro, San Vito Lo Capo, the Favignana Island, Palermo, Cefalù, the Valley of Temples on the west; Catania, an excursion on the Etna Volcano, Taormina, Siracusa, Noto, Alcantara Gorges on the east!

To find out more about Sicily go to Lonely Planet online shop >>.

We picked for you the Aldebaran B&B, set in the small rural town of Paceco and with excellent reviewsLocated in a strategic position, buses stop for Birgi Airport, Trapani, San Vito and the cable car to Erice are just 30 m away. A continental breakfast is served each morning and guests have the use of 2 shared kitchens as well as discounts at a local restaurant.

 It offers air-conditioned rooms with vibrant colour schemes, a TV with DVD player, free Wi-Fi, a minibar, safe and its own bathroom. Some also have a balcony with a view of Mount Erice.

Travel dates:
May 6-12 2017

Routing:
Brussels Charleroi – Alghero – Brussels Charleroi

Sample reservations for 2 people:
Brussels Charleroi – Trapani – Brussels Charleroi >>>

Accommodation:
You’ll be staying at Aldebaran B&B with excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. So follow our links and book your vacation!

Baggage policy:
One cabin bag per passenger.

How to book:
To book flights from Brussels Charleroi for only €50 round trip per person, CLICK HERE >>

To book cheap accommodation, CLICK HERE >>

Offer Details:

  • 6 Nights
  • 2 Sharing
  • well-rated B&B
  • Flights

Price Breakdown:

  • Flights for 2: €100 round trip (€50 per person)
  • Hotel: €228 / 6 nights, 2 sharing (€114 per person)
  • Total: €328 / €164 per person

Car:
Find the best prices on Rentalcars.com.

Photo: Shutterstock

Top 20 Hotel Pools Around The World: Part 2 — Stay & Swim From $202 Per Night

Continuing our list of the twenty dreamiest hotel pools in the world, we bring you ten more swimmable stunners (and one piratey extra) from Vancouver to Vietnam. Missed Part One of our list? Check it out HERE.

Like what you see? Take the plunge, treat yo’self, book through our hotel search tool and turn your wildest pool dreams into reality!


11. Auberge du Soleil
Rutherford, California
Soak up some world-class luxury at this magical Napa Valley resort, situated within an idyllic 33-acre olive grove. Dine at the onsite Michelin Star restaurant, relax at the award-winning spa, and take in iconic wine country views from the gorgeous outdoor pool.

beautiful pool california(4.5-Star: (4.5/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: May 1 – 2, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $975
Price Per Night Per Person: $487.50

BOOK HOTEL


12. Aman Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan
Aman Tokyo’s interiors are masterpieces of sleek, modern styling, with a deep bow to Japanese tradition. Experience urban luxury at its finest in the hotel’s indoor swimming pool, which is tiled in black-volcanic rock and offers magnificent panoramic views of the city skyline.

aman tokyo hotel pool views5-Star (4.5/5 TripAdvisor – TA Certificate of Excellence)

Example Trip Dates: July 10 – 11, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $799
Price Per Night Per Person: $399.50

BOOK HOTEL


13. Katikies
Oia, Santorini, Greece
Perched on cliffs overlooking the blue Aegean Sea, the white-washed suites and infinity pools of the luxury boutique Katikies Hotel offer unforgettable sea views.

katikies hotel pool view5-Star (5/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: September 25 – 26, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $917
Price Per Night Per Person: $458.50

BOOK HOTEL


14. The Langham, Sydney
Sydney, Australia
Swim under starry skies in the Langham Sydney’s elegant indoor swimming pool, which features luxe details like cream stone columns, painted murals and a star-dappled ceiling.

star skies pool indoor australia 5-Star (4.5/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: July 25 – 26, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $263
Price Per Night Per Person: $131.50

BOOK HOTEL


15. Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Vancouver, Canada
The Rosewood Hotel Georgia is known for it’s chic blend of Art Deco glamour and contemporary design. Case in point: the hotel’s luxurious 52-foot heated salt water lap pool.

