I just discovered you and your column, “Five Contrarian Travel Tactics” for MSNBC, and I appreciate your travel savvy. I am going to be traveling more and more these days and I realize I need a strategy. I already have a frequent flyer card with just about everybody but no real miles built up with anyone.
How do I consolidate all my mini miles to get me some real advantage with any one or two airlines? And is there a strategy for building miles with an airline I can implement? I’m in Phoenix, AZ (Southwest and America West HQ here) but everyone else flies in. Who should I realistically start working with to maximize my mileage?
Thanks for your help. I’ll be looking for your book(s) unless I can get autographed copies from you direct?? Please feel free to call if it’s easier. Thanks for your time!!
Rev. Carlton Clark
Answered by The Penny Pincher
Thank you for your kind words, and for reading my column. Off the top of my head, I would suggest looking into the newly merged American West/U.S. Air Airline. After the two airlines merge they will be a fairly strong force in the industry, hopefully weathering bankruptcy. Combining their route structure should provide you good domestic coverage. In the near future they should also offer good international coverage with affiliate partners. The benefit with this newly formed airline is that they will be looking for good loyal customers and obtaining preferred services will be easier than on more firmly entrenched carriers such as American Airlines.
If you’re nervous about the future of American West/U.S. Air I would then consider Continental airlines. They also have a smaller frequent flier program meaning less competition for preferred services and upgrades.
If you send me your address I will be happy to send you a copy of my book.