Book Review: “The Ultimate Guide to Frequent Flyer Miles” by Travis Sherry

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I volunteered to review “The Ultimate Guide to Frequent Flyer Miles” because, while I’m not a frequent flyer right now, I have been a very frequent flyer over the years, and have been an American Airlines AAdvantage member since the program started. I have an all-numeric ID.  Only old-timers have all-numeric AAdvantage numbers.  My wife and I have been to Maui 8 or 9 times, having never paid for a ticket, and have been to both Paris and Dublin on miles, and various other places in the country in various classes of service, so we’re pretty good at redeeming them.

Still, I learned some things.  I learned I had been leaving some miles on the table (literally) by not signing up for a ‘dining’ program with an airline.  We eat out all the time; it wouldn’t hurt to get a few extra miles that way.  I also learned about a website that helps with finding awards (Award Nexus) that I could join for free as a member of FlyerTalk.  And I learned an easy way to calculate, on my own, whether it’s worth it to use miles to pay for a trip, or whether simply purchasing a ticket (and getting some more miles) is a better deal.

Sherry really favors going after the credit card sign-up bonuses as a way to accumulate miles quickly.  I am a little nervous about this but I understand that if you are careful you can make it work.  I have seen too many people screw up their lives by having too many credit cards to recommend this technique myself.

This is a well written book, probably a tiny amount out of date (programs change all the time) with many included links to websites that contain more detailed and current information about the topics he covers.  Unfortunately, I was reading the book via the Kindle app on my iPad, and the links don’t work that way.  You need to read them some other way – they work if you read the book as a PDF on the Mac, for example.  And the book is also available as an audiobook, but I’m not a good user of audiobooks, especially not for something I want to review.  And I’m not sure what happens with the links. It took me a while to figure out there was a downloadable PDF version.  I’m just too Twentieth Century.

I recommend this book for anyone just getting started in the exciting world of frequent flyer miles and chasing awards.  He has explanatory videos and links throughout and is an interesting storyteller. For those of us who are already million-milers, there is still some new information and things to learn.  The author’s style is light and breezy and fun to read.

Disclosure: A free copy of this book was given to a volunteer with the expectation that they would write a fair and honest review of it.

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by Jim McDonough

Jim is a life insurance software guru and sometime world traveler, although the world seems mostly to be Europe. He lives in Texas with his wife and two felines.

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