Posts Tagged ‘American Airlines’

A few months ago I posted a blog about a credit card from American Airlines that would give you 75,000 miles.  After receiving those miles, I wanted to take a trip unlike any other.  That is when I came up with the idea to let everyone vote to send me anywhere in the world.  Initially, I was very nervous because some of my idiot friends thought they’d be funny and vote for Utah.  Fortunately after all the votes were counted Peru won.  The only real planning I did before my trip was buying Machu Picchu tickets because they limit the number of people that can enter Machu Picchu.

The night before I left, I went to hostelworld.com to find a place to stay for my first night in Lima.  After reading the reviews and looking at the prices, I decided to stay at the Pariwana Hostel.  They had me at $8 with breakfast included.  At that price, I was expecting a nice buffet with eggs, cereal, fresh fruit, oj, and maybe some live classical music.  To my dismay there was only bread, tea, and granolas (the people, not the food).  Although breakfast didn’t meet my expectations, the rooms and bathrooms were clean, and it wasn’t too loud at night.  Can’t ask for much more in a hostel.

If you are going to stay in Lima, I recommend staying in Miraflores or Barranco.  Both places are a little far from the airport, but they are a lot safer and there are some good things to do close by.

To all those adrenaline junkies, you have to go to Peru and ride in a combi.  It was one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life!  Riding in a combi is similar to bumper cars.  The only differences are these bumper cars travel at 40 mph and don’t have bumpers or seat belts.  Combi drivers seemed to go out of their way to try and hit one another.  Several times we literally came within inches of hitting another van.  Arriving at bus stops was the worse.  They would drive really fast to the bus stop and swerve at the last minute to get in front of another driver.  When they couldn’t get in front they would pull in closely to the side of another van and try to squeeze their way to the front.  During my ride, I thought I was going to die in a fiery ball of carnage

Riding combis was an awesome way to begin my trip to Peru!

My good friend Kyle asked me a very difficult question (like all good friends do).  And no, it was not why am I not married?  So everyone, stop asking (just look at me and you’ll know why)!  He asked me, “which airline has the best frequent flyer program?”  Great question!  Since most airlines offer 1 mile per mile traveled when you buy an economy ticket, it becomes necessary to look at other variables.  These variables include the place of departure, destinations, upgrades, possibility of using miles for hotels or shopping, and which airline offers the most reward points.

Don’t worry I’m not going to write a complex formula to demonstrate how much work it was for me to get the answer, although I am a scientist (a scientist of politics).  I found that there were two frequent flyer programs that stood head and shoulders above the rest; Continental and American Airlines.

Continental has more partners, which means you will be able to fly to more countries and more airports.  It’s also easier to find flights using miles on Continental compared to almost all other U.S. carriers.  If you have to fly on a specific date this will be very important.

*No matter what airline you use it is very important to book as early as possible when using miles*

American Airlines charge less miles to fly to Latin American and Western Europe (40k compared to 50k on Continental).  The problem is that you have to fly on certain dates to get the 40k.  If you fly outside of those dates then the number of miles drastically goes up for both international and domestic flights (120k and 50k respectively).  I found that American Airlines credit cards offer more initial reward miles (there’s one with 75k, see previous Travel Tip).  Obviously this makes it initially easier to fly for free.

Kyle, I will specifically answer your question.  If you’re flying domestically Continental would be the best option for you because it has a lot more flights and seats available for redeeming miles.  You’ll use the same number of miles on both airlines to fly domestically out of Utah. If you’re flying internationally it depends.  American may require fewer miles, but your plans will have to be flexible.  Delta does have a main hub in Utah, but they have a lot less partners and the overall consensus is that it’s harder to fly Delta using miles.

The miles I quoted are for non-peak dates.  If you fly during summer, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or spring break the number of miles will increase.  Also, I only compared U.S. carriers because I feel that most of my audience will be using U.S. carriers.  If not, let me know and I can research international carriers as well.  Finally, it pays to comment and ask questions on my blog because I will research your question and answer it to the best of my ability. Let me know what you think of this post!

What’s been your experience with rewards programs?