First Time on MileValue


This is a blog about earning and redeeming frequent flyer miles to travel more, better, and cheaper.

I live a transient lifestyle, flying around the world sometimes in economy, but often in Business or First Class, on a budget because I know the tricks to getting tons of miles without flying and redeeming them as efficiently as possible. Whether you want to take a dream honeymoon, a family vacation, a round-the-world trip, or even just get a free flight home for Christmas, read this blog and you’ll find out how.

If the thought of getting started seems intimidating, don’t worry. You’re not the only one that feels that way.

  • Check out our Free Credit Card Consultation service–fill out the form here with some basic information and we can get you pointed in the right direction.
  • If you manage to earn the miles but then get flustered trying to spend them efficiently, use my Award Booking Service. You send us your miles and points balances and where/when you want to go, and we do all the hard work for you.

First Steps

  1. First, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts–expert free-travel advice featured in the New York Times, Marketwatch, and other news sources.  You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.
  2. Start by reading Travel for Pennies with Miles to get excited about the possibilities when collecting miles. Pretty cool, huh? I get most of my miles from credit card sign up bonuses. Check out this list of the top ten credit cards that I update twice a month and apply for a card or two.
  3. Next check out my beginners’ series: Free First Class Next Month.

Below are a few of the most informative posts for beginners.

I recommend starting with these:

Best Order for Card Applications to Maximize Bonuses Over Your Lifetime: Signing up for rewards cards without rhyme reason is a mistake. Learn strategies for planning your best order for card applications.

Issuing Banks Rules for Approvals and New Bonuses: Along the same lines, this post will explain why exactly signing up for cards without a plan is a bad idea. The banks that issue the majority of rewards cards with valuable sign up bonuses have rules– structured around what cards and how many cards you’ve signed up for the in the past– that dictate who is eligible for their cards and sign up bonuses.

How Much Are Frequent Flier Miles Worth? Calculating your Own Valuations: Airline miles are their own currency, just like a dollar or a peso. But who determines their value? You do. Does the math on that page frighten you a bit? You can always use our valuations here at MileValue as a rough estimate.

The Two Ways to Value Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses: For when you need help deciding between which card to apply for and you want to compare sign up bonuses.

A Change to My Advice on Applying for Credit Cards: Tips on the frequency and timing of card applications

Once you are oriented, here are some more informative posts to bookmark for future use:

Anatomy of an AwardWe’ve put dozens of posts in the Anatomy of an Award category. They show step-by-step the process of conceiving and booking actual awards we’ve booked for myself or through the Award Booking Service.

Series on how to maximize value when transferring your Citi ThankYou Points to airline partners…

Series on how to maximize value when transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards to airline partners…

Series on how to maximize domestic award redemptions…

Series on redeeming American Airlines Miles…

Series on the average delay times between bank points and airline miles…

Bottom Line

In general, no matter your skill level, you should check back daily to keep growing your skills and to be part of a community of people who all want you to fly for free.