rosewood georgia pool5-Star (5/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: May 8 – 9, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $411
Price Per Night Per Person: $205.50

BOOK HOTEL


16. Parkroyal on Pickering
Singapore, Singapore
This luxe, five-star eco-chic Singapore hotel offers lofty sky gardens, stunning city views and an otherworldly infinity pool with funky cabanas.

singapore pool skyline5-star (4.5/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: September 19 – 20, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $244
Price Per Night Per Person: $122

BOOK HOTEL


17. Grand Hotel Central
Barcelona, Spain
Dying to see the city but don’t feel like getting out of the pool? No problem! Make your laziest sightseeing dreams come true at this five-star hotel in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter, which offers some of the best views of the city from it’s rooftop infinity pool.

barcelona pool rooftop infinity5-star (4.5/5 TripAdvisor– TA Certificate of Excellence)

Example Trip Dates: August 22 – 23, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $266
Price Per Night Per Person: $133

BOOK HOTEL


18. Enchantment Resort
Sedona, Arizona
Stay cool under big desert skies as you take in stunning views of Boynton Canyon from the pool of this gorgeous Arizonan resort and the Mii Amo destination spa.

arizona pool view(4.5/5 TripAdvisor– TA Certificate of Excellence)

Example Trip Dates: June 26 – 27, 2017

Total Price Per Night: $387
Price Per Night Per Person: $193.50

BOOK HOTEL


19. The Opposite House
Beijing, China

Vivid colors and delicate hanging lights reflect off the burnished walls of the sleek, stainless steel indoor swimming pool in this architectural Beijing hotel.

5-Star (4.5/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: May 16 – 17, 2017

Total Price Per Night: $261
Price Per Night Per Person: $130.50

BOOK HOTEL


20. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
Ninh Hoa, Vietnam
Soak up the gorgeous views from the cool comfort of your private plunge pool at this five-star resort in Vietnam. There are several Pool Villa options available, from the Hilltop Pool Villa (pictured) to the Water Pool Villa, set at the edge of the water overlooking coral formations.

plunge pool vietnam5-Star (4.5/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: September 6 – 7, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $648
Price Per Night Per Person: $324

BOOK HOTEL


Pirate Pool Bonus: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Last but not least is the family-friendly pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort where kids (and kids at heart) can swim, splash and slide in a themed pool area. The theme? Pirates, of course!

pirate pool3-Star (4/5 TripAdvisor)

Example Trip Dates: July 25 – 26, 2017
Total Price Per Night: $202
Price Per Night Per Person: $101

BOOK HOTEL

jetBlue – $444: San Francisco – Quito, Ecuador. Roundtrip, including all Taxes

This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

A good sale to Quito.

Ecuador is one of the countries with active cases of Zika virus transmission. Please read up on it at the Center for Disease Control if you are planning to go.

Quito, Ecuador - Photo: golo via Flickr, used under Creative Commons License (By 2.0)

Quito, Ecuador – Photo: golo via Flickr, used under Creative Commons License (By 2.0)

Sample Travel Date:

  • September 13th – 18th
  • This is just ONE SAMPLE travel date, for more availability, please follow the “Fare Availability” and “How to Search for Availability” instructions below

Fare Availability:

  • Valid for travel from  September – October. Availability is limited. Must purchase at least 21 days in advance of departure
  • Please note that while this fare is valid at time of posting, if this post is more than two days old, the fare is likely gone.

How to Search for Availability:

You cannot buy tickets using ITA. To buy, follow our instructions in the “How to Book” section below.

Fare Class:

Routing:

  • SFO – FLL (Fort Lauderdale)- UIO (Quito) – FLL – SFO

Stopover:

Mileage:

  • Miles Flown: 8,784 miles or 5.1 cents per mile

How to Book:

  • Support us by using our Priceline link to book with dates found on ITA Software Matrix Airfare Search.

Accommodations

  • HotelsCombined – One of the leading hotel meta-search engines. Search all the hotel and online travel agencies with one search.

Car Rentals

  • Rental Cars – One of the world’s leading car rental agencies. Includes all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise etc.

