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. Use your point earning credit card for EVERYTHING Yes, I mean EVERYTHING (but pay it off at the end of the month of course). I even use it in the soda machine at work. And be sure to sign up for all of the extras such as ‘dining for miles’, special airline promotions, and miles earning surveys. Fun to watch the miles add up.

  2. Check your main airline’s foreign partner airlines for earning miles, not just alliance airlines.

    For example, one can fly direct to Taipei on EVA Airways and earn Continental One Pass miles, even though EVA is not in the star alliance. EVA is cheaper than United and United no longer flies direct.

  3. Mileage cards are often the best bang for the credit card buck, and Amex often does have the better mileage offers than many other cards. I personally prefer to get cash back on my cards, though, and spend it as I choose. (Up to 4%).

    Can’t really come up with anything better for building miles than have already reported on. Choosing an alliance that services your local airport(s) to destinations that you tend to fly to, sticking with that alliance when possible, and picking the longer route if available that’ll still get you there on time.

  4. Tip: Earning: Do your homework before you buy anything (travel-related or not) to make sure you know all of the latest promotions and are getting the most miles. Using: Same as earning – do your homework. Start with FlyerTalk.

  5. when redeeming points, be patient, and know the schedule of your airline and its partners.

  6. Starwood Preferred Guest points are powerful currency, especially since you can convert them 1:1 into most airline programs, allowing you some of the best flexibility for finding and redeeming awards, depending on which airline may have availability.

  7. Watch out for SPG/Hyatt/Hilton/Marriott/Priority Club free night promos… burn those and save the points! Also, look for the best free night promotions: longer redemption period, less restrictions on hotel categories the free nights can be used for, less nights/stays needed per free night earned.

  8. Sign up to have travel blogs delivered to your Rss feed to keep up on the latest special in mileage, hotels and airlines. Stay loyal to airlines with hub in your area

  9. As amateurish as it sound, I go through my “travel checklist” before every trip that includes bringing a printout of all my FF and FH account numbers. Just in case I have to switch flights or hotels.

  10. If your airline miles or hotel points are expiring, you can order something from a partner vendor to keep your account active (and earn points at the same time).

  11. Register in many programs, and see which ones have promotions (e.g., bonus points) going on. If you have options, choose the one that will maximize earnings. Also never say no to registering for a new program… there’s nothing to lose.

  12. Enjoy your time. Reading blogs and forums on how to earn and spend miles is as much fun as the earning and spending. This is you new hobby, have fun!

  13. Use a credit card that awards points for money spent on it. It is an easy way to collect points each month without flying.

  14. I use Priority Club PointBreaks when a travel around the country for my photography. Many times my driving itinerary allows a lot of flexibility in where I spend the night. At 5,000 points per night my points go a lot further than they would using them for a standard stay. On a recent four week trip I used PointBreaks fifteen times.

  15. Plan for credit card sign up bonus especially for people in the U.S. Do it twice or once a year can get you a lot of miles / points even you don’t travel much.

  16. Credit card bonuses are by far the fastest way to earn points/miles, and keep an eye on View From the Wing and flyertalk for special promotions that can be very lucrative! Keep miles in as many loyalty programs as possible and you will seldom have trouble finding an air/hotel award. Book as far out as possible and watch those expirations! Free travel has changed our life!

  17. When dining out with a group of friends and the bill comes on one ticket they always choose to pay cash. I take all their cash and then pay the entire bill – along with my portion of course – on my credit card simply to get the miles.

    I’m disciplined enough to put the cash in my banking account and make a payment towards the credit card right away.

  18. If you have “world points” or any sort of airline reward points, use those for big trips. Use smaller trips you can pay for “out of pocket” on your credit card towards more reward points.

    Save. Go big. Go in style.

  19. Focus Focus Focus. Two programs, a cc that generates reward points, put your hotel points into your airline program. I never buy anything, including a house, unless I get points.

  20. Use your miles for Economy class travel and you’ll get a lot more trips. Business/First redemption is only good for those that have TONS of miles.:-) Also, pick an alliance and stay with it. Credit card bonuses can also help a lot.

  21. Accumulate as many as you can, and use them as fast as you can for big ticket redemptions. And the cardinal rule — never let them expire!!

  22. Don’t let your points expire! It’s a great idea to get and hoard as many miles as possible, but make sure to know the rules of your particular program as they can all go to waste if you don’t meet minimum activity requirements…

  23. You don’t need to be a customer of an airline to take advantage of their loyalty programme – think alliances. For example, I am one of BMI’s best customers despite having never flown on one of their flights. The same has been true of Air Canada in the past.

