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December 16, 2013


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Apply for a few new cards, do you XMAS shopping on it, and accumulate enough miles. Best option.

I am sending my son to South Korea using miles on United and it takes a lot of miles. It is best to get these miles using this approach. Sometimes the short term goals works out, and other times you might be short.

If you are short, you just buy them, or transfer from your spouse's account.

Of course there are fees, blackout dates, and other costs associated with this stuff, but I got the Seoul flight for $61.88 (I think it is just taxes).


I think you already have too many cards open. Opening up 3 more (to give you a total of 7) just to try to earn more points to put towards $2500 in airfare seems unreasonable. Do you not have the cash to cover the balance of the ticket?I travel on points all the time and never keep more than 2 cards (one for airline and one for hotel). You may be much more organized than me, but there's no way I could keep up with 7 cards! My suggestion would be to apply whatever points you have available now and pay the balance in cash. Going forward I would try to focus on 1-2 cards that offer you the benefits you want and use them for as many transactions as possible (and pay your balance in full each month). Last, if you are intent on trying to accumulate more points as quickly as possible, there is a great forum of flying experts at that I sometimes check out to get flying advice. I'm certain someone on there will be able to help. Here is the subforum on points and miles: Good luck!

I consider myself a pretty seasoned award travel nut, generally I'll book everything 11 months out to ensure availability. That said, you may have to settle for economy class and some weird routing to get them to Chicago.

You didn't mention which Asian city they'll be departing from so we can really only offer general advice.

Generally speaking, your best option is probably those United miles. I'd apply right away for both the United MileagePlus card and Chase Ink Bold. $7k in spend and you'll have 112k new United/UR points to use. Add your existing UR points and you'll have enough for two round trip Saver level economy tickets. You'll need the extra points as a buffer in case you have to add extra legs to get them to/from a departure city.

The problem with any option is that even if you were to apply today, you won't see the card for a week. Then you have to drop $5-10K on the card to meet the bonus. Then you have to wait for the statement to close. Then you have to wait for the points to post which can take 1-3 weeks. So, it will likely be January before you're able to book the tickets.

If it were me, I'd bite the bullet and buy the tickets. You'd get the additional peace of mind that everything's done. You could score additional UR points during the purchase by booking via and selecting Travelocity. That way you're earning 4 UR points per dollar instead of only 2. Then, if you need to, just redeem those UR points for cashback to help defray costs.

*Side note, United is devaluing their award chart on Feb 1st, so if using points, try and get the tickets before then.

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