One of the best frequent flyer programs out there was the US Dividend Miles program by US Airways. The integration into the merge in terms of the IT aspect of combining both USDM and American Airlines Advantage program was completed at the end of March 2015.

Therefore if you had a USDM account – it is now actually an AAdvantage account and using their routing rules. All points converting across is one to one so you really haven't loss anything there.

But in terms of the ridiculous routing you could put together for USDM – that is forever gone now. AAdvantage routing rules are much more strict – but can have some advantages.

The biggest issue is that you cannot transit a different continent to get to your destination. For example you cannot go from Sydney to America via Asia. This would require 2 award tickets. So you need to find a direct flight from Sydney to the US – but that could be very hard to do as it is usually only Qantas in the One World Alliance that provides this service and getting business and even first class is extremely hard.

I do like that American let's you do one way awards compared to USDM where it didn't matter if you did one way or return – it will cost the return amount of points. Therefore that gives you open jaw options. So you could get a ticket from Sydney to Hong Kong for 35,000 miles on Business Class. Then you could come back from Singapore to Sydney also for 35,000 miles on British Airways for example. You can make your own way from Hong Kong to Singapore which is quite easy considering the cheap travel on budget airlines in Asia such as Air Asia, Scoot and Jetstar. This is cheaper than the 90,000 miles that USDM was charging.

Another alternative is the Alaska or Avianca program that you could sign up for. I suggest that you sign up for both of these accounts now so that when there are specials you can sign of for it and receive the extra points. In my later posts I will blog on the pros and cons of both Alaska and Avianca if you don't like the way that AAdvantage operates.

Flying premium cabins has many different avenues – when one door shuts – there most likely is another option you can utilize so that you don't have to be stuck in cattle class.

This option is in regards to buying miles from the programs (not accumulating it via credit card). By buying the points or miles – you are effectively saving up to 70% off the retail price of the actual value of the ticket. Also by understanding the routing rules – you are able to take advantage of extra stop-overs.

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