Activities and Tours

  • Viator – The world’s largest marketplace for destination activities and tours

Travel Insurance

Background Information:

  • Visa: US Citizens – not required. Other nationals, check the TIMATIC Visa Database
  • Currency: US Dollar.

Tips for saving when using credit cards at international destinations:

For more of the latest cheap San Francisco / Bay Area Flight Deals:

* The Flight Deal will receive a commission if you use the Priceline, accommodation, car rental, activities, or travel insurance affiliate links to make a booking or apply and is approved for a credit card using our link above. Thank you for your continuing support.

=====

To make sure you receive our latest deals, LIKE our The Flight Deal Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter @TheFlightDeal, or subscribe to The Flight Deal RSS Feed or Subscribe via Email (Once a Day)

The Flight Deal does not sell travel products or services. We provide you with information about third-party travel suppliers’ offers, and link you to their sites. The information posted by The Flight Deal is valid at the time of publication. However, we have no control over the suppliers, and we therefore do not warrant or guarantee that their offers will not change or become unavailable. Nor are we responsible for their products, services or site content. Please see their sites for their most up-to-date offer information and all applicable terms and conditions.

Stay Informed on the Latest Deals

Sign up to receive The Flight Deal Daily DealsLetter, to stay up to date with the latest and greatest flight deals available.

JUNE: 5 night stay in Costa Blanca + Flights from Denmark for only €168!

Take advantage of this package deal relax in beautiful Costa Blanca in June! Book Ryanair flights from Billund and 5-night accommodation in a well rated 3* hotel from only €168 (on a 2 adults basis)!

If you are looking for a sunny getaway to relax, Alicante is the right place! In El Barrio, the old part of the city, you can take a look at some historical churches and the Cathedral de San Nicolás. There you can also experience the agitated nightlife with lots of bars and restaurants where you can have a drink or try the area’s gastronomy. If you enjoy a nice view, take a walk to the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, where you’ll have a breathtaking perspective to the city and sea!

To find out more about the Costa Blanca go to Lonely Planet online shop >>.

We picked for you the well rated 3* Campanile Alicante. This property is located at 1.5 km from the beach and harbour. All rooms have soundproofing, satellite TV, air conditioning and heating. Tea and coffee facilities are included. Free parking and free wifi are available.

Travel dates:
June 14-19, 2017

Remember that travel dates are fully adjustable, so the flight dates you choose are ultimately up to you.

Routing:
Billund – Alicante – Billund
To check all available dates click here >>>

Sample flight reservation:
Billund – Alicante – Billund>>>

Accommodation:
We picked for you the well rated 3* Campanile Alicante.. So follow our links and book your vacation!

Baggage policy:
One cabin bag per passenger.

How to book:
To book flights from Billund for only €51 per person, CLICK HERE >>

To book cheap accommodation, CLICK HERE >>

Offer Details:

  • 5 Nights
  • 2 Sharing
  • 3-star hotel
  • Flights

Price Breakdown:

  • Flights for €: €102 round trip (€51 per person)
  • Hotel: €235 / 7 nights, 2 sharing (€117.5 per person)
  • Total: €337/ €168.5 per person

Car:
Find the best prices on Rentalcars.com.

Photo: Shutterstock

American – $122: Phoenix – Minneapolis (and vice versa). Roundtrip, including all Taxes

This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

A good sale between Phoenix and Minneapolis.

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Photo: m01229 via Flickr, used under Creative Commons License (By 2.0)

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Photo: m01229 via Flickr, used under Creative Commons License (By 2.0)

Sample Travel Date:

  • April 20th – 24th
  • This is just ONE SAMPLE travel date, for more availability, please follow the “Fare Availability” and “How to Search for Availability” instructions below

Fare Availability:

  • Valid for travel in April. Availability is extremely limited – just a few scattered dates. Must purchase at least 3 days in advance of departure
  • Please note that while this fare is valid at time of posting, if this post is more than two days old, the fare is likely gone.

How to Search for Availability:

You cannot buy tickets using ITA. To buy, follow our instructions in the “How to Book” section below.

