I took a business trip last month to Bakersfield, CA. As part of the trip, I have book my flight ticket, made a reservation for the car and hotel room. Since I was buying a deeply discounted ticket, the ticket is not eligible for receiving airline frequent flyer miles. So before I started my booking, I was thinking how I can utilize various payment option to maximize my mileage earning potential for the trip.
Miles, I would have Earned without Proper Planning
Without proper planning, I will receive very few airline frequent flyer miles for my journey. The table below shows how much I would have received regarding airline frequent flyer miles and credit card points if I have simply used a non-miles/points/cash discount credit card for the trip travel expense.
|Dollar Spent||No Miles/Points/Cash rebate card used||Notes|
|Airline Ticket||$614||0||No miles/points card used to purchase the ticket.|
|Frequent Flyer Miles earned for travelling||NA||0||No airline frequent flyer miles earned because of low-cost fare.|
|Car Rental||$139||0 or 139 car rental points||Assuming you have signed up for car rewards program; you will receive one point per dollar spend.|
|Hotel Reservation||$508||0 or 5080 hotel points||Assuming you had Hotel Rewards program-enrolled and used the rewards program number to make a reservation.|
|Transportation to Airport and Home using Super Shuttle||$175||0||Assuming you have used no points earning card and not signed up with Super Shuttle to receive airline miles|
|Total Miles/Points Earned for various programs||0 or 139 or 5227|
If you see from the table above without proper planning like using a miles/points card will result in very few miles even though I spent around $1300 on travel expensed I ended up getting few car rental points as well as hotel points.
How many Miles/Points I received by Strategic Planning
|Dollar Spent||Miles Points Earned||Miles Points Earned for||Notes|
|Air Ticket Purchase from Expedia||$614||1228||Chase Ultimate Rewards||Used Chase Sapphire Preferred card for purchase. Received 2x points per dollar spend for Travel category|
|Frequent flyer miles earned for traveling on United Airlines||NA||853||Air Canda Mileage Plan||Since I purchased discounted fare, United was giving me ZERO frequent flyer miles for the miles flow. But I used Air Canda FF number in my United reservation to get Air Canada Frequent Flyer Miles|
|Frequent flyer miles earned for traveling on American Airlines||NA||1257||Alaska Airline MileagePlan||Since I purchased discounted fare, American Airlines was giving me ZERO frequent flyer miles for the miles flow. But I used Alaska Air FF number to get Alaska Airline MileagePlan miles. I received additional 181 bonus miles as the actual miles flow is less than 500 miles for my first segment.|
|Hertz Car Rental through United||$139||5389||United MileagePlus||I have used the special promotion for booking Hertz through United Airlines website to get United Bonus miles. I have written a blog article about the United Hertz special which you can read here. I earned 5250 miles for the Hertz car rental and 139 United miles for using my Chase United Explorer Card.|
|Hilton Property Stay||$508||0||Hilton Honors Points||Did not receive any point as I booked my hotel stay with Rocketmiles and earned lot of Air Canada frequent flyer miles.|
|Hilton Property Stay Airline Miles Earning||$508||0||Alaska Airline MileagePlan||Hilton has partners with many airlines where you can earn 1 miles per dollar spend that can be credited to your airline frequent flyer program. Did not receive any point as I booked my hotel stay with Rocketmiles and earned lot of airline miles.|
|Rocket Miles Hotel Booking Mileage Earning||NA||3000||Aeroplan AirCanada Miles||Received 3000 Aeroplan miles instead of HHonors points as well as HHonors Alaska Airline partner points|
|Rocket Miles Hotel Booking Expense||$508||1016||Chase Ultimate Rewards||Used Chase Sapphire Preferred card for purchase. Received 2x points per dollar spend for Travel category|
|Super Shuttle Airport and Home Transportation||$175||350||Chase Ultimate Rewards||Used Chase Sapphire Preferred card for purchase. Received 2x points per dollar spend for Travel category|
|Super Shuttle Airline partner miles bonus||NA||100||American Airlines AAdvantageMiles||Super shuttle airline partner miles bonus|
|Total Miles/Points Earned for various programs||13193|
Miles Earned for various Miles/Points earning Program
|Program||Miles / Points Earned|
|Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards point||2594|
|United Airlines MileagePlus miles||5389|
|Air Canada Aeroplan miles||3853|
|Alaska Airlines MileagePlan miles||1257|
|American AAdvanntage miles||100|
|Hilton HHonors Points||0|
How to Maximize Miles Earning
Before you book your trip make sure you decide which credit card you want to use for booking the trip that will give you maximum miles or points. You also need a plan which third party website will give you additional miles or points when you book your travel through those websites. If you do not plan and book your trip you may earn very few miles or points, a strategic planning will help you accumulate a lot of miles or points.
