Free Consulting Service

Hello and thanks for stopping by! I’ve created this page to provide one-on-one help for my readers. Everyone is unique, so this advice will be tailored to your particular situation. I will recommend the best cards for your family, whether they pay me commission or not. That’s my promise to you.

Be aware, I am not a financial advisor or planner of any sort. I do, however, have an extensive background in personal taxes. Please, email me at and provide the following information:

1. Tell me about  your goals

Are you looking to maximize your rewards through everyday spending? Are you planning to apply for cards with the sole goal of collecting sign-up bonuses? A little bit of both?

2. Tell me about your  spending patterns

How much do you put on credit cards each year? What are  three areas where you spend the most?

3. Tell me how many people you have in the family

Do you only plan to travel as a family? The more award tickets are required, the tougher it gets to find availability. Some programs give you fixed value per point and may be a better fit for your situation.

4. Tell me when and where you plan to travel

Peak seasons ( summer) and holidays can present a challenge since everyone wants to travel around that time. Once again, I’ll let you know about the best programs to fit your needs. Also, if you have to visit relatives in a particular city, I could give you advice on what airline programs you should focus on.

Before contacting me, you might want to read my post on best long-term cards for family It  has links to further reviews and might answer your questions without needing any further help. You may also want to read my Beginner’s Guide, and check out my page of best sign-up bonuses.

Still have questions? This consultation doesn’t cost anything, and you are not obligated to apply through my credit card links. I look forward to helping you optimize your spending and  travel close to free.

25 thoughts on “Free Consulting Service

  1. hi – (i don’t think i know your name!)

    do you know how to book with avios on partner airlines? i’ve been at this for 2 hours and cannot figure it out! it’s makin’ me crazy……..
    we want to fly from new york, preferably not newark, to quebec city – yqb.
    dates are oct. 25-29. yes, in a few weeks – not 2015.
    if you could just tell me how to do it, i’d be forever grateful!
    thanks and love your blog,


    • Jerri, thanks so much for reading my blog! The problem with JFK-YQB flights is that they have connection, and BA system doesn’t display connecting partner flights 60% of the time. So you would have to call. Your best bet would be to search and see if anything comes up on American or US Airways metal, an then call BA and feed the schedule to the agent. However, I checked the dates and the only award flights available around your timeline are October 29th-31st
      Have you considered flying to Montreal and just renting a car? The availability is great, and you would save your Avios. The flight costs only 4,500 miles each way for JFK-Montreal. You should be able to book online. Go to, log in, then click “Executive club” on top, “Spending Avios”. On the left you should see, “Book flights with Avios”. Then feed the dates.
      If the website doesn’t work, call Tel: 1 800 452 1201 (from the USA)
      Just select the option of booking regular flights, because the US center is closed. You will be routed to their main center in London, and the agent should waive the booking fee, since you couldn’t book awards online. I strongly recommend you go with Montreal option and just drive. Let me know if this helps.


  2. you are awesome! believe it or not, we have reservations from lga to montreal, but now we’ve decided we’d rather go to quebec city. so what you have suggested is probably what we’ll do.
    thanks so much for your help!


    • Jerri, no problem at all! Feel free to contact me anytime. If I’m able to help, I will. I hope you’ll book everything successfully and have a good vacation. Good luck!
      BTW, my name is Leana.


  3. hi leanna –

    i need to fly my son from belgrade to san jose costa rica in january. he could fly from rome or basically anywhere over there. is it useful for me to buy the avianca life miles at the discounted price, which is happening right now? when he flies overseas, i put him in biz or first. i hate for him to be cramped for long periods of time. spoiled???? (and he always flies on award miles – i never actually pay for the tickets).

    let me know what you think.
    thanks again for all you do!


    • Jerri, it could definitely make sense to buy Avianca miles for this purpose. Many in the hobby, excuse me, The Hobby, do just that. Couple of things to be aware of: Avianca could devalue awards without notice or add fuel surcharges. It’s unlikely that it will happen within few days of your purchase, but you just never know with these things. I definitely would redeem miles immediately if I were you. From what I understood, you can’t mix awards, so all flights have to be in business class.

      Since your son is planning to fly in January, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem finding award seats. That’s low season. So, yes, this plan should work. Of course, if you already have miles in another program, it probably makes sense to burn those. If not, go for Avianca deal. Approved!
      P.S. Flying in coach from Europe to America stinks big time. If you can afford business class via miles, why not?


  4. therein lies the problem – i have tons of miles, but i hoard them. i’d rather buy new ones and use them than use the ones i’ve got. i know – wacko. i’m going to find out the date he needs to be in costa rica and i’ll get back to you.
    you’re a doll.


    • Jerri, no problem, and please, let me know how it goes! Also, I encourage (beg!) you to consider burning the miles you already have. Of course, it depends on your budget and your upcoming plans. If you have enough miles for 3-years worth of vacations, maybe it’s time to let go. Just saying… 🙂


  5. i know you’re right. i just looked at an aa flight for 1st and it’s only 62,700. plus $400. pretty cheap, considering. i think i’ll do that and forget the avianca. do you think that’s good?


    • Hmm, the tax seems a bit high. I’m guessing it involves BA? Might want to look at alternate airports just in case. Otherwise, if you have a ton of miles, it could make sense to go that route. You are not taking a chance (Avianca deal is risky, though risk is admittedly minimal). But peace of mind is worth something. You are not buying potentially worthless miles. Honestly, I encourage you to compare the costs and figure out what AA miles are worth to you at this point in time. If you have a ton and no major upcoming plans to use them, perhaps this is a good opportunity to “sell.”


    • Jerry, just wanted to give you quick heads up on Avianca awards sale. Look at One Mile at a Time blog for dedicated post on this. It appears that you can potentially snag a good deal by combining it with the bonus on miles purchase. I still think you should at least consider burning your existing miles, but wanted to let you know in case you are still debating on which way to go.


  6. thanks so much! i’m actually going to use the miles i’ve got. i finally talked myself into just biting the bullet and using them.
    i appreciate you thinking of me!



  7. hi leanna – totally off the subject, but have you heard of, know of, or know anyone who has done this trip?

    also, thanks so much for letting me know that the ba tax was too high. i thought it sounded cheap! did a bit more research and stuck to aa with no ba involved and the same trip costs me $124 vs $400. biz class. between my husband and myself, we have over 1 million aa miles. so it was time to start using them! glad i did. i really didn’t need to buy avianca miles…..gotta get over this hoarding.

    thanks again for everything you do.


    • Jerri, no problem, I’m so glad my advice was useful! Hey, paying $124 instead of $400 is nothing to sneeze at. Glad it worked out. And I agree, if you have 1 million miles, it’s time to burn them at last.
      On this train trip, no, I don’t know anyone who has done it. I think I’ve heard of this train, it passes through Grodno, my hometown. The rate is expensive, but the ride looks pretty cool. My husband actually wants to do trans-Siberian route one day. It takes three weeks and goes all the way to China!


      • yea, that’s why i asked. i knew that was your part of the world! my son is going from nice to vienna and thinking of taking that train. he’ll probably do it, since it’s a lot more interesting than flying…


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