The travel rewards we want most


a letter to santa with a microphone and picturesThe Frequent Miler team has enjoyed some incredible award travel, but this week on Frequent Miler on the Air Greg and Nick daydream about the award redemptions that we’d like to book someday. Our lists had some overlap, but also quite a few differences.

Elsewhere on the blog this week, Carrie explains that you can indeed get paid to move to West Virginia, we look at an easy path to Star Alliance Gold status (through Europe), I contemplate a mattress run to pick up Hyatt milestone benefits, Stephen answers more questions from this month’s Ask Us Anything and a lot more. Watch or listen to the podcast or read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.


Update: In this episode, we mention that the best way to book Air France La Premiere (first class) is to book a business class award and later pay to upgrade, but reader Lantean points out that Air France took that option away a few months ago. We had missed that policy change, but I wanted to highlight it here. We’ll also issue a correction in next week’s episode.

01:33 Giant Mailbag
06:38 Card Talk: Air France / KLM Flying Blue World Elite Mastercard
15:45 Main Event: The rewards we want the most
16:35 Greg: Air France La Premier (first class)
18:54 Emirates “new” First Class
19:30 Lufthansa New First Class (if it ever comes to be)
20:04 New Singapore Suites
22:13 Turkish business class nonstop Detroit to Istanbul
23:56 Nick: New Singapore Suites (on a long route!)
25:01 Etihad Apartments
27:18 Qatar Qsuites
28:29 NOT Air France La Premier
39:49 Hotel awards we want
39:54 Mr. & Mrs Smith
40:32 Post Ranch Inn
41:29 Virgin Limited luxury safari camps — via Mr. & Mrs. Smith
47:28 Intercontinental Khao Yai
48:20 Ritz-Carlton Al Bustan Palace 49:36 Am SLH property in Santorini
51:02 A luxury safari camp
53:46 A Celebrity or Norwegian cruise
56:24 I wasn’t aware that there is a way to book American Airlines with Membership Rewards points. What are the options?

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This week on the Frequent Miler blog…

Yes, you really can get paid to move to West Virginia.

a person's legs on a cliff overlooking a valley

Fun fact about me: I first visited West Virginia about 25 years ago while taking “Whitewater Rafting” as a college physical education elective. I’ve since been back a few times to raft in the New River Gorge and I once rafted the Gauley River during one of the fall weekends when water is released from the dam, so I have a soft spot for the natural beauty of West Virginia. I tried to no avail to convince my better half that we should apply to the Ascend program quite some time ago, but now I get to live vicariously through Carrie. I think these remote worker incentives are really intriguing for those living the remote worker lifestyle.

Star Alliance Gold status on the cheap in Europe

a gold sign with a plane in the background

Want to get into United Club lounges when flying United domestically? Thanks to the status match from Marriott to Singapore Krisflyer, you could qualify for Star Alliance Gold status for 12 months will less than $400 worth of flying….in Europe. Well, to be fair, this could probably also be accomplished in Asia, though for those located on the east coast or with existing European travel plans, this could be an easy enough way to get Gold status if you’re willing to tie up a couple of half-days “mileage running”.

An end-of-year mattress run decision

Mattress running

A few nights short of valuable 60-night Hyatt milestone rewards, I had to decide whether to mattress run at a hotel, buy Mr. & Mrs. Smith gift cards, or finally apply for the World of Hyatt credit card. In this post, I lay out the arguments for and against this strategy just as I debated them myself.

20 ways to maximize and leverage rewards and get deals on Amazon purchases

a laptop on a table

As the holiday shopping season approaches crunch time, you won’t be alone if you find yourself relying on Amazon Prime. In this post, read about which credit cards may be your best bet for Amazon purchases and how to stack for the best discounts. You may be surprised to hear that an Amazon card might not be your best choice, though I personally just opened the Amazon Business Amex to simplify my life a bit.

Quick-Fire Q&A from Dec 2023 Ask Us Anything

Questions Answers

We never have enough time to get to every question in our monthly Ask Us Anything sessions, but this month Stephen takes a rapid-fire stab at answering many of the questions that we didn’t get to answer on Youtube (and does it quite well!).He hits the nail on the head clearly and concisely again and again.

American Express Business Platinum Credit Card Review (2023)

a close up of some cards

My family has a number of Business Platinum cards thanks to generous offers from Amex to “expand our Membership” with additional cards over the past couple of years. We won’t keep all of the cards we’ve got, but I’m leaning toward keeping at least one Business Platinum card for access to the 35% pay-with-points rebate. At least once a year I find an opportunity where using points to pay for business class flights is a better deal than booking award tickets….and then you can earn miles on top. I don’t love the high annual fee and my enjoyment of the Dell credits is waning considerably, so I would like to see Amex refresh this card a bit to make it a clearer win for its annual fee, but for now we’re keeping one.

