New Year travel goals

by Tony L. Baker - @touringtony
Travel Columnist

First of all, Happy New Year! Here’s to a fabulous and profitable year for everyone.

The New Year is a great time to start the points and miles game if your starting from scratch, or even if you’re not. I fund much of my travel with points and miles and spice it up with hotel and airline elite status. This way I can pay a little but travel well and a lot!

January 1 is a perfect time to start qualifying for elite status as the counter resets December 31. I will review a few possible travel goals that will help you start off your travel year the right way. Everyone’s goals are different, and we reach them in different ways, and that’s what makes the world wonderful. But these ideas are to specifically benefit everyone wanting to travel on little or none of their money.

Pick your poison: In my opinion, if you really want to maximize the benefit of collecting and accumulating points and miles, as well as gaining elite status, you really need to narrow down who you fly and where you stay.

You can save money by buying the cheapest ticket to where you’re going on each trip. Where this may save you in the short term, I think you can do better if you stay with one airline. Long-term it’s better to stick with a carrier, and its partners, or alliances for airlines and a hotel company and its various brands.

For example, I am very loyal to Delta, but I don’t always have to fly them to collect miles and keep gaining status. Delta has many partnerships and is also in the SkyTeam alliance. In most instances, you can credit miles and such to Delta even if you fly say, Aeromexico or another partner.

Research this once you decide what airline your planning to stick with. It’s the same concept when it comes to hotels.

Stick with it: Now that you have chosen your airline and hotel, you must stick to it. On my website,, I tell you many of the ways you can collect points and miles. (please check it out).

Do it all. You can gain thousands and even millions of miles or points and not even travel. Some of the ways include course credit cards, online shopping portals, dining programs, referring friends, making donations and many other ways. If you really focus on your airline and hotel choice and credit everything to it, you’ll soon have more than enough to start traveling for free.

Keep your eyes peeled: Make a list of the places and areas you want to go and keep your eyes peeled for deals. Follow sites like or as well as my site for deals to those areas that are with your airline or partner.

I do get tons of texts and emails a day that are mostly junk, but I weed through them for that possible gem. It’s a great idea to follow many travel sites on social media platforms because it’s an easy way to run across them.

Also, be flexible. If you want to go to Paris, you may have to fly first to Barcelona, then buy a $100 flight on to Paris and back. Once your over in the area, it's usually easy to get where you want, no matter where it is.

Be creative: I tend to drive my friends nuts with the various ways I jump through hoops to earn points, miles and status. You may need some creativity at times to “game” the system. But it’s easier than you think, and it’s like a fun game. Just keep an open mind and read all you can about the various ways you can build your points and miles portfolio.

These are just a few goals you can build on when you’re planning your upcoming travel portfolio. Remember to be creative and never do anything money related unless your earning points, miles or something from it.

When in doubt, Google it.

Thanks for reading, and please, travel more!

Copyright The Gayly. 1/21/2020 @ 11:03 p.m. CST.