Fare Class:

Elite Qualifying Dollars:

Routing:

  • PHX – MSP (Minneapolis) – PHX

Mileage:

  • Miles Flown: 2,548 miles or 4.8 cents per mile
  • Elite Qualifying Miles: 2,548 miles
  • Redeemable Miles: 437 miles

How to Book:

  • Support us by using our Priceline link to book with dates found on ITA Software Matrix Airfare Search.

Accommodations

  • HotelsCombined – One of the leading hotel meta-search engines. Search all the hotel and online travel agencies with one search.

Car Rentals

  • Rental Cars – One of the world’s leading car rental agencies. Includes all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise etc.

Activities and Tours

  • Viator – The world’s largest marketplace for destination activities and tours

Travel Insurance

For more of the latest cheap Phoenix Flight Deals:

* The Flight Deal will receive a commission if you use the Priceline, accommodation, car rental, activities, or travel insurance affiliate links to make a booking or apply and is approved for a credit card using our link above. Thank you for your continuing support.

=====

To make sure you receive our latest deals, LIKE our The Flight Deal Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter @TheFlightDeal, or subscribe to The Flight Deal RSS Feed or Subscribe via Email (Once a Day)

The Flight Deal does not sell travel products or services. We provide you with information about third-party travel suppliers’ offers, and link you to their sites. The information posted by The Flight Deal is valid at the time of publication. However, we have no control over the suppliers, and we therefore do not warrant or guarantee that their offers will not change or become unavailable. Nor are we responsible for their products, services or site content. Please see their sites for their most up-to-date offer information and all applicable terms and conditions.

Stay Informed on the Latest Deals

Sign up to receive The Flight Deal Daily DealsLetter, to stay up to date with the latest and greatest flight deals available.

How to find the best travel deals

There are two websites that I recommended for researching for the best travel deals for a specific route. They are flights.google.com and matrix.ita.com.

ITA’s Matrix was bought by Google and remains the travel hacker’s choice when it comes to finding deals. However, over the years, the interface has progressively became slower to get results.

Flights.google.com has some nifty features for a travel hound. For example, you can search for fares that leaves your home town and it will show you the best deals to places you may not have thought about before.

Another feature is you search for a specific date range, it will suggest flying +/- 1-3 days for a better deal, or you can use their historical fare view to determine if the price of the fare is the lowest it’s ever been.

For advance users, you can search the fare by the monthly view. The monthly view is the best way to get results. Google’s flight search also shows how much fares historically were before so you know if you are getting a good deal or not.

Beginner’s Guide to Miles & Points

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Miles & Points. I will show you how easy it is to acquire airline miles and hotel points so you can travel the world for a fraction of the cost — almost free.

5675317794_0be6d84cba_o-1Photo By Alberto Abouganem Stephens

If you ever walked through the first or business class cabin on your way to your economy seats (that you pay out of pocket for), you were probably wondering how the heck these guys can afford these seats. The secret is that many of them did not buy those seats.

948124215_b61d07da26_o-1Photo By Richard Moross

Many use their miles to upgrade or redeem them using miles. Of course some pay out of pocket as a business expense, claiming to the IRS that they have “important” meetings taking place with other passengers in that cabin. 🙂

My introduction to miles & points came when I was presented an an amazing flight deal in business class to Asia.

The skinny was that I booked a round trip business class seat from JFK – SFO (stop 3 months) – BKK – SFO (stop 3 months) – JFK for only 75K Aeroplan points. With the Amex Membership Rewards (MR) bonus of 25K Aeroplan points for every 50K MR points transfer, I ended up only burning only 25K points for this award ticket.

I saved over $6,000 dollars! I cannot take all the credit (no pun intended) for this awesome itinerary.

My friend Justin Bacchus helped me figured it out. He runs Book It With Mileswhich is a service he offers if you have a lot of points and have a complex itinerary that you need to book.

The reason I created this guide is that I wanted to show you how you can fly around the globe for little to no cost using airline points.

