The First Two Things to Do in This Hobby, Neither Cost Anything Up Front

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).


The first two things anyone interested in frequent flyer miles and travel should do is sign up for Award Wallet to track your points and get a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to earn the most points in a highly flexible, valuable currency, quickly.

Don’t even think about them, take my word for it, just do. You’ll thank me.

Why Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Key Tool for Any Savvy Frequent Flyer

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card lets you earn a 50,000 point signup bonus (after $4000 spend within 3 months, and 5000 more for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the same time period) and then earns double points on travel and on dining.

You can choose from United, Korean, Air France Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Southwest. That gets you all three major airline alliances, it gets you the extra award space offered to Singapore’s and Air France’s own members. And it gets you non-alliance airlines Virgin Atlantic and Southwest (which has no change for redeposit fees if you need to cancel a trip).


Singapore Airlines Suites

Points transfer to hotels as well, Hyatt is an especially good value but Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and IHG Rewards Club are options too.

Why Award Wallet is a Key Tool for Any Savvy Traveler

Regular readers of the blog know that I use Award Wallet to track my miles and points.

The free version of the service suffices for most. You enter your frequent flyer account numbers and passwords. Then you can update most of your account balances with a single click and see them on one page. You can log into your accounts with a single click.

When I first signed up I realized quickly I was happy to pay the minimum required for their premium membership that included expiration date tracking for many of my accounts.

To me signing up for an Award Wallet account is one of the very first steps to take getting started in this hobby. Not only does it help you manage your points, but it also notifies you of changes to your travel reservations. That’s saved me on several occasions. Sometimes it’s an aircraft change, or a seat assignment change, and I’m able to fix my booking in advance while there are plenty of options rather than finding out at the airport with slim pickings at best.

I also feel more confident that my miles are protected when I track them with AwardWallet. I see changes in my account balnaces right away, since I hit one button to update my accounts each morning. If someone was stealing my miles, I would know right away and probably before they actually traveled with them. AwardWallet also ensures I know when miles post, which helps in tracking down miles I am owed rather than earning miles and merely hoping they post.

Sign Up Free, Upgrade to Premium Free

Most benefits are provided free, however there are extras that come with the ‘Plus’ version of AwardWallet, like expiration tracking for the majority of your accounts. Here’s the comparison:

Here are 77 free upgrade links that will let you take your existing free account and give yourself premium service for 6 months.

They’re likely to go quickly, I apologize if they are gone by the time you try them. Hopefully readers may be willing to give away their own upgrade coupon links in the comments as well.

Award Wallet
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. I can’t believe, after missing out so many times, I finally got one of the Award Wallet upgrades. Thanks Gary

  2. Do you know, how often you use comma splices? Perhaps in your line of work they are not seen as unprofessional, discerning readers will cringe though.

  3. At the moment, would the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer 70k offer trump the Sapphire?

  4. A comma splice is when two complete sentences are joined by a comma, here is an example of a comma splice. They were created in the mid 2000s by people who wanted to feel superior by pointing out others’ errors on the internet.

  5. I have never signed up for Award Wallet because I’m nervous about have one company access to all my frequent points accounts. If they get hacked or have an unscrupulous employee, I could lose a lot. I don’t even save my CC info in my airline/hotel/car rental programs because I don’t trust that they can protect it from hackers or unscrupulous employees. Maybe I’m just playing it a little too safe.

  6. Mahomed,
    Thank you as well for being generous! I’ve been waiting to sign up for a while and this was a great opportunity. I earn and burn about 3-4 reward flights a year so this is great!

  7. I also appreciate your sharing the codes, does your blog post get sent to everyone at the same time? Looking at the comments people were already commenting on this post yesterday the 9th when it wasn’t even delivered to my inbox until 7:40am on the 10th? I’ve noticed it in the past as well regarding great fares, by the time I receive the email the deal is gone 🙁

  8. I am tired of feeling like a monkey chasing this upgrade. If AW wants people to use it, then they need to step up and let us in. Otherwise, they are dead to me.

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