Most of us are very happy that summer is here. However, not all of us can afford to go on a luxury vacation to a destination like Italy or Spain. That’s why we should all be grateful for the warm spring weather that allows us to spend more time outdoors with our family and friends. But what if you’re traveling to a destination where the thermometer barely even reaches 40 degrees? Where the only way you can survive is by staying indoors most of the time and longing for the sunny European weather?
Well, if that sounds like you, you’re in luck because there’s an app for that!
Welcome to the wonderful world of frequent flyer programs. Those who use them know exactly what I’m talking about: the excitement when you get a new credit card with an associated flight bonus or the disappointment when you’ve accrued a large number of points in one place but don’t know how to transfer them to reach your travel goals.
Points are easy to rack up when you’re shopping online. All you have to do is add your credit card to your shopping cart and then enter the three-digit code that appears on the back of your card. Done!
But what do you do with all that pointage once you’ve got it?
One of the easiest ways to transfer points is to use an online wallet that supports transfers. Personally, I like MyPoints.com because they give you $10 off when you register. But if you’re looking for a more comprehensive service, check out the review of MyPoints.com posted on this website. It covers everything from the quality of customer support to how easy it is to navigate the website.
Why are online wallets a great choice for transferring points? First, they make the process fast and convenient. Instead of having to call customer support and fumble around with your credit card, you can complete the process from the convenience of your home. Second, they make it easy to find the right destination. Normally, when you’re searching for a flight and accidentally click on a destination, you’ll see a map with several stops, none of which are relevant to your travel plans. But with an online wallet, you’ll see a curated list of all the places that you can go with your points.
So, where do you want to go?
Airports Near Me
Before you start transferring points, you need to know which airport you’ll be traveling to. That way, you can choose the best one based on how often you travel there and what terminals you’ll be using. If you live in the U.S., for example, you might want to head to the closest airport to you because it will be the one that’s most convenient for you and your frequent flyer program. So if you live in San Francisco and have a Delta SkyMile credit card, for example, the closest airport to you is SFO. But if you have a United credit card and want to fly to Chicago, you’ll need to go to O’Hare airport.
Once you’ve chosen your airport, visit the website of the corresponding airline and search for the closest airport to you. If you have a United credit card, for example, you can search for “United” and then select the option that appears below the airport map, which will show you the closest airports for United.
Now that you know which airport you’ll be traveling to, you can start setting your travel goals. For example, if you have a United credit card, you might want to set a goal to travel to either New York or Chicago based on which terminal you’ll be using. And don’t forget: you can’t earn awards or see the points you’ve accumulated if you don’t know how to transfer them.
When you’re trying to figure out how to transfer points, it’s important to know the status of your flight. That way, you’ll know exactly when you’ll be able to travel to your destination. If you have a confirmed flight that is set to depart in a few hours, you can’t transfer your points before the flight because the website won’t let you do it while the plane is in the air. So find out what the latest flight schedule is and plan your points transfer around it.
One of the most annoying things while you’re trying to transfer points is wasting time at the airport. Believe it or not, even though the flight is on time, the check-in process can take a while. And then, there’s security and getting your luggage. In general, allow at least an hour and a half to two hours for the whole process. In my humble opinion, you don’t want to be late for your flight because of poor planning.
In some cases, especially for international flights, the process can take even longer. If you’re traveling internationally, don’t expect the process to be smooth. Check the latest flight schedule and plan your arrival to the airport accordingly.
Once you’ve arrived at the airport and checked in your luggage, find the departure lounge and look for the gate where your plane is going to be boarding. Wait for the announcement to board the flight and then take your place in the middle of the row. If you need to stretch your legs, visit the bathroom or get some drinks and snacks to relieve the boredom.
Why should you avoid the overbearing, smooth-talking salespeople who will try to push you into purchasing premium seats or extra items? Well, the worst scenario is that you agree to buy something you didn’t want just to make the transaction go through. Therefore, it’s best to avoid salespeople altogether and do business with the staff at the desk directly. This will save you from paying more than you have to and it will get you the benefits you deserve. So if you can, choose a seat in the exit row because they’re much nicer to wake up in than the middle seat. Also, the flight attendants are usually very good about letting you stretch your legs and offering you a drink or snack.
How Many Points Do I Need?
One of the things that will piss you off about frequent flyer programs is having to figure out how many points you need to reach your travel goals. Normally, it’s straightforward and you just need to input the total amount of travel you’ll need. In some cases, though, it doesn’t seem to make sense. For example, if you want to see the Northern Lights and you have a Delta SkyMile credit card, you’ll have to accumulate 7,500 points, but if you want to see the Southern Lights and you have the same credit card, you’ll have to accumulate 13,000 points. What gives?
The reason for the discrepancy is that Delta only allows you to earn one segment per day. So, if you’ve flown to Italy before and have a high enough point balance, you can earn bonus miles that will get you to your travel destination in a flash. But if you want to use your credit card to travel to South America, you’ll have to accumulate more points because there aren’t any flights to those places directly from Europe. On the other hand, Alaska Airlines will give you three segments per day, so you’ll be able to take a direct flight from Seattle to Santiago de Chile if you have the right credit card.
Which Terminal Do I Board My Flight From?
This is an important question because you don’t want to miss your flight due to having to search for a specific gate. If you have a Delta SkyMile credit card, for example, you can board from any gate at the airport; you won’t miss your flight because there are no restrictions when it comes to where you can board. Just make sure you check the boardings at the airport five minutes before the plane’s departure time. This way, you’ll be sure to catch the flight.
On the other hand, if you have a United credit card or belong to the MileagePlus program, you’ll have to check in online two hours before the flight’s departure time. Moreover, if you’re traveling internationally you’ll have to check in at the airport four hours before the flight leaves. Why? Because when you arrive at the airport, there will be a border security check before you’re allowed to enter the country. So, if you haven’t checked in online, you’ll have to wait in a long line at the immigration desk. There’s also the possibility that your luggage won’t make it to the airplane because the cargo hold is full. So, you’ll have to wait for the luggage to be unloaded before you can board. All of this adds up to lots of missed flights and a bad experience overall. Just remember: all of this can be avoided if you keep good records of your travel and make sure you check in online and/or at the airport four to six hours before your flight’s departure.