Airline points redemption is the most lucrative way to burn your points versus spending them through other transfer partners. So if your are thinking of using your points to pay for that next Amazon Book purchase or that croft pot from Target, then STOP!

The fastest way to earn miles and points is via signing up for credit cards. Yes, it’s true. If you are responsible in paying down the card, then you will have no trouble getting your first sign up bonus offer where you can take your family (or yourself) to some of the most exotic locations, staying in amazing hotels, all around the world.

This guide demystifies miles and points, your credit score, and how you can fast track your way to your travel goal.

Table of Contents
Who is the Travel Hacking Dude?

My name is Jonathan Chum. I’m travel hacker. This is my personal blog.

me-1200x628-2-1

I worked at Yahoo! and Zynga where I flew many times for work domestically.

In 2009, after watching and inspired by a documentary called A Map for Saturday, I decided to back my bags and in 2 days, was on my first international flight without any accommodations (whoops! forgot about that small item).

I lived 3 years between Istanbul, Turkey and Medellin, Colombia. I would have never thought of living overseas had I not made that journey in 2009.

Today I want to continue to inspire people to travel, learn new cultures, taste new foods, and do it all, NOW!

That’s what this blog is for. I want to share my secrets on how to travel hack mini vacations all year round.

Who is this for?

Ask yourself if you fit in one (or all) of these profiles:

  • For people who want to explore the little planet of ours
  • For those who want to experience new cultures
  • For those who want to try and taste new foods
  • For those who want to create an amazing network of friends around the world
Dream, plan, travel

The first step is start dreaming of your travel goals this year. You have my permission.

When you first start out, it’s good to know where you want to go.

Are you traveling domestically or internationally?
How many trips do you have planned?
How many are going to be going on this trip?
What hotels do you want to stay at?

All of the answers will play into your strategy later on for earning points through credit card sign up bonuses as well as shifting daily spend to specific credits to maximize your earning potential.

What are airline alliances?

There are 3 major airline alliances you should know about.

  • Star Alliance
  • OneWorld
  • Sky Team

The two major ones we will be focusing on are Star Alliance and OneWorld because combined, they provide you the most flexibility for flying all around the globe on different carriers.

An alliance is made of airline carriers such as United, American, Lufthansa, etc.

Logo_Star_Alliance--1-

Star Alliance is the world’s largest global airline alliance. It is comprised of 27 airlines which are:

  • Adria Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austria Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Crotia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International Airlines
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

That’s pretty good coverage across North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

500px-Oneworld_logo-svg-1

Oneworld while has less members in its alliance, it too boasts some great carriers if you like to splurge your points in business/first class on premium airlines ie, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines with full flat bed; great for those long trans pacific flights. Oneworld has 15 members in its alliance which are:

  • Air Berlin
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LAN Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • TAM Airlines

Being a part of an alliance means when you earn frequent flyer miles with one of these airlines, you can use them to book award flights on any of these carriers based on the award chart of the frequent flyer program the points redeeming belongs to.

For example, one of the popular frequent flyer programs in North America is United Mileage Plus program. Thus if you live in San Francisco and wanted to fly to Rome, Italy and you were going to use United points then you have to refer to United’s Award Chart here,

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/mileageplus/awards/travel/awardTravel.aspx

In Economy, it’s 30K points to fly from mainland U.S. to Europe.

However, to fly from SFO, you may find yourself connecting in JFK and MUC (Munich) on Lufthansa before reaching your final destination at ROM (Rome).

Because Lufthansa is partner of Star Alliance, you still only need to redeem 30K United Mileage points when you book through on United.com.

My recommendation for those living in North America to be a member of both United Mileage Plus and American AAdvantage program to give you the greatest flexibility on carriers and dates.

How many miles do I need to for an award ticket?

Every frequent flyer program is different when it comes to redemption. Some carriers such as American offer deep discounts for off peak travel which means instead of spending 30K miles one way during high season from North America to Europe, you could fly for 20K miles one way during off peak dates.

For more information on AAdvantage Award Chart, seehttps://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/redeemMiles/american-airlines-award-chart.jsp

There are two tools for calculating miles. My favorite are:

AwardAce.com is a new, but very usable. You can enter an origin and destination, and it’ll return your the miles required for the frequent flyer program it’s tracking.

