Questions and Answers

Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.

While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!

This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!

Filter by:

Alaska Airline Miles – British Airways First Class


ANA Mileage Club – Can’t book a ticket for my partner?


Mixed class itineraries no longer available on JAL using Alaska Miles


LH First award space on partner airlines missing


ORD to Italy in style!!


recommendation to use amex points


Asiana Redemption 2022 x KAL Acquisition


IC bora bora 4 night up for grab


Newbie searching flights to Thailand with Miles


Virgin Atlantic


Ask a Question

Everyone can read and comment, but you must login to post a new comment.

Answers (3)



  1. Anonymous

    Hi Ben, first Merry Christmas and Hanukkah

    I have been flying for work and once a year vacation using points or pay if a ticket is on sale since 1984.

    Everytime i was 1 points away for gold for life, AA changed the rules, then i was close to 500k for platinum for life, rules were changed again to 1 million. I reached 890k, now retired at 69, ill never ever get that status for life. My weekly flights is no more. I thought my many years of loyalty does not matter for AA, dollar wise i and company paid a lot for tickets. All coach, no business class, i had to pay for upgrade, points and $300 fee.

    So my question to you, as i read your bio of flying over 400k a year with points. I can’t figure out how you accumulate 400k a year, or are you spending 400k in dollars? I have 2 AA credit cards, my first one citi with offers per card holder a $100 certificate for purchase, then citi said only one per address, so we canceled my wife’s card.
    2 years ago, on our flight to Hawaii, AA announced a new card called Aviator that you earn double miles for every dollar spent and counts toward dollars and miles in your aa account, well this spring, Aviator changed the rules and no longer will give dollar credit, only miles, since AA rule is that you must meet dollar and miles combined, so that is now hard. Only people that benefit are corporate people using the card for business and fly business.

    What i also noticed last year, i booked my ticked 12 months ago to Japan, requested to be listed for upgrade, well day of check in, i was number 12 on the list. No one can explain, local flights, very hard in past year for upgrades, what i also seen is a entire family, 3 kids, father, mother and mother in law all flying first class, for 4 rows usa flights to Orlando was full and i was number 1 on the list and did not make it.

    I had to pay AA to maintain my platinum status for 2020, and i paid because i have 2 trips lined up for vacation, europe to visit my wife’s family and later in the year Bali for a Asian cruise ending in Bangkok. I will order the tickets 6 months out, since 1 year out won’t help.

    Thanks and look forward to your suggestions on how to benefit AA miles or earn miles and upgrades.

    Just a note, buying business class tickets is extremely expensive, points or dollars,



  2. MidSouthSkier

    Ben did a post about this quite awhile back but I can’t seem to find it. Maybe someone else will have better luck. The answer to where he gets his miles is that it’s a combination of sources: credit card sign-up bonuses, purchased miles/points when it makes sense and plenty of paid travel, especially when there’s a fare sale.

  3. David W

    His 400k comes from a mix of paid tickets and award tickets.

    There are various sales, mistake fares and whatnot throughout the year. Both can come and go fast and require flexibility for travel dates.

    There are many factors for prioritizing the upgrade list, and getting on the list early isnt enough anymore. Others ahead of you could have higher status, higher spend, or a combination of factors. Lucky has also written a lot about how inexpensive first class fares can be, compared to years ago. More people are buying first class than ever before. Additionally, if youre based out of one of AA’s hub cities, there’s more elites fighting for the same upgrade seats, mixed with AA releasing less upgrade space than before. It’s tougher and tougher.

Sign in to help answer questions.