Want To Win An All Expenses Paid Trip To Australia? ENTER HERE!

A few weeks ago Boarding Area & Hilton Hotels allowed the Boarding Area bloggers to each give away a free night any Hilton in the United States. Well apparently that was so much fun, Boarding Area has now teamed up with American Express to give away something even better…

…what could be better than a free night in a hotel? How about an all expenses paid trip for two from the United States to Australia’s Gold Coast for eight days and seven nights.

Is that not good enough for you? What if Boarding Area and American Express were covering not only your airfare and hotel, but also your transportation, your meals, some activities … and also just for the hell of it, covering all of your taxes (since most contests like this require the winner to pay the taxes).

For the mileage run geeks, there is an added bonus … you’ll get full mileage credit and hotel stay points for your journey. If you’re flying from New York, that’s roughly 19,272 frequent flyer miles!

How could this get any better?  You can enter 20 times!

Well you can only enter once on Flying With Fish, but you can enter once on each of the participating Boarding Area blogs.

Flight Diversions

Fly Gracefully

The Gate

Loyalty Traveler

Marshall Jackson on Travel

Miles Quest

Musings of The Global Traveler

One Mile at a Time

Pearls of Travel Wisdom


Points, Miles and Martinis

Points Wizard

Road Warriorette

Things in the Sky

TM Travel World


View From the Wing

The Wandering Aramean

Wing and a Prayer

I hate fine print, but American Express requires some fine print be added. This fine print includes entrants must be legal residents of the 50 United States and be aged 18 or older.  One winner will be selected from each blog to be entered in the final drawing. From those 20 eligible entrants, one winner will be selected at random.  Yadda yadda yadda yadda. For complete rules of entry and eligibility click HERE.

To enter simply leave a comment below detailing your top tip for earning or using airline or hotel loyalty points.

Remember you must enter with your real name and an email address you can be contacted at if you win.

I’m pulling for one of my readers to win for two reasons. One, I like my readers – Two, the blog with the selected winner takes home a new Apple iPad.

All entries must be received by the 28th of March … so what are you waiting for … ENTER!

Happy Flying!


  1. Don’t use your hotel points for inexpensive hotels, instead pay, get more points and treat yourself down the road in a more luxurious hotel!

  2. Enroll in every loyalty program you possibly can then track all pertinent information such as name, number, enrollment date, dates of stays, passwords etc. Then use your membership information to book your stay for complimentary upgrades, free stays and mileage bonus.

  3. My top tip is to maximize your rewards is by combining flight miles, credit card spend, and hotel points – meaning if you are earning miles by flying in a certain program, go ahead and sign up for that program’s credit card. Additionally, sign up for any credit card program such as American Express membership rewards or the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, in which you can earn points in the program and potentially transfer the points into miles.

  4. Make sure to consolidate your flying miles, credit card miles, and partner miles (hotels and cars) in one account. You get to the really big awards (like business class to Europe) much quicker.

  5. Use your miles/points while you can! You never know if your program may go under or if your points/miles get devalued. Enjoy life – treat yourself to a fancy hotel or resort and fly at the pointy end of the airplane. 🙂

  6. The Best use of your miles are international Business/First awards, don’t waste your miles on anything less.

  7. 1 Consider using your airline rewards for upgrades to first class or business class.
    2 Read flyertalk and the blogs like this
    3 Plan ahead for better availability
    4 some good luck

  8. Try to use some of the new one way awards, often these have more availability than the regular standard (25K) awards. I have found them to be available when I cannot a round trip.

  9. My best tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points is to save your points for flights. Especially with American Express Points and Airmiles points, the miles go way further as far as value goes. For a certain amount of points you could get some merchandise or a gift card worth maybe a few hundred dollars, or you could get a flight worth almost double. Also, NEVER use cash if you don’t have to. Put your credit card on file at the hotel and charge EVERYTHING to your room. If you have the cash on hand to pay for something, keep it in your pocket until the end of the month and use it to pay the bill without interest. Using cash is basically throwing points (or free rewards) out the window – don’t do it unless you have no other option.

  10. Keep a positive attitude and the longview about reaching your destination. Actual airtime goes quickly when you are calm and content.