Know your credit score

Before you jump into the fray of signing up for credit cards, you need to know your credit score. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you do not know your score, you can get them for free at:

If it prompts you to buy anything, simply decline the offer.

My recommendation is your score must be > 700 and that you have no debt, or less than 10% of your total available credit utilize and are able to pay off the balance after each month.

This is important because to get points fast, credit cards are offering 35K, 45K, 50K, sometimes even 100K points simply for signing up and hitting a specific spend limit which is usually between 2K-3K within 2-3 months.

To put it in perspective, 50K United Mileage or AAdvantage points will allow you to fly 4 times coast to coast, from NYC to LA or vice versa.

Momma says credit cards are bad. Yes, it can be if you don’t know how to manage your spending. If you can manage your spending then you are in lucky.

If you have a low credit score, made all your payments on time, no blemishes on your credit report, your probably might be that you do not have enough credit or that you have been spending > 10% of your line of credit across total credit sum of all your cards, even though you been paying it off every month.

The trick here is to pay your card so it’s under < 10% as soon as the statement is posted. Why? As soon as the statement is posted, the bank will submit the credit utilized and credit they offered to you to the credit bureaus within 1-2 days.

Even though you have a 15 day or 30 day grace period, you won’t be penalized by the bank, but it will look back on your credit score when it is reflecting every month you are spending > 10% of your total line of credit.

If you decide to apply for more credit cards, it can actually help you to increase your score because your overall line of credit across all cards increases.

In my case, my score rose 50 points after 3 months.

So the bottom line, take care of your credit score.

Credit Card Bonus Offers

Credit Cards is the way to go to earn points towards your travel your goal quickly. Simply by signing up, then shifting your daily spends to hit the minimum spends on these offers, you can rack up points/miles in no time.

There are many type of credits offering points. Most fall under two categories:

  • Credit Card Bank Points (ie, AMEX’s Membership Reward Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards)
  • Affiliation such as United Mileage Plus or British Airways Credit Cards. There are also hotel credit cards such as Starwood and IHG.

Hotel credit card points do not equal 1:1 when you transfer to airline miles. Keep that in mind if you are planning your strategy.

The three key things to look for when you apply for a credit card are:

  • Sign Up Bonus: > 35K points/miles
  • Minimum Spend: How much do you spend and by when before you get the sign up bonus?
  • Annual Fee: Some cards waive the first year fee. So you have time to decide if you want to cancel the card

The more higher end cards such as American Express Platinum offers some nice travel perks such as status for Hertz and Starwood loyalty programs. However, it comes at a hefty annual fee. So make sure you weigh in the perks before you apply or cancel a card.

Part I: How to visit 3 cities for free with a stopovers and open jaws

One of the amazing things you can do with United when booking a roundtrip award ticket is a concept called a stopover. A stopover is different from a layover in that a layover allows you to stay in one city for < 24 hours. In a stop over situation, you can stay in a transit or connection city for > 24 hours.

I use United as an example, because their frequent flying program offers 1 stop over on round trip international tickets. You can further come up an awesome itinerary by leveraging open jaws which means you are allowed to leave from another airport than the one you arrived to.

Back to stopovers. United rules how limits stop overs only on international round trip tickets. So no one ways, no domestic stop overs.

An example of a stop over,

To: New York to Hong Kong (stopover) to Bangkok (final destination)

Return: Bangkok – Tokyo (layover) – New York

So in this scenario, you could theoretically stay > 24 hours, a week, or several months in Hong Kong as you continue on to Bangkok.

Thus, you have a free trip to discover both Hong Kong and Bangkok.

With United, you can stop in any city that United or its partners on Star Alliance flies to.

You can also do the stop over in any city reasonably in your route. This means, if you were to fly from New York to London (stop) to Bangkok, they may not allow you back track.

If you want to get really creative, you can visit 3 cities using a Open Jaw. I will explain more about about an Open Jaw ticket in the final series.