Giveaway: Trip for 2 to Australia’s Gold Coast including airfare, 7 nights hotel, meals…!

You’re going to be reading about this one on many of the BoardingArea blogs.

BoardingArea and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card are sponsoring a giveaway — a trip for two to Australia’s Gold Coast including air and seven nights hotel (all mileage-earning), meals even, and cash and gift cards as a kick-in to cover taxes on a trip that’s otherwise valued at over $10,000.

Each of 20 participating BoardingArea blogs will be able to select one reader for the final drawing. By reading several of the blogs you have more chances to win and by being selected on one of the blogs you have about a 1 in 20 chance of winning the grand prize.

The contest is only open to those 18 years of age and older and to US residents only, not to our friendly Canadians or to residents of U.S. Territories.

Here’s how you enter. Leave a comment to this post answering the question:

What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points?

I will select at random a tip from among those that meets, in my sole discretion, a minimum standard of usefulness.

In other words, your tip doesn’t have to be the single greatest one ever. It just has to be useful or thoughtful to some. I don’t want blank entries here, or “I’m in!” as a comment, that won’t get you an entry. But anyone with a reasonable tip about something they’ve found useful in earning or burning points gets you an entry.

And I don’t want to get into the game of selecting what’s the best, the winner from my blog will be selected at random (via

That winner will be selected based on comments received by noon eastern time on March 28. They’ll be forwarded to BoardingArea as one of ~ 20 finalists who will go on to be selected to win the trip!

More details on the contest can be found at contest page, along with a full list of the twenty or so participating blogs where you can leave similar tips and gain additional entries into the giveaway!

Questions? Shoot those over to me by email rather than in the comments to this post, the comments here are tips about earning and burning points in order to enter to win a truly amazing trip!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Read Boarding Area blogs – they boil down the fluff into the nitty gritty. Join Flyertalk and forge invaluable friendships with people who can help cover all the bases. They got my back!

  2. I use my rewards card to pay for almost everything, and then have my wife book trips. It just works better that way.

  3. Study and sign up for every program. I sharply regret the stays and flights I made before enrolling thinking a one night stay here and there it was not worth it.

  4. My Tip:
    Finding award availability on the internet is not always easy – each airline website has its own quirks. Some don’t show partner award availability, some have a very poor search feature, and some don’t make it easy to look at multiple days at a time. I like for most Star Alliance availability, for OneWorld, and you have to work a combination of and to find SkyTeam awards. Each has its pluses and minuses. Sometimes you have to search segment by segment and piece together the whole trip. It can be frustrating, but assembling this information will be essential to finding the award you want.

    Once you have the data – and a few alternatives – pick up the phone and call an agent. You will pay a few extra dollars, but if you are looking for Business Class or First Class it will be well worth it. And, try not to overpay for awards: often times the easy way to find a seat is to pay extra miles for the “Flexible” awards but with patience and the right search tools you can usually do much better as long as you are flexible.

  5. Miles mean different things to different people. Don’t let your accumulated miles take on too much OR too little importance; use them as a tool that fits your personal circumstances. If you don’t often travel internationally, resist the urge to hoard miles for international vacations. If you need a quick, last-minute flight to visit an ailing relative or get to a job interview, use your miles! Put your miles to work for the things that matter to you.

  6. I tell my husband to buy lots of stuff on our rewards card and then I use the rewards for trips!

  7. Don’t ignore the hotel side of award trips. A one-week vacation will set you back just as much in hotels as airfare, so maximize your hotel stays. I like the Starwood American Express card because of the flexibility of the points, good award availability and options (eg. cash+points, redeem 4 nights and get 1 free), and the nice properties. And you can transfer the points to airlines if you want.


  8. Leave good instructions for your heirs on how to access your miles in all your accounts. You don’t want them to go to waste– rather, you want your kids to be able to use them should you die unexpectedly. Once the airline knows you’re gone, they will probably lock your miles.

  9. Try and sketch out your years travel at the start of the year. This lets you calculate your flight miles goal and predict when you’ll reach it. You can then estimate when you’re likely to reach your goal and look into other methods (hotels, car rentals etc) to speed things along.

  10. When planning travel analyze your plans to make sure they maximize key point goals while minimizing cost and reducing your hassle factor. I am very happy with my decision to switch from Hilton to Priority Club based on cost, product available and points promotions. When United is too expensive for a specific flight, I will book via points on my credit card, use any discounts or book a comparable flight on another star alliance partner. I long ago decided that car rental loyalty promotions were of no value to me and stick with Enterprise who gives me good prices, great service and lets my husband drive at no additional cost. To reduce hassle, I do my research in advance of a trip and put all of my information in a clear plastic sleeve for easy reference including flight, hotel car, reward dining, and entertainment/sightseeing plans

  11. Try not to lose yourself in the accumulation of miles- I spent hours once trying to get a 6,000 point Priority Club bonus…

  12. When I travelI do two things to make my journey more enjoyable and less stressful!

    The first is to pack my oldest (and potentially throw away ) clothes. Wear’em and leave’um! I will buy all new clothes and enjoy my trip even more….

    The second trip secret is to ship my clothes by common carrier like FedEx or UPS. It is cheaper, faster and guaranteed to arrive before I do.

    Enjoy the trip and there person you are with!!

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