  11. Concentrate on quickly gaining the highest elite status in one program, because you can parlay that into status at others through matching. Plus it makes the travel that much more comfortable

  12. Don’t be afraid to check costs of adding additional legs (and miles) to your flight! I wound up paying a lot less by adding 2 more stops to my cross country trip, gaining me segments and EQM!

  13. doing necessary preparation is important and going to boardingarea.com is one of best choices.

  14. Stick to one or two programs for each of air, car, hotel, etc and be completely loyal to those, for example, go with SPG + SPG Amex + stay only at SPG hotels and sign up for as many promotions as possible via milemaven/pointmaven

  15. Don’t let your miles expire. For $1.29, you can extend them buy buying a song through the airlines web shopping mall’s portal to Itunes.

  16. Find a program and stick to it. Pay very close attention to the expiration dates on your rewards, especially the free car vouchers and such (like the 1 2 free promo by National, those things expire really fast.
    Especially when dealing with rental cars try and break into a higher tier as you’ll get better service and better cars usually.
    For what it’s worth I’ve found points don’t matter as much as the perks to me. I would much rather get upgraded on 20 domestic flights than get one free international flight.

  17. Track your points, miles and your bank/credit accounts with Yodlee! Spend your miles smart by reading flyertalk and boardingarea blogs.

  18. Do your homework! Know EVERYTHING about the loyalty rewards program you chose: one-time promotions, how to get bonus points, who are the partners, etc.
    Every time you make a reservation/pay for something (store, hotel, restaurant, purchase on-line, concert, trip to a museum, etc) remember to check if you can use your loyalty card. EVERY LITTLE BIT ADDS UP!!!

  19. Make sure your points get credited and do all your travel on one airline, or at least the same alliance.

  20. There are so many good tips, and here is the only one that hasn’t already been said and resaid:

    When you have a lousy experience with an airline, CONTACT the airline immediately; often you will receive double miles or at least courtesy miles. And if you don’t, you’re not being descriptive enough!!

    I’ve had great experiences with Delta’s customer service responding to some horrid flight experiences (when you fly 80,000 miles a year, you’re bound to have a few ugly ones!)

  21. I always try to book Economy Saver awards, then Business Saver awards because they require slightly less points than Standard Economy award seats.

  22. Man, what hasn’t been said? Don’t just look at for travel partners to earn miles, but to retail partners. Earn a few extra points on everyday stuff you would buy anyway.

  23. Keep it simple! Choose one loyalty program that best suits your personal needs. They sometimes change so get updates, because what you don’t know about your loyalty program can hurt you.

  24. Sign up for AwardWallet.com to keep track of your mileage balances if you are a member of several programs (like me!). The free version is great, but for as little as $1 for 6 months, you can also keep track of expiration dates for your programs, so that you don’t lose your hard-earned miles & points due to inactivity.

  25. Here’s a couple of them:
    – Get an airline/hotel credit card and put all daily charges (from gas to jewelery) on that to earn the maximum number of points. Along with the promotions, specials, last minutes deals run by these cards/partners you are sure to earn a heck more points.

    – If time permits, fly in segments instead of direct routes to earn more points/miles and while edeeming, try and use flight segments which are usually easily available than direct routes

  26. Always know the promotions for your program and do your best to take advantage of them.

  27. If you get a rep that says it cant be done, hang up and call again until you get a rep that will work with you and is knowledgeable. Try try try again.

  28. Do the math. Even if a domestic ticket seems expensive, it’s almost never worth it to burn miles. Save them for your international trips.

  29. My top tip for using mileage points is to plan well in advance and to fully understand the specific restrictions of the program.

  30. One tip that has served me well: be aware of opportunities to transfer miles/points from one program to another for free without devaluation.

    A good one is Amtrak Guest Rewards -> Continental OnePass. Limit of 50K per year – and even that might only be for Amtrak elite pax. It’s a steal. Eg right now there’s an offer for the co-branded Chase MC that yields 18K Amtrak points upon activation and another 18K with $2K spend. Easiest 36K Continental miles I’ve every heard of.

    Similarly know how much the miles/points are worth to you so you know when to earn and when to burn.

