I was able to sign up online from my home computer in Wake Forest, N.C. in a matter of minutes by using my Facebook account and then answering additional security questions. The site offered two memberships, a free basic membership and a Premier Membership that is $29.99 per year. I selected the free membership and then began adding my loyalty programs to the dashboard. It actually took me longer to hunt for my frequent flier miles numbers and loyalty cards in my purse than it did to enter the information. I was bit hesitant to enter my credit card information, but felt more at ease once UsingMiles.com asked me the security questions I had set up on my credit card company's website.

A few minutes later, my dashboard showed I was about one trip away from earning a free plane ticket with a combination of my frequent flier miles and my airline credit card which I hadn't realized by viewing the two rewards statements separately. I was happy to see my rewards accumulating, but maybe even more so to see that I had earned a free pastry from Panera Bread!

Searching for airline tickets

Additionally, UsingMiles.com is a meta-travel search engine, but instead of just listing prices, it goes a step further by using loyalty information to help the customer make choices that most effectively use their current miles and earn miles on travel that they pay for. I plugged in the dates for an upcoming trip to visit my family in Florida. In addition to a list of prices for various flights, the website told me that there was currently a promotion where I could earn 1,000 extra frequent flier miles with my Delta program.

I also gave a Usingmiles.com customer, Andy Reed, a call to find out about how the website works in real life. He travels frequently for business and has been using the site for over three months. He told me that he has found it really beneficial to be able to capitalize on all the promotions out there without having to search. "It's saved me a lot of time because I don't have to go from website to website to see my miles and the promotion. I've also earned a lot more miles as well," Andy said.