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Starting to collect miles as student
I am a student currently based in Singapore but have an Indonesian citizenship (and I’m 19, by the way, which makes me ineligible to be the principal cardholder for (almost) all credit card). I am planning to snag one or two upgrades to business class by miles, since paying it forward proves to be too costly for me.
There are several constraints, though, on my pathway to get miles:
– Airline choices. I have been using Garuda for my Singapore – Surabaya route (a 2 hours, around 800 miles hop which I take the most) quite lately since it provides me with a quite good value for money (around US$150 – US$200 round trip with tax included and full service carrier amenities), but the problem is that I mostly got a V or H booking class, which only allows me to get the segment counted but no point at all. On domestic routes it has also started to be more stingy on miles, thanks to the new fares classification (special promo, promo, affordable, flexible). On other routes, my airline choice is almost always dependent on the mercy of ticket prices, so I have almost no brand loyalty (not even to Garuda since it’s [B]very[/B] expensive compared to its competitors on domestic routes) on those cases.
– Frequency. I don’t fly too frequently, to be frank. I do fly maybe 25 times on the last year, but my miles on hand are worse than expected (around 7000 miles on Qatar, yet only around 1000 on Garuda). Besides, no oneworld carrier serves Singapore – Surabaya route, which makes around 7000 miles (almost) useless.
– Credit card. That’s almost out of question, as I mentioned before.
– University fees payment. I do use giro here for tuition fee and hall payment, so no points can be collected. Also, if I am even to use my parents’ credit card to pay for it, the fee “charged” for overseas transaction and currency exchange can be outrageous not to justify it.
So, is there any way I can start collecting miles in order to get (almost) free upgrade?
Eric–it sounds like you’ve researched the situation fairly well. The only other thing I’d suggest is to check your airline’s partner to see if they offer any opportunities to earn miles for things like shopping or hotels or other services.