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socks and cat

This will require a lifestyle change

New United Air miles credit card approved, can combine with my business debit United Air miles card. The catch? Credit card will cost $60 per year and the debit card will cost $25 per year. So I need to use that credit card for EVERYTHING to accumulate those miles fast and just pay the balance off at the end of each month so I don't have to pay interest.

This is going to require a MAJOR lifestyle change. For years I have paid cash for everything. Now for once I'm actually going to have to not cash my checks or carry cash. From now on I'm going to have to charge everything. That's going to take a LOT to get used to. I don't believe in credit cards, I think they should be for emergencies only. So even though I won't be accumulating any debt with it, it goes against everything I believe to start charging all of my food, gas, clothing and entertainment expenses.


I've been doing with this exact card for going on 2 years now, and longer with other cards, including my debit card. It does take getting used to, but once you develop the habit of both using the card AND monitoring what you spend on it (so you don't overextend yourself on accident), it will become a more natural thing.

Something I learned about cash vs. card: You sometimes forget what you spend your cash on and how quickly things add up...a couple bucks here, a few more over there, etc. I think that the United card has a way you can look at your charges and what categories that they fall into. That way, you can see what percentage of your monthly charges go on groceries, what goes on dining, what goes into "miscellaneous", which can sometimes put previously unnoticed spending habits out in the open.

It will take a LOT of dollars to add up to a really big flight. But it DOES add up, and some things will give you more miles than others.

Half-related, I'm actually trying to move myself to using my United card less and moving to a credit card through Bank of America that is connected to UPromise...the point of this is that instead of getting miles or cash back, I get money towards paying my student loans off. If I put nearly everything on it the way I work my United card now, that extra money won't be small :)
Hey do you have more info on the Upromise thing?
I have to accumulate 25,0000 miles before I can even use my miles. That's enough to fly to London and back, twice! Or enough to fly to Hawaii 4 or 5 times.
I tried that. Dident work for me at all. I ended up with debt.

Cash is KING!
Your description of the plan sounds strange to me ... especially these days with mileage cards/plans. I just looked up the award levels for United at it took me to the following page: http://www.united.com/ual/asset/RT_standard_award_chart_021110.pdf

Seems pretty comparable to other airline programs, but Hawaii requires 20,000 miles for a coach fare and Europe requires 50,000.

However, I am surprised that Chase isn't giving you a large bonus of miles for qualifying up front. I know BofA gives their Alaska Mileage Plan members a pretty significant amount of miles (like 20,000) when qualifying.

My parents accumulated hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles by always charging everything on their mileage cards (and always paying off the balances every month). Also, if you fly as well as use your card you obviously also accumulate the miles that way. I have about 100,000 miles with Alaska earned with the combination and plan to book with one of their partner airlines to go to Europe next year.

Be aware also that most airlines do restrict the number of tickets that can be purchased with miles. So even though they may have full purchase price seats available on a flight, they might not allow you to use your miles. But if you plan well in advance for your mileage redemption, you can make it worth your while.
Given that Hawaii is not a 20,000 miles round trip, it looks like Chase just ripped me off big time. If I had known this I never would have agreed to both these cards.

I also just found out the person at the bank who told me my debit card was $25 per year was wrong. It's actually $65 like the credit card. So in two years I will have paid $390 in credit card fees just to get a $400 flight for free.

Chase just tricked me and I'm not happy about this. I think I might cancel my credit card.
You might check on the B of A Signature card that gives you Alaska miles. I think I pay about $75 a year, but not only do you get miles (dollar for dollar), you also get a companion fare each year. So if you want someone to share travel expenses with you can offer the companion ticket that costs $99 for any flight they fly with you (my husband and I buy one first class ticket to Hawaii and the other person gets theirs for $99).

And Alaska's miles never expire (unlike some/most of the other airlines, which don't let you accumulate miles indefinitely).

I am surprised at Chase that they didn't offer you the 30,000 miles up front when they approved you. You might try negotiating with them ... say you are thinking about canceling the card after looking at other offers. They might give you the miles you deserve for qualifying!
There is something wrong with Alaska Airlines credit card department. I have perfect credit and I can approved for anything. I even once got approved for a $400,000 home loan when I was home shopping (never used the loan or purchased a home though). Yet for some reason when I applied on a flight for an Alaska credit card they turned me down. I knew it had to be an administrative error so I called them and asked what the problem was. They said they would send me a letter explaining it and then never did.

Why Alaska Air would turn down someone with outstanding credit is beyond me. But clearly I'm not wanted there.
Actually I just remembered a SECOND error Alaska Airlines credit card BofA department made. I applied one more time just before my surgery so I could get airlines miles for my surgery. They approved me this time and promised to FedX the card to me so I would have it by the day the surgery had to be paid for. The day the surgery had to be paid for came and went and the card never arrived. When I called and asked why they didn't FedX it as promised they said that even though I was approved they forgot to verify my address. They also forgot to call me and tell me they needed to verify my address. And even though I was approved, they refused to give me my credit card number over the phone or call my surgeon's office with the number. So it was too late to get the card in time for my surgery. I lost my chance to get thousands and thousands of miles in just one purchase. I was ticked off at them for this and told them to cancel the card they forgot to FedX me.

Seriously, BofA is a bunch of losers. They won't approve you even with perfect credit. And then when they finally do approve you they forget to verify your address and forget to FedX the card to you and forget to call you to tell you they can't FedX it because they didn't verify your address -- even after you tell them you're on a deadline and need the card by a certain date to pay for surgery.
That is really bizarre. Sorry to hear you have gone through so much trying to get some benefit from your purchases!