  31. Points are in the details, understand where the bonuses are and how to get them as cheaply as possible.

    Then to spend them, plan as early as possible and do the research on miles required, could find a steal where you least expect it.

  32. Stick with one airline/hotel program as much as you can. Not only will you earn more points and be able to use more points, but your customer service levels will increase. Airlines and hotels will go out of their way to exceed your expectations when you’ve earned a couple hundred thousand miles/points because that is the whole purpose of these programs – to foster loyalty with their companies – and you’ve proven to be a loyal customer!

  33. As I’ve gotten older, my time has become more valuable and I’ve had more disposable income. Therefore, I recommend being a little more willing to spend money instead of sacrifice time to build mileage balances.

    On Continental, I have the Presidental Plus credit card, which gives a 25% redeemable miles bonus. I pay in advance for the Extra Mile bonus, which is another 50%. I have Platinum status, offering a 100% bonus. And I frequently purchase B fares, which are upgradeable at booking and earn 150% EQM, good for keeping status.

  34. I use my miles credit card for everything! I get miles for all purchases and it keeps any of my miles from expiring! Use participating hotels also. Thanks.

  35. Unless you are extremely time sensitive always book a flight with connections to maximize your mileage. If plans change you can standby on a direct flight with relative ease but moving from a direct to a connection is far more challenging.

  36. Know what your programs’ expiration rules are and what it takes to keep your miles/points from expiring. Even if you don’t have enough miles in your account to take a flight, you may have an opportunity in the future to get enough for a ticket. Keeping miles alive in many programs can also be done cheaply. For example, buying a song on iTunes keeps United miles alive for another 18 months.

  37. My advice would be to “get loyal” with a favorite hotel chain/ airline/ rental car company – higher level loyal members, Starwood Platinums, Hyatt Diamonds, United 1ks, for example not only earn base points but bonus points for these member classifications, as well as other perks and upgrades (free) that rewards the loyal frequent traveler. Also, using a branded credit card to pay for these hotel rooms and plane tickets (United’s Visa, Starwood’s Amex, for example) have a way of being a point multiplier for increased earnings ad well.

  38. My advice would be to “get loyal” with a favorite hotel chain/ airline/ rental car company – higher level loyal members, Starwood Platinums, Hyatt Diamonds, United 1ks, for example not only earn base points but bonus points for these member classifications, as well as other perks and upgrades (free) that rewards the loyal frequent traveler.

    Also, using a branded credit card to pay for these hotel rooms and plane tickets (United’s Visa, Starwood’s Amex, for example) have a way of being a point multiplier for increased earnings ad well.

  39. Many airline carriers allow for one-way award redemptions. If you have trouble finding round trip award availability at the lowest redemption level, do some one-way searches before ponying up the higher amount of miles

  40. What’s your top tip for travelers who want to earn and use their loyalty points? At Christmastime, do all your shopping online for FF miles! I’ve racked up lots of points this way and have traveled to Europe and California using my FF miles.

  41. Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express! Is there anything more to know?
    The best card with the best flexibility. Go get one today!

  42. Use no fee reward cards from your local or regional banks. These cards generally offer rewards on multiple airlines without black out travel dates.

  43. Use the Starwood AMEX to accumulate points, then transfer to your favorite airline program with a 25% bonus for 20,000 point exchanges. Alternatively keep Starwood Amex points in reserve so you can transfer smaller amounts to “top off” airline accounts to reach the award you need.

  44. Use RSS feeds to keep up with all the best blogs about mileage earning and redemption.

  45. Earn/consolidate to one frequent flyer program of an alliance. Always check the ‘Fare basis code’. Starwood Preferred Guest card is best credit card for earning miles, gives 5k bonus for redeeming 20k miles to 30 different FFP program.

  46. My top tip:

    Never let a mile go waste: Never pay cash when you can charge to a mile earning card, never let any miles expire, never miss a mileage promotion and never use miles for free flights for yourself.

  47. Air miles and some hotel points expire. When you sign up to earn these miles, ask the related parties how long you have to accrue the points, how long they are valid and if there are policies on extending earned miles or awards. Be careful!

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