Supercharge your points, miles for super perks

Source: Shutterstock.

HAVE you met, or at least heard of Sam Huang? The editor of TopMiles and the traveler who took a ’round the world trip on Emirates’ first class by just utilizing his miles?

He was able to travel over 50,000 miles to 11 cities, seven countries and five continents, covering Singapore, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney, Dubai, Milan, New York, Houston, Mauritius, Rome, and Brisbane.

How?

In his own words, “The answer is a bit complicated. Through various loopholes, I was able to book an Emirates First Class ticket using miles, which would take me from Singapore to Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, Africa, and back. Let’s just say it was a crazy miles redemption that had never been done before.”

Huang used 200,000 Alaska Air Miles plus US$300 to redeem his ticket. His first class air travel would’ve otherwise cost him US$60,000.

Travel hacking is not rocket science and it’s completely legal. But it does take some skills to game the system. You would need to really familiarise yourself with the programs before using them to your advantage.

And now that 2018 is well underway, perhaps it’s time to plan your next vacation. Now would be a good time to use your miles and points to snag that dream vacation of yours for cheap.

Here are some simple hacks:

Sign up for programs

Get more out of your reward programs by signing up for as many as possible. The three major global airline alliances with attractive programs are One World, Star Alliance, and Skyteam.

American Airlines Boeing 777 in oneworld alliance livery after landing at London’s Heathrow airport. Source: Shutterstock.

For example, if you’re earning miles while flying with Cathay Pacific, you’ll be about to redeem miles with Qantas, just remember to apply that membership number each time you fly.

Some hotel chains even allow you to apply both your rewards number and airline program to your stay, earning you both points and miles.

Keep tabs on your perks

Is it likely that you could have more points than you think? Maybe.

Make sure you’re getting all the miles, points, and rewards that you’re supposed to be getting. Source: Shutterstock.

Now that you’ve signed up with multiple programs, remember to keep tabs on all the points or miles that you’re entitled to. The same way you would take inventory of your bank account balance.

To make it easier for you to keep track of them all, join Award Wallet, a service that will help you manage your personal loyalty program accounts. The service will also alert you when your points or miles are about to expire.

Convert your credit card points

Some credit cards offer miles conversions or are airline partners. Citibank, for example, allows its Citibank Rewards Points to be swapped out for AirAsiaBIG points or Enrich Miles.

Buying a car? Put in on your credit card to earn more points. Source: Shutterstock.

But first, gain lots of credit card points.

You’ll need to spend with your credit card whenever and wherever possible. Since you’re going to be paying for things whether by card or by cash, be it groceries, eating out, shopping, or hotel stars, you might as well get some points out of it.

Participation is key

If you’ve ever seen airlines and hotels run contests or surveys on their websites or Facebook page and simply ignored them, stop.

Filling out a survey will only take a couple of minutes of your time. Source: Shutterstock.

More often than not, they offer points and bonuses for your participation. And it’s as easy as just taking a couple of minutes of your time online to join a contest or fill out a survey form.

Of course, you’re not going to score a million points at one go, but a little bit goes a long way.