I’m always searching for the best deals. One of our regular readers, Honey Ward, knows this and suggested I explore credit card promotions that offer frequent flier miles.
Honey forwarded an article that recommended obtaining two different US Airways credit cards, for a total fee of $139. The two credit cards together would provide up to 40,000 frequent flier miles, enough in theory for one “saver” award between North America and Hawaii.
Will you really get a free trip to Hawaii using this method or just be out $139?
The idea of a nearly free ticket to Hawaii sounds great, right?
Here are the problems:
1. A “saver” type award to Hawaii usually requires 330 day advance reservations.
Alternatively, there could be last minute, unpredictable award availability. The reason is that Hawaii is among the most desirable awards, and you will be competing with many other people, among them those fliers with the most status.
2. Buying (in this case), and banking, US Airways miles (or any airline’s miles), is a bad idea.
In this regard, virtually all industry analysts concur. The value of miles is dropping very quickly.
3. Mileage requirements for awards are being restructured.
They’ll cost more while the number of awards offered continues to plummet.
4. Airlines are imposing new fees on award redemptions.
In this case, US Airways will charge you an additional $50 fee, in the event you are able to claim your Hawaii award.
5. Expect airline liquidations.
When that happens, there is no reason to believe that your miles will have any value whatsoever. For example, I know people who were stuck with hundreds of thousands of worthless Aloha Airlines miles earlier this year.
6. Easier for solo travelers.
If you are trying to coordinate the allegedly “free” ticket with a paid one, in order to travel with a companion, the situation becomes even more complicated. You may be buying the companion ticket nearly a year in advance, with no possibility of paying anything but the highest fare.
What I suggest instead:
1. Watch for seasonal pricing for Hawaii travel.
Last week for example, we announced very good deals from the Pacific Northwest to Hawaii. I’d be surprised to not see equally good deals from the all-important California markets surfacing soon.
2. Use existing frequent flier miles as quickly as possible.
Consider less popular but more available awards. If you have enough miles to claim any award, do so without delay.
What’s your feeling on this topic? Be sure to post your comments.