  24. 1.Apply for a credit card that offers bonus miles after the first purchase. Watch for cards that offer bonus miles after the first purchase, and then an additional “spend” bonus if you spend $xxxx.xx within a certain time frame. Get that one.

    2.Run everything, and I mean everything, through your credit card so you can rack up the miles.

    If you are not using your credit card to pay for gas, food shopping, dining out, and auto insurance, you are not getting the most bang for your buck.

    You can even pay your mortgage and utility bills by credit card (, just beware if there are additional fees or charges, then you might not want to do that.

    If you own a home, ask your tax collector if you can pay your property tax bill with your credit card. Some allow it. Ask if there are additional charges to do that, and decide if it’s worth it.

    If you rent, inquire if you can pay your rent with your charge card. Some allow it, some do not.

    If you are going to make a major purchase, like a car, USE YOUR CHARGE CARD and rack up the miles. You can also ask the dealer to place only a certain amount of the purchase on the card – they will do it.

    Pay off your charges each month.

    3.When you travel, try to stay at a hotel that will offer you the most points. If you travel for work and will be reimbursed for the stay, better yet.

    4.Read all travel blogs daily and watch for new deals, promotions, and other exciting offers. When you get into it, it is actually fun!


  25. Know where you are going, research the award chart, get enough miles (a much easier job with Amex MR), finally be flexible and secure the award seat EARLY!

  26. Keep a spreadsheet of all your point activity. That way if the program makes a mistake- and it happens- you can get it corrected.

  27. If you need airline miles more than hotel points, you should still consider the starwood american express card. Combined with stays at starwood properties you can quickly generate a healthy spg balance. This in turn can be converted to aa miles with a bonus 5k for every 20k transferred

  28. Use your miles to travel to exotic places, such as some small airports in Norway or South Africa, where the tickets are extremely expensive, but you need to plan ahead. Well, sometimes you don’t have to, because not many people book award tickets to those places 😀

    Anyway, this usually yields the best value for the miles.

  29. It is often easiest to redeem awards when you have higher status. If next year is going to have higher status, burn them then; the savings in fees, and increased availability can really pay off.

  30. Be smart about what you use your points for. International tickets and international upgrades tend to be the best uses of points.

  31. Get yourself a mileage earning credit card!

    If you are going to spend money, then why not spend it and earn something back at the same time?

  32. Take advantage of low fares to boost up your mileage total. Quick weekend trips can rack up the miles if you pay attention to what you earn versus what the trip costs.

  33. SPG card is great for redemption. The 5k bonus miles + cash + points options are terrific.

  34. When buying stuff on-line, make sure to buy through mileage awarding links. For example, in Canada, use the Air Miles portal and use your credit card (MasterCard or AMEX) that gives you Air Miles…..

  35. Redeem your miles for premium class tickets to overseas, or Hawaii, and Alaska. These are among the best value of your miles. Always plan ahead, usually you can book your award travels 330 days in advance. Keep that information in mind whenever you are thinking a nice trip. Good luck to us all!

  36. My top tip is to maximize your rewards is by combining flight miles, credit card spend, and hotel points – meaning if you are earning miles by flying in a certain program, go ahead and sign up for that program’s credit card. Additionally, sign up for any credit card program such as American Express membership rewards or the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, in which you can earn points in the program and potentially transfer the points into miles.

  37. I agree, 5000 Priority Club hotel specials are a great way to venture to new-found destinations ! My family regularly seek these reward offers 🙂

  38. The best tip is the simplest: read and post on Flyertalk to get advice on the best possible deals for your miles.

    One specific tip is to use Amex Mileage Rewards to convert to ANA miles for intra-Asia flights to and from Tokyo. These flights are normally very expensive; it’s quite possible to get a ticket valued at 10 cents/mile!

  39. Make friends with other mile/point collectors from different programs or alliances. That way you can try staying at other fancy hotels and flying first class outside of your alliance (and vice-versa).

  40. Sometimes, travel companies have some incredibly lucrative promotions (like the LatinPass promotion, through which we earned a million miles, most of which were used on USAir, or transferred to Hilton and Marriott). When these promotions happen, DON’T delay! They frequently get pulled, or closed to additional entrants. You have to figure out the benefits and pull the trigger quickly.

  41. Stay up to date with the ff promotion boards with your chosen providers! The best bonuses can be hard to find/hidden

  42. Try to use some of the new one way awards, often these have more availability than the regular standard (25K) awards. I have found them to be available when I cannot a round trip.

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