Getting Started: Which credit cards should I apply for first? [Video]

Which credit cards should I apply to first

Are you just getting started on your rewards credit card journey? Feeling a bit bewildered by all of the choice available? In this video, we try to give beginners an idea as to where to start in terms of creating some strategy. I would definitely recommend thinking in terms of credit card combinations that will bonus your top spending categories — you’ll probably want a two or three-card combination, so put some thought into that combination before you start applying for cards.

The Deal of the Week

Amazing: Business class to Europe from 13,500 miles one way!

a person sitting in a chair with a computer screen

This deal is surely long dead, but I wanted to highlight it here to bring attention to a point I’ve often made on the podcast: it pays to read the comments. I posted this quickly as I was on the way out the door for a busy afternoon, wanting to get word out to readers sooner rather than later. But those who read the comments might have caught a comment from reader Dina, who pointed out that flights to Lille, France (really a flight to Paris and train to Lille) were just 1,500 miles one-way in business class. Like another reader who commented a little while later, I assumed that Dina had made a typo and meant fifteen thousand miles, but when another reader commented to note surprise that the business class price really was just fifteen hundred miles per passenger one way, I hopped on the computer. Sure enough, I booked my family of four to France for just 5,250 miles (and about $960 in taxes and fees) one-way in business class (remember the child tickets for kids age 2-11 get a 25% discount on long-haul awards, which is why it cost fewer than 6K miles). I didn’t have time for an update to the post before that died, but those who read the comments got in on an even more amazing deal….provided that Air France honors it.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep your eye on this week’s last chance deals and grab them before they expire.

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Regarding UR Comped (mentioned in the podcast) choices, here’s my advice. Having cruised on Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Celebrity lines myself, be aware that Celebrity tends to skew older and may not be as appealing for families with children. I like Celebrity for myself and am looking at another cruise with them in February. The entertainment, service and food is good. I prefer them over Norwegian though. Royal Caribbean seems best suited for families.

If you choose a Celebrity Caribbean cruise make sure the itinerary includes a stop at Coco Cay which they are now including on some of their cruises, particularly for the children. Previously, it was only available through their sister cruise line Royal Caribbean. The newer Edge-class ships, The Beyond, Apex, Edge and Ascent (2024) may be ones to consider if they are offered through the program.


Hey — just listened while putting together Christmas packages of chocolate for my huge building complex staff. I thought I heard one of you blasphemously suggest that the Lufthansa First Class Terminal was the same as a First Class Lounge and I was writing to cheerily disabuse you of that notion!


Guys, think about this . . . in 50 years, when hyper-sonic suborbital flights are the norm, Singapore to London will be two hours. The lay-flat seat will be a thing of the past. And, a seat akin to a US domestic first class seat will be the norm. Which would you rather have? The shorter flight or the glacially long flight?

Last edited 4 months ago by Lee

You cannot upgrade to La Premiere from a business class ticket booked with miles:


Is this true? There is conflicting reporting on whether it’s possible to upgrade an award business class ticket to La Premiere:

And, some of the comments to the One Mile at a Time Article suggest that people have been able to upgrade award business class tickets to La Premiere.


I don’t have first hand experience unfortunately but there is an interesting comment on the OMAT article:

“AF offers two kinds of LP upgrades: in advance (with some fare class restrictions: note that Flying Blue awards can book into revenue fare classes including J/C/D (and AF sells deepest discount revenue tickets in a fare class that’s more often used for partner awards)) and at OLCI.
It seems plausible that they’ve decided to bar FB awards from the advance upgrade feature (partner awards and discount revenue tickets are already barred and award tickets previously couldn’t use the fixed-rate mileage advance upgrades), but may still offer cash upgrades at check-in. That would account for the new policy which Ben has confirmed and Ralf’s observation.”

So it is possible it can still work.
Maybe i’ll try to book something and see if they offer me the upgrade. If not, I think the cancelation fees are pretty mild.

Last edited 4 months ago by Lantean
Dave Hanson

Good morning Nick,

-Thanks for the libsyn platform link, that was new to me.

-FWIW I like the markers showing when different topics were discussed in the podcast. I can see they show up as embedded in the YT video, but this week I can’t see them beneath the video or the podcast…?

-That walking mattress is a hoot; props to the graphics department! 🙂