Airline Ticket Booking to Earn Miles or Points on the Dollar Spend
Credit, your airline Miles to correct Frequent Flyer Program to Boost your Miles During Travel
Since the airline ticket booking class was a deep discounted fair both United and American gave me only 0 miles. I used the where to credit website to find out whether I will earn any miles on the partner airlines for the actual miles flown.
United Airlines Outbound Miles
For the outbound on United Airlines, I found out I will be earning 853 miles if I credit my miles to Air Canada Aero Plan account. The Singapore Airlines offers 1705 miles for the same outbound trip. But I do not have the Singapore Airlines frequent flyer miles as they expire any miles earned three years or before and they do not extend the miles expiration. So I ended up crediting my miles to my Air Canada Aero Plan account.
United miles posted to Air Canada Aeroplan account
Few days after the trip I checked my Air Canada Aeroplan account that showed the United-flown miles got posted to my Aeroplan account. Instead of earning zero miles I earned 852 Air Canada frequent flyer miles.
American Airlines Inbound Miles
For the inbound on American Airlines, I will be earning zero miles if I credit my miles to American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program. So I used where to credit to find out how many miles I will be earning in partner airlines. I found out I will be earning 1073 miles if I credit the miles to Alaska Airlines MileagePlan account.
I could have received a higher mileage if I have credit to Finnair or Etihad Airlines, but their frequent flyer program will expire the miles if not used promptly. Also, crediting miles to British Airways program is less appealing as I will be receiving only half of the mileage credit compared to Alaska Airlines. So I credited my outbound flown miles to Alaska Airlines frequent flyer program.
American Airlines miles posted to Alaska Airlines account
Few days after my return trip I checked my Alaska Airline account, and what a surprise I received an additional bonus of 181 miles for a total of 1257 Alaska Airline Mileage Plan miles instead of the base 1076 miles.
Rent Your car for earning Maximum Airline Miles
I rented my car using United.com airline website and used the United Airlines – Hertz exclusive deal to make my car rental reservation, using the United DC and PC promotion code.
I was hoping to get 5250 miles for the car rental reservation, but I found out I received only the base promotion of 2000 miles after completion of my trip. I sent a mail to Hertz and asked them about the missing mileage credit. Few days after sending the mail I received the missing mileage credit in my United frequent flyer account and earned the full 5250 United frequent flyer miles for my car rental.
Use your Hotel stay to Earn Airline Miles
I used my Rocket Miles account to book my hotel room to receive airline miles. Since I was planning to stay in a particular hotel, I search the site using the available offer for United, Alaska, American and Air Canada frequent flyer programs. The best offer was available only for Air Canada frequent flyer program earning 3000 Air Canada Miles. So I booked the hotel reservation using my Air Canada frequent flyer miles.
A week after my stay in Bakersfield, I received an email from RocketMiles that my Air Canada Aeroplan miles got posted into my account.
Miles earned for Airport Transportation
I used Chase Sapphire Preferred to book the Super Shuttle services to airport transportation and earned double Chase Sapphire Ultimate Reward points.
Also used the Super Shuttle airline partner program to get 100 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for my airport trip.
Supershuttle Airline partner American Airlines AAdvantage miles posted to the account a week after the travel.
By strategic planning, I was able to earn double miles/points compared to taking the trip without a planned spend. It is always advisable to check whether you have any opportunity to earn additional points whether by using the correct credit card or using the right website to book your ticket will help you get a lot of points that will take you to your next dream vacation free of charge.