First Stop- Dubai, UAE

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First Stop Dubai-
The key for me to get and keep status will be multiple points (pun intended) of attack.  
-Fly places on sale that are far away that I actually want to go to
-Use the right credit cards for the right places
-Keep track of points and program benefits 
-Be prepared to take advantage of last minute sales and mistakes
-It is a game have fun but play to win





There are multiple website I use to find fares, my intention is not to brag but to educate using real life examples of my situation so that you can adopt what works for you and your situation.  
Start with an idea, some place warm, a beach, look at airline site, go to www.flyertalk.com and look for deals others have found, go to www.kayak.com/explore to see the world in one view and sample prices, take that knowledge to www.matrix.itasoftware.com and look for dates, fares, and multiple cities on specific airlines or alliances.  While writing this article I just discovered the possible missing link.  WWW.google.com/flights (more on that later).  
I found that DXB or Dubai was on sale from Chicago (ORD). for $852.00, 14700 miles round trip.  Because this is a “Deep discounted fare” I will only get  50% of the miles or 7350 EQM (elite miles) of the 10,000 that I need to complete my challenge.  I have chosen to fly out of ORD vs my home airport of CVG/Cincinnati because it is $300 per person cheaper to fly out of Cincinnati.  We will earn 14,700 X 1.25 Gold Status flyer miles + addition 1,700 miles for using the Citi AAdvanage card to purchase the tickets.  Total miles earned will be around 35,000 new miles to spend later.
One in Dubai we have booked everything with Hilton.  With the Citi Hilton Visa.  Hilton gave me Diamond Status their top tier for spending over $30,000 on their card and 2 free weekend nights at any Hilton property and bonus points on top of that.  I also have a $100 rebate on any Hilton hotel stay from going to a Hilton Grand Vacations time share presentation in August (More on that later).
Day one we land 11:35 PM after flying over 7,000 miles we will check in to the downtown Hilton for $167-$100 voucher = $67 
Day 2-3 after sleeping in and getting a late checkout it is off to the Waldorf Astoria for 2 free nights on the beach.
Day 4-8 will find us at the Doubletree where we are again beach front with an ocean view for $18 per night and 18,000 points.