Frequent Flyer Miles

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Zed mentioned in an earlier post about frequent flyer miles and credit cards. We are able to utilize credit cards for as many of our purchases as possible, because we pay the full balance at the end of every billing cycle. And also get compensated in the form of frequent flyer miles.

Essentially, a dollar charged equals one mile on an airline. It adds up quickly, and especially if most purchases are done by credit card. A free domestic airline ticket can be had for as little as 25,000 miles.

So then we started taking advantage of every "Get 10,000 miles free!" when starting up with a new credit card. The next year it was 15,000 miles. The next was 17,500 miles. Finally it topped out at 20,000. Sadly, then the credit card companies got smart, and started keeping track of who had already received a bolus of miles just for signing up for a credit card, so we didn't get the sign-on bonuses, but the miles kept rolling in.

To be clear, we had to pay a $60 fee at signup for the year's use of the card (knowing full well that other credit cards don't even charge a fee), so I considered it the cost of receiving the bonus miles. Ten thousand miles would have cost me ten thousand dollars in purchases, so I considered the $60 a good return on my money.

There has been a lot of travel for free with the miles we accumulated over the years, but the best part was flying to Europe round-trip for free. Twice. However, with the current recession, I know that at any time the airlines may cancel their frequent flyer programs. Yet, airfare is dropping quickly, so maybe we don't even need to use our current cache.

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