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Applying for a credit card to get extra mileage

I am a United Mileage Plus member with about 80,000 miles in my account. I am wondering if it's wise to apply for a Chase United Mileage Plus Visa card to get 30,000 extra miles so I can use them for a standard award ticket (110,000 miles).

Please advise. TIA

Posted by
23472 posts

Only you can determine that. I believe there is a $65 fee associated with that card so you need to do the math.

Posted by
36 posts

Arnold - Your idea is what I had in mind before but when I check with United they didn't have any availability. It's very difficult to get saver award tickets during summer months let alone trying to get some for this July.

Posted by
1575 posts

Yes, it is worthwhile. The key is to get the card that has the annual fee waived for the first year. That way you can cancel at the end of the year. Usually, the banks will try and cut you a sweet deal for you to keep the card - either reducing the annual fee or giving you more bonus miles.

Rereading your post, why would you go for a standard ticket when you would be able to get 2 saver tickets to Europe for 110k. UA and their partners are quite good with award availability if you know the tricks of how to go about finding available flights. I love to fly on Singapore, ANA, Thai and even Turkish where the service is so much better.

Posted by
15 posts

Booyakasha!

Just make sure you read all the fine print.

I had a Citi account with about the same amount of AA miles as you had. Canceled because I didn't want to pay the $85 annual fee. Just reapplied for another account when they offered me the same deal, 30,000 miles. Catch is I have to spend at least $750 over the next four months. Shouldn't be a problem. The account has also has a $50 annual fee, which is waived for the 1st year.

Respek!

Posted by
576 posts

I think the credit cards sign-on bonuses are a great deal. I always cancel after a year so I can wait something like 6 months to repeat the process. However, my college age daughter needs to establish credit (we don't actually GIVE her the card to use, but put her tuition or whatever expenses on it to get the miles needed) so we don't want her to cancel her cards after a year. Since we don't want her (us) to pay the annual fee, she calls them and asks for a no fee version of the cardafter a year, where she only gets 1 mile for every 2 dollars spent in exchange for the waive of fees. By signing up for Delta, United and American airlines credit cards and using them for whatever WE allow, after 1 1/2 years she now has enough miles for 3 trips to Europe. It also allows us plenty of opportunites to teach lessons on credit card responsibility, how we NEVER charge things we can't afford and ALWAYS pay the bill in full. Carefully managed bonus credit cards are a GREAT deal, as long as you don't get sucked into their loan-shark tactics and get trapped into their extremely high interest rates. Even if you had to pay the $65 fee for 30,000 miles, that is a great deal when compared to the price of tickets. It's an even better deal for those of us on the west coast who often pay almost double to fly to Europe. Also, with ff flier tickets, you get the benefit of a free stopever city and open jaws with no additional miles cost. For next Christmas, we are flying from our small local airport to Brussels, then from Brussels to Madrid, and from Madrid back to Redmond, Oregon, a trip priced at $2500, for only 40,000 American Airlines Aadvantage miles each and taxes and fees of $93. As long as you can trust yourself to be responsible (and only you know yourself) credit cards are an excellent way to get free tickets and see the world.

Posted by
23472 posts

Just keep in mind that opening and canceling credit cards has a negative impact on your FICO score. You need to weigh that in your decision.

Posted by
15 posts

Good point Frank.

On a similar (somewhat off topic) note, people are finding that the recent lowering of their credit limits are affecting their scores as well. This credit crisis is starting to have some intended/unintended consequences.

Posted by
576 posts

Frank, you're absolutely right. That's why we call to waive fees for my daughter's cards and accept half the miles rather than cancel. Juggling credit cards would be the last thing she would want to do to establish good credit. However, for my husband and me, we ALWAYS pay cash for any large purchases including new cars, already have a low mortgage rate (our only loan), are very vigilent savers and investors, we don't worry so much. I have been cancelling and resigning up for many credit cards for many years and have still managed to keep the credit score high. I think the long term practice and philosophy of always living way UNDER your means allows you to reap the benefits of a system that thrives on people who don't. But everyone must look at the big picture and not jeopardize credit scores. If you're in any kind of a marginal position financially, stay away from extra credit cards. If you're extremely good at handling your money, it's just another way to stretch out your well planned budget.

Posted by
207 posts

My airline mileage credit card has been great. I have the one where you only get a mile for every $2 spent but I don't have a yearly fee. They also offer specials for using it at different restaurants, etc.

Posted by
36 posts

Wicked! I just called United International Award Reservation and was open to make a saver award reservation for 55k miles for IAD-LHR and FCO-IAD. Last week there was no availability at all. I think now I'm going to apply for that CC to get that extra 30,000 miles for another reservation.

Posted by
36 posts

Just another update in case somebody is interested in doing the same thing. I just got another ticket for 55k miles. Took Chase less than 7 days to send me the credit card. Then I called in to change my statement closing date to March 12th and on 16th I got the miles deposited in my account. So instead of 6-8 weeks to get the miles as advertised, it's possible to get them as quickly as 15 days after you receive your card. So in the end I paid about $200 in taxes for two open-jaws tickets traveling in June.