top of page
Frequent Flier 1.jpg

Frequent Flier Miles

How We Afford to Travel the World

Travel Addicts

Discover Frequent Flier Miles

Our love of travel started with a trip to Europe in 2014. My sister, Diane, and her husband, Heinrich, resided in Germany and invited us to join them on an RV vacation around Holland, France, Germany, and Austria. Our travel addiction begins here. 


In 2019, we returned for a 31/2 month journey touring Europe together in their Class C RV, including trips to Thailand and India, and ended the year with a 30-day trip to Mexico. Wanda and I have been to Mexico four more times, and all flight tickets were free using frequent flier miles and only paying fees and taxes. We also enjoyed extra benefits that significantly reduced our transportation costs, including free checked bags and two complimentary United Club passes.

On this page, I will share our personal experience using frequent flyer miles, including:

  • Which frequent flyer programs we use

  • How many miles we used to book a free flight

  • What fees and taxes we've paid

  • What benefits we've enjoyed


We hope this Frequent Flier page is helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by text at 715-252-3326 or email us at We're always happy to help!

Stay up-to-date with our latest news and destinations by joining our mailing list.

REDEEMING MILES can save you big bucks


The United Explorer MileagePlus Card offers the following benefits:

  • Two complimentary checked bags (50 lbs./23 kg)

  • Two complimentary United Club one-time passes each year

To take advantage of the free checked bag benefit with the United Explorer MileagePlus Card, use the United Explorer MileagePlus Card to pay the ticket fees and taxes.

  • You may need to check your bags at the counter.

  • To save time, print and highlight your free bag benefit and bring it with you to the airport.

Frequent Flier 15.jpg
Frequent Flier 14.jpg

Earn 60,000 Miles
and Fly FOR Free

We applied for the United Explorer Card, to earn miles for travel, expedited security screening with a TSA precheck, free checked bags, free club lounge access, and more.

 Apply for the United Explorer Card

  • 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months

  • No annual fee for the first year, then $95/year

  • One complimentary checked bag (50 lbs/23kg)

  • 2 United Club one-time passes each year

  • No blackout dates



  • Use this card for all purchases until you have 60,000 miles. Pay off the balance in full every two weeks to avoid interest charges.

  • Each family member can apply for a United Explorer card. Be sure to track annual fees and avoid having them all due in one month.

  • Once you have reached 60,000 miles, you can stop using the card. Put it away until the month before the annual fee is due. Call customer service and ask for a no-fee card, if available. Avoid closing the card before the one-year date. Here’s why you should never close your credit cards before the one-year mark.

  • There is a 5/24 rule that Chase Bank uses when processing an application. You can only have four other credit cards in 24 months for your application to be approved. If you are starting to apply for credit cards with bonus miles, keep it simple and consider applying for the next United Personal Credit Card to keep all loyalty miles with one carrier under one account to get comfortable with redeeming miles for vacation flights.

fly to Germany for $149.80 and free checked bags

Our United MileagePlus account didn't have enough airline miles for a 2023 flight from Chicago to Germany. We did have 85,000 miles on our Capital One Venture Card account. Transferring airline miles to our preferred loyalty programs is a valuable benefit and the main reason we applied for a Capital One Venture Card.

My first thought was to use our Capital One Venture Card miles to add to our United MileagePlus account and then book the flight through United until I discovered that United Airlines is not one of Capital One Venture Card's transfer partners.

However, the Capital One Venture Card has a list of transfer partners in the global Star Alliance. Here are the steps I used to transfer miles from our Capital One Venture Card account to an airline from Capital One's loyalty list and booked our flight to Germany.

Frequent Flier 19.jpg
Frequent Flier 5_edited.jpg

STEP ONE: Apply for the Capital One Venture card.

The Capital One Venture card is a great option for travelers who want the flexibility to transfer points to other loyalty programs. The card offers a sign-up bonus of 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months, and it earns 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. We had 85,000 points on our Capital One Venture Card.


STEP TWO: United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which unites 26 member global and regional airlines. This makes it easier to book and connect flights to anywhere in the world.

To find a Star Alliance airline on Capital One Venture Card's list of transfer partners, go to your Capital One account > View Rewards > Convert Rewards. I found a few airline options, checked their flight schedules for trips to Germany from Chicago O'Hare, and decided to book with Air Canada.

STEP THREE: Find out the exact number of Air Canada miles required for the flight. Once you know the number of miles required, you can transfer that exact amount of miles to Air Canada to book a flight. I needed 80,000 airline miles.

  • Go to the Air Canada website and enter your desired travel dates and destinations.

  • Select the "Book with Miles" option.

  • Air Canada will show you the number of Aeroplan miles required for your flight.

STEP FOUR: To book an Air Canada flight using our frequent flier miles from the Captial One Venture Card account, I opened an Aeroplan account and recorded my Member ID. I will need this ID to transfer the miles to my new Air Canada Aeroplan account. It is free to become an Aeroplan member.

STEP FIVE: Transfer the airline miles

  1. Log in to your Capital One Venture Card account.

  2. Click on "View Rewards."

  3. Click on "Convert Rewards."

  4. Select "Air Canada Aeroplan."

  5. Click on "Transfer Miles."

  6. Enter your new Aeroplan ID number.

  7. Click on "Transfer 80,000 Miles."

There are enough Aeroplan miles in my Aeroplan account to book two one-way tickets from Chicago to Munich, Germany, on Air Canada. The total cost is $149.80 for fees and taxes.

We hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by text at 715-252-3326 or email us at We're always happy to help!

Stay up-to-date with our latest news and destinations by joining our mailing list.


Frequent Flier 31_edited.